This past week, Seattle University held trials for four student activists accused of flyer distribution in student dormitories. The Office of Integrity Formation has yet to release their verdict, but regardless of what punishment they decide upon, this is a continuation of Seattle University’s crack-down on student activism. We believe these student’s trails are related to the topic of the event rather than our method of distributing flyers because other student groups have dispersed information in similar ways with little to no kick-back from the university.
Punishing students for dispersing information to fellow students is a nasty attempt at political repression. It’s no secret that Seattle University comes down hard on student dissent, from tighter and tighter restrictions in the student code of conduct to Public Safety using intimidation to squeeze information from students involved in justice movements. Seattle University prides itself on molding social justice leaders, but creates a culture of fear and political silence by muting our voices and using Integrity Formation as retaliation. We believe students should be able to communicate with one another about student-led justice efforts.
We believe the culture of silence and apoliticism is a huge barrier to our social justice efforts. We believe passivity is a dangerous thing to breed in the minds of future leaders moving into the decades to come. We imagine a university where students have each other’s backs and have support for organizing events meant to strengthen community ties.
Students need to hold the administration accountable to its mission to “develop responsible leaders committed to the common good.” The university believes that it can use intimidation to suppress student organizing and political discussion. It hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now.
— Signed by Jo Bechtold, Dante Meola, Summer Diegel, Miracle Orji, Randi Fleming, Connor Crinion, Michael Clymer, Erin Alberts, Jesse Goncalves, Emily Reinl, Molly Mattingly, and Rowan Levelle