Students Protesting Education Pick Arrested

Seven students arrested in Chicago on Tuesday after a protest have been released from custody. Photo Credit: Resist Trump Tuesdays

Veronica Carter

Public News Service

CHICAGO – Seven college students were arrested on Tuesday after they refused to leave the lobby of the Federal Building in downtown Chicago. They were among hundreds of people who gathered to protest President Donald Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Education Secretary.

University of Chicago student Nadia Perl was one of the protesters not taken into custody. She says they want Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to vote ‘no’ on DeVos’ confirmation. She describes DeVos as a billionaire, and the latest in a series of “Corporate Cabinet” nominees with vast personal wealth and deep ties to Wall Street.

“But even this isn’t enough,” she said. “We know that Betsy DeVos isn’t the only threat to higher education in this country, and what we’re fighting for is education, especially in the state of Illinois to be considered a human right, something that’s free and accessible to everyone, and is a public good rather than a profit-making enterprise.”

The students were released shortly after their arrests. Tuesday’s protest is the second in a series of events known as “Resist Trump Tuesdays,” planned by the group Fair Economy Illinois.

Perl says they’re also demanding that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker Michael Madigan tax corporations and those who make the most, to help fully fund public education in Illinois.

“In a perfect world and what we’re fighting for, our campaign’s demand, is fully funded higher education in the state of Illinois – that includes public colleges and universities, and a system in which those will be accessible for everybody, which includes undocumented students,” she explained.

DeVos’ nomination cleared the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, despite fierce opposition from Democrats.