It’s hard to be a Tech student right now.
Between the silence of the administration and the outpouring of support for the police department that took the life of one of our peers, it’s hard to find the space – physically, socially, spiritually – to grieve.
In the midst of a university that would rather see police barricade its Student Services building than see its students engage in civil disobedience. Where we feel at risk of investigation, suspension, and expulsion for speaking out against the violence that occurred last Saturday. Where it’s considered appropriate to heckle and intimidate queer, non-binary, and POC students for having the audacity to mourn the loss of their classmate in public.
We applaud everyone who had the courage to come and speak out against what’s happening at Georgia Tech on Friday.
We cannot read thank you notes to GTPD written thousand times on the sidewalk on our way to class without understanding that they are implicitly being thanked for the death of our friend. We do not see what happened to Scout as an isolated incident. We do not see this as “an unstable student who wanted to kill himself,” as one disparager shouted while misgendering our friend. Rather, we see this as the latest victim in a decades long history of police violence against queer folk and as the latest addition to list of people murdered every day by police in this country. We see this as the latest gender non-conforming person who could not bear to continue on living in this hostile society, as the latest student struggling to hold it all together who did not receive adequate care and attention from the institution supposedly designed to foster their growth, and as the latest student at Georgia Tech to attempt suicide – of which there are many.
Their life did not have to end this way.
GTPD tells us they’re here to protect us. Scout’s death shows that they are not. We must learn to protect each other, both emotionally and materially.
The administration wants us to feel safe when GTENS (Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System) tells us to lock ourselves in our dorms when students are protesting. We say we’re safest together, in public, in the courtyards and in the streets.
Thank you to all who have had the bravery to speak out in this tragic moment. Your care and support gives us the strength to keep fighting, as Scout did, for a different world.
Gone but never forgotten,
[12/7/1995 – 9/16/2017]
Scout Schultz Student Alliance