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Occupy Wall Street: who's in and who's out?

By Brittany Irvine
On October 26, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, the growing movement in downtown Manhattan of people fed up with corporate greed and mismanagement of America, may be happening just miles away from Kean University, but it's not getting much attention from students here.

In interviews on campus by more than a dozen Tower reporters,  students generally said they knew of the movement, but have paid little attention to its message what with work and classes and commuting.

However,  a few curious or enthusiastic students have gone to Zuccotti Park either to express support or just to see what's going on there.

And as the nation's labor unions have moved to express solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, so has the Kean Federation of Teachers in an official statement from the union representing faculty and professional staff. 

Some students, however, seemed cynical about the effort.

Junior Gustavo Castillo, a Communications major said:  "I don't think they are valid because there are always people in New York fighting about that or (about) corruption."

Frankie Tierney, a Psychology major said: "… the organization seems disheveled in putting forward solutions or acknowledging the cause of the problems we are facing."

Student Nick Aversa, a Sophomore Political Science major,  went to New York city to see the movement firsthand.  He described the scene as a disaster and just as bad as they say on the news.

"It's a bunch of modern day hippies, it's ridiculous, they're nothing but problems. They're fighting a lost cause," he said.

Not everyone here at Kean knows exactly what it means.  "I heard about it but I don't really follow or know what's going on," said Paul Volcy, Senior Physical Education Major.

Some students have simply heard the phrase "Occupy Wall St," from more than one person, but still haven't had the interest to find out what it's about. 

"I have heard of it but I don't know why or what it's about," said Ethan Smith, a junior.

"I don't fully know what it is," said Ryan Clark, a Freshman. "I know they won't change, but I don't know the reason behind it."

Students well versed in the movement have strong opinions. 

"I think it's about time people start standing up for their own opinions and beliefs, the rich stay up there feeding on the middle class and the lower class never get enough to bring themselves out," says Anh Tran, a Sophomore Occupational Therapy major.   "We fed the monster under the bed too much and now it's grown and took over the whole house."

Professor Carol Stavraka said it is great for people to talk about an issue that is important to them.  "I'm not too sure of the effectiveness, but it would be nice to see some (resolution)."


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