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2011 Fall Issue 7 (October 28, 2011)

“Occupy” movement comes to Carleton, students speak up

October 28, 2011
By Lauren Linde

As Occupy Wall Street has grown and spread across the nation, many Carleton students have been caught up in the fervor of the movement and are finding ways to get involved.

“The energy of the movement presents an opportunity to keep the process going that might not exist in two weeks,” said Charlie Cross ’14. “It’s about bringing that to Carleton.”

Cross and Matthew Fitzgerald ’14, are both enrolled in Religion Professor Terrance Wiley’s Nonviolent Social Change course. This class has inspired them to get involved in the Occupy movement.

“If you care about social justice, then it is imperative that you underderstand this movement, if only so as to reject it,” Wiley said.

“I thus encourage everyone, including Carleton students, to talk about, celebrate, criticize and attempt to understand the occupation phenomenon.

“And then I say, if you believe in its promise, join it. Shape its destiny through active participation and support.”

To incite more activism on campus, Cross, Fitzgerald and fellow classmates helped bring a group of activists associated with Occupy Minnesota to lead a panel discussion with Wiley on Oct 20. The students also led a community discussion of the movement the following day.

The activists opened the first discussion with rousing cries of “Mic check!” and “People over profits!” that were echoed back by the audience, demonstrating the concept of the “People’s mic” that is being used in occupations around the country to allow people to be heard without speakers or amplification.

They devoted much time to explaining why they personally were drawn to the movement before opening up the floor to questions from the audience. 

 “This movement is about taking our power back – we the people,” said one of the activists, epitomizing the main goal of the Occupy movement.

The student-led discussion was reflective, allowing students to talk about how they viewed the movement and what could be done on campus to make an impact. At one point, they split up into smaller groups to ensure everyone had a chance to contribute.

“I think we have to act like we can” make a difference, Cross said. “If we make the assumption that it won’t go anywhere, it won’t.”

The group has formed committees to address different aspects of the Carleton movement, including writing out a list of objectives and contacting the Board of Trustees to invite them to be a part of the discussion.

Future Carleton events related to the movement are still in the works, but Cross emphasized that there are many things that can be done on campus, like having a speaker series or organizing a student Occupation. 

“We are definitely going to keep having meetings, even if we have fewer people at the next meeting,” Cross said.

Many students have gotten involved in the movement off campus by going to the Twin Cities to participate in Occupy Minnesota protests. Wiley brought his students to the cities for such an event over the weekend. 

“Every person who joins increases the chance that this movement will result in significant positive changes to our political institutions,” Wiley said. “In this way we can all make the difference. Participation is vital.”
to talk about, celebrate, criticize, and attempt to understand the occupation phenomenon.

“And then I say, if you believe in its promise, join it! Shape its destiny through active participation and support.”
To incite more activism on campus, Cross, Fitzgerald, and fellow classmates helped bring a group of activists associated with Occupy Minnesota to lead a panel discussion with Wiley on Oct 20, as well as lead a community discussion of the movement on the following day.

The activists opened the first discussion with rousing cries of “Mic check!” and “People over profits!” that were echoed back by the audience, demonstrating the concept of the “People’s mic” that is being used in occupations around the country to allow people to be heard without speakers or amplification.

They devoted much time to explaining why they personally were drawn to the movement before opening up the floor to questions from the audience. 

 “This movement is about taking our power back—we the people,” said one of the activists, epitomizing the main goal of OWS.

The student led discussion was reflective, where students could talk about how they viewed the movement and what could be done on campus to make an impact. At one point, they split up into smaller groups to ensure everyone had a chance to contribute.

“I think we have to act like we can [make a difference]. If we make the assumption that it won’t go anywhere, it won’t,” explained Cross.

The group has formed committees to address different aspects of the Carleton movement, including writing out a list of objectives and contacting the Board of Trustees to invite them to be a part of the discussion.

Future Carleton events related to the movement are still in the works, but Cross emphasized that there are many things that can be done on campus, like having a speaker series or organizing a student Occupation. 

“We are definitely going to keep having meetings, even if we have fewer people at the next meeting,” Cross said.
Many students have gotten involved in the movement off campus by going into the cities to participate in Occupy Minnesota protests. Wiley brought his students to the cities for such an event over the weekend. 

“Every person who joins increases the chance that this movement will result in significant positive changes to our political institutions,” explained Wiley. “In this way we can all make THE difference. Participation is vital.”

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