Rebuttal: From Occupy Wall Street to IU Strikes

It wasn’t until last week, however, that I was left completely stunned by how much a column aggravated me.

In a column titled “From Occupy Wall Street to IU Strikes” a fellow opinion columnist tried to argue that the Occupy Wall Street movement was dominated by “rich white guys with advanced degrees” and that these men were “committed to crippling the American economy.”

Simultaneously, he claimed that occupiers were “dirty and disruptive, using drugs and committing rape.”

I could talk about my own experience with the Occupy movement, how it brought me together with people of all genders and races willing to struggle for a better world.

I could also point out that we live in a country obscenely rife with sexual assaults, reported and unreported.

Using the rapes of women in OWS camps to paint the movement as somehow distinctly dangerous is not only illogical, but offensive to both the women assaulted and to the survivors of sexual assault who took part in the movement.

I could discuss these things at length, but I don’t believe his argument deserves such a rebuttal.

In reality, last week’s column only served to distract from the real issues raised  by the proposed IU strike.

While my fellow columnist was busy tilting at leftist windmills, the organizers of the strike were circulating a list of demands which addresses the concerns of IU students, workers and faculty.

We are demanding an end to the constant tuition hikes that have driven so many of us into devastating debt and have kept others from attending the University at all.

Simultaneously, we are demanding that the administration un-freeze the wages of IU staff who are being forced to work long hours for minimal compensation.

We know there can be no victory for students without a victory for workers.

Strikers of all races are together demanding the administration meet its promise to increase African-American enrollment.

Further, IU must offer in-state tuition to all Indiana residents, including undocumented residents.

These demands were not written behind closed doors.

They were not conceived of by a secret society of rich white men as part of a plot to “cripple the American economy.”

The IU Strike demands emerged from long discussions between students, workers and faculty.

We came together to take back a university which has been hijacked by a self-interested and out of touch administration.

It speaks volumes that my fellow columnist was forced to caricature the organizers of the strike as drug-addled rapists in order to discredit the movement.

After all, how can anyone argue against demands for affordable education, a diverse campus and fair wages for workers?

I doubt that my fellow columnist will join the strike in April, but no matter what he thinks, we’ll be fighting for every member of the IU community.

If you agree, then I’ll see you on the picket line.


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