Last week, I did a questionnaire for my school paper and asked SF State students how they feel student activism is on campus. The answer? Weak.
SF State has a strong history of activism. SF State was the first 4-year university to offer a Bachelor;s degree in Black Studies , and it was only after protests from students, workers, administrators, and teachers that resulted in a 5-month strike, the longest in college history.
I’m not sure if this is an SF State thing, or just a new generation thing. But activism is definitely stagnant at SF State. The biggest news this semester was the addition of Tasers as tools for University Police. But most students haven’t heard, and the group that’s in protest of them is small.
Obviously the 1960’s and the climate not only in San Francisco but also in the country is not the same as today, to compare the two may not be fair.
There isn’t the same culture of activism or a strong social awareness. I think students that are involved in activism on campus are considered to be on the outskirts not part of the mainstream of students body. Students sometimes feel like administration doesn’t care what they think, and that they can’t influence them anyway.
In this day of social media I think the potential to mobilize a movement quickly is there. In order for a social movement to be successful, organization is necessary, and reaching out to the community in as many different ways as possible.
There are some lost opportunities with the anti-Taser group on campus. They need to reach out to the Black Student Union, other minority student unions on campus, these groups that are targets of police brutality and will be much more willing to hear about what SF State is planning for their police.
Reaching out to student of other schools, and groups against police brutality in the Bay Area is also a great way to mobilize a larger group.
The opportunity is there but it needs to be taken advantage of. Because it will be harder to get rid of Tasers once they are on campus, than preventing them from coming in the first place.