The Occupy movement continues to progress and specific Occupy groups are correlating their actions to reach their goals.
The Colorado People’s Assembly was hosted on the CU campus Saturday, with meetings taking place in various rooms in Duane Physics from 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Participants at the Colorado People's Assembly in Boulder, Colo. on Feb 18. The event was organized in order to collaborate between the various Occupy movements from around the state. (CU Independent/David Zimmerman)
Occupy Boulder, Occupy CU Boulder, Occupy Greeley and Occupy Littleton were among the Colorado activist groups in attendance of the statewide conference.
Mike Springer, founder of Occupy CU and graduate chemistry, said the event was a triumph.
“It’s going awesome,” Springer said Saturday afternoon. “It’s been going much more smoothly than I anticipated.”
According to the Occupy Boulder website, seats had been reserved for 342 people. Springer said that approximately 150 people had checked in by 2 p.m.
“There’s been a lot of Colorado state members and a few from the Occupy CU group,” Springer said. “But other than that there hasn’t been many students.”
The conference was broken up between all assembly sessions and an assortment of focus groups, ranging from topics such as drug war, education, healthcare and foreclosure.
Mikel Whitney, member of Occupy Littleton, said that he enjoyed floating between the different focus group sessions.
“Women of Occupy and money in politics seem to be the most popular sessions,” Whitney said. “I also spent some time in the economic injustice session.”
The all assembly reconvened at 3:45 p.m. to discuss goals set in the focus group.
Strategies on how to coordinate actions throughout Colorado were discussed during the assembly, and it was suggested that Occupy groups protest in their local communities and congregate for a mass protest that may possibly take place in Denver.
A few dates were set out by the assembly dedicated to specific movements within Occupy such as Occupy Colleges to take place on March 1 and Global Teach-In Day on April 25.
Audrey Campbell, a 21-year-old senior international affairs major, was among the representatives of Occupy CU taking part in the assembly and said that the group is aiming to oppose proposed tuition increases with continuous action.
“Tuition is going up for in-state students by 15.7 percent next year,” Campbell said. “This year Chancellor DiStefano got a $49,000 raise and now makes almost as much as the president of the United States. That raise increment alone is as much as my dad’s salary – we’re not gong to take that anymore.”
Campbell said that Occupy CU will initiate a protest called M1 Occupy Education to dispute the proposed in-state tuition increase. The rally will congregate on campus on March 1 at 12 p.m. The group will march at the Regents Building at 12:30 p.m.
“I think we’ve gotten a lot of support,” Campbell said. “This protest particularly is going to be the first big demonstration that we’ve done and it’s creating a lot of awareness because it affects us so deeply. I think this is going to be a really good way for us to all come together.”
The proposed tuition increases affects students directly, which may give them more cause to support the Occupy CU movement, Campbell said.
“CU had a movement a few years ago about sweatshop apparel being sold in the bookstore and there was mass vocalization from students and it worked,” Campbell said. “CU now has specific brands of clothes that they order that are not produced in sweatshops. So I do think that there’s potential.”
Campbell said that Occupy CU does not have plans in the near future to protest by camping out on campus. However, campus administration and police have already contacted the group in regards to future protests.
“When an administrator, not even a teacher is getting a raise, more than some people’s parents’ salaries, how do you expect them to pay for school?” Campbell said. “We have to draw a line, and I think that line’s been drawn. Students, now that it’s directly affecting them, are staying in tune and saying ‘Why is CU grossing millions and millions of dollars every year and I’m still in a class with 400 people?’”
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