In its six-month history on campus, Pitt Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) evolved from an organization that hosted lectures and film screenings to one that participated in and trained other students to conduct disruptive protests on Pitt’s campus. Pitt SDS is clearly in violation of at least two student organization guidelines and, for this reason, should no longer be eligible to use University resources or apply for Student Government Board allocations.
This report documents the organization’s violation of University guidelines and presents the reader with the facts necessary to fully understand the organization, its purpose and future aspirations. Such a full understanding must include the following information:
- Namesake: Pitt SDS takes its name from the 1960s Students for a Democratic Society – a radical student movement whose tactics included building occupations and hostage taking. It is impossible to understand Pitt SDS without examining the violent past of its namesake organization.
- SDS On Campus: Pitt SDS has existed on campus since November 2009 and has evolved since then into a student group dedicated to disrupting University educational activities. Pitt SDS changed over a period of months from a student group in compliance with University guidelines to a student group that flagrantly violates the letter and spirit of those regulations.
- The Freedom School: This Pitt SDS-organized conference should be understood as a turning point in the group’s activities on campus. Scheduled to take place in University buildings, Pitt SDS moved the Freedom School off campus when the conference’s plans to train students to occupy buildings and blockade roads became public.
- Language of Nonviolence: Pitt SDS is careful to always describe its group activities as “nonviolent” but it is clear that the group’s definition of this word falls radically outside of the mainstream and includes the destruction of property.
- Future Aspirations: Recent group activities and interviews with group leaders indicate that Pitt SDS is prepared to illegally disrupt activities at the University of Pittsburgh if it feels that such disruption would further its goals. Such disruption could include building occupations and road blockades – tactics covered by the Pittsburgh Freedom School.
- The Case For Removal: The activities of Pitt SDS and the actions of its individual members clearly violate two provisions of the Student Code and two guidelines of the University’s “Guidelines for Student Group Certification.” University resources and student tuition dollars should not be used to support the activities of an organization in violation of University guidelines and regulations.
To download the full report as a PDF, please click here.