Tuition Protests Come Under Fire as Police Arrest Berkeley Protesters
The “occupy” movement has sprouted a list of demands that is so long, it is sometimes difficult to understand what the movement stands for, or what it is demanding. Yet these themes emerge again and again in protests . . .
- College tuition costs are out of control
- Students incur staggering debt to pay for college
- Few jobs await students after they graduate
As we put up this post today, there is some troubling news. Riot police have just broken up the “Occupy Cal” protests on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
To quote from CBS News coverage of the police action . . .
Police in riot gear moved Wednesday night to break up a demonstration at the University of California at Berkeley that started when anti-Wall Street protesters tried to establish an encampment on campus. Television news footage from outside the university's main administration building at 10 p.m. showed officers pulling people off the steps and nudging others with batons as the crowd chanted, "We are the 99 percent!" and "Stop Beating Students!"
It is a matter of serious concern when police take physical action against students. From a philosophical point of view, don’t students have the right to “occupy” the campus where they attend college? Don’t they “occupy” it already, simply by being students there? What harm could there be in letting students camp at their own school? Isn’t it a question of freedom of speech, especially if those students are not harming university buildings or causing damage?
And there are other questions too. If student anger about college costs has reached the boiling point, shouldn’t the first priority be to rein in those costs, not done to crack down on students?
We once saw a time in America when students were attacked for protesting on campus, and it led to a horrific outcome. We’re referring to the killing of students on the Kent State campus back in 1970. We have a long way to go before violence that devastating is directed at our students. But we’re not heading in that direction, are we?
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