Kansas college students strike to protest campus opening

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:42 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP/KWCH) - A group of University of Kansas students went on a strike from classes on Monday to protest the opening of the campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Kansas held classes on Labor Day due to a modified academic calendar amid the pandemic, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

”Close KU’s campus to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” said strike organizer Sayan Grover.

“It’s worth the risk of academic penalty,” said strike participant Ryan Reza. “It’s not more important and it doesn’t outweigh the potential risk of a student dying.”

The student organization Jayhawker Liberation Front publicized the strike in tandem with a petition calling for the closure of campus due to the virus spread. The strike was organized by several organizations throughout the Lawrence Community. One of them, the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition, a union for graduate teaching assistants.

Eyewitness News reached out to the university for a statement. They sent us a letter they sent to the coalition saying that any GTA that participates would be engaging in an illegal strike and could be fired.

But students want the university to know they don’t feel safe. They say close down the campus is not a matter of if but when.

“You cannot put the responsibility of a global pandemic on the students themselves. The KU administration needs to take action,” said Reza.

Kansas health officials reported on Monday four new coronavirus-related deaths and 1,694 new cases of COVID-19 in the state since Friday.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press and KWCH. All rights reserved.