Students walked out of class today to support Occupy Philadelphia.
To show solidarity with Occupy Philadelphia, students walked out of class at noon today to rally at the Bell Tower, before swarming Broad Street for a march to City Hall.
Occupy Philadelphia, a protest that started in Center City Oct. 6, is a branch of a now-global movement against economic inequalities and wealth disparity that spawned from the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that began more than a month ago.
“It’s incredible and so inspiring that so many students have turned out to make their voices heard to say that enough is enough and we’re going to stand up and fight back,” Walter Smolarek, a freshman education major and one of the creators of today’s event, said.
Students took turn making speeches about wealth disparity and the worry some have about not being able to pay off student-loan debt or find a job after graduating.
After the city demonstration began, David Allen, a sociology professor, told The Temple News that the movement is appealing to college students because they’re “frustrated and angry.”
“They’ve been hearing the economy is bad for almost four years so it’s not temporary, it’s far more troubling,” Allen said. “Debt is growing and a great deal of the crisis has been shifted unto their backs, their whole future will likely be affected by this depression.”
Many of the people who spoke called for an end to tuition hikes, a freeze on student-loan interest rates and student-debt forgiveness.
Logan Clare, a freshman film major watching the event unfold, said she hoped the people rallying were doing so with purpose.
“I really hope that the people that are here actually have something worthwhile to say and do, and I really hope they’re not just here because they’re angsty,” Clare said. “There needs to be more logic behind this other than just being angry.”
But not all students arrived at the Bell Tower to support the movement.
Members of the Temple University College Republicans, who recently protested against Occupy Philadelphia, stood behind the rallying students at the Bell Tower, which sparked arguments between the two groups.
“People are paying money to go to school. I guess that it’s their [choice] not to go,” Erik Jacobs, president of the TUCR, said. “I pay money to go to school here, so I go to class. That’s just my opinion.”
The protesters left the Bell Tower and began their march to City Hall by walking through campus.
“Out of the classrooms, into the streets,” protestors chanted while walking by university buildings, in an attempt to garner more support.
Angelo Fichera and Amanda Plaksin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.