Protesters leave letters of support for 'Arizona 3,' demand action from Robbins
A coalition of silent protesters walked down University Boulevard to hand deliver letters to President Robbins on Wednesday, April 10, explaining their frustrations with the charges against the "Arizona 3" regarding the students who are being criminally charged after an incident with Border Patrol on March 19.
A half-mile-long line of protesters clad in white marched their way across the University of Arizona to Old Main Wednesday in support of three women charged for their role in an incident with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on campus in March.
Led by a group calling itself the “Coalition to Support the Arizona 3,” protesters expressed their frustrations in the form of letters, leaving dozens from various UA departments and from the broader Tucson community at the desk of UA President Dr. Robert Robbins asking that charges against the three UA students be dropped.
“We also implore you to ask the dean of students to support, rather than investigate the two students," one letter reads.
Protesters began gathering on University Boulevard, with volunteers passing out tape for others to cover their mouths in symbolic solidarity with the three charged students.
“We’ve asked people who are comfortable to tape over their mouths to symbolize the threat to free speech these charges represent,” said Matisse Rosen, a creative writing graduate student.
A broad coalition of faculty, staff and students came together to make the point they felt the charges faced by the three students are unjust and that the presence of Border Patrol on campus is unacceptable.
“We are also very concerned, as faculty and as instructors, about the safety of our students — and learning is disrupted when uniformed and armed Border Patrol and Customs agents show up,” Rosen said.
Gloria Negrete-Lopez, one of the protest's organizers and a graduate student in Mexican American and gender and women's studies, said the protesters have three demands: First, that the charges against the “Arizona 3” be dropped. Second, that UAPD cease any investigations into the three students. Last, that the UA do everything within its power to ban the presence of ICE and Border Patrol agents on campus.
“We also demand that [Robbins] investigate the death threats against students and the Mexican American studies department,” Negrete-Lopez said.
After dropping their letters off at Robbins' office, the group gathered on the UA Mall in front of Old Main and chanted, “the people united shall never be divided” and “drop the charges,” before coming together to plan another protest for Thursday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting, held at the Student Union Memorial Center.
Negrete-Lopez also read a statement from the Coalition's press release: “In charging these students … the university is making a national statement about where the loyalties of this university lie.”
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