Letter to the Editor: Official demands to UConn, on behalf of the rally for the people

Dear Editor,

Here are our four official demands as of 11/14/16

1. The university must release a press statement in support of undocumented students, marginalized communities, and communities of color. The deadline is December 1st 2016. Not only do we want a response that will outline exactly how the university will strategize for a safer university for marginalized groups, but we want this response to be present in popular media, including news media outlets—not only sent to the University of Connecticut community. 
2. The University, by December 1st 2016, must release an action plan on how to deal with the deportation of a student and how the University will support the student. Once these systems and protocols are established, they should be linked to the admissions webpage that was created specifically for undocumented students. This needs to be visible, present, and updated regularly. 
3. The University will move towards becoming a legal sanctuary for undocumented students, refugees, and their families. We acknowledge that this is a more complicated goal, so we will be engaging in larger conversations with administration as a student body. We are setting the deadline for the end of the calendar year for these policies to go into effect. 
4. The University will divest from products made from prison labor on campus. By investing in these products, the University has chosen to ignore the larger societal structures that affect communities of color, specifically the black community. The University has chosen to ignore the legacy that criminalizes and imprisons our communities. We demand an immediate divestment from products made from prison labor. Final deadline is to be determined. From there, we want a public statement that the university has done so. 

As we all know, demand #1 was met with an email, sent on November 10 to all the university students. Not only did the University fail to make their statement as public as possible, but the University claimed that the students who are a part of these “underrepresented groups” are already protected, safe, and supported under the current existent structure. This email basically stated that there was nothing more to be done beyond what is already established. We know as underrepresented students on this campus that what the University is doing is not enough, and we demand the University research new ways to support students from these groups. So, we demand, as per our demands, a response to what new things the university will be doing to support students from the groups most affected. 

We want to work with the University in setting up a meeting with the student body regarding these demands, after Thanksgiving break. Should these demands not be met, or should there be no engagement from the University of Connecticut administration, we will escalate into direct action, such as rallies, sit-ins, and strikes. 

In Solidarity, 
Farzana Zubair
On Behalf of the Rally for the People