Students pledge to continue protest
A UNC student arrested this week while in Raleigh to protest against the governor’s proposed budget and other legislation she believes will harm the state’s university system said Friday that similar protests will occur over the next month.
Zaina Alsous, a UNC senior, said she and the other four students, all participants in the NC Student Power Union demonstration on Wednesday, will continue to make their voices heard until the legislative session closes next month.
“We’re committed to continuing to demonstrate to raise this issue until this legislatives session closes,” Alsous said.
Alsous, Carissa Morrison, also of UNC, Tristan Munchel and Dhruy Pathak of UNC Greensboro and Jessica Injejikian of UNC Charlotte were all charged with disorderly conduct.
Morrison and Pathak were additionally charged with misdemeanor assault on a government official.
The arrests were made when students tried to enter the Legislative Building, which was blocked by Capitol Police.
“I think the charges are extraordinary for what we were doing,” Alsous said. “We were engaged in peaceful protest.”
Juan Miranda, a student at UNC Greensboro and member of the NC Student Power Union, said the group will help the students fight the charges.
“We will fight these charges to the end,” Miranda said. “The fact that these students were arrested simply for peacefully trying to enter and bring their demands into the ‘People’s House’ is absurd, and the additional charges that Morrison and Pathak received are entirely baseless.”
In addition to protesting against proposed state budget cuts to public education, the 100 or more students from 10 campuses across the UNC system, also expressed concern about voter suppression efforts and tuition increases for out-of-state and undocumented students.
“Education should be affordable and accessible to all students,” Pathak said in a statement. “The right wing legislature and current budget proposal will make it harder for students to get into school and stay in school.”
Alsous said the movement in the state against the policy proposals of the Republican-led General Assembly is building.
She noted the arrests of 17 NAACP members Monday outside Senate Chambers after singing and praying to protest Republican policies, specifically bills targeting Medicaid, unemployment benefits, voting rights and tax breaks that help the poor.
“Those in power are aware of how widespread the discontent is right now,” Alsous said.