TUCSON – Last week, a small group of instructors and professors demanded in a letter that the University of Arizona Police drop misdemeanor charges against students, who stalked and harassed Border Patrol agents visiting campus during a career fair.
The letter, signed by academics from across the country including universities in Arizona, was sent at the same time sympathetic images of instructors, students, and elderly activists, engaged in peaceful protest, filled the airwaves and social media feeds.
Their message was clear and in complete support of that made by the student stalkers: the presence of law enforcement, specifically Border Patrol made students feel unsafe. The solution was unequivocal; either ban Border Patrol and ICE agents from campus or else.
In contrast to the romantic short snips on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds sent out by school and legacy press outlets, organizers were sharing their hate-filled diatribes elsewhere.
An unidentified activist issued their demand of University of Arizona officials: 1) drop all charges against the student protesters, 2) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to be banned from campus, and 3) no Border Patrol agents be allowed on campus.
A woman, who we are only able to identify by the last name Rainey, introduced herself as a member of Black Lives Matter and the Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund. In her speech, Rainey tells students, “The people of this campus are part of this town. And this town does not like Border Patrol. This town does not welcome ICE. This town is about building trust.”
“President Robbins,” said Rainey referring to University of Arizona President Robert Robbins, “if you don’t build that instead of sending us letters about civility, what you need is a lesson on white supremacy.”
The increasingly agitated activist advised the students, “We’ve got to fight people. We’ve got to fight for the soul of this city, the soul of this school, and the soul of this nation.”
“Do we support La Migra (Spanish for ICE agents)?” Rainey asked. “No,” responded the students.
“Do we allow white men to persecute our children?” Rainey asked. “No,” the students responded loudly.
Each time Rainey asked the students, “Do we fight?” they responded in the affirmative enthusiastically.
Although we were unable to ascertain the identity of the woman, a Tiera Rainey serves on the Pima Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission.
Fellow commissioners, Isabel Garcia, a former Pima County public defender and Jessica Rodriguez, a DACA recipient with Living United for Change in Arizona and the Southside Worker Day Laborer Center, can be seen in the videos instructing protesters and cheering them on during Rainey’s rant.
The three women have been successful in blocking the acceptance of federal funding through the Operation Stonegarden grant program for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office. The grant provides funds for collaborative efforts between the Sheriff’s Office and Border Patrol. The grant money was accepted for years by Pima County officials but was determined by radicals to be unacceptable after president Trump was elected.
An unidentified activist took center stage to tell protesters that they are on a “racist-ass institution’s campus.” He thanked activists for participating but reminded them that “this is a campaign now. This is not about this week, this is not about this action. This is about the power and momentum we’ve built this week.”
“This isn’t about immigration,” he said, “this is about the fact that this institution is trying to marginalize women of color.” He concluded, “It is every single one of you’s (sic) jobs to make sure this action isn’t the last action that happens on this campus about this issue. We won’t stop until BP (Border Patrol) and ICE is off these campuses.”
In their demand letter, the academics claimed to be part of an organization called Professors of Color, called the misdemeanor charges a “draconian response to the peaceful protest on the UA campus on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. In particular, we are writing in support of the two undergraduate students who have been singled out and charged by the UAPD with interference of the peaceful conduct of an educational institution, trespassing, and intimidation. As you know, these students were exercising their First Amendment right to free speech upon seeing the presence of armed and uniformed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in The Modern Languages building.”
The students were not charged for participating in a peaceful protest. In fact, they not only disrupted an event, they stalked, harassed, and cursed at agents, calling them murderers.
Leading the group are University of Arizona Mexican American Studies (MAS) department head Anna Ochoa O’Leary, and Nolan Cabrera.
Cabrera has a long history of promoting student protest but is best known for his work on “whiteness.”
— Ali Watts (@AliWatts13) April 7, 2019