Observations by Lance Pauker

The occupy movement has spread its decentralized yet potent wings, expanding onto college campuses. While I previously argued that this movement is not definitively generation based or rooted in collegiate protest  (a la the anti-war demonstrations of the 60’s), the movement’s spread to the University represents a significant chapter in Occupys turbulent young history. Said NPR’s Beenish Ahmed, “The movement and its encampments are proving to be a challenge for administrators at some schools.”

While the movement has seen presence at some of the nation’s top schools such as UCLA, UC Berkley, and even Harvard, it still doesn’t appear as if Occupy is being truly embraced by students at our nation’s most academically inclined institutions. For example, Washington DC’s Georgetown University, often a behemoth in terms of political activity, has been criticized by other DC schools for their lack of involvement in the protests. At Berkley, the camp was recently raided and torn down by authorities.  Even Harvard, despite acknowledging Occupy’s presence, has added their own twinge of exclusivity to their encampment. Following protests in Harvard Yard last week, University officials closed off the yard’s gates so that only student’s with University ID’s were allowed to enter. One percent much?

I mentioned last time that GenY is not a protest generation, and that Millennials generally appear to accept the roles of the institutions they associate themselves with. While Occupy’s shift to college campuses may represent a larger trend in the role of the University in relation to the current economic crisis (College tuition nowadays is really cheap. Right?!?!), it appears that those involved in the protests on many of our college campuses are in the definitive minority. Not quite that dreaded 1% perhaps, but based on the opinions I received below, it doesn’t seem like the movement is going to go all French Revolution on our nation’s Universities:

“I feel like a bunch of people have got involved in the movement here in downtown Los Angeles. But from my outside opinion, it kind of seems like it went through a phase where everyone was into protesting, but probably wasn’t 100% sure why. Oh, college kids.”

-Michael, University of Southern California

“While I really hate the injustice and hardships brought about by large corporations and the 1%, I don’t think the occupy movement is much more than an excuse to complain about the way things are while simultaneously doing nothing to change anything. Their lack of coordination is counterproductive to their “goals.” And frankly, even though I’m in the 99%, I’m kind of embarrassed by the entire thing. It’s a circus.”

-Kristin, Gettysburg College

“The Occupy movement is just a lack of self responsibility, and that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in…the banks may be a little bit to blame, but the banks didn’t take out the mortgages.”

-Anthony, SUNY Stony Brook (recent grad)

“I think that it is great and incredibly important that American citizens exercise their rights and become politically active…but on the negative end, I think that there are openings for many unknowledgeable students to get sucked into this or to be coerced into participating in this “event” without truly knowing

what it’s all about.”

-Zachary, Georgetown University

“Since our campus is so diverse and extremely liberal, there are people who are completely for the protests…I mean clearly there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor in this country but I just don’t know how cohesive and effective those protests really were.”

-Kristen, University of Michigan

“I believe that the protesters have a valid reason to be upset, but I think there are more effective ways to display their feelings than “occupying” Zuccotti Park.”

-Gardner, Vanderbilt University