More occupying

  Homecoming weekend is often about academic festivities, parents and alumni.                   This year, however, homecoming weekend was interrupted by an Occupy Burlington protest outside the Waterman building on Oct. 15. The protest began at City Hall Park and stopped once outside Waterman and then again at the Fleming Museum. Saturday was the Global Day of Action for Occupy Wall Street protests worldwide, according to the Occupy Wall Street website.                    “I’ve been watching what’s been happening to the United States over the past 20 years, and the disparity is more noticeable now than ever,” protestor Stephen Kiely said.  “I’m here participating today because the democracy we have now isn’t working.  I hope to see more change and more protests like this.”                   The concern about income disparity in the United States appears to be a common theme among protestors.                   “I joined the Occupy Vermont movement because I’m tired of the corporations getting all the government handouts,” protestor Jody Taparauskas said.  “I want a real democracy that helps the 99 percent of us that work just to pay off our debt.  We are suffering directly because of the one percent at the top.”                   Though many of the protestors on Saturday had specific ideas about what they wanted to accomplish through the Occupy Movement, some students said they have general support for the protests.                   “I like the idea behind it,” sophomore Amelia Eifle said.  “I’m from Long Island, so if I was home I would definitely participate.  I just hope that these protests get something accomplished.  I do think it’s worth the fight though, and that things pay off if you keep at them.”                   Some students may support the general movement, but others said they strongly agree with the subject of these protests.                   “I highly identify with the message,” senior Nash Hall said.  “I’m worried about my job prospects after college, and whether or not I will even have a job to support myself.  Those at the top used our money to get rich, and we live in a culture where that’s excused.”                   The Burlington protests may have stemmed from the controversy surrounding former president Dan Fogel’s departure, Hall said.                   “I question the motives of the school as far as tuition costs rising,” Hall said.  “I think it may make UVM more economically competitive, but I think that it’s more of an issue of valuing wealth over everything else.”                   Although some students support and identify with the Occupy Movement, others said they find issues with the message that is being conveyed through the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Burlington protests.                   “I understand that [the protestors] want to change capitalism and I think that’s a good idea,” senior Elisabeth Arthur said.  “However, I just don’t think that there’s any central idea or message, and instead this movement is just a mess.”                   Other students said they agree.                   “I don’t think people really know what is really going on in regard to what they’re protesting about,” senior Abbie Desrochers said.  “They say they’re the 99 percent, but I don’t think they understand what the one percent does.  Taking initiative and working will get things done in life, protesting won’t.”                   Some students said they could understand the movement, but could also identify with those people who work hard for what they have.                   “CEOs are well-educated, committed people that often work hard and sacrifice to get where they are,” senior Rachel Rubin said.  “I think that if you work hard to get money and wealth, and that’s what you want, then that’s okay.  It’s not what I want, but I understand it.”