DACA Protest Violates University Policy, Administrators Silent

By Brandon Chesner

 The view from a REXL bus as police begin blocking off large sections of George Street in anticipation of the DACA Protest.

The view from a REXL bus as police begin blocking off large sections of George Street in anticipation of the DACA Protest.

All Americans have the right to peaceably assemble. Essential to voicing public concerns to those in power, we all should be encouraged to gather, without disrupting or harming society, and voice our dissatisfaction with policies in place. Even if they're as ridiculous as advocating for people who broke the laws of the land entering the nation. As long as you don't hinder the lives of innocent bystanders, any idea can be shared through public gathering.

The last two semesters saw a large uptick in protests. After eight years of Obama, the predominantly liberal campus wanted to make their voices heard over a shift in party control. These protests would frequently require a shutdown of many New Brunswick roads, heavily disrupt the local population, and potentially make students late to class. In response, the university barred certain actions pertaining to these protests. If one engages in any of the following, one's protest may be shut down by the school:

 1. obstruct vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, or other traffic;

2. obstruct entrances or exits to buildings or driveways;

3. interfere with educational activities inside or outside any building;

4. harass passersby;

5. interfere with or preclude a scheduled speaker from being heard;

6. interfere with scheduled University ceremonies or events;

7. damage property, including lawns, shrubs, or trees; or

8. engage in any other activities that disrupt university business or infringe upon the rights of others.

The general message here is you can not disrupt others during your demonstration. Seems reasonable? Apparently the memo was missed by the organizers of the DACA protest. Today is the day that illegally enacted program was set to expire. During their demonstration, activists blocked several streets, both on and off campus, and caused buses to be delayed or rerouted, with little to no push back from the Rutgers Administration.

 An email sent by the university acknowledging the potential disruption.

An email sent by the university acknowledging the potential disruption.

When you set a rule, stick by it. At the first sign of violation, not only do they ignore it, they're encouraging this reckless behavior. Protest all you want, just do so peacefully. Similar to Trump, who doesn't care who enters the country as long as they do so legally. The protesters broke the very first rule, but since the University has continuously advocated for DACA, I suspect they let it slide out of favoritism. This wouldn't be the first instance of left-wing bias from the administration.

As I was waiting by the College Hall bus stop, an officer approached us, in his vehicle, and informed the students waiting that due to the protest, buses will be delayed up to half an hour, and it'd be quicker to walk from there up to College Avenue. If that does not constitute a disruption, on top of the many New Brunswick residents who had to redirect their route or miss appointments due to this march, I don't know what does. 

Disgruntled students do not have the right to block other students from going about their life. When federal policy is legally enacted, like repealing DACA, crying and disrupting others does not put you in the right. If anything, it diminishes your point. If your best argument against a policy is blocking traffic, one must wonder how much merit your side really has.