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Occupy Temple focuses on mountaintop removal, budget cuts at latest meeting

Student group holds a meeting to outline issues of interest that it plans to tackle during the semester.

Occupy Temple came together for its second meeting of the year on Friday, Sept. 14, in Gladfelter Hall. With a group that included many veterans from last year’s Occupy Temple organization, the attendees discussed priorities for the upcoming semester and strategies for improving the group’s publicity around campus.

Among the many issues discussed, the group prioritized  fair hiring, mountaintop removal and legislative budget cuts as the primary focus moving forward.

The group also talked about ways to publicize more throughout Main Campus and looked into the possibility of flyers and a monthly ‘zine’ or newsletter.

For this semester, the group’s primary focus will be state budget cuts to education.

“The fundamental idea is that education is a right,” sophomore secondary education major Walter Smolarek said. “We’re identifying obstacles, with the most obvious being tuition. That’s really what we’re looking at.”

Smolarek also said the group will be focused on the fair hiring issues and the controversial practice of mountaintop removal, a process that the group linked PNC Bank to. Temple holds an  “arm-length business relationship” with PNC according to a statement from the Board of Trustees Investment Committee reported by The Temple News in January, but does not have any direct investments in the bank.

“Temple, as an institution in society, should not be supporting such negative things,” Smolarek said.

Students interested in joining the Occupy Temple group can attend next Friday’s meeting at 4 p.m., on the seventh floor of Gladfelter.

[Correction: The original article reported that Occupy Temple’s Sept. 14 meeting was its second meeting of the year. It was, in fact, the group’s third meeting of the year.]

Ali Watkins can be reached at allison.watkins@temple.edu.

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