Occupy FAU strikes on Occupy Wall Street International Day of Action

Protestors+marched+from+the+Social+Science+building+to+the+Rec+Center%2C+where+Student+Body+President+Ayden+Maher+was+to+give+his+annual+State+of+the+Student+Body+Address+on+Oct.+13+at+4%3A30+p.m.+There+was+no+clash+between+Occupy+FAU+and+SG+officials%2C+and+the+protestors+left+before+Maher+began+speaking.+Photo+by+Charles+Pratt

Char Pratt

Protestors marched from the Social Science building to the Rec Center, where Student Body President Ayden Maher was to give his annual State of the Student Body Address on Oct. 13 at 4:30 p.m. There was no clash between Occupy FAU and SG officials, and the protestors left before Maher began speaking. Photo by Charles Pratt

Regina Kaza

The last time Occupy FAU had a protest, the faculty union president, a punk rocker and over 70 students showed up. This time there were only six.

On Nov. 17, those six students held signs on the Free Speech Lawn and talked about rising tuition, budget cuts, and what they called a lack of FAU faculty. The protest was part of the Occupy Wallstreet International Day of Action, in which students all over the country participated.

Occupy FAU posted the event on Facebook around 10 p.m., the night before Thursday’s protest.

“It’s a late notice event, so we don’t expect a lot of people,” said organizer Gonzalo Vizcardo. Many of the movement’s usual supporters were at an Occupy Miami march, where Occupy FAU was going after the strike, he said.

Local students organizing with Occupy Palm Beach and Occupy Ft. Lauderdale were also attending the march, according to Vizcardo. “We’ve been in contact with Occupy FIU. They’re doing a walk out and then joining the Miami march.”

Political science major Jennifer Braisted said students don’t think protesting will matter. “It’s the middle of a class day. People feel like their voice won’t be heard and it’s not going to make a difference.”

“This is a strike for staff, faculty and students. We’re protesting the lack of accountability and transparency in universities,” Vizcardo said. “There hasn’t been any investment with the new enrollment. We haven’t seen any more classes or new professors. We’ve seen cutbacks instead of investments.”

Junior sociology major Tracy Lauren was walking by and decided to join. “It’s not mainstream and it opposes traditional views,” she said, regarding the protest’s turnout.

“Ideally I hope the state legislature would hear our pleas and put more money into education and not raise our tuition,” said Braisted.

As for what Occupy FAU is doing next, Vizcardo said nothing is planned, but at their last meeting it was suggested that the group set up tents and camp out in an area on campus.

Occupy UF got approval to set up tents and occupy an area at their school. Braisted doubts that could happen here. “FAU is a commuter school, so we don’t have the kind of unity that UF does.”

“I’m glad everyone has decided we need a movement on campus, but unfortunately not many people are involved,” she opined. “They should be, because it’s something that affects everyone.”