It has been nearly a year since protesters flooded the streets to express their outrage following the death of George Floyd. As a jury nears a verdict in the trial connected to Floyd's death, protesters have taken to the street yet again. Earlier this month, yet another young, Black person, Daunte Wright, was killed by a police officer, Kim Potter. For more than a week, demonstrators have flooded the streets to voice their frustrations with the local police force. Through this entire movement, college students have played a major role in driving these efforts. However, state lawmakers are working to stop them from powering these efforts.
Minnesota Sen. David Osmek has proposed a bill that will have detrimental effects on students arrested and convicted during protest efforts. If this bill is passed, students convicted of protest-related offenses would not be able to access student loans, rent assistance or food stamps.
“A person convicted of a criminal offense related to the person’s illegal conduct at a protest, demonstration, rally, civil unrest, or march is ineligible for any type of state loan, grant, or assistance, including but not limited to college student loans and grants," the bill reads.
Osmek's bill directly targets Black students in the area. A large number of the people protesting the deaths of Floyd and Wright are Black. Furthermore, Black students borrow an average of $52,000 to obtain four-year college degrees. In comparison, white students borrow an average of $28,000 to attend four-year schools. Putting these two restrictions in place, it would place an uneven burden on Black students deciding whether or not to protest police violence.
If passed into law, this bill could affect students who were arrested in November during a protest on highway I-94. More recently, students have been arrested during protests regarding the death of Daunte Wright.
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