occupy

occupy

Sarah Blaskey, Student Senate Vice President of Learner Success, leads occupiers at the Truax cafeteria.

Morgan Engels, Clarion Staff Writer

As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations continue to inspire similar demonstrations throughout the world, the Madison Area Technical College Student Senate moves forward with plans to launch Occupy Madison College.

The first steps in the movement were taken on Oct. 27 with 11 members of the Student Senate. Additional handfuls of other students sporadically joined the demonstration for varying amounts of time. They held signs and marched through the halls of the Truax campus and into the commons area where they then declared the space occupied.

“We are the 99 percent. You are the 99 percents. Students, united, shall never be defeated,” chanted the demonstrators.

While in the commons area, the group held a public forum. They gave speeches on subjects such as corporate influence in government, the high prices of tuition and healthcare, and the need for tax reform on the wealthy. Demonstrators also encouraged onlookers in the commons area to get up and speak themselves. One woman spoke about her current situation of being homeless.

At the head of the demonstration was Sarah Blaskey, Student Senate Vice President of Learner Success.

“I traveled from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy D.C. to Occupy Madison in the past month,” Blaskey said. “(I) found it very inspiring and a great place for organizing around so many issues so that’s why I thought it definitely needed to be at Madison College.”

Blaskey stresses the importance for bringing the movement to Madison College comes from the students and what they represent.

“Technical colleges represent severely marginalized and vulnerable populations of people,” Blaskey said.

She then went on to support this claim by pointing to the undocumented students, students of low-economic status, color, war veterans with specific health needs, and the elderly that make up a large percentage of the student body.

“When measures like budget cuts come through to education, to public services um, anything really, the first people who are going to fell that blow are people of lower socio-economic status and that’s our students,” Blaskey said. “Our students have the least amount to loose and when they loose it, you know, they are destitute and they loose it more quickly than everyone else.”