Save the Union

What’s going on at RPI?

Following a successful demonstration that drew over 1000 students, faculty, and alumni in Spring 2016, RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson told the press we were misinformed and there were no plans to take over the Rensselaer Union.

Despite her appeals to reporters, less than two years later, this was proven to no longer be the case as the RPI Board of Trustees passed a resolution in September 2017, effectively nullifying the Union Constitution and shifting control of the Rensselaer Union from the students to the Jackson Administration. While another massive protest involving students and alumni swiftly followed, the Trustees and administration continued their deceit and doubled-down in their efforts to chill free speech on campus.

After 127 successful years of rich student leadership, tradition, and pride, the Union is now a shell of what it once was, and shared governance at RPI is all but a memory. And without its ability to self-govern, the Rensselaer Union is no longer considered student-run. We must act now before we have nothing left worth saving.

Our Objectives Renew Rensselaer


Take action

Control of the Student Union has been taken by force, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t rally support for the Union and see to it that the administrative groups who systematically stripped the Union of its student governance are held accountable. Our student governed Union is the last shred of shared governance on campus. A positive future for RPI depends on us preserving and advancing a student-run Union’s goals.

Sign the Petition



Withhold your donations from RPI in a show of solidarity.

The biggest impact alumni can make is by refusing to donate to the Institute until this issue is resolved and the administration relinquishes their hold on our Union, and we urge you to withhold donations in a show of solidarity. Please join us in sending a clear message to Dr. Jackson and the Board of Trustees that usurping our student-run Rensselaer Union is unacceptable.



Want to support our movement? By donating to Save the Union, your generosity will aid us in many ways, particularly in creating and distributing informational materials to continue educating the RPI community about what’s really happening on campus.

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What has already been lost

What we stand to lose


Why is it so detrimental?

For over a century, the students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have run the Rensselaer Union, and it's a source of pride on campus as one of the few completely student-run unions in the country. Stripping away student control from the Union will strip away much of RPI students' way of life.

Who will it impact?

Most directly, the members of our 200 clubs, 46 sports, and countless students who use the Union as a study and meeting hub. But this failure of Institute governance in the cause of power consolidation undermines the faculty, academics, alumni contributions, and the credibility of the Institute.