Local Students Fight for a Voice

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On November 13, a group of students at Central High School in Champaign formed a club for student rights. Less than a month after its creation, the Central Student Coalition (CSC) now has a total of eighty-three members. The coalition’s purpose is to provide students with a forum in which to express their views, and to more effectively translate their views into action.
Since its founding, the CSC has been struggling to gain recognition by the school. The administration has given no solid reason for its denial, but states that it has the right to refuse recognition to any group that it feels “won’t benefit the educational process”. While continuing to strive for recognition, we are currently working on several projects that have been proposed by our members.
Our first goal is to end or at least reduce the influence of corporate sponsorship in our public schools. Every day we hear absurd stories such as a student being summoned to the office for wearing a Pepsi logo on his shirt, or lunch ladies being told by Coke employees not to drink out of a Pepsi mug. It is sick that schools allow themselves to be exploited by corporations, selling out for a new scoreboard in the gymnasium. On our campus, students have no choice but to buy Coke products because they are all that is offered. All that the CSC is asking is that Coke loosen its grip on the school.
Our second project is the defense of a Pizza Planet vendor who sells pizzas out of his van behind the school. This vendor operates entirely within his license, but the school has nevertheless pressured him to the point where he felt the need to hire an attorney. The school applied this pressure probably because he is having an adverse effect on the profits of the cafeteria. The student body has been very active in its support of this perfectly legitimate business, and it appears as if the administration is starting to come to its senses and work with the vendor rather than against him.
Another project we have recently started is the CSC’s anti-war section, called the Central League Against War (CLAW). The purpose of this section is to organize students to promote peace, and to show the city’s youth that there are options other than bombs and guns. We will work with groups such as AWARE to publicize protests, and we will use any means possible to bring the anti-war movement to the public’s attention.

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