Due to "ongoing racism" at the University of Alabama, students are choosing to remain seated during the national anthem at football games. Their #BamaSits demonstration is just one of the many thought to be motivated by similar protests by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
#BamaSits protestors have cited their disapproval of "police violence against young black people" and the "racism that remains present in American society." The demonstrations have sparked counter-movements such as #BamaStands, where students are showing up at games with U.S. flags, "placing their hands over their hearts during the anthem" and "showing great enthusiasm for the anthem." Such critics believe that the national anthem shouldn't be the moment used to "air their grievances."
Protestors are also against the recent, strong recruitment of out-of-state students to the university. From around the time Nick Saban started as the university's football coach, the school has pushed for increased enrollment of out-of-state students; a recent national trend which is most prevalent at Alabama. In-state Alabama students are outnumbered by out-of-state students, with roughly 60 percent of first-year students being from out-of-state. Proponents of #BamaSits state that they "don't think the university recognized that when they pushed for out-of-state recruitment...it would change the entire state."
Protests such as these are not uncommon in Alabama, and have "deep roots...dating back to the Civil War." From this point of view, Alabama students are showing their disapproval as a "continuation of a long struggle within the state...the symbolism behind the naming of public buildings or institutions after individuals associated with slavery, or white supremacy." The group claims they aren't just sitting - they're "pushing against the administration to change policies on [our] campus."
In your opinion, are these useful ways to promote students' ideas? Should colleges try to discourage such acts of protests? If so, what other ways might students protest that could prove effective? Share your thoughts with us.
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