While most of Columbia is getting ready for homecoming, about a dozen students gathered at MU’s Speakers Circle yesterday. Along with over 130 colleges around the county, Mizzou students joined the national student solidarity protest, known as Occupy Colleges.
By Scarlett Robertson (Columbia, Mo.)
There’s hula hooping, drumming and makeshift signs...it’s more like a peaceful sit in than a protest. Like the rest of the occupy movement, which has evolved largely through online communication, Occupy Mizzou was created as a Facebook page earlier this month. Like other students around the country, they’re standing to show their support for the Occupy movement, as well as protesting an educational system that leaves them with massive debt and few job prospects.
Jacob Moor should be a senior at Mizzou, but he had to drop out for financial reasons. Moor now works part time at a the Bread Basket Café while trying to pay off $10-15 thousand in student loans.
“It is difficult and I do live paycheck to paycheck," he said. "I am having to work now because of the debt that I’m in and I don’t have the degree to get me the job to make all that money back anyway.”
Sociology student David McRae won’t graduate for another year, but says he’s already seen friends have a hard time finding employment post college.
“ It’s things like that that are concerning that as we get out of college that there’s nothing really for us on the other side,” he said.
Despite this, McRae and Moor are hopeful that the movement will make a difference. This is echoed by other protesters including senior Bonnie Watson who holds a cardboard sign that reads “People against the oligarchy of America” She’s here because she sees America as a government controlled by those with money instead of a democracy. Her hope is that the takeaway of Occupy Mizzou will result in a greater awareness among students and maybe even inspire them to take action.
“We need to have an active part in our government if we want it to work for us," she said. "It’s starting discussion already, I mean I don’t know how many times I’ve just been walking around campus and heard people talk about it. Negatively or positively, it’s starting discussions. Which is the best we can do it’s the best place to start.”