Spring brings more student protests—and new demands

Protests are 'part of a larger resurgence of student activism addressing deep systematic issues'

Student protests continue this spring with a focus on a broader range of issues, Josh Logue reports for Inside Higher Ed.

Duke University, Appalachian State University, Ohio State University (OSU), Clemson University, and University of California-Davis all have seen campus protests this semester. Students' concerns have ranged from financial transparency to employees' rights to the North Carolina bathroom bill.

Though the specific topics vary, the groups express support for one another on social media.

"We see their campaigns and ours as part of a larger resurgence of student activism addressing deep systematic issues that require transparency and action from university officials," a Duke activist statement said.

Compared with previous student-protest waves, this generation is much better at building alliances and bridges from campus to campus, says historian Angus Johnston.

And the protests share a theme, says OSU student activist Shell Sindle. "Most campaigns are generally interested in democratization of our universities," she says.

Often the issue being protested is just a piece of a broader problem, Johnston says. 

Today’s students are more mission-driven than ever—here’s how you can serve them

"Frequently when you're organizing on a campus, the immediate proximate cause ... it's only a small part of why you are organizing," he says. "Something may light the fire and spur you to action, but it's not the only thing you are dissatisfied with about the way the campus is run or in larger society" (Logue, Inside Higher Ed, 4/19).

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