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Published by Stephanie Fail

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Published by: Stephanie Fail on Feb 09, 2012
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 nowledge is power,but only if WE use it.
February 8th Volume 1
 What have we been up to?
IF YOU LIKE WHAT WE ARE UP TO, COMEHELP! Bring your Ideas!-We have had 11 general assemblies!-Constant outreach to classrooms to let stu-dents know who we are and what we stand for.-Strategic conversations with students, fac-ulty, staff, alumni, Undergraduate StudentGovernment, administration, trustees, media,high school students, members of the Vet-eran’s Center and more.-We have been made aware of some students who struggle to get around the campus andsucceed in their classes because of their dis-abilities. We have begun a campaign for imme-diate change in how the Ross Center is staffedand how the school is structured. There areNO truly handicapped accessible bathrooms in the campus center due to heavy doors and noautomatic buttons to open them. 75% of a stu-dent’s classes are not handicapped accessible. Today some of us will be visiting the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to file a complaint with the Disabilities office and yesterday the Associ-ate Dean of students was informed and he is“on it” as well.-We have been hosting free tutoring and skillsharing at our camp. One 2 hour math ses-sion, one Spanish lesson, one social media class, chess lessons, break-dancing, and a  weak attempt at salsa all have gone down atcamp.
DAY 18!
-We had visitors from Occupy Boston, Occupy  Wall Street, Occupy Providence, Occupy Mexico,Occupy Holyoke Community College, Occupy Harvard, Occupy Boston College and more. Lookslike we have begun planning an “American SpringBreak” for student activists to gather, have fun,set goals, and plan to achieve them.-Our Direct Action at the Board of Trustees Meet-ing was a success, even though they swapped from the ballroom to the tiny alumni lounge at thelast minute and we could only get 4 of us in. Weheld up two large banners saying “We want an ed-ucation not a corporation. Occupy UMass Boston”and “Occupy UMass Boston: Stop the privatizationof education,” and briefly mic-checked a state-ment on how the unelected trustees have failed to respect the need for the university to belong to the working class. When we left a trustee made a comment about how he was once a protester andhe was glad to see democracy “alive and well.”
-Our Media working group has been getting it together and we now have way more peopleable to access the twitter accounts, website,and email. We will be hosting a meeting onmarketing this week to radically and stylishly develop our image through fresh fliers, mu-rals, videos, and posters. Also we are workingon ways to digitize our democratic processso that those of you preoccupied during gen-eral assemblies still have a way to participatein discourse, vote, and propose your ideas through the internet. We have been doing lotsof research on what changes people want tosee and have swapped our discussion of “de-mands” for one based on goals and strategies. Why demand something from the air when wecan do it ourselves?-A Budget working group is forming where a  team of alumni who work in finance, membersof the math club, and students will be pouringover the UMass system budget and figuring outhow to trim waste and save students money so that we do not need to cut jobs or raise feesany more. A goal of this budget overhaul isalso to allot a large chunk of money to be setaside as an emergency bailout fund for stu-dents in which they can apply for and obtainmoney within a short period to prevent them from going without food, shelter, or schooldue to unforeseen bumps in the road. Far toomany of those around us are without thesebasic needs and have no place to go for im-mediate financial help. The goal of this is todrastically increase the rate of graduation andimprove the quality of students’ lives by tak-ing the fangs of poverty out of their neck. Only 38% of students who entered as freshman in2003 had graduated by 2009.-A Food working group has been informally started by a couple occupiers who happen tohave experience as chefs to offer affordableor free alternatives to Sodexo’s monopoly oncampus.
If any of these projects interest you, or you have some of yourown, let us know!
 What’s up...continued!
3 PM Monday Open Forum3 PM Tuesday Open Forum3 PM Wednesday GA (Where decisions are made)3 PM Thursday GA (Where decisions are made)3 PM Friday Cafe Libre(Free Coffee, free speech)
The past two and a half weeks have been amazing and as a person who has assigned herself  to the duties of “PR” has been an exhausting marketing exercise in political and personal relation-ship building. We must be careful not to let critiques of what we are doing steer us from our goal. What is our goal? It is hard for me to say as an individual, but the “temperature” from the collec- tive student, faculty, alumni, and staff body is that there is a deep problem with the direction of ourschool. Crucial decisions about the future of our university are being made without our input. Thepromise UMass Boston made to the citizens of the metropolitan area of a school for the workingclass is being largely abandoned.We have struggled with figuring out our message, how to communicate it, strategies forgrowth, solutions for our school and much more. Yes it is hard to live in public without access to a  wardrobe of clean clothes, warm water for a shower, or a soft bed. It is hard to convince people tobelieve in any alternative to business as usual. People are looking for any small excuse to not getinvolved with something bigger then them, and through our imperfections as human beings I amsure we give them plenty of material.Many students were offended by our seizing part of the Campus Center first floor for our camp. We want to let people know that if they ever wish to have an event without booking a space they are wel-come to the area even though administration considers it “occupied.” They have complained aboutour hygiene, our appearances, our messaging, our tactics, you name it, someone has had some- thing negative to say and usually on some level, all critiques are true. We have dealt effectively withoutside organizations attempting to steer our conversations according to their ideologies. All that we say as individuals about the movement represent ourselves and not each other. We must remem-ber that not all flavors appeal to all and we will continue to promote ideological diversity within ourgroup. We are made up from people from the far left to the far right and many off the traditionalpolitical pendulum altogether.Currently we have on a regular basis two non-UMB students who stay with us and are a greathelp to our efforts. We have made a decision for no more overnight guests from Occupy Boston to beadded to our group unless they get permission from those at camp so that there are no surprise visi- tors and that they stay near us. This movement is not about us, the occupiers, which consist this point of less then twenty of us who have been rotating nights at our camp and the hundred or so who have been rotating through our general assemblies. This movement is for everyone who has felt the breath of poverty on their neck, for everyone who is sick of seeing their friends disappear from school because they could not keep up with bills. This movement is for all the children born to non-wealthy parents who wanted the chance to grow their minds and have a chance at a decent paycheck. This movement is for those born lucky who feel compassion for those who were not. This movement is for all immi-grants who came to this country for a better future. This movement is for people who do not believe the choices of a few people should control our collective future.It has been incredibly humbling for me to see how many of my friends new and old, have beendesperately struggling to stay afloat in classes with little access to tutors, underpaying or absent jobs, and fees that keep on rising. More people then we have the courage to imagine are sittingnext to us in classes without a place to call home, without a meal in their bellies, or without know-ing where their next paycheck is coming from. We are the 99%. But not all of us feel the teeth of  the wealthy in our neck like our comrades stuck on the bottom of the economic scale and unless we truly reach out and ask how our friends are doing, we will never be able to help each other survivedaily struggles.My mother is a Venezuelan-Italian immigrant and an alumnus of Boston State College, whichlater became UMass Boston. Her and I both never imagined that my path to education would take meback to the school that is the sole reason I had a decent childhood without true poverty. During my nearly six years working and struggling through school I have seen it become less and less afford-able. I occupy because as a beneficiary of a state sponsored education, it is my duty to defend it forall future generations. Our decisions are being made with or without our input, it is our duty to or-ganize ourselves and step up. Ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for yourschool...
 Why I Occupy By Stephanie Fail

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