There’s no doubt that UNC has a history of activism. Last year, we celebrated 150 years of the Campus Y, and in October, a commemorative plaque was laid for the fight against the 1963 Speaker Ban Law.
So I’ve been surprised by the muted campus response to the Occupy movement. And I’ve been even more surprised by how few people have reacted to the plans to substantially raise tuition.
It’s not that big protests would have necessarily been the best course of action, but rather, it’s happening at other universities: Why not at UNC, if we are so committed to social justice?
Two weeks ago, thousands of students rallied before the University of California system Board of Regents meeting, demonstrating about higher education funding.
In Wisconsin, students were a strong part of protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to limit collective bargaining.
Look at the Occupy movement in New York. Students were a major part of the protest in Zuccotti Park, and there has been a “student occupation” at the New School since the park was cleared.
There have been Occupy encampments on campuses across the country — including in Harvard Yard.
But at UNC, a “Strike the Hikes” march last month drew only a few dozen activists. Even a concerted push by Campus Y leadership for a student presence at the Board of Trustees’ Nov. 17 meeting raised a crowd of less than one hundred.
Occupy UNC was somewhat of a damp squib, and I’ve not seen more than a handful of students at Occupy Chapel Hill.