A University of Connecticut student-run organization, UNCHAIN, is initiating a sit-in today in response to President Joe Biden’s visit to the Dodd Center for Human Rights for the building’s rededication.
Amogh Chaubey, a first-semester student, is a member of both UNCHAIN and the UConn collaborative organization, the two groups that are partnering for the event.
“Both groups are together in the fact that they are fighting for the liberation of oppressed people and fighting against systems of oppression,” Chaubey said. “UNCHAIN and Collaborative Organize made signs together, so it’s just solidarity and working together.”
UNCHAIN released their media statement in preparation for the protest to provide the public with information about their stance on Biden’s arrival. According this statement, they are an organization that supports human rights and does not stand behind the president’s upcoming visit.
“We condemn UConn for tacitly endorsing his current and past conduct by inviting him to inaugurate the Dodd Human Rights Center,” the statement reads.
UNCHAIN believes the university is hypocritical for inviting Biden to speak at the Dodd Center because they do not feel the president advocates for civil liberties and human rights unless they affect white Americans.
“Is this supposed to relay ‘human rights’ to the UConn community? Or do human rights end where white America does?” the statement reads.
UNCHAIN’s media statement then details how they believe Biden has failed throughout his career, causing his arrival to campus to reflect badly on the university.
“Biden’s domestic policy has been no less attractive. As one of the architects of racialized mass incarceration under Bill Clinton, whom UConn also invited to speak at the Dodd Center decades ago, Biden holds a unique obligation to reverse the racist carceral system that he helped create—an obligation he will not fulfill, because we know that Biden is not accountable to the people, but to the rich, ruling capitalist class,” the statement said.
Chaubey said the goal of the sit-in is to make sure both organizations and any others that will be there are getting their message across.
“We have specific messages we want to convey, and we want to make sure our voices are heard,” Chaubey said.
Chaubey will be at the protest demonstrating for the duration of Biden’s appearance on campus to make his voice heard.
“That’s the point of any protest; you want to make our voice be heard, and we want our voice to be heard directly to Biden. At the same time, this is a message to UConn that this is what we stand for,” Chaubey said.
Chaubey said he will be protesting to get his message across to Biden because he does not know what the president would have to say about civil rights.
“A lot of the people at the protests did not vote for Biden, and at the same time, a lot of people did, and Biden is ignoring the voices of the people who voted for him and attacking the people who worked hard to get him elected,” Chaubey said.
According to UNCHAIN’s Instagram, there will be demonstrators affiliated with the organization arriving at 9 a.m. until the event ends, with support staff helping the demonstrators by providing food and water for those who want to help but cannot be there for a significant amount of time.
“Demonstrators will commit their time to holding down the sit-in as long as possible. Bring a sign, water, a blanket, a book, some snacks, etc., but nothing that can be easily confiscated and traced to you,” the post reads. “Attend the sit-in when you can around the edges, and take requests for water, food, emergency calls.”
According to the post, students will be conducting the sit-in as close to the Dodd Center as possible by sitting in areas between the Homer D. Babbidge library and the UConn Student Recreation Center, between Babbidge library and the Weston A. Bousfield psychology building and in the area between the Dodd Center for Human Rights and the Bousfield psychology building.
Glenn Prushinski, a seventh-semester political science and economics major, is the president of the College Republicans. He said his organization will not be taking part in any protests that will be happening on campus, but also said it is okay if his members take part as long as they are not representing the club.
“I’m not sure if anyone will, but they absolutely can go as individuals and voice concerns if they feel they would like to do so,” Prushinski said.