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The Mass Media

Occupy UMB Asked to Remove Tents, No Eviction Yet

Tweeted by Paul Weiskel: students sleeping in the Campus Center

Updated: 9:54 a.m.  1/27/2012 

Look for more updates as this story develops.

Occupy UMB remains on campus today despite an official letter from the university, which asked the occupiers to restrict their demonstration to Campus Center hours of operation, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The letter, delivered Thursday afternoon, was signed by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Patrick Day and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley.

Occupy UMB set up tents on the first floor terrace of the Campus Center on Monday, Jan. 23.

Associate Dean of Students Mark Jannoni said that he would not describe the letter as an eviction notice.

“It’s more of a request,” Jannoni said. “We are willing to treat them like any other student group provided they follow the protocol that any student group would have to follow.”

Jason Missoula, a political science major who has been involved with Occupy Boston and was arrested last semester while protesting in Dewey Square, said he believes an earlier altercation between members of Occupy UMB and the Student Arts and Events Council (SAEC) brought about the letter from the administration.

According to Missoula, SAEC had an event that was supposed to end at 3 p.m., but went long. Occupy had scheduled a general assembly for 3 p.m.

“Someone from Occupy went up to SAEC and asked them to turn the music down and there was a confrontation,” Missoula said. “Later on [former Student Trustee] Stasha Lambert and I went up and talked to people from SAEC and we had straightened everything out, but someone from the administration got wind of it.”

Missoula said he believes this altercation is what prompted the university to ask the occupiers to limit their demonstration to Campus Center operating hours.

International business major Katie Kaiser works for SAEC and said she witnessed the conflict.

“Two women, one with the [Occupy] movement and one against, confronted each other about the level of music going on at the event,” Kaiser said. “It was essentially about proper protocol of reserving space.”

Kaiser said she does not believe this incident played a role in the university’s decision to issue the official letter.

In response to the letter Occupy UMB held “an emergency general assembly” at 9:30 p.m., which was attended by approximately 20 students.

When asked for comment, Campus Security referred The Mass Media to Director of Communications DeWayne Lehman, who could not be reached.

The official letter, here in full:

January 26, 2011

Dear Occupy UMass Boston Students:

The University of Massachusetts Boston values its tradition of providing a forum for a diverse opinions and free speech. This includes the rights of our students to demonstrate peacefully on campus and to raise awareness about various issues. We believe your uninterrupted public demonstration over the past four days has reflected the university’s commitment to our students’ rights.

At the same time, the university has a responsibility to provide and maintain a safe and orderly learning and working environment in which these freedoms can be exercised by all. Our campus has developed a number of guidelines over time aimed at providing all objectives in a manner that is equitable and respectful of others.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that, as of today, the university will require you to comply with all campus policies and procedures adhered to by other UMass Boston students. In particular:

• UMass Boston students will be allowed in the Campus Center during normal hours of operation, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., only (no one will be permitted to stay overnight).

• Because there is limited space in the Campus Center, you will be allotted a space to continue your demonstration similar in size and location to other student organizations.

• Activities outside these basic guidelines may be conducted in the area reserved for public demonstrations (on the lawn between the HarborWalk and University Drive near the entrance of the campus).

Our campus values encourage each of us to respect different perspectives and to strive for open and honest discussions. It is our sincere hope that you continue to express your ideals aimed at improving this university and society at large, and we look forward to engaging with you in an open and civil dialogue to address your concerns.

–Winston Langley, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

–Patrick Day, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


About the Contributors
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011
Ariel Rodriguez served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Arts Editor: Fall 2011 *Music Editor: 2010-2011 *The position of music editor was developed in Fall 2010, and disappeared in Fall 2012. Elizabeth Dow served as music editor from 2011-2012.