Occupy movement changes focus, aims at colleges

nafta

This article was originally posted on The Prospector.

No longer a gathering of campers sitting in protest at San Jacinto Plaza, Occupy El Paso has changed into a group of people of different ages engaged in a variety of social and political issues. Currently, they have planned an Occupy Colleges event, which will be held on the UTEP campus.

“Miners without Borders, a UTEP student organization, will be sponsoring Occupy Colleges on Feb. 29 and March 1,” said Josiah Heyman, professor of sociology and anthropology and Occupy El Paso participant. “We are going to have teach-ins about the situation of higher education, costs of tuition, public support, student loans, cost of materials, books and all of the factors that affect higher education.”

The event will take place at Leech Grove, and according to Heyman, the teach-ins about higher education issues will happen multiple times over the course of the two days. Additionally, at 3 p.m. Feb. 29, there will be a teach-in event focused on public education below the university level, along with an event March 1 from Amnesty International.

Miners Without Borders will be having a used-book sale, and there are currently plans in the works for musical entertainment.

Heyman also said they are going to have a lot of information on multiple topics available, with the goal of connecting the lives of UTEP students to greater issues at large such as the widening gap of income inequality, the increase of corporate money in politics and issues such as NAFTA.

“I want students to be more aware of how money works, how it plays into our education and how much money we have to pay to get an education,” said Orlando Cordova, freshman digital media production major and Occupy El Paso participant. “We’ve been told our whole lives that if we go to college, we’ll get a good job afterwards, but a lot of people are finding that not to be true, and the cost of tuition has risen dramatically over the past 20 or 30 years, whereas people’s salaries haven’t really matched that. So there’s a disconnect between the value these people believe they’re paying for and what they’re really getting out of it.”

The event will also host a petition table at Leech to collect student signatures for Change.org, a website that promotes social change.

Read the full article on The Prospector.

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