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Undergraduate Student Government Issues Statement About Occupy UMB

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Re: Occupy University of Massachusetts Boston

 

 

 

 

The Undergraduate Student Government issued a statement about Occupy UMB today, Wednesday, afternoon. The statement does not explicitly attack the Occupy protestors but it makes allusions to issues that have led some students to oppose the presence of the Occupy movement on campus.

Hinting towards accusations that too many of the Occupy protesters are not UMass Boston students:

“The Undergraduate Student Government will always act to support and defend the rights of students at the University of Massachusetts Boston as a whole, which they earn through the matriculated, degree seeking process of registering in and fulfilling tuition payments for classes at the University.”

Alluding to accusations that the protest is in an area students use to study, and not in the “free speech zone” on the front lawn of the campus:

“We applaud the University for reserving a specific area of campus (on the lawn between the Harbor Walk and University Drive near the entrance of campus) where activities outside these basic guidelines, like public, peaceful demonstrations, may be conducted.”

Hinting that the USG would support the administration in removing Occupy tents from the Campus Center:

“[…] We use our voice, the voice of the students, to request our University’s Administration to always and consistently, with good faith, take any immediate and necessary actions in accordance with predetermined University policies and procedures, which protect the rights and freedoms of every student at the University of Massachusetts Boston.”

At the occupation camp on the first floor of the Campus Center, some protesters thought that the USG’s statement showed a lack of communication between the two groups.

“It really does show an unfortunate state of affairs between the USG and the occupation,” said protester Kyle Forrester, a sophomore psychology major. “But there are a number of people here that want to open a dialogue.”

Protester Daniel Wilder said that most students agree with the issues Occupy is bringing up, including freezing fee hikes, keeping small class sizes, and holding the Board of Trustees accountable.

“The problems the occupation is having have to do with the expression of these ideas. Some feel uncomfortable in the space or feel that we’re bringing in too many non-students.”

Wilder said that non UMass Boston students are not invited by Occupy, but that the Campus Center is a public space.

“We want to be as sensitive to student opinion as possible. We at Occupy don’t think our voices are more important than those of other students. That’s why we’re constantly changing, trying to find a configuration that students feel comfortable with supporting.”

The statement from the USG here in full:

 

To: All Students, University of Massachusetts Boston

All Faculty and Administration, University of Massachusetts Boston

All Occupy University of Massachusetts Boston Members

 

CC: J. Keith Motley, Chancellor

Winston Langley, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Patrick Day, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Mark Jannoni, Associate Dean of Students

Diane D’Arrigo, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Services

Geoff Combs, Director Campus Center

Shelby Harris, Director Student Activities

 

Date: February 1, 2012

 

Re: Occupy University of Massachusetts Boston

 

“We, the Undergraduate Student Government, elected on behalf of and to represent all of the undergraduate students of the University of Massachusetts Boston, are, by duty, compelled to support initiatives and take actions which represent our constituents. The Undergraduate Student Government will always act to support and defend the rights of students at the University of Massachusetts Boston as a whole, which they earn through the matriculated, degree seeking process of registering in and fulfilling tuition payments for classes at the University. We will support each student’s right to diverse opinion and freedoms of assembly and speech. We will support each student’s right to protection from interference with instructional activities, full, unimpeded use of all campus facilities (in accordance with University policies and procedures and the Student Code of Conduct), and all other rights, either lawfully afforded or unalienable. We will strongly support the responsibility entrusted to the University to provide and maintain a safe and orderly learning and working environment in which these rights and freedoms can be exercised and enjoyed by all. We will always support the University Administration’s responsibility to create, implement, and enforce University guidelines, policies, and protocols that aim to provide these objectives in a manner that is equitable and respectful of others. We applaud the University for reserving a specific area of campus (on the lawn between the Harbor Walk and University Drive near the entrance of campus) where activities outside these basic guidelines, like public, peaceful demonstrations, may be conducted. It is our hope that, during the course of any event on campus at the University, every student’s rights and freedoms are respected and protected by the University, its Administration, and by every other student. It is with this hope, that we use our voice, the voice of the students, to request our University’s Administration to always and consistently, with good faith, take any immediate and necessary actions in accordance with predetermined University policies and procedures, which protect the rights and freedoms of every student at the University of Massachusetts Boston.”

 

Travis Henderson

Student Body President

 

Jesse Wright

Budget and Finance Chair

 

UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government