Members of the Executive Board of student organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), used Friday’s doubleheader basketball games as an opportunity to organize a direct action event for students to vocalize their concerns surrounding new President-elect, Donald Trump. MEChA planned and hosted the direct action event, entitled “Enough is Enough,” and publicized it through email and social media.
Attendees gathered in the Hayes-Healy parking lot prior to entering War Memorial Gym. Participants wore all black to demonstrate solidarity, and held various posters with messages such as “No human is illegal” and “Deport racism.” Members of USF’s Black Student Union, Latinas Unidas, as well as Muscat Program Scholars, and Esther Madríz Diversity Scholars, attended the event. Participants raised their fists during the national anthem, and shouted various chants in unison during halftime and timeouts throughout the basketball games. Some of the chants included “Trump says go back, we say fight back” as well as “black lives matter.”
President Father Fitzgerald attended, and stated that he was grateful MECha organized this direct action event.
“It’s wonderful to see our students come out to support each other but also to support our values as a Jesuit university- the fundamental worth and dignity of every human person, regardless of national boundaries, personal identity, sexual orientation,” he said.
Taking into consideration the current political climate, Fitzgerald also added, “We are in a moment in history where many, many voices, and our students are experiencing this directly, out in the streets and on BART, attacks on their dignity based on some aspect of their identity. So we have to be strong advocates against hate and for this love which is under threat.”
According to MEChA President Vanessa Guitron and Vice President Sonia Hurtado Ureño, the “Enough is Enough” event was dual purposed. MEChA aimed to provide a platform for students and other campus organizations to peacefully vocalize their election-related concerns, while also bringing attention to the pending implementation of MEChA’s Magis scholarship fund resolution.
The Magis scholarship fund proposes that each year, $4.00 from each student’s tuition be reallocated into the scholarship fund, in order to support undocumented students who demonstrate financial need but are ineligible to apply for federal financial aid.
Last semester, the Magis scholarship fund resolution was approved by ASUSF senate, and then placed on the Spring 2016 Dons Election ballot. Undergraduate student voters approved of the scholarship fund with a 78 percent approval rate. Now, come December, the Board of Trustees will determine whether or not to incorporate it into the 2017-2018 academic year budget.
Guitron and Hurtado Ureño explained that they aren’t aware of the scholarship fund’s current status. Neither of them have received a concrete response on whether or not the scholarship fund will be incorporated in the budget. While Guitron and Hurtado Ureño await the Board of Trustees’ budget approval, they opted to hold an information table in the gym lobby during the “Enough is Enough” event. At the tabling session, people could sign in support of the fund, and fill out an intent and donation pledge form if they were interested in pledging a future donation if the fund is established.
“The hope is that there will be an institutional response and effect so that there are resources available for undocumented students and folks that are being directly attacked by Trump,” said Hurtado Ureño. “Our hope is also to nurture an atmosphere of advocacy where student organizations can feel that creating transformational change at USF is possible.”
Guitron was proud of the event’s large turnout. She explained that the event was structured with specific parameters in order to focus on vocalizing student opinions, while remaining respectful and supportive of the overall USF community. Such parameters included avoiding profanity and vulgar language throughout the night.
“I can only imagine if we keep the momentum going, how much more we can do and how much more we can implement at school in order to ensure that USF, the President, and people can protect the various marginalized groups and people that are being targeted by Trump,” said Guitron.
Photo Credit: Claudia Sanchez