On Thursday, thousands of students across the U.S. participated in the “Million Student March,” a nationwide protest dedicated to “free” higher education, the end of student loan debt and $15 minimum wages at all campuses across the U.S.
A professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst required students to attend the protest during class time. The professor, Martha Fuentes-Bautista, teaches a course titled Communications 332: “Convergent Media and Activism.” In an email obtained by The Daily Caller, the professor told the class “between noon and 12:15 pm, we’ll walk together to the Student Union to do our fieldwork on the #Millionstudentmarch.”
According to the event’s Facebook page, over 500 people intended to go to the March. Ultimately though, far fewer than 500 students arrived at the Student Union, located in the center of campus.
Before the march began, the students were led in chants which included: “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like;” “If we don’t get it, shut it down!” “One Solution – Revolution;” “Money for jobs and education, not for mass incarceration;” “What do we want? No debt! When do we want it? Now!”
A variety of left wing protest signs were also on display, including “Free Higher Ed Fuck Student Debt” and a banner which told UMass to stop funding Israeli war crimes, which was brought to the protest by the group Students for Justice in Palestine.
Following the chants, the students were led by an organizer in a moment of “solidarity” with the students at Yale and Mizzou, which lasted well over a minute. The organizer stated that while they were there for free higher education, the end of student debt, and a $15 minimum wage, “we are also here to do more. There are a variety of organizations on campus who are working on issues that students find important, because we recognize that these issues have intersections that cannot be ignored.”