A month after Occupy Bowdoin's posters first appeared, the group will host a "teach-in" on Tuesday, November 29 at 4 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. The event will feature brief addresses by various professors, and a local representative from Occupy Brunswick. A representative from the American Civil Liberties Union may also speak, but has yet to be confirmed. The floor will then be opened to general discussion.
Organizer Robbie Benson '15 said he hopes that the event will provide a forum for students to discuss their opinions on the movement and encourage further dialogue about the issue around campus.
"This is an opportunity for people to ask questions," said Benson. "I have questions too. Hopefully, if we're all together, we can help each other introduce questions and all move forward."
Benson drew inspiration from other teach-in events at colleges across the nation, including those at Middlebury College and University of California, Berkeley. On November 2 and 3, Occupy Colleges, an online group formed in solidarity with the Wall Street protests, organized a two day teach-in event that included participants from over 20 schools.
Occupy Bowdoin's manifesto of claims that the movement aims to promote dialogue and express frustration with the current situation in America.
"The Occupy movement is more than an expression of frustration against corporate greed and economic inequality; it is an expression of hope for a new way forward," it states.
The teach-in will map the direction of Occupy Bowdoin going forward.
"It all depends on how the teach-in goes. It's really fluid to be honest," Benson said.
Harvard students launched their own "Occupy" movement on November 9, protesting the "corporatization of higher education, epitomized by Harvard University," according to the organization's Statement of Principles.
Borrowing the clarion call of the Wall Street protesters, the Harvard protesters declared themselves part of "the 99 percent."
The movement has called for more concrete changes than many of its counterparts, calling for the university to adopt a new transparency policy, improve the implementation of debt relief for students who suffer from excessive loan burdens, end the privilege enjoyed by legacies in the admission process, and diversify Harvard's graduate school faculty and students.
Since November 11, the "Occupy" movement has become restricted to Harvard students only, after security and local police were stationed at gates to stop outsiders gaining entrance.
The New York Times reported that the university's provost Alan M. Garber stated, "Securing access to the Yard is necessary for the safety of the freshmen and others who live and work there, for the students who will be sleeping outdoors as part of the protest, and for the overall campus."
Occupy Harvard responded in a statement which read, "We object to the continued constraints and encourage the administration to restore full and free access to the Yard."
Middlebury held its own teach-in on November 2 as part of Occupy Middlebury. Five students launched the movement on October 13 by organizing a march to show solidarity with the protests on Wall Street. The following day the college hosted a panel on the broader implications of the movement.
Organizers Hanna Mahon, Kristina Johansson, Adam Jones, Grace Wildermuth and Jessica Munyon declared their aim is to promote discussion. Like many other Occupy movements, Occupy Middlebury has been criticized for lacking power to incite the change they demand. Proponents of Middlebury's effort counter that they are primarily concerned with promoting dialogue and raising awareness inside and outside the student body.