Calling for an end to the war in Iraq and military recruitment on university and high school campuses around the nation, students gathered atop Bascom Hill and marched to Library Mall Wednesday.
Organized by World Can't Wait and Stop The War, the walkout event asked students to leave classes at noon and assemble in support of the anti-war cause.
Showing their aversion toward the war, students chanted phrases such as "Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell: take your war and go to hell!" and "War and occupation will never bring liberation!"
Colleen Schulz, a UW senior and member of the Stop The War coordinating committee, helped organize the walkout and said students shouldn't be solicited to fight for their education.
"We don't believe that there should be a war and we don't believe that recruitment should be happening on campus," she said. "We don't believe there should be people who have to kill for an education."
Schulz said recruiters take advantage of specific student demographics to enlist them for military service, which violates university policies.
"Recruiters go against the university's policy of non-discrimination with their 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," she said. "They target minorities and poor students."
Brandon Madsen, a UW freshman and Socialist Alternative member, also organized the walkout and said that to see change, people must have more of a "fighting attitude."
"I think this walkout is an important chance to speak out because if we, as students, want to stop the war and end military recruiting on college and high school campuses, we need to show that the way forward has to be more of a fighting attitude," he said. "It's not enough just to make appeals to legislative officials and things like that."
Madsen said students must "throw a wrench into the gears" of the current military-recruitment system and asserted the conflict is not representative of popular United States sentiment.
"The war and our elected officials are not representing us and [are] fighting for something that's just hurting everyone else," he said.
The effects of the walkout and demonstration on Library Mall would most likely not include an immediate withdrawal from Iraq nor removal of military recruiters from campuses, Madsen said, adding small steps need to be taken to ignite a change.
"I think it's a necessary first step to start gathering forces that can [cause reform]," he said. "The first step to building any movement is for people to come together because it's through collective action that we're going to accomplish anything."
Twenty-year-old Madison resident and self-proclaimed boycotter of the UW school system, Blake Trimbell, expressed her disapproval of the war in Iraq, as well as any indirect supporters of the war's cause.
"The war's been going on for too long and it should end. It should've never started in the first place," she said, adding she boycotted the UW System because "they are supporting various companies that support the war and allow military recruiters on campus."