Appearing at pivotal civil rights moments in history is not unusual for United States federal agents. Most recently, tactical agents deployed by the Department of Homeland Security were sent to Portland, Oregon, in response to ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd and several other Black people at the hands of police.
The announcement comes as a response to years of activism by the Affordability Task Force and the Stanford Solidarity Network (SSN), two student-run organizations that have been working to ensure graduate student issues are addressed. They have advocated for a number of affordability concerns relating to food insecurity, healthcare, and housing, while also focusing on the prominent issue of a lack of adequate funding.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the catastrophic situation that began in March 2015, with the nation facing a lack of protective equipment for health personnel and a shortage of doctors who are able to care for residents with health issues unrelated to COVID-19.