The University Law School postponed an event Friday that was set to feature Gov. Rick Snyder (R).
The panel on Detroit’s bankruptcy, which originally was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is indefinitely postponed, according to Shelley Rodgers, the Law School’s communication director.
“The Detroit bankruptcy event was postponed because its organizers don’t wish to distract from efforts devoted to higher priorities in the state,” Rodgers wrote in an e-mail to The Michigan Daily.
In response to the event’s announcement, multiple student and community groups collaborated to plan a protest on the Diag Tuesday in light of Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis. Organizers included coalitions such as the Ann Arbor Alliance for Black Lives, the Ann Arbor-Flint Solidarity Network and the National Lawyers Guild at MLaw.
More than 700 people have responded to the event’s Facebook page, titled “Snyder’s Not Welcome Here,” with organizers announcing that the rally would continue despite the law school’s cancellation.
“We are not going to cancel our protest,” the event’s description reads. “It’s clear that Snyder is humiliated, but humiliation won’t bring us justice for the many lives that have been affected by his Emergency Manager laws and the active belief that profit is more important than people.”
Several public officials instrumental in Detroit’s bankruptcy were slated to join Snyder on the panel: Kevyn Orr, former city emergency manager, Steven W. Rhodes, the former U.S bankruptcy judge who handled the city’s case and Gerald Rosen, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. All of the scheduled speakers, except Rosen, are alumni of the University’s law school.
The protest’s organizers also noted that they will be collecting household items for distribution in Flint. Kelly Garland, an Ann Arbor-Flint Solidarity Network representative, posted a call for donations on the event page.
“Many of the people in Flint have asked for personal care items, as they cannot safely bathe or wash their dishes and laundry with the poisonous water coming out of their faucets,” Garland wrote.
Garland also emphasized the necessity of the protest, invoking not just Flint, but also what she described as deplorable conditions in Detroit Public Schools.
“None of these injustices will be fixed by a canceled event,” she said. “Snyder, and his administration, need to answer to the crimes they’ve committed”