Occupy Wesleyan: A Retrospective

Our hardy band of pinko anti-capitalist anarcho-primitivist well-wishers.

Protests today marked the two-month anniversary of the establishment of the (recently-foreclosed) encampment at Liberty Square/Zuccotti Park. These demonstrations spanned the nation, bringing in their wake peace, love, and happiness–marred only by the occasional pepper spraying of 84-year-old women (oh yeah, and this).

By now, the Occupy protests are ubiquitous enough that they have effectively stretched to all corners of the country, even reaching a town so small that the progress of the firearm deer harvest easily makes front-page news (I mean, who doesn’t need to know the effect of wind conditions on patterns of deer movement?). So why shouldn’t we get to take a part in the action (again)?

Today, at 4PM, likeminded 99%-ers and our sympathizers (come on now, we can’t ALL be the 99%) gathered on the steps of Olin for a heady 45-minute march through campus to voice our frustrations to whomever would listen–er, I mean, our corporate masters.

Blooming from an initial count of 46 to a high of 87 (according to this blogger’s calculations), our numbers ebbed and flowed as we wound our way through campus from the steps of Olin, passing through North College, Usdan, the patio of the Admissions office, and the middle of Foss Hill, before returning to the library.

Emboldened by the impassioned cries of Cory Meara-Bainbridge ’13–who frequently employed the “People’s Mic” to much success–we chanted, we marched, we held signs… hell, we were pros (despite the repeated attempts of Wesleying’s own Anwar Batte ’13, proprietor of our megaphone, to derail the march with shouts of “Let’s all run for elected office!,” etc.).

After raucously entering Olin’s warm lobby, bottlenecking through its double doors like so many protestors pushing against the metal barriers that now surround Liberty Square, we marched through the main room, where our cries quickly began to degenerate into shouts of “Eat the rich!” …if you ask me, P-Safe had some undercover men working the crowd to turn public opinion against us.

Back outside, we assembled around the marble dais behind Olin for an excoriating speech by Michael Ross Levin ’78, ’15 who proceeded to strip Governor John Hickenlooper ’74 (as portrayed by Dan Fischer ’12) of his diploma, in light of the brutal police tactics Hickenlooper has used in his repeated attempts to quell Occupy Denver.

We concluded by calling Hickenlooper’s office to inform him of our action (see video 4), and were promptly rebuffed by his secretary, who hung up after our statement.

Little did we know that the real Michael Roth was upstairs in the ivory tower of Usdan, representing the 1% who choose the vegan option for Thanksgiving dinner (seriously). Concerned parties should invest in camping gear now.

Edit: We also have coverage of the event over at the Middletown Patch.

An interesting case study in how a mistake can reproduce itself: the Middletown Press reported that it was the REAL MRoth who revoked Hickenlooper’s diploma–a story that was promptly picked up by the Denver Post, where it is running on the front page of the site.

Thanks to commenters “BC” and “Colorado”!

Picture and video credit to Zach and myself.


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  • Embarrassed

    You can have my degree back. I’m embarassed to call myself a Wesleyan alum.

    Who the fuck are you to revoke – symbolically or otherwise – someone else’s degree?  

    Taking out a student loan is a business decision. You’re more than welcome to take on loads of debt and then waste that money studying gender theory or ethnomusicology, but don’t expect to graduate with people lining up to hand you a job.

     The system isn’t the problem. You are.

    • student

      The point of getting a university education is not to guarantee oneself future employment. It is for the inherent value that lies in the education itself–and everyone has a right to that. I don’t agree that it is right to revoke someone else’s degree, but I also don’t think it is right for people to have to suffer debt because they want to be educated–so that the world can be a better place! 

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  • CHUMPZ

    Calling on your iPhone. Priceless

  • lolz

    ahahah i love Anwar

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  • Colorado

    This is on the main page of the Denver Post’s website: Connecticut college students symbolically revoke Hick’s degree over Occupy Denver crackdown
    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_19361969

  • BC

    PR victory of sorts, Middletown press (erroneously, I presume – I wasn’t there but I trust Wesleying’s reporting) reports: “Breaking News: Wesleyan University president symbolically revokes Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 1974 degree over Occupy Denver arrests.”

    http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2011/11/17/news/doc4ec5d0059a311719273390.txt

    Yikes! 

    • http://www.wesleying.org Zach

      The Denver Post is also reporting that “students and the school president at
      Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s alma mater, Wesleyan University,
      called for his arrest.” It’s a fun fantasy, but do credible news sources really believe a university president would participate in that?

  • Cory MB

    Is there video of the actual revoking of the diploma?

    • wieb$

      I’ve got a version of it, but the angle/quality isn’t very good… I saw someone else filming up there and I’d like to get his copy of it (I think he may have been working for the Argus?)