|Campus recruiters stand behind their table in the SAU, while members of RITSAG protest.
“Make levees not war! What the hell are
we fighting for?” Chants echoed through
the Student Alumni Union on October 24
as students protested against military
recruitment on campus ó that same day,
the Marine Corps had set up a table in the
SAU to educate and recruit students.
The movement was spearheaded by
RIT’s Social Action Group (RITSAG), a
Student Government recognized club
that tackles the issues of social justice,
war, and racism and believes that the
war with Iraq is a central issue of social
justice. RITSAG is a chapter of the Campus
Antiwar Network (CAN), a national student
antiwar coalition that was founded in
2003. CAN makes it a point to regularly
confront recruiters visiting campuses.
Although CAN’s chapters, such as RITSAG,
hold lectures and bring in speakers, they
realized that it wasn’t enough. “We needed
something more direct, something that would
materially impact the war. One of those
things is actually stopping the recruitment
of students into the military,” explained RJ
Bean, a sixth year dual degree Computer
Science major. In addition to the protest,
RITSAG set up an informational table a few
feet away from that of the Marine Corps.
CAN has become intent on revealing that
the benefits of joining the military aren’t
necessarily what they have been advertised.
“A lot of times, when [veterans] leave the
military, they get discharged without any
money,” said Ken Love, a former RIT Urban
and Community Studies major. RITSAG
works closely with the Iraq Veterans Against
the War, an advocacy group of active
military personnel and veterans who are
opposed to the US occupation of Iraq.
On November 13, RITSAG, in association
with CAN, will be holding a National Day
of Action. The event will be filled with
demonstrations and speak-outs and will likely
be held on the residential side of campus,
although the location has not been finalized.
For more information about CAN, visit their
website at www.campusantiwar.net.