UNL students mobilize to protect the right to abortion and guarantee better conditions for graduate employees


University of Nebraska-Lincoln students staged a field trip Thursday morning, part of a national ‘day of action’ to pressure university administrators to protect reproductive and transgender rights on campus .

The campus protests were planned as states, including Nebraska, will likely consider legislation banning abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year struck down federal abortion protections set out in Roe v . Wade.

While the national events were hosted by the Graduate Student Action Network and the Young Democratic Socialists of America, according to Inside Higher Education, UnionizeUNL hosted the local rally, which took place on the Nebraska Union Steps.

There, organizers said colleges and universities that depend on graduate students to teach and conduct research should adopt policies protecting women’s right to abortion, as well as other issues they say come under “bodily autonomy”.

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This includes things like access to birth control, ending sexual violence, stopping gender and transphobia policing, and ensuring that UNL employees have adequate health insurance and are not food insecure.

Katelynn Shadoan, a graduate student from Alabama working on a master’s degree in sociology at UNL, said students could no longer enter a student pantry.

Instead, they are required to fill out an online order and wait a week for food – a problem that potentially affects thousands of undergraduate students at UNL.

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“If we’re overworked and hungry, we’re not going to teach as well,” Shadoan said.

Shadoan also told a crowd of about 100 outside Nebraska Union that graduate students were unable to see a doctor and get needed medication while they waited a month. that their health insurance comes into effect.

Graduate students have also faced dramatic increases in health insurance costs in recent years, while others have been forced to find new ways of life after the university decided to close these facilities earlier this year. .

“We just wanted to let people know that no one has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies,” Shadoan said, “but also clarify that bodily autonomy is not just about abortion. It’s about the right to health care, the right to food.

UnionizeUNL members distributed flyers with information on accessing free abortion care or food services, as well as literature outlining an individual’s rights if arrested by law enforcement. ‘order.

UnionizeUNL organized after a former graduate student and lecturer was summarily fired by administrators following a protest at a Turning Point USA recruiting event in 2017.

Thursday’s event drew a protest from half a dozen students, including members of Turning Point USA, a conservative student organization linked to former President Donald Trump, who held up their own signs stating their opposition to abortion.

The two sides engaged in discussions on the steps of the Nebraska Union, as music played and students wrote messages in chalk on the sidewalk.

Shadoan said Thursday’s event gave UnionizeUNL the opportunity to reach more students — graduate and undergraduate — at UNL. The organization currently has about 300 members, but not all of them are active.

“We really want to make sure that we reach out to everyone and hear their voices and their concerns so that we can advocate for them,” Shadoan said.

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