Students at Reed College have turned to Colin Kaepernick for support after facing punishment for participating in a nearly 50-day sit-in that involved disrupting classes and harassing campus staff.
In an open Facebook letter published in the group “Reedies Against Racism,” a student listed only as “Addison” pleads with Kaepernick to join them in solidarity in their efforts to disrupt the college’s affiliation with Wells Fargo.
“I am writing to you because the black students and allies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, are in desperate need of solidarity,” writes Addison. “We are protesting our school’s ties to Wells Fargo, a bank that even the city Reed is in, Portland, Oregon, has divested from because of its unethical practices.”
According to RAR’s Facebook page, the students are demanding Reed divest from Wells Fargo because the bank has ties to for-profit prisons, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and “police militarization.”
Approximately three weeks ago, the students entered the Office of the President of Reed College for the first time to occupy, and became enraged when they noticed a Wells Fargo coffee mug on his desk. The students also claim that five members of the Reed College Board of Trustees also have ties to Wells Fargo.
According to RAR’s letter, more than 50 students are facing threats of expulsion, suspension, or other forms of disciplinary action for their efforts to occupy the school administration buildings and force the school to sever ties with Wells Fargo.
While the students claim their efforts have been peaceful and just, a number of students have been issued no-contact orders with certain staff members following claims of harassment which have even gone as far as preventing office employees from doing their jobs. Additionally, university officials were forced to move sensitive financial documents from the offices to prevent students from removing them.
At the time of publication, Colin Kaepernick has not responded to the students’ pleas for help.
John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.