“One of the messages is that the Occupy movement isn’t dead.”
Occupiers were mostly members of the task force, which consists of a core group of seven or eight students. It was created in opposition to Commencement speaker and New York City Mayor Bloomberg.
“The tent has become a symbol and it catches people’s eyes,” member Alanna Davis said. She added that the task force does not agree with the values that Bloomberg represents.
“It is less a personal attack on Michael Bloomberg as a person,” she said. “It is more on the capitalist system of power that he represents.”
Young said the protesters cannot occupy any part of UNC because the policy against temporary and permanent structures is campus-wide, not just specific to the Pit.
Before the occupiers were asked to leave by police, two Student Union employees also warned protesters they were breaking campus rules, Davis said.
Occupiers stayed for a little longer, holding banners after taking down their tents by police order, but then left, she said.
The group’s alternative Commencement will be held in the Forest Theatre at the same time as the normal May 13 commencement.
It will include three speakers — Kathy Kelly, Charles Eisenstein, and Richard Muhammad — who have all been involved in the national Occupy movement in some way.
“We are trying to continue to raise dialogue about the state of our world,” Davis said.
Sophomore Taylor Revere, who was sitting near Lenoir while the protest took place, said she didn’t understand why the group was occupying the Pit, and she thought it was just another club.
“I don’t know how effective it is,” she said.
Daisy Kaur, also a sophomore, said she respected the occupiers, but they need to educate people about their cause.
“I think it is great and the student body should be in agreement with who is speaking,” Kaur said.
“But they need to be a little more vocal about what it is for.”
Davis said no decisions have been made about how they will proceed after the outcome of their Occupy attempt, but they intend to continue raising awareness.
“The purpose of today was outreach — the ball is still rolling on that,” she said. “That hasn’t changed.”
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