By: Azl Saeed ~Staff Writer~
In solidarity with the activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, Xavier students held a walk-out on campus in front of Bellarmine Chapel on Monday.
The demonstration was held after the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would reroute the pipeline. However, activists are cautious towards the announcement, since the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline have ignored the ruling of the Army Corps.
Xavier students joined Skidmore College in New York, Fort Louis College in Colorado and Loyola University in Louisiana to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The effort was organized by Xavier’s Students for an Informed Society.
“I think the real motivation came from a combination of hearing the stories of people close to me who’ve been at Standing Rock and sitting with my family over Thanksgiving,” Zachary Moeller, vice president of Students for an Informed Society, said. “The salience struck me at dinner as we were laughing and having a good time, not having to worry about rubber bullets and tear gas flying at us while we defended our land.”
The bullets and tear gas both refer to ones used against demonstrators who were defending the land of The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Approximately fifty students partook in the demonstration. While more than 500 students were invited to the event, Moeller said that he was content with the turnout.
“The fact people actually expressed interest and showed up speaks more to the demonstration than anything else,” Moeller said.
The group’s president, Savin Mattozzi, said in a speech, “As it is important to celebrate this great victory, we must not become lost in it. There is still much work to be done and many wounds that need healing. We must not forget the damage that has been done, both emotional and physical, to the people and land of the Standing Rock Sioux. We may have won this battle, but we have a long way to go, and a lot more work to do until justice truly prevails.”
The group’s goal was to simply stand up against something that they did not agree with.
“Our goal was to show that a large part of the student body across the nation does not support unjust violence, but more so the infringement of sovereign treaties and unsustainable environmental practices,” Moeller said. “With that in mind, we just wanted people to show up, and they did.”
Students for an Informed Society meet on Fridays at 3 p.m. The group is open to any student. For inquiries on joining, email Savin Mattozzi or Zach Moeller.