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Students rally in support of DACA outside regents meeting

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Eddie Celaya | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona Board of Regents chair Bill Ridenour speaks to student protestors outside the regents meeting on Friday Nov. 17. 

A group of student protesters rallied in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and temporarily disrupted the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the Student Union Memorial Center Friday, Nov. 17.

The students gathered in front of Old Main before heading to the SUMC North Ballroom, where they were met by UA administrators, first amendment monitors and police. According to Mira Patel, the protest was aimed at pushing the board to adopt more DACA-friendly policy.

Patel, a UA student and DACA recipient, said that although the protest was planned for Old Main, the presence of the regents on campus made for a more effective medium of protest.

"We felt we had to be in this space," she said. "Even if they were going to silence us, we were going to make our message and voice heard."

After being informed they would not be permitted to protest right outside the ballroom doors, the students continued to protest on the third floor balcony. Their chants of "undocumented - unafraid," and "stand up fight back" were audible to those in the ballroom.

At one point, the protest became so disruptive, Board Chair Bill Ridenour left the proceedings to address the protest. "I don't want to have to shut anybody off, but I ask you to tone it down," he said. "The Board of Regents, as you know, has been very supportive of the DACA students."

As Ridenour completed his statement, he was met with chants from the protesters of "if we don't get in, shut it down," and the balcony doors were subsequently shut.

After waiting for a break in the meetings proceedings in order to confront the regents and UA President Robert Robbins, the students instead marched back towards Old Main.

"The UA needs to know that students have had enough," Patel said. "Enough of your empty promises and enough of your fake support."


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