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USG Stands In Solidarity


Travis Henderson (right) marches in the Occupy Boston protest downtown on Oct. 10. That night 141 people were arrested in the protest.

In a city that has been the first for many things, from the very first library to being the first to fully accept and legalize same-sex marriage legislation (and the first city to keep it that way), Boston is not the first city to take peaceful and powerful action against the greed and oppression that her working citizens are seeing and feeling from the financial sector. Students, blue- and white-collar workers, teachers, middle management and retirees; these are some of the people who are represented on the streets of Boston, and within Dewey Square. These are the ones who have been hardest hit by the deeds, misdeeds and decisions of the corporate giant that is State Street, Wall Street, or whatever you call the financial sector in your own home city.

This past week, Occupy Boston has made an incredible mark on this city, and has been recognized nationally as part of the beginnings of a national movement to stop corporate greed and imagine a better nation, where social mobility is once again the norm, rather than the exception. The Boston Police Department had remained neutral, allowing the expression of free speech for the residents of Boston. However, on Oct. 10, that stance radically shifted.

During a thousands-strong march, the occupation grew to encompass a second piece of land in order to accommodate the rapidly growing movement. Rather than return to business as usual, the BPD threatened protesters with arrest, though many officers themselves were seemingly uncomfortable with the idea. The events from that night not only served as an attack on free speech in the cradle of liberty, but also left physical marks on far too many. While peacefully demonstrating, these protesters were met with over 200 police officers in riot gear, and many were beaten with batons and approximately 141 arrested. This office decries these actions of the BPD, and hopes such actions will not be repeated as the Occupy movement continues.

The administration of UMB has verbally committed to their position that students who engage in peaceful protest, so long as it’s clear that it was non-violent, will not have their academic standing jeopardized.

The office of the student body president understands that in any vibrant democratic setting there will be a variety of different views and ideas. The presence of contradictory opinions is not just absolutely authentic to the essence of democracy, it is the baseline requirement of a democratic environment.

To view disagreement as a threat to be resisted or contained rather than as an opportunity to be capitalized on suggests a society that disdains, rather than nurtures, democratic values.

Your executive office understands and appreciates that not all members of the UMB community stand with and support the Occupy movement. We respect and encourage any expression of political opinion as a deeply American action, and we stand behind such nonviolent demonstrations.Student

Senate Statement of Support

The UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Senate, joining together with the many other respectable and representative workers organizations which have already done so, formally endorses and stands with the Occupy Boston movement and the overarching “Occupy Wall Street” movement, from which Occupy Boston sought its inspiration. In doing so, the UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Senate stands in solidarity with Occupy Boston’s opposition to the egregious levels of economic inequality at this point in history as well as the unaccountable and destructive corporate influence in the American political system, so long as Occupy Boston continues to encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

Student President Statement of Support

I am proud of our students. They are standing up for what they believe in, for the fact that they represent the same values and ideas many of us live by: The very same ideals outlined by FDR at another notable crossroad. The fact that these students have the courage to display them in such a manner that is in accordance with both the State and Federal Constitution – where the freedom from want and from fear and the freedoms of speech and expression are protected. I see Occupy Boston as a way to have a voice again; while what they are saying is important, what is most important is that they are saying something, they are speaking out and exercising their First Amendment rights.