Occupy PSU

When I first spot the flyer in the Cramer Hall stairwell, I chuckle to myself. “Student Walkout! Occupy PSU,” it cries in all its crudely photocopied glory. I remember when my class learned about walk-outs, sit-ins, and other forms of civil disobedience in high school American history. ‘Why had we never thought of this?’ we all wondered. Finally, a tried and true redress to all of our adolescent grievances! We promptly planned a walkout, complete with photocopied flyers. We never could explain exactly what it was that we were protesting and we gave up after about 20 minutes. I was disillusioned with the effectiveness of peaceful protest. How could we ever really stand up for ourselves if we couldn’t even agree on what it was that we were upset about?

I step closer to read the small print. I’m pleasantly surprised; this is actually quite eloquently worded and specific. “Bail out students not banks. Equitable pay for faculty and staff. Bring back public funding. Make tuition affordable. Remove barriers for minorities and immigrants.” I can get behind these goals. As a post-baccalaureate student, the only financial aid I am eligible for is loans, and those are barely enough to cover my tuition, especially after the 13 percent increase. I worry almost constantly about how I will afford to finish the undergraduate requirements for entry into the geology Master’s program.

Ok, so this isn’t an adolescent response to some imagined injustice, this is legitimate. I wonder what this will look like. Will people really leave their classrooms to participate? Will the park blocks be choked with angry PSU students? Will any staff or faculty join in? How will the University respond? How will the police respond? Will I skip class to attend? Hmm, I’m not sure about that. I’m paying an awful lot in tuition to skip class, even for a cause that I believe in. Whatever I decide to do, I am excited to see what unfolds on the 16th.

Do you plan to participate in the walk-out?

6 thoughts on “Occupy PSU

  1. The movement has not receive much coverage and most media refused to reveal the main motives. Capitalists agenda to make the rich richer and lead the poor poorer is a worldwide agenda taht bounced into the American coasts.
    Hopefully more will be revealed on how Wall Street had destroyed the daily life of ordinary American folks.

  2. You summed it up Occupy (PDX and PSU) quite effectively with your own words:

    “We never could explain exactly what it was that we were protesting…How could we ever really stand up for ourselves if we couldn’t even agree on what it was that we were upset about?”

    Glad I was not on campus today for the circus and truly hope the main contingent does not attempt to camp out on campus or in the south park blocks.

  3. PSU is expensive? To who? Around 2k a term for full time residents? That’s pretty cheap if you ask me, what with all the amenities that PSU provides. Grants are terribly easy to get if you just apply and you’re low income.

    Some of these students should try going to a European school (I’m in France right now for the Fall term) and see what a low cost education gets you. Run down buildings, terrible professors, etc…

  4. This is column by Mary Beth Hicks, a New York Times columnist……..

    Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters (or any of the other “Occupy” morons around the globe….) without thinking, “Who parented these people?”

    As a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political ramifications of the “movement” – now known as “OWS” – whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.”

    Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on “transformational” change in America and Canada who are using the protesters like bed springs in a brothel.

    Yet it’s not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.

    Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:

    1/ Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice – that everyone should be treated fairly – is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nations were founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

    2/ No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places.

    Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.

    3/ Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans or Canadians owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

    While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

    4/ Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for – literally.

    5/ A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

    There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem.

    It’s not them. It’s you.

  5. Wow, Eric. Your sweeping generalizations intrigue me. Have you met an Occupier who wasn’t waving a sign on CNN or Fox? I have no tattoos, no guages, no dreadlocks and yes… I do have a job! I’m occupying credits at PSU, meaning that I’m using a real life experience (not drinking the kool-aid from a power-point presentation) to enrich my education through independent study.

    Your interpretations are interesting but laden with the close-minded anger and fear that is keeping us in this economic and cultural pit. Instead of focusing on how stupid those people are for not conforming, image the world that “those people” are advocating for: a government not co-opted by corporations and the ability to celebrate our humanity without being smacked on the head by a baton.

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