From a reader:

Occidental Students Occupy Campus—Demand Resignation of School President

November 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Occidental CollegeOccidental students have taken over the administration building for a week since Monday, November 16. Students are demanding for an end to tuition hikes, racial/gender equity, and for President Veitch to step down. During a speakout in the building by OSAC (Occidental Sexual Assault Coalition) on Tuesday, students told their stories of being sexually assaulted and raped and the opposition to action by administrators as well as the President of the university. Various campus groups and over 400 students have come together to follow through on these clear demands. (Photos: Special to Revolution/

Students at Occidental College took over the administration building.

As of Friday, November 20, students at Occidental College were in their fifth day of occupying the administrative offices (AGC) on the campus, and their ninth straight day of protesting racism and sexual assaults. Occidental is a private liberal arts college with a student population of 2,100 and is located five miles northeast from downtown Los Angeles. Black students make up 4.5 percent of the student body.

The students have listed 14 demands, including the resignation of the college president, increase funding for Black and marginalized students, creation of a fully funded Black Studies Program (a demand that has not been met for over 40 years), increase the percentage of tenured faculty of color, increase funding for the Chief Diversity Officer, demilitarize campus security (including removing bulletproof vests), and remove LAPD’s (Los Angeles Police Department) presence from the campus.

The occupation follows a weekend of protests that started with a walkout Thursday, November 11, as part of a nationwide protest in solidarity with activists at the University of Missouri. Over 600 students, including many white students, most dressed in black, walked out of their classes and marched through the campus, disrupting classrooms and the library. The march included some faculty and staff. The protest was led by student organizations—Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE). Oxy United for Black Liberation (a coalition of BSA and CODE) is demanding Occidental President Jonathan Veitch’s immediate resignation or removal, because he has “mishandled issues of diversity and sexual assault on campus.” That night, students involved in the walkout received death threats from other students.

The protests continued over the weekend and Occidental Weekly, the school paper, reported, “At the football and basketball games Saturday, student activists wore all black, and many turned their backs to the American flag while the national anthem was sung. According to a post Saturday on CODE: Oxy’s Facebook page, students were heckled while singing the Black National Anthem, and white allies were shoved while trying to leave the stadium during the football game. The basketball team turned their warm-up uniforms inside out at their game so that the Occidental logo was not showing, in solidarity with Oxy United.”

On Monday, the students held a mass rally where it was reported that “organizers implored the crowd to continue attending the protests for an equitable and just campus with the same passion exhibited during Thursday’s demonstration. They reiterated experiences of racism on campus, such as the defacement of a Trayvon Martin memorial in February 2014.”

The rally then marched to the administrative offices (AGC) where over 400 students began to occupy the building. Antoniqua Roberson, a senior, announced that students would occupy the building until the administration met their demands. She said, “We are prepared to camp here, day in, day out, sunrise, sunset, until our demands are not only heard, but actually met.”

Students took over the hallways and parts of the building on the first two floors. Tents went up outside of the building. The students designated parts of the buildings as quiet areas, areas for meditation, and areas for video games. Food and water was brought into the building. Students began to sign up to sleep in the building with 55-73 signed up for each night of the week. On Wednesday, the students expanded their occupation by taking over the third floor of the building.

Professors were asked to stand in solidarity with student activists and hold class in the AGC. Several classes, the ASOC (Associated Students of Occidental College) Senate meeting, and the DEB (Diversity Equity Board) meeting were relocated to the AGC.

The Faculty Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing “full support of the Oxy United for Black Liberation students’ actions and demands for the culture around racism and diversity in the institution change.”

The Oxy students’ occupation and protests are a part of the rising tide of student protests throughout the country. This is a great and most welcome development and something that must be supported by everyone.

Students need to be getting into all the questions, including getting into revolution as the only way to end the oppression of Black people, being posed in the article, “Racist threats at Mizzou: Anger, and struggle over the way forward,” by Sunsara Taylor. That article states: “Big questions have been—and need to be further—torn open by the ferocious struggle that jumped off at the University of Missouri against racism and spread to other campuses. As Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, posed it in a recent statement, ‘What kind of a system breeds, supports and defends the kind of racism that the Black students at Missouri—as well as students at every college—have to face? Racism that finds expression in millions of other ways in this society? And what do we intend to do about it?’”

We will report further on what is happening at Oxy as this struggle continues.


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need