From UC Santa Cruz Students Against War pre-emptively shut out military recruiters from an upcoming university job fair with the prospect of massive protests. SAW is listed in a Pentagon database as a “credible threat,” perhaps because the group has effectively kept recruiters off their campus for nearly three years, according to the press release. San Jose Mercury News also reported on the SAW’s victory.
With hundreds of students expected to protest, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps recruiters withdrew from the April 24th Last Chance Job Fair at UC Santa Cruz yesterday. Student protests have made UCSC an increasingly ineffective site of military recruitment for almost three years. This withdrawal represents a victory towards stopping war and militarism.
On Tuesday, April 24th, Students Against War (SAW) will be hosting a rally at Baytree Plaza beginning at 10 am in celebration of this victory. Joined by members of Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW), the rally and subsequent actions will demonstrate the student body’s continued opposition to war and will further the campaign to untangle the University of California from military-related research, nuclear weapons production, and the other aspects of what might be termed ‘the war machine.’
The UCSC administration claims that U.S. Marine Corps recruiters withdrew from participation in the April 24th job fair because they were “over booked.” This explanation seems unlikely for several reasons:
1) With the U.S. Marines consistently missing their recruitment goals, and a severe shortage of troops, it seems illogical that they would forgo access to a campus of 15,000 students.
2) The U.S. Army withdrew from the event on the same day as the Marines without providing a reason. Were they “over booked” too? Not likely.
3) Having had this event on their calendar for over two months, the military did not withdraw until a week prior to the event, shortly after publicity began for a protest hundreds of students were expected to attend. The recruiters had to forfeit their registration fee.
4) On Monday, student government leaders sent a letter of concern to administrators, noting that the protest was expected to be one of the largest in recent memory and expressing concern that military recruiters’ presence would inhibit students’ access to the job fair. Recruiters withdrew the next day.
As the military loses more troops overseas and our generation refuses to take their place, UCSC’s success can be seen as a model for how communities can directly resist war without relying on the corrupt political process. Although the law prevents schools from banning recruiters outright, UCSC students, through massive protests, have effectively prevented recruiters from operating on campus for nearly three years.
“We’ve upheld our community’s values of tolerance and nonviolence despite federal attempts to impose militarism on our daily lives,” said third year student Natalie MacIntyre. “If every school prevented recruitment, if every port stopped shipping weapons, if every community refused to accept war profiteers as neighbors, war would be impossible.”
On April 5, 2005, Students Against War organized over 300 students to successfully kick military recruiters out of a campus job fair, landing the group on a Pentagon spy list as a “credible threat.” On October 18, 2005, SAW held a Queer Kiss-In that effectively prevented the military’s ability to recruit. April 11, 2006, the next visit by the military to a campus job fair, also saw military recruiters kicked off campus by hundreds of students. Due to concerns of protests, this year’s job fair, originally scheduled for January 31 was cancelled. April 24’s job fair would have been the recruiters’ first visit to campus this year. With this latest success, UCSC has effectively been military-recruitment free for almost three years.