Last Wednesday the Career Center held their Career and Internship Day in the May Room of Wilson Commons. Right outside the May Room, 10 students from Students for Social Justice handed out fliers to protest the eight companies from the military industrial complex represented at the fair.

According to sophomore Madeleine Cutrona of SSJ, the purpose of the protest was to educate students about the eight companies that are part of the “milindustrial.”

“They make goods that are used by the military in the Iraq War,” Cutrona said. “Not all these companies solely produce weapons, but our purpose was to let students know that this is what these companies are doing – they provide the governments with goods to kill people.”

The eight companies are BAE Systems Inc., E&IS, DFI International, Picatinny Arsenal, Northrop Grumman Corporation, ITT Industries Advanced Engineering & Sciences, Syracuse Research Corporation,

US Army Night Visions Electronic Sensors Directorate and Tyco Electronics/Elo Touch Systems.

However, SSJ’s original plan was not to just hand out fliers to students on their way in or out of the fair.

“Our initial plan was to be present in the career fair handing out fliers,” Cutrona said. “However, due to university policy on behalf of the Career Center, we were not allowed in May Room or Bridge Lounge so students were relegated to the linoleum.”

As a result, the SSJ students did not reach as many people as they would have liked to.

“We were upset but we were left without a choice of what to do, so we made our presence known outside the career fair,” Cutrona said. “It would have been more effective if we could be in the career fair but they wouldn’t have it because it was a private event on campus.”

SSJ did however, hand out approximately 60 fliers. Each of the fliers had several bullet points outlining what each company does. It directed the reader to the Web site www.idealist.org which, according to the fliers, “has many alternate job opportunities in this field.”

Those coordinating the Career Fair were not bothered by he protest.

“The students handled themselves appropriately,” Director of the Career Center Burton Nadler said. “It showed that this is an institution where people can express their views.”

The protest was not only about the companies from the military industrial complex.

The second goal was to protest the military recruiters that had tables set up in the Bridge Lounge. In the opinion of the students from SSJ, the military’s policy toward sexual preference is discriminatory and therefore having representatives from the military would be a direct violation of UR’s anti-discriminatory policies.

This half of the protest took on the form of a “die-in.” Of the 10 students involved in the die-in, seven students lay down on the floor in front of the tables, one video taped, and two handed out information.

Some of this information was clearly presented on a poster that was held up.

The poster read, “These bodies represent the tens of thousands of humans who have died as a result of the U.S. led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Military recruiters please go home.”

However, this die-in was in direct violation of the wishes of both Wilson Commons and the Career Center. Specifically, SSJ broke two rules – obstruction or dangerous interference of traffic and disobeying reasonable requests of officials. As a result, punitive measures will most likely be taken against those students who were involved in the die-in.

“I firmly believe that, as students, we were using our constitutional rights as stated in the First Amendment,” Cutrona said.

But, according to Associate Dean of Students Matt Burns, “When it comes to constitutional law, even the constitutional right to free speech has limitations. Normally those limitations include the time, manner and location. Free speech does not mean that you can obstruct other people’s daily business.”

In spite of this, SSJ believes that the protest went well. “This was a very successful event,” she said. “SSJ and the individuals participating handled themselves in an appropriate manner and got the message across despite the roadblocks placed by the Career Center and Wilson Commons.”

However, among SSJ there is a feeling that there is still more to be done.

“I have rarely heard individuals discussing the Iraq War,” Cutrona said. “I don’t see protests or letter writing about the war and so I take this lack of action as a sign of apathy on this campus. We are trying to create a dialogue.”

Jarrett can be reached at bjarrett@campustimes.org.



Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.

5 students banned from campus for Gaza solidarity encampment

UR has been banning community members from campus since November for on-campus protests, but the first bans for current students were issued this weekend.