Dubbed a “Lab Safety Class” in parody of Board of Trustee Chair Arthur Golden’s patronizing remarks about the Rensselaer Union as a rudimentary “lab course,” the peaceful demonstration is aimed to raise awareness about the loss of our Union’s student-run status—as well as related topics, such as what this means to us, why we care, flagrant and repeated violations of student rights, the pattern of bold-faced lying on the part of various administrators, and decrying the lack of student involvement in this and other major Institute decisions—among alumni donors.
In an effort to ensure safety and the maintenance of public order, Save the Union organizers have, on multiple occasions,attempted to hold events with the guidance and coordination of both the Dean of Students Office and Department of Public Safety. Unfortunately, the administration has opted to violate the very rights the Board of Trustees have guaranteed in the Student Handbook by baselessly denying the right to peacefully assemble. Though it seems that they care more about oppressing the student voice than ensuring the safety of their students.
As the RPI administration does not intend to work with us to ensure safety and order, we wish to share the following with all participants to ensure a safe, meaningful, and productive experience for all—demonstrators and support staff alike. We have complete faith in the entire RPI community to act in a respectful, courteous, and responsible manner, as we have shown we are capable of during last year’s peaceful demonstration at Dr. Jackson’s Spring Town Meeting. We are one RPI, and only together can we accomplish our goals and create positive change we believe in while protecting and preserving our rich history and tradition of student leadership.
While the administration continues to push their ethical limits, Save the Union pledges to act with integrity, respect, and moral fortitude. To be very clear: we do not encourage or condone any violence, property damage, or chaos. This is a peaceful demonstration. We simply wish to raise awareness and open a dialog with alumni donors, who by potentially donating would be encouraging the administrative agenda that fears the truth entering the capital campaign launch. As a recent article by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education summarized, “RPI’s blanket prohibition on demonstrations operates to shut student voices out of the conversation during homecoming weekend.” The RPI administration clearly aims to silence the student voice this coming week—let’s stand together and prevent that from happening.
On October 11th, a representative of Save the Union met with Dean Apgar to further discuss our concerns. We suggested alternate locations for the peaceful demonstration, but these alternatives were rejected without consideration. Apgar stated that participants must be peaceful, abide by Institute policy and law, and respect instructions of event personnel—and in doing so there would be no issues.
All participants should remain clear of pedestrian walkways and emergency vehicle access points. Those participating on College Ave should remain on the sidewalks and make way for pedestrians, in accordance with state law.
Additional information will be added to this page as we continue our attempts to work with Institute officials. Check frequently for updates!