Student organizations, professors bring ‘Occupy movement’ to UW-W

Local and student organizations are prepared to bring the Occupy Movement to UW-Whitewater this week.

Hartwick

The rally is set to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow on the campus mall between Main Street and the Andersen Library.

According to UW-Whitewater College Democrats President Bryant Plank, at approximately this time protestors will be welcome to set up tents for the night.

Professor James Hartwick, who helped organize the event, said though the November weather may deter people from staying overnight, he hopes many do.

“It’s hard to imagine that many people are going to stay overnight but I actually hope so because it makes a big message,” Hartwick said.  “Sleeping out overnight in November is a pretty serious deal.

“I slept in the capital for seven nights … the first day was fun but after that it was just a pain in the butt, but you do it because you’re standing up for your rights, your civically engaged, and that’s what I hope people do here.”

Coenen

Plank said the event will be an educational opportunity for people to learn about terms like “the 99 percent” and also new voter identification legislation.

“It can be a very big educational opportunity and not just something to go to where you protest,” Plank said. “We do have certain times set apart for protesting, where we’ll be saying what we want done, but we have a lot of times set up where it’s going to be very educational.”

UW-Whitewater College Republicans President Scott Coenen said he sees the event as being a positive experience for everyone.

“Their stated goal is to educate people and while I disagree on a lot of the policy descriptions, we share an acknowledgement of the problems that are ailing our society right now,” Coenen said. “I think we disagree on a lot of the solutions but I hope it focuses people and I hope it educates people at the very least.”

Plank said the event is a chance for community members and students to take the first step in creating a positive change in the world around them.

“There [are] so many things we see out there that [are] not OK in our system and they appear to be getting worse and the only way for them to get better is for people to organize and strongly voice their opinions,” Plank said.  “It’s giving everybody the chance to come together and show not only the government but everyone else out there that we do want things changed.”

Hartwick said it’s important students get involved because they’re the ones who will truly be affected by what’s happening now around the country.

“You guys are the ones, I’m telling you … It hurts me but it’s going to kill you guys,” Hartwick said.  “I just am deeply concerned for students as they go out into the world. It’s just really scary.”

Plank said he hopes for a large turnout due to the statement it could make about Whitewater.

“If we can get a large turnout, and we’re fully expecting a large turnout, people will see that it’s not only New York City, it’s not only Oakland, not only these large cities that can accomplish things,” Plank said.

Coenen said he also believes it’s a positive statement about Whitewater.

“We have a student body that cares, that wants to take part in the future, and be a part of the solution,” Coenen said.

Beginning at 3 p.m., Plank said there will be several speakers, including Reps. Peter Barca and Andy Jorgensen.

After approximately an hour of protest, those interested will march to Timmerman Auditorium in Hyland Hall, where at 7 p.m. Rep. Jon Erpenbach will be speaking.

Plank said there will also be a booth where participants can sign petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker if they so choose.

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