Monday, April 5, 2021

Give the Students a Round of Applause


It’s been a tumultuous, traumatic year, and students have seen some of the worst of it. With Covid-19 came abrupt campus closures, transitioning to online-only education, and the dissolution of student life as we’ve come to know it. But through it all, young people continued to organize. They not only kept their pre-pandemic priorities alive amid the chaos, they fought for fair treatment for their fellow students and educators in the face of a worldwide slow-motion catastrophe: reduced tuition, better access to resources, some assurance of stability. Some of these students wrote about it for Student Nation. We’ve selected a few articles from the past year to highlight their extraordinary work. We’re deeply grateful to the Puffin Foundation whose enormous generosity made this work possible.

January 24: These Students Are Bringing Transformative Justice to Their Campus

This article detailed how a group of students brought about Brown’s first-ever transformative justice center and the first formal transformative justice practitioner to be employed on a college campus. It combines deep reporting with the personal stories of students.

February 5: Students Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Groceries and Therapy

This reported piece looks into mental health care access at Stanford University to highlight a nationwide issue on college campus: despite skyrocketing debt, uncertain job markets, and higher pressure for achievement than ever, schools are not doing nearly enough to make sure their students have the mental health care they need.

February 13: The Reproductive Justice Gap at HBCUs

This article describes how HBCUs have become a desert of reproductive health resources. In the personal stories detailed within, young black women explain how they have felt shamed and pressured in a system that feels “like an experience preserved from decades ago.” Only 12 of the 101 HBCUs across the country have officially recognized their Planned Parenthood campus chapters—and young HBCU students are working to change that.

February 10: We’re California Graduate Students, and We’re Not Taking Poverty Wages Anymore, (and a follow-up, April 6: The University of California Strike Enters Its 4th Month)

We were the first to break the news that UC Santa Cruz was going on strike for better conditions and wages—grad students were sleeping in cars, and the situation had become intolerable. By the fourth month of the strike, when we published an update, the strike had turned into a full-fledged, month-long picket and had spread to several other schools within the UC system.

March 16: Campuses Across the Country Are Closing—Here Are the Students Impacted

As campuses began to close in March, we sent out a question to our previous contributors: How are you being affected by campus shutdowns? We received many heartbreaking responses that showed while their universities were doing the right thing to curtail the virus, they were not reckoning with the fallout among their students, who rely not only on them for an education, but for their day-to-day lives.

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