Forum connects students in the 99 percent

Artists demonstrate at the Occupy Miami rally. Natalie Edgar//The Miami Hurricane

A circle of college students sits on the university seal in front of the bookstore discussing education reform and the role of corporations in society.

The students are members of the University of Miami Forum for Occupy Miami, which was started around the same time as the Occupy Miami movement.

The forum has worked alongside the main movement to educate students about social issues, including income disparity in the U.S. and student debt.

One of the ways the forum involves students is through direct action. Direct action involves students sharing how they relate to the movement.

Students have been writing personal statements about how they are part of the 99 percent, an activity which is an important facet of Occupy Wall Street, according to graduate student Elizabeth Weintraub. Weintraub started the forum along with her roommate Lana Schissel.

The forum also holds panels to discuss education reform and the philosophy behind the movement, among other issues relevant to Occupy Miami. The panels include professors from different university departments as well as Student Government members and alumni.

“[Our platform is] student debt, unemployment, education and the university governance issue. [It’s about] reforming our stake in how money is spent,” said Schissel, who is also a graduate student.

The forum has echoed the concerns of the protesters in the Occupy Miami movement, which is currently facing the threat of eviction.

City officials are planning to revoke Occupy Miami’s permit on Friday, according to a press release sent out by the Occupy Miami movement. Protestors have been petitioning government officials and are planning to do a major demonstration on Thursday, tentatively at Government Center .

“[It’s] supposed to be one of our larger protests,” senior Ryan Williams said. “One of the goals is to include different members of the community. We’re trying to make it a more diverse group.”

Regardless of the outcome of the local Occupy movement, students feel that the movement has already made an impact by raising questions about American society.

“This shows that the American people are being awakened,” junior Kristyn Greco said. “We’ve been able to turn around and actually voice our opinions.”


If you go

What: UM Forum for Occupy Miami panel discussion about education reform and university governance

When: Monday at 5 p.m. in the UC Ballroom C

The panel will include Professor Josh Diem from the School of Education, Professor Amelia Moore from the College of Arts and Sciences, alumna and social activist Alyssa Condari, Provost Thomas LeBlanc, and David Moyer.