Students Protest for a "Clean Dream Act" at Brower
By Jacob Miller
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.
College Avenue's Brower Commons was once again the site of protests on the part of Rutgers students, faculty, and activists. It occurred at about 5 PM on March 5th,
The purpose of the protest was to demand a "Clean Dream Act" that would extend protections to the 2 million illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. This includes the 700,000 beneficiaries of the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program that the Obama administration put into place in 2012. It should be noted that while some still paint DACA recipients as young children, the majority of applicants were older than 20.
The protesters chose March 5th for a reason: It was the date that DACA was supposed to expire after Trump officially ended it 6 months ago. However, even though Congress has failed to act on DACA, fears of mass deportations have not yet been realized because of recent court injunctions.
The featured signs at the protest read "DON'T DEPORT DREAMERS" and "HATE HAS NO HOME HERE". These nicely complimented the chants: "No Justice, No Peace!" and "Shut it Down!" Although what they wanted to "shut down"—and how they wanted to approach such a maneuver—was unclear.
With the aid of a megaphone, speakers touched upon issues apart from DACA, including the fictional concept of hate speech, and how Trump and Republicans are generally evil.
"We stand in solidarity with the Dreamers," said Ayesha Qureshi, a student at Rutgers who participated in the protest. She went on to mention that "we've seen what walls can do to a democratic nation." As she is a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, this was seemingly a reference to the border wall between Israel and the West Bank. She is correct that the wall has had a "significant effect" on the democratic nation—but it was a positive one as it has significantly reduced terrorist activity.
Upon being asked how she responds to the argument that DACA recipients should go through the "correct legal channels," Qureshi said, "they were really young when they came," and therefore should not have to suffer the consequences of deportation.
The protests contributed to significant traffic delays. The Rutgers administration anticipated this disruption, and even sent an email to the student body with a warning:
Traffic delays are expected today... for a planned rally at Brower Commons located at 145 College Avenue. Please anticipate periodic traffic delays as a planned march will impact areas of College Avenue, Somerset Street, and George Street between College Avenue and the Douglass Campus.
This has led some to question the legitimacy of the protest, as official Rutgers Policy states
...the right of free expression does not include the right to engage in conduct that disrupts the University’s operations or endangers the safety of others.
The code of conduct goes on to officially define such disruption:
Disruption is conduct by any person that intentionally or recklessly obstructs, impairs, or interferes with: (1) teaching, studying or administration of the University, including the clinical mission of RBHS, (2) the authorized and other permissible use of University facilities, and (3) the rights and privileges of other members of the University community to engage in educational pursuits...in order to ensure that individuals or groups not intentionally or recklessly interfere with the operation of the University or the rights of others, they shall not obstruct vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, or other traffic.
Anyone who was present on College Avenue on March 5th could attest to experiencing such "interference" because of the aforementioned road blocks and traffic delays, which made numerous students late for classes.
Did the DACA protesters break the code of conduct? We will see how the administration responds. However, students should be wary that not all opinions on immigration will be held to the same standard when it comes to what is officially categorized as "disruption."
The Centurion has reached out to the Rutgers administration for comment.