Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Shifting to College Campuses

As city officials around the country move to disband Occupy Wall Street encampments amid growing concerns over health and public safety, protesters have begun to erect more tents on college campuses.

“We are trying to get mass numbers of students out,” said Natalia Abrams, 31, a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and an organizer with Occupy Colleges, a national group coordinating college-based protesters.

Though only a handful of colleges have encampments, tents went up last week at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and here at the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, protesters in California have vowed to occupy dozens of other campuses in the coming days.

Last Wednesday at Berkeley, about 3,000 people gathered on Sproul Plaza to protest tuition increases, and many then set up a camp. Demonstrators linked arms to protect their tents, but police officers broke through and took down more than a dozen tents, arresting about 40 protesters.

University officials said they had watched city governments struggle to deal with expanding campsites and decided to take a stricter line: no tents, no sleeping, period.

“The present struggles with entrenched encampments in Oakland, San Francisco and New York City led us to conclude that we must uphold our policy,” the university chancellor, Robert J. Birgeneau, said in a statement.

“Our experience with these encampments is that they are never temporary,” said Claire Holmes, a university spokeswoman. “We’ve had a long-term encampment at People’s Park for 43 years.”Read more....

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