“Your Freedom Is Our Freedom:” Michigan State University Expresses Solidarity With JNU

Posted on March 2, 2016 in Campus Watch, GlobeScope, Society

By Students and Faculty, Michigan State University:

michiganStudents and Faculty at Michigan State University stand with JNU.

We, the undersigned students and faculty at Michigan State University, strongly condemn the sedition charges against Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) students, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashutosh Kumar, Anant Prakash and Rama Naga and the use of state force and violence in the arrest and trial against JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president, Kanhaiya Kumar. We oppose the systematic and deliberate attempts by the media, the Indian State, and particular groups to humiliate, intimidate and terrorise the university’s community of scholars and activists. We demand that these attempts to vilify and persecute Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and all other students as well as faculty, cease immediately and that all charges against the scholars of JNU be dropped.

We express our solidarity with the JNU community that has responded to the plethora of spiteful attacks with utmost courage, companionship, and an unyielding conviction for peaceful protests in the face of physical violence, media trials, and sectarianism. This stands as a testament to the JNU community’s commitment towards scholarship and activism that raises sharp questions with great intellectual and social responsibility.

As members of the first public land-grant University in the US, we recognise the constant threat to public education world over. We condemn the ways in which this particular incident is being used to perpetuate a programmatic assault on public educational institutions. We believe in the autonomy of university as an open space for intellectual engagement, debate, critical thought and expression without the fear of censorship and suppression. We express our solidarity to the view that public institutions of higher education must be created and preserved as spaces where caste oppression, racism, gender and minority-exclusion can be challenged and studied to achieve the ultimate goal of liberation for all. To this end, we too struggle persistently on our own campus. We believe our freedom is your freedom, and your freedom is our freedom.

We stand in solidarity with JNU’s students and faculty who have so courageously stood up to the onslaught of the Indian state, media and other groups. The attempts to use jingoism as a smokescreen to deflect the questions on caste inequalities, religious violence, poverty, gender inequalities and other pertinent issues will not succeed! We extend our support and solidarity to our colleagues at JNU and all those that #standwithJNU.