Students can have effective political recourse in academic institutions by participating in student strikes. Such strikes can occur at any level from primary school onward, but are most often associated with university students. The withdrawal and non-cooperation during student strikes can include many different forms and don’t always involve total withdrawal from the institution itself. Various strategies have been effective in inducing change to academic institutions around the world with some occasionally reaching out into broader society and inducing cultural change. Some of these methods of student strike can include:
Refusal to take examinations – Students may refuse to take examinations at crucial points in the academic process such as a final exam which disrupts the ability of the institution to continue with ordinary operations.
Students walking out of lecture halls en masse to protest either a particular lecturer or academic policy are a method of student strike that has the additional visual effect of seeing large numbers of students acting as a unit in the protest.
Refusal to Enroll
In instances where enrollment in classes is mandatory such as in primary or secondary schools, the refusal to enroll has been used as a means of student strike with the consent of parents. This type of enrollment can have questionable legality, but has in the past been effective in promoting institutional change.
These types of student strikes were used effectively in the United States in the 1960s where students would occupy a building within an academic institution and subsequently refuse to leave until their voices were heard.
Stay at Home
Students may simply stay at home for a period of time in order to voice opposition to particular grievances.
These types of student strikes may resemble common union strikes where students show up at an institution complete with picket signs, organized marches, and chants, making their voices heard in a visually effective way.
All of these means of student strike have been used in the past and present in many countries, in particular China, Latin American countries and the United States. Many of these types of protests have been effective in bringing about change to institutions over grievances that have built to critical mass among the student body.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.