Last Friday, when the Occupy the Highway march came through Princeton, freshman Whitney Blodgett yelled four simple words:“We’re the 1 percent!” It was an almost painful caricature of the apathetic and elitist Princeton student. But as if on cue, Occupy Princeton held its first General Assembly this afternoon on Frist North Lawn. It turns out, there are some radicals in our midst.
Over 50 students — undergraduates and grad students — as well as a Princeton High School student and an adult community member gathered in front of Frist (watch the videos here) at 4:30. Here are some key quotes:
“We have no leader. Everyone is equal in being able to describe how they feel and how they can take action” — Edna Bonhomme, grad student
“This is our time to stand in solidarity and proudly engage in peaceful civil disobedience.” — Polly Korbel, junior
“Growing up we were taught to question everything except our right to positions of power…. There is this perception that because we are very smart and work hard, we deserve more. All of us at Princeton have extraordinary privilege, whether we were born with it or not. I ask you, does a Princeton degree really make you better?” — Brandon Davis, junior
“I am so happy to see you all here tonight after two years of being on this campus and feeling like I was the only one who cared.” — Polly Korbel, junior
- economic inequality
- treatment of University workers such as janitors
- the University’s investment in HEI Hotels & Resorts, which has been accused of abusing its workers
- immigration and the lack of financial aid for undocumented students (support the Dream Act here)
- LGBTQ rights and the need to extend gender neutral housing beyond Spelman
- human trafficking
- environmental injustice
- the criminal justice system
- the lack of a support group on campus for survivors of sexual assault
The rest of the world may see Princeton as part of the 1% and we certainly do create our share of Ibankers. But we are home to the 99% as well. The next General Assembly will be Tuesday.