These 5 Occupy Colleges Take Action

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If you have any knowledge of the demographics of the University of Maryland’s dorms, then you will find this hilarious:
I’m particularly fond of this silly meme because I live in Worcester and haven’t seen that many yamakas since Yom Kippur services. Besides being entertaining, it’s also a wonderful representation of how the messages of the Occupy Wall Street movement have begun to hit home for college students. With student loan debt running rampant, passionate college students have helped Occupy Colleges gain national attention. Here are how a few univeristies and programs have taken action and gained notoriety for themselves:
It’s hard for an Ivy League school to look like part of the 99%, considering everything about them screams exclusive. Harvard didn’t do itself any favors in shaking this image when, during its first Occupy protest in November, guards only allowed people with Harvard IDs to enter its campus. In an ironic twist, this meant that 99% of Cambridge protestors were denied access, making Harvard look more like the 1%.
"I think it's absurd. Do we really need eight guards per gate?" Harvard junior and Occupier Nicandro Iannacci told The Harvard Crimson. "The idea that the only people allowed here to have this conversation are members of the Harvard community, specifically, is wrong. Why not welcome more people in?"
University of Michigan
On a more productive note, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, after hearing criticism from Occupy U-M students about Michigan’s increasing tuition, wrote a letter to Barack Obama calling for higher education affordability.
According to the Huffington Post, her letter contained four recommendations for reducing costs at universities countrywide: “states should reinvest in public higher education; business leaders should advocate for funding; private donations should be considered a necessary support; and universities should continue to cut costs across the board – except for financial aid.” Despite there being no guarantees that this letter will make a difference, Occupy Colleges should still savor this small victory.
Rhode Island College
Anchormen (not Ron Burgandy, it’s the school’s nickname and it refers to sailors) have been holding teach-ins where, according to Seattle Pi, “professors are brought in to give lectures on topics like the history of student movements.”
“We have things we can offer by virtue of our study in these areas,” R.I.C. sociology professor Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur told Seattle Pi. “But that doesn’t make us any more qualified to speak than they are. We have students that aren’t available and they are still making the time to be part of a movement.”
Santa Monica College
This video summarizes the basic goals and actions of Occupy Colleges well enough that it can speak for itself:
University of California, Davis
Occupy UC Davis made headlines a month ago when a video released depicting police pepper spraying Occupiers who were peacefully sitting on the ground and singing. Whether the police had any right to use such excessive force or not, the video certainly made it easier to sympathize with the protestors than their opposition.
As UC Davis senior Ricardo Garay told College Magazine shortly after the incident: “Overall I think it was handled really poorly, and it’s such a shame, but the good that comes from it is that it highlights important issues. It’s a sad time in [UC Davis’s] history and a great time to take action.”
Photo: Bob Jagendorf at

Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland

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