Xavier students rally on the yard to talk about DEI legislation and gun violence
By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
Xavier College Democrats partnered with the newly-formed Students Demand Action (SDA) club in a day of action last Monday, joining several other Ohio universities orchestrated by the Ohio Student Activist Alliance (OSAA).
Students attending the rally gathered on Husman stage at 11 a.m. and heard from student speakers that offered personal stories about issues that matter to them, spanning from the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion on campus to gun violence and the importance of voting.
The OSAA is a newly-formed cohort of students across Ohio whose mission is to “empower and mobilize young voters through education and organization,” according to their website.
The organization arranged for students at several universities to engage in a day of action, including The Ohio State University, Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati, Kent State University, Miami University and the University of Akron to engage in a day of action.
Xavier joined the statewide effort, with Xavier College Democrats organizing the rally on campus.
“Our goal today was really to support voter registration on campus and try to get the voices of student leaders to recognize what is most important to them,” President of Xavier College Democrats Tate Clemons said. “A lot of the recent laws around trans youth and gun violence, which is such a prevalent issue with our generation and especially with college campuses, present worry and concern.”
Many of the testimonies given were about the experience of being so close to school shootings and how that led them to pursue gun control advocacy.
“I grew up near Columbine High School,” junior PPP major Victoria Strawbridge said in a speech addressing the crowd. “They shut down the school every single year because they had copycat shooters that would come back and try to inflict the same shooting over and over again… We’ve been defined as the school shooting generation, but they don’t dare call us what we really are: the generation of survivors,” she said.
Having been newly formed, SDA announced plans to prepare a divestment campaign for Xavier.
“The main goal of a divestment campaign is to get Xavier to pledge to not donate to any corporations that support gun violence or the sale of illegal guns which could be very harmful to children in America,” President of SDA Bridget Dean said.
Another issue discussed was Ohio Senate Bill 83, which would ban all diversity, equity and inclusion training from all publicly-funded universities and what this means for marginalized students on Xavier’s campus.
Subsequently, this has led Clemons and others to emphasize the importance of voting on all levels of government.
“Of course, we should always vote during presidential elections and primaries… but there are so many smaller offices and local offices that matter — almost even more so because the impacts that we make on a small level really kind of have that butterfly ripple effect,” Clemons said.
According to Clemons, voter registration on campus has been an issue that clubs and local organizations alike have been working to address.
“The first thing you should be doing is registering,” Clemons said. “You can always reach out to your representatives… You can always volunteer to work the polls to help make sure that everything goes smoothly and quickly, and then just generally reaching out to any group on campus or elsewhere that you think represents an issue that you feel strongly about.”