Demanding An End to Army Recruiters

Angered by the Army recruiters' presence at Santa Monica College, students are getting together in an attempt to remove them indefinitely.

A series of planned events will take place next week during the Week of Resistance, beginning March 14 and ending March 18. Issues that students will stand against include sexism, racism and the War in Iraq.

During the Fall 2004 semester, there was a similar coalition of clubs that joined forces in order to fight similar causes.

This semester, however, doesn't include a coalition of what are called the progressive clubs, but rather a coalition of SMC students who oppose such issues.

The main objective this semester is to "force the Board of Trustees to ban military recruiters at SMC," said the Progressive Alliance's Richard Navarrette, who's also taking part in the events.

"They get paid to lie to students. They promise students benefits like paying for their education and careers within the military. But it's not true," said Navarrette.

"If you look at the statistics, 85 to 90 percent of the homeless people are veterans that fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. When they're disabled, they totally forget about them," he said.

Talking to Army recruiters on the issue is not an option because, "They're doing their job. There's no point in talking to them," said Navarrette.

Aside from the events, black ribbons will be distributed to those students who "resist" or who want to show support.

Next week's events, unlike others before, will not be funded by SMC's Associated Students.

Navarrette said that the students who will be involved feel that Deyna Hearn, dean of student life, "is keeping an eye on the progressive clubs" therefore restricting them from taking direct action.

"This time we're not relying on the A.S. We're doing everything independently as SMC students not as a coalition of clubs. The process to get the funding is a tedious procedure," said Navarrette.

The events scheduled will begin Monday at 7 p.m. with a visit to the Board of Trustees during their meeting in Business 111.

"We're writing a letter to them (Board of Trustees), putting forward our demands," Navarrette said. Tuesday will include a political discussion, while Wednesday will include a series of skits illustrating war-like situations.

These skits will take place on the Library Pathway during passing periods.

According to Navarrette, some portrayals will include students dressed in military outfits pretending to be dead or injured and handing out fliers telling students why not to join the army.

Thursday, perhaps the most eventful day, students will gather and begin a march.

The purpose, as Navarrette said, is to get as many students as possible to walk to the Army Recruiters' Office located on Santa Monica Boulevard and 20th Street.

The events, though passionate in the participants' minds, promise not to be violent.