Reclaim UO update

Dear Friends and Comrades of Reclaim UO,

As we’re sure you are aware, 2020 was a rough year for everyone and Reclaim UO was not left unscathed. When Reclaim UO launched at the beginning of 2020, we had a lot of involvement with our meetings and our organizing efforts. We had started to gain some amazing momentum on the UO campus, in the Eugene/Springfield community, and at the State Capitol in Salem. Our message resonated deeply with UO students, faculty, staff, and community members who see the effects that the anti-democratic, unaccountable Board of Trustees has had in our lives every day. A strong coalition had begun to form, and legislators were beginning to see our efforts as a path forward for strengthening Oregon’s public higher education.

    In March 2020, COVID stopped our momentum dead in its tracks as focus shifted towards the more immediately pressing crisis our world has been facing.  As our conditions were suddenly uprooted, some of our core organizers, for a multitude of reasons, either lost contact with us or had to move on to other priorities. We fully understand and respect these circumstances. That said, this situation has left us with a significantly reduced organizing capacity with a much smaller core group of people working within Reclaim UO.

    In the face of all the difficulties COVID has presented, we at Reclaim UO have done our best to press on. We found opportunities to connect our fight to democratize the Board of Trustees with other issues on campus such as COVID response and safety measures, calls to disarm and dismantle the University of Oregon Police Department, and the need for the University of Oregon to divest from fossil fuels. Additionally, we were glad to see activists on campus incorporate our message and proposals into their demands when they decided to bravely chain themselves to the doors of Johnson Hall and forced a meeting with UO President Michael Schill during fall term. Reclaim UO proudly stood in solidarity with their efforts, and we saw it as a pivotal moment in our movement that highlighted the interconnected nature of our struggles for progress on campus.

    More and more, people are realizing what toll these compounding crises are taking and what is the most effective means of addressing them. Democratizing the Board of Trustees is the key to solving these issues. The current Board structure allows the Trustees to ignore our demands for the university to do better and properly serve the UO community, instead of wealthy donors and corporate interests. We reject this unjust status quo and continue to demand better.

    As we’ve moved into the new year, we’ve recommitted ourselves to this fight to democratize the Board of Trustees because we realize how vital this work is and how much it will help future generations of UO students, faculty, staff, and the wider Eugene/Springfield community. We want to reconnect with those who have lost touch with us and do hope you can join our new Discord server. We are hoping to have a relaunch meeting in early April and would love your help with planning this. As always, if you’d like to get in contact with us directly, you can email us at reclaim.highered.uo@gmail.com or direct message us on Instagram @reclaimuo. We thank you for your continued support of our efforts and look forward to reconnecting.

In solidarity, Reclaim UO

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