Following student pushback against a Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) flyer found at the University of California, San Diego, Campus Reform took a deep dive into what other progressive agendas the national student chapters supported.
In doing so, Campus Reform found that YDSA chapters across the country are demanding free tuition and debt forgiveness, advocating for the recognition of student employee unions, and pressing to take “community control” of police departments.
Additionally, these groups have recently hosted rallies, meetings, and book discussions on topics such as abortion, minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization, and Palestine.
Here are a few examples of what YDSA chapters have been up to so far this semester.
Below is a list of YDSA university chapters’ activities organized by school and political issue.
University of Minnesota – Community Control of Police
In a Mar. 7 Twitter post, the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at the University of Minnesota promoted a petition to “get community control of UMPD on the ballot.”
The link to the petition was not accessible to the public.
A university spokesperson told Campus Reform that “The University has engaged in extensive public discussions about safety on and near the Twin Cities campus over the past year, discussions that provide a great level of detail on the University and UMPD’s current operations and future plans.”
Wesleyan University – Student Employee Unionization
In early March, Wesleyan University YDSA promoted a student employee unionization effort on campus. The chapter promoted a rally to support the Wesleyan Union of Student Employees by quote tweeting the original post, encouraging students to “COME TO THIS!!”
At Wesleyan University, the Resident Life student employees had recently attempted to form a union and requested “voluntary recognition” from the school administration.
In a letter to university president Michael Roth and other administrators, the group spelled out a variety of reasons for unionizing. Among the reasons were being “overworked and underpaid” and being subjected to “poor and hazardous working conditions.”
The letter also cites existing unions at Wesleyan University, as well as a successful student unionization effort at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
According to the letter, the students press that “there is every reason” Wesleyan students should be allowed to unionize, as well.
“Many members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities are active in the labor movement today, and even more are involved in efforts to advance social justice in our society, as a direct result of receiving a Wesleyan education,” the letter states. “We therefore view that allowing the ResLife union to form is consistent with the pedagogical principles of ‘critical thinking’ and ‘practical idealism’ so championed by Wesleyan.”
The letter continues, “Indeed, it would be a violation of these principles if Wesleyan refuses to voluntarily recognize the union.”
Indiana University Bloomington – Graduate Student Unionization
The YDSA chapter at Indiana University Bloomington posted a graphic on Twitter on Mar. 7 announcing support for the recognition of a graduate student labor union ahead of an upcoming chapter meeting.
“We’ll discuss solidarity efforts with the IU Graduate Workers Coalition, solidarity with Palestine, and our next reading in the anti-capitalist reading group!” the tweet stated.
The IU Graduate Workers Coalition wrote on Twitter that the group has, “been reminding the Provost and the Board of Trustees twice weekly of their obligation to recognize the desire of the overwhelming majority of graduate workers to be represented by a union.”
“Do the right thing, IU,” the group implored.
“It is our intention with this communication to initiate dialogue with the IU administration to work together to increase living standards for graduate workers,” the coalition’s letter to the university provost read.
Campus Reform attempted to contact the YDSA Bloomington chapter via Twitter but was blocked.
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) – Minimum Wage Increase For University Staff
On Mar. 7, the YDSA chapter at Georgia Tech tweeted its demand to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.
“Over 700 full-time workers at Georgia Tech make less than $31,200 or $15/hour,” the United Campus Workers of Georgia argued on a Twitter post. “They’re majority Black and majority women.”
According to their Twitter page, the United Campus Workers of Georgia “brings together the voices of the University System of Georgia’s diverse workforce to address critical issues we all face.”
University of North Texas and Wayne State University – Abortion Advocacy
The Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at the University of North Texas hosted a fundraising event on Mar. 3 for the Texas Equal Access Fund, an organization that provides funding for abortions for low-income persons in North Texas.
According to the TEA Fund’s website, the organization opposes “all efforts to restrict abortion rights” and believes that “abortion is a fundamental feature of health care.”
“Come learn about SB 8 and the class barrier from safe abortions!” the chapter announced in the Twitter post.
The chapter’s Twitter profile describes the group as “an intersectional coalition” of students and activists “focused on making a change through meaningful progressive action.”
Campus Reform reached out to UNT YDSA via Twitter, but the account restricted access to their profile.
Similarly, the YDSA chapter at Wayne State University (WSU) promoted an International Women’s Day “Reproductive Rights Rally” and speaker panel.
M. Colleen McDaniel, a member of the panel, posted on Twitter that the panel discussion would cover topics including “equal access, choice, and education.”
McDaniel is a PhD candidate at WSU, according to her Twitter profile, as well as a team organizer for the Title IX Action Team at Wayne State and the Grievance Chair of Wayne State’s Graduate Employees Organizing Committee.
University of Florida – Advocacy for Green New Deal, Medicare For All
The University of Florida’s YDSA chapter criticized “single-payer Medicare for All,” “defending the police/refunding communities,” “the Green New Deal.” and “a freer, more just life” in a Feb. 17 Facebook post.
Additionally, the group stated it wants to “collectively own the key economic drivers that dominate our lives, such as energy production and transportation” as well as “the multiracial working class united in solidarity instead of divided by fear.”
According to the chapter, capitalism is “a system designed by the owning class to exploit the rest of us for their own profit.”
“The capitalist class tells us we are powerless, but together we can take back control,” the post promised.
YDSA chapters at multiple schools continue to spread Marxist ideology by reading authors like Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky.
Arizona State University (ASU) – Marxist Book Discussions
A collaboration of socialist groups in Phoenix, Arizona, including ASU YDSA, DSA Phoenix, and Socialist Revolution, hosted a “Marxist Classics Reading Group.”
Their text for the month of March was Leon Trotsky’s The Transitional Program.
Jerry Gonzalez, an ASU spokesman, told Campus Reform, “The university has over 1,000 registered student organizations exploring, discussing and promoting a vast array of topics. Their views do not necessarily represent those of the university nor is endorsement of those views implied.”
Hunter College (CUNY) and Southern Illinois University – Free Tuition and Debt Cancellation
Students from Hunter College’s YDSA chapter joined a protest in New York on Mar. 6 that called for increased funding for CUNY system schools. Additionally, one demand apparently included free tuition.
The student organization’s Twitter profile highlighted the remarks made by Tatiana Mercer, who called for more advisors and counselors, updated elevators and escalators, and structural improvements.
Hunter YDSA quote-tweeted the comment, “Hunter YDSA member [Tatiana Mercer] @prettygirl511 gave an absolute fire speech about why we need a #NewDeal4CUNY”
Journalist Rachel Dalloo posted a video of the speech online and quoted Mercer as saying that “CUNY should not just be affordable, but it should be free.”
New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes also spoke at the protest, saying, “We all know just how important a public higher education is to this city and to this state.”
The day before the protest in New York, the YDSA chapter at Southern Illinois University organized a “cancel student debt” rally, described as a “noise demo and march” on campus.
Students in the graphic were featured displaying signs which read “President Biden: Don’t Resume Student Loan Payments.”
University of Texas at Austin – Opposition to “Palestinian Censorship”
In a graphic posted on Twitter, the YDSA chapter at the University of Texas at Austin advertised an event on the topic of “Palestinian Censorship on Campus.”
The event was scheduled for Mar. 3 at 6:30 PM.
Campus Reform has reached out to every individual and organization referenced in this article for comment, and this story will be updated accordingly.
Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.