Occupy movement comes to CSUN

Braulio Campos

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CSUN Greens and other student activist groups organized Occupy CSUN Thursday, participating in solidarity with 100 other universities in a movement to Occupy colleges.

Bringing the protest to campus was meant to raise awareness for the Occupy movement and give students a chance to participate if they cannot make it to Occupy LA, said Eddie Alvarez, president of the CSUN Greens.

The Occupy movement claims that 99 percent of the population is economically unstable, and the top 1 percent of the population owns 40 percent of the wealth, said Steve Singh Gill, CSUN political science major and student activist.

“Since the economy is so bad we are blaming each other. We are blaming immigrants,” Gill said. “We are blaming welfare recipients and we are scapegoating. The biggest welfare recipients are the corporations.”

There is no single message for the cause, rather the group seeks to hold a public gathering to start a discussion about government, politics and finances, topics students should be concerned about, said graduate student Ankur Patel, 26.

The coalition formally requested to occupy the campus lawn from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“This is not a permanent occupation of campus like Occupy LA, today is more like a day of action,” Alvarez said. “We want to promote awareness and build a network. We have gone to Occupy LA, and want CSUN students to experience it first hand.”

Some universities staged walkouts, but CSUN chose to stage a mock Occupy protest to get student attention, said Edgar Ramos of Students for Quality Education (SQE).

Occupy CSUN set up about five tents on the Oviatt lawn and built a crowd from passersby joining the discussion.

Patel shared his experience at Occupy LA downtown, where he has spent nine out of the past 12 days.

“It has to be everywhere,” Patel said.  “People have to understand what it is and that they can join.”

Central American studies professor Linda Alvarez joined the crowd and suggested the group seek help from the faculty.

“Given the fact we are on a university campus, one thing you can do is get your faculty behind you,” Alvarez said.

Depending on the turnout and group discussion, Alvarez said occupying the campus overnight could be a possibility.

Additional reporting by Julian Reyes