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#Occupy Academia

A month ago, due to a lack of news about how the #occupy movement was affecting the universities, I posted an open thread that got very little response. Well, what a month it’s been!

Within a few weeks #occupyharvard and #occupyberkeley made the news. Especially notable was the use of violence against peaceful protesters at Berkeley. Among them was former poet laureate of the United States, Robert Hass, who wrote:

“Whose university?” the students had chanted. Well, it is theirs, and it ought to be everyone else’s in California. It also belongs to the future, and to the dead who paid taxes to build one of the greatest systems of public education in the world.

That question, “Whose university?” came to the fore again at #Occupy UC Davis, where,

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

That’s from this courageous open letter from an untenured assistant English professor to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. Nathan Brown’s letter is worth reading in full, so I won’t excerpt it here. Also worth watching in full, is the video of the students getting pepper sprayed and then chasing the police off campus, as well as a silent protest the following night.

There was even solidarity for the #occupy movement at the AAA, where there was an”Occupy AAA General Assembly” as well as an “Accessible Anthropological Assembly”. Not having been there, I look forward to full reports from those who were.

I imagine that the #occupy movement will grow even larger in response to the brutal attempts to suppress it. Feel free to treat the comments here as a second open thread on the occupy movement in academia. I’d be particularly interested in hearing from campuses which haven’t gotten as much news, and from anthropology students who have been involved with these movements.

 


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