Occupy Wall Street movement comes to UNC

Video by Denni Hu and Peter Carr / The Daily Tar Heel

UNC students gathered on the steps of Wilson Library to show support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and to express their own concerns and grievances.

The growing Occupy Wall Street movement has reached campus.

Amid protests taking place across the country, students gathered Wednesday on the steps of Wilson Library to express discontent about a wide variety of issues.

The event was part of a national “Occupy Colleges” movement, which called for students and professors to gather at noon to have a public dialogue about their grievances.

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Eva Panjwani rallies students on the steps of Wilson for “Occupy UNC”.

According to the movement’s website, 75 colleges planned to participate.

Eva Panjwani, a participant in the UNC-CH demonstration, told her fellow protesters that it was important for them to understand why they were there.

“If we want to have our demands met, we need to understand our demands,” she said.

Students responded to Panjwani’s encouragement by writing their sentiments on a large blue banner.

“Stop privatizing the military,” “Stop the Keystone Pipeline” and “Save Professor Porter!” were some of the wide-ranging responses.

Matt May, a visiting spectator and professor of communications at N.C. State University, said he was a little unclear about the group’s goals.

“I think it’s about rising student fees,” he said.

The group also broke into small discussion circles to plan for the movement’s future.

Kristen Maye, a senior Afro-American studies major, told her group she didn’t think a unified demand was required to be effective.

“Occupy Wall Street is occupy whatever your ‘Wall Street’ is,” she said. “It’s whatever we need it to be right now.”

Dylan Crouch, a sophomore math major, agreed.

“One of the criticisms of the movement is that there’s no goals or demand,” he said. “That’s the best part about this movement.”

Bryan Perlmutter, co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society at N.C. State University, said about 70 people gathered Wednesday at the university’s Brickyard as a part of the national protest.

“Everyone’s bringing their own demand,” he said.

But Perlmutter said by “everyone,” he doesn’t actually mean everyone.

“I guess it’s for people who are liberal,” he said.

The movement is not only gaining steam on college campuses.

Eno Slotnick, an 11th-grade student at Woods Charter School, said he was inspired after he saw an Occupy Wall Street protest on TV.

“I thought it was amazing that all these people were gathering to protest something that really wasn’t clear at all,” he said.

Slotnick started the Facebook group “Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro” Sunday. He said he was surprised at the quick response.

“An hour after I started it, 20 people had signed up. I was like, ‘Whoa, neat,’” he said.

By Wednesday, about 200 people had “liked” the group.

For Slotnick, the protest is all about equality and peace.

“People just don’t seem to love each other as much as they used to,” he said.

Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro isn’t the only local group joining the nationwide movement.

The group, along with Occupy Durham and Occupy Raleigh, all have meetings or protests scheduled for this weekend.

Contact the State & National Editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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