Occupy Northwestern marches through the Arch to protest police action

Stephanie Haines

Approximately 35 people attended Occupy NU March through the Arch on Friday, an event held in response to the recent increase in police intervention at other Occupy protests in cities and college campuses across the U.S.

“The cops have descended on Occupy movement across the U.S.,” Occupy NU Organizer and graduate student Lauryn Flizeer said. “Our next step, in light of these encampments, is to build NU support.”

Some incidents of heightened police intervention Flizeer cited include the expulsion of protesters from New York City’s Zuccotti Park, the use of pepper spray on passive protesters at the University of California Davis and the shooting of a man near the protests at the University of California Berkeley.

The Friday event follows a string of Occupy-related gatherings at NU this quarter, including the first Occupy NU general assembly meeting on Nov. 2, which gained low student attendance, and the protests against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Oct. 28.

Flizeer said she was glad more participants came to Friday’s Occupy NU speak-out, which was advertised with fliers posted throughout campus. Flizeer and other NU students also painted the Rock on Thursday to advertise the Friday event and honor the Day of Action, the two-month anniversary of the national Occupy Movement.

“As a student, I personally feel I need to step up and be a part of the movement,” Weinberg freshman and Occupy NU participant Tom Cui said. “Our goal is to get more NU undergraduates involved.”

According to Flizeer, the Occupy NU movement also enjoys some NU faculty support. NU General Faculty Committee’s Social Responsibility Subcommittee recently introduced to the Faculty Senate a resolution calling to support the Occupy Chicago Movement. Although the resolution was defeated by one vote, Occupy NU participants “still have a lot of support,” Flizeer said.

At the Friday speak-out, Flizeer and other students handed out fliers about the Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education, in which writer Daniel Indiviglio, associate editor of The Atlantic magazine, said student loans have grown by 511 percent since 1999. This percentage, the pamphlet stated, was based on a 2011 estimate of outstanding loans, totaling $550 billion.

Weinberg senior Natasha Singh said she came to Friday’s event because she was curious about the movement.

“I am going to have to deal with these problems Occupy addresses within the next coming months,” Singh said. “Even if you aren’t directly affected, other people are, and that does not mean you should sit back and tolerate it.”

Occupy Evanston organizer Jack Sigel appeared at Flizeer’s Occupy speak-out, where he advertised an Occupy Evanston meeting.

“I am glad to see that Occupy NU is moving forward and providing more information to the NU community,” Sigel said. “I am looking forward to the mutual support Occupy Evanston and Occupy NU can give each other.”

Occupy NU will host a meeting in Kresge Hall on Monday to discuss more ways to gain NU community support.

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