By Isa Cortes
On Monday Nov. 27th a group of YPRC members went to deliver a letter to Chancellor Mone listing our demands surrounding UWM becoming a Sanctuary Campus. 4 of us went into Chapman Hall as a group of about 30 people rallied outside.
We were met with not only refusal and resistance to address the student body, but refusal to even hear us out for two minutes. His secretaries claimed that he had back-to-back meetings and was not able to receive a letter from us. Apparently his schedule is too full to speak to students that have felt unsafe on his campus. I understand that the Chancellor is busy, but nothing should be more important than a marginalized student voice – especially considering that we, as students, pay his salary and that mansion on Lake Drive. They called the police on us and we were escorted out of the “public” building that we pay for.
This was the statement I planned to give to Mone, but was not allowed to.
“Hello my name is Isa and I am a student here at UWM, I am also the chair of the Young People’s Resistance Committee, a student organization here on campus, and in the community on Milwaukee’s south side.I’ve brought with me today other members of the organization who are also all students here at UWM. YPRC is a youth led, grassroots organization with the mission to organize, empower and, lead the struggle to achieve justice for workers, students, and immigrants. We are immigrants, children of immigrants, students, workers, teachers, who all work and live in the communities that we organize in. But more specifically we are all marginalized students who have not felt safe on your campus. We are students who deserve to feel safe while receiving an education just like everyone else, which is why we are here to demand that UWM become a sanctuary campus. In this letter we have listed some specific demands that we consider crucial to the safety and well-being of marginalized students at UWM. Some of the demands are the immediate demilitarization of campus authority, that UWM not in any capacity collaborate with ICE, the expansion of mental health resources to more adequately help students of color on campus, more funding for a series of programs for undocumented students on campus, and the formation of a democratic, student-led council to better deal with issues regarding the new “free speech act” recently passed by the board of regents. In order to move forward, we demand a meeting with you, Chancellor Mone, to discuss how to best implement our demands. Our contact information is located at the top of the letter.”
Yesterday, Mone proved to us that he is afraid of the voice of students that oppose the unsafe and exclusionary environment he has allowed on our campus. His administration continues to uphold this unjust action toward marginzalied students. Let us not forget that Mone’s administration has a history of allowing racist speakers on our campus, ones who have verbally assaulted and harassed the student body. At this point we are calling on our chancellor to make a choice: Mone, you will either stand with your student body in addressing the concerns we have brought forward or you will stand against us and continue to block our path to success. Until then, we will continue to organize, mobilize, and lead the struggle for justice for all oppressed students at UWM.