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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMB student walkout narrowly averted

UMass Boston students decided on Friday evening to halt a walk-out scheduled for Monday afternoon at 1pm. The walkout was planned to express opposition to prosecution of the “Jena 6,” six black high school students in Louisiana charged with attempted murder for their alleged roles in the beating of a white teenager in December 2006. The last-minute release, on $45,000 bail, of Mychal Bell scuttled the National Student Walk-Out originally proposed by artist Mos Def and supported by M1, Talib Kweli, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game, the National Hip Hop Political Convention, and student leaders from over 50 campuses.

One of the key issues the campaign hoped to address was the 10 month detention of accused student Mychal Bell. Until Friday afternoon, he was held without bail, even though his conviction as an adult was overturned Bell. Hours after District Attorney Reed Walters decided to try him as a juvenile, the bond was posted for his release.

Juana Matias, UMass Boston coordinator of the proposed protest, said that “if there’s a threat of injustice there, there’s a threat of injustice anywhere.” Although student wanted to involve the administration and faculty, it was not possible to fully include them in planning due to the last-minute arrangements. “It’s a human rights issue. We are willing to miss that one hour of class to demonstrate that UMass Boston students care about this important issue. ”

Matias, president of the UMass Boston undergraduate student senate, was quick to specify that her attempts are a personal response to a national issue. “This has no connection with the student senate,” she said.