U of M student groups hold candlelight vigil mourning faith in administration | Michigan Radio
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U of M student groups hold candlelight vigil mourning faith in administration

Sep 21, 2020

Members of GEO and other supporters gathered outside of U-M President Mark Schlissel's house to express their disappointment in the university administration.
Credit Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Members of the Graduate Employees' Organization at the University of Michigan, along with other student groups, gathered last night to express their disappointment in the university's administration. They held a candlelight vigil outside of President Mark Schlissel's house, which they say was to mourn their lost faith in the administration.

Lucy Peterson is a graduate student in political science and a member of GEO. She says the evening was a great way for GEO members to affirm their support for their cause, even if they were no longer on strike.

"So the strike has officially ended, we were bullied into it ending, and we didn’t really know how we would pick up the loose ends in the absence of a strike, because the strike is a really powerful thing that brought us together."

She says the injunction filed against the union by the university was particularly scary for a lot of people, because it meant the university could sue for damages, which might have been more money than GEO had.

"And the injunction was a huge part of it, it really scared people. And it made clear that the university wasn’t going to back down, that they wouldn't treat us like students or like people they care about. They would treat us like an enemy. That’s what that was because we really need the union."

Peterson says the union will continue to take action in other ways, especially when it comes to their anti-policing demands of the university severing ties with the Ann Arbor Police Department, and cutting funding for the university's Division of Public Safety and Security. 

Representatives from Students Demand Representation, a group of undergraduates from all three U of M campuses, also spoke about their disappointment in the University. Alexandria McCormick from Detroit Will Breathe also spoke, saying that Detroit Will Breathe stands in solidarity with students protesting at U of M.

"This is a long, long fight. It takes a lot of patience, empathy, understanding, and compassion to do what you guys are doing, and walk on this side of history."

University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said student concerns are being heard and are being addressed.

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