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Thursday, Feb. 22
The Indiana Daily Student

Occupy IU carries tents, raises awareness

Separate, anonymous group unfurls anti-coal banner on Kelley School of Business

Protest

Occupy IU and an anonymous group of students separately engaged in public activism around campus Monday.

Members of Occupy IU took to the Showalter Fountain at noon Monday carrying a symbol classic to the world of camping that they had made their own: the traditional tent. Group members said tents are a symbol of the movement and carried nylon shelters around campus to raise awareness for the group and its messages.

“It’s an extension of our free speech. We have no intention to camp,” junior Evan Rocheford said. “Tents are a symbol of physical occupation, of the movement.”

Rocheford carried a tent decorated with Disney “Lion King” characters around campus and traveled between Showalter Fountain and Woodburn Hall. Junior Steve Jackson described the group as “moseyin’ along” and “rovin’” and said they were trying to raise awareness for today’s Mass Assembly. The open initiative Occupy IU assembly event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on the lawn of the IU Art Museum, will aim to develop a strategy to take action against campus austerity.  

“I’m here because I care about my future and other students whether or not they care about it themselves,” Jackson said.

Police arrived at Showalter Fountain to “take stock of the situation,” senior Adam Bobeck said, but no arrests were made.

Along with tents, movement members chalked sidewalks, made megaphone announcements and briefly set up a stand near Woodburn Hall to pass out fliers. Megaphone announcements blasted the question “Is it hard to study in class with noise like this?”, chalked sentiments read “IU = corporate education,” and a flier advertised “a campus-wide struggle necessary to transform IU.”

The group hoped to raise awareness for a number of social issues, with tents serving as a singular symbol for the movement. High tuition rates, “wage slavery” and student debt were all under the umbrella of the Occupy IU cause, although technically it was an open initiative.  

“The tents are a symbol of the cultural movement, are easily recognizable and are therefore synonymous with a symbol of resistance,” Bobeck said.

Also in protest of campus policies, anonymous students unfolded a banner that read, “Climate change killed 315,000 people last year alone / IU has blood on its hands” from the Kelley School of Business bridge Monday morning. Via the banner, students wanted to spread the word about the IU physical plant on campus, which those who placed the banner say is hazardous to the public’s health.

Some Occupy IU members stated they were involved in the hanging of the sign, although students involved generally did not identify with any one campus or community organization. The banner was eventually taken down in the afternoon.

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