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Monday, April 15, 2024

UC Davis Students Demand Action calls on UCs to divest from the gun industry during divestment week

The week took place as a response to the Las Vegas SHOT Show, the largest national gun show in the United States

 

By BENJAMIN CARRILLO – campus@theaggie.org

 

During the week of Jan. 22 to 26, 2024, Students Demand Justice organizations nationwide, including UC Davis’ division, participated in divestment week. The student-led organization seeks to ensure that the UCs, specifically UC Davis, uphold their promises to limit their involvement within the gun industry.

Roan Thibault, a second-year political science major and group co-lead of Students Demand Action, discussed what divestment week is and why this particular week was chosen. 

“[From Jan. 23 to 26], the gun industry is holding its biggest event [in] the world,” Thibault said. “It’s called SHOT Show, a trade event in Las Vegas, and it’s the biggest gun show in the United States. To respond, students made action chapters in over 50 schools to discuss America’s role, and call [on] colleges to divest from the gun industry.” 

Thibault then went on to explain what this week entails and the importance of having such an event to hold UC Davis accountable. 

“Here at UC Davis specifically, we’re building on our divestment efforts from previous quarters by gathering more petition signatures, which now stand at 200, more than any other university in the nation,” Thibault said. “We’ve also been putting up flyers, tabling and talking in our classes.” 

Notably, the week’s main event took place on Jan. 22, where Mary Duplat, mother of a gun violence victim, spoke on her experience with gun violence and offered perspective to students. 

“She spoke about her daughter losing her life to gun violence right before starting college and spoke to our chapter about personal loss through gun violence,” Thibault said. “[She talked] about channeling that grief into a power and [defined] that a survivor is more than just someone who has been shot before.” 

Kayla Garcia-Pubdani, a fourth-year political science major and group co-lead on Students Demand Action, also spoke on what divestment week meant to her.

“What makes me proud to be an Aggie [are] our movements,” Garci-Pubdani said. “With all these movements and changes to the campus, how great would it be for UC Davis to take this next progressive step and take action in the gun industry? UC Davis, and every UC for [that] matter, needs to be [held] accountable for our safety, and the gun industry is a direct contradiction for that.” 

Garcia-Pubdani went on to discuss the goal of Students Demand Action going forward. 

“While this week is indeed the SHOT show and also National Gun Violence Survivors week, what’s important is not backing down,” Garci-Pubdani said. “We have an advocacy day in March that will be [focusing on] talking to legislators about gun regulation and talking about what we can do with other chapters [in] California to talk about gun control. We will continue to hold events and not back down until the UCs stop [their contribution] and listen to the students’ voices.” 

 

Written by: Benjamin Carrillo – campus@theaggie.org

 

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