RPI students hold demonstration to protect student union

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Students at a local college held a protest on Friday because they believe the school is trying to silence them.

A large part of the student body at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believes the school is stripping away their First Amendment rights. The school, however, said it’s not true, and they support their students’ right to speak freely.

Friday evening, hundreds of students marched across the school’s campus as part of a protest organized by the students in hopes of protecting the students.

It’s something Dan Seel said the school’s administration doesn’t always do.

“They’ve taken away repeatedly now my right to demonstrate and my right to free speech,” he said.

At RPI, he said students have historically had a union they could control.

“From the beginning, the student run union has been funded by students and for students,” he explained.

But recently, they believe the administration has been stripping away that control.

“We don’t trust that they would operate the union for our interests,” Seel said.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to the school for a comment. They responded, in part:

The administration has made no attempt to take control of the Rensselaer Student Union from student leadership…There are highly productive communications with the Grand Marshal and President of the Union occurring on a daily basis.

Graduate student Michael Gardner said he’s not convinced.

“It’s disappointing that we can’t have a say in what we’re going to do here,” he said.

Students said they planned the protest for Friday because an alumni event was taking place at the same time. They said the school would not allow them.

But the administration said they simply thought it would be dangerous with the other event happening, but they support the students’ right to demonstrate.

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