Students at John Jay College in New York City used the sensationalism of the Occupy Wall Street protests to help build support on the street for their own demonstration. And they even got the teachers to join in.
Tuition hikes have long been a thorn in the side of CUNY and SUNY -- the city and state college networks for New York -- students and it is common place to see signs donning "No Cuts to CUNY" in campus halls. While walk-outs had been proposed in the past, they never had enough support to be fully realized.
That changed Wednesday when, after a week of strong promotion on Facebook and piggy-backing on the Occupy Wall Street movement, John Jay students had the success they hoped for when a protest that previously expected about 100 people grew to well over three times the expected amount.
The students' signs showed the influence of the Occupy Wall St. movement, with many claiming the students were in the "99 percent:"
But students were not alone in their protest of tuition hikes and the possibility that the college could be privatized. Professors joined the spirited demonstration as well.
One female professor, who would not provide her name, held up a sign reading "You will not destroy my student's dream. John Jay in Resistance!" Another teacher, well-liked by students, Prof. Richard Curtis who heads John Jay's anthropology department, passionately declared to over 300 students,"We believe that a college education is a right! Not a privilege of the rich." He went on to say, "We are done paying for rich people to be lazy and fat... our opportunity is being squandered by idiots! Let's take it back from them:"