Arts & Culture

Reject Kavanaugh: Students for a Democratic Society Protest


NAOMI DORNFELD

dornf001@rangers.uwp.edu

Students on campus rallied to demand Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination be withdrawn

On Oct. 4 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. campus group, Students with a Democratic Society, gathered in UW–Parkside’s free speech area to rally in demand that Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination be withdrawn.

The Supreme Court nomination

In the late weeks of September, a heated controversy developed surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination. Dr. Christine Baisley Ford came forward with testimony that the nominee had sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers in the summer of 1982. Debates were sparked as to whether the allegations were credible and whether a person with these allegations against them is fit to be assigned one of the highest roles in the country’s government.

Rallying for change

Aligning with many across the country who believe that the time for men in power to be held accountable for their actions against women’s bodies is now, a group of students at UW–Parkside rallied to demand that Kavanagh’s nomination be removed. This group, Students for a Democratic Society, invited students, staff and faculty to join in the public outcry that Kavanaugh should not hold a place in the Supreme Court.

Protest on campus

Being that the event was organized with a sense of urgency, many students were not aware of the opportunity to join the protest. Those who were in attendance, most of whom are members of the Students for a Democratic Society, held signs that read “#BelieveSurvivors” and “Reject Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Nomination.” During the two hours present, protesters invited people walking by over for conversation on the subject and discussed the importance of public conversation amongst themselves. At one point, a chant led by participants in SDS was shouted, “Hey Hey Ho Ho – Kavanaugh has got to go.”

Legitimize victim’s stories

One protester, Kelly Lutz, a member of SDS, criticized several misogynistic statements and actions of president Trump, considering the ways that allowing Kavanaugh’s nomination to be pushed forward will perpetuate the problem. She also commented that, “It’s important to legitimize a victim’s story. It doesn’t matter what time it happens. We need to legitimize the pain that sexual assault survivors experience as a community.” Another member of SDS, Victor Garcia stated, “This is a nationwide issue, and the fact that we’re still writing [sexual assault] off as ‘not a big deal’ is completely unacceptable.”

On Campus Assault

Bringing the issue of sexual assault itself to the foreground, many participants noted that over the days and weeks this allegation was being publicized on a national scale, the UW–Parkside community received an alert that a sexual assault had occurred on campus. A member of a different group working on a project nearby commented on the rally saying, “Sexual assault something that has to be talked about across campus, because, as the email sent out to students on Sunday stated, someone was assaulted right here, just recently.” Gabriella Stratton, member of SDS shared this sentiment. “There have been and continue to be sexual assaults on campus. I think it’s really important to bring light to the situation and make people more aware that these things do happen especially on college campuses and there are things we can do about it.” The recurring comment from the protest participants, in addition to the demand that Kavanaugh’s nomination be withdrawn, was that sexual assault cannot and will not be tolerated and that those who sexually assault others must be held accountable for their actions.

Moving forward

Students interested in partnering with Students for a Democratic Society or who would like to further the dialogue about this particular issue can find them on Facebook at Students for a Democratic Society UW–Parkside.

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