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Prestigious, Top-Tier University to Offer ‘Occupy 101’


"Does getting pepper-sprayed count as extra credit?"

Columbia University is offering a new course on Occupy Wall Street next semester, reports the New York Post.

Dr. Hannah Appel, who claims to have spent several nights camped out in Zuccotti Park, will be teaching a course formally titled “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.”

On her blog, Appel defends OWS, arguing that “it is important to push back against the rhetoric of ‘disorganization’ or ‘a movement without a message’ coming from left, right and center.”

This is how the course will be set up (according to the syllabus):

  • Up to 30 students will be expected to get involved in ongoing OWS projects outside the classroom
  • It will be divided between seminars and "fieldwork"
  • Upperclassmen and grad students will be sent into the field for full course credit (which prompted the Post to ask "Does getting pepper-sprayed count as extra credit?")

Addressing the safety risks of sending students out to perform "fieldwork," Appel writes, “I can say with absolute certainty that there is no foreseeable risk in teaching this as a field-base class.”

"...absolute certainty..."

While some would argue that her obvious support for the OWS movement will influence the overarching message of the course, and "keep her from being an objective teacher," Appel disagrees.

“Inevitably, my experience will color the way I teach, but I feel equipped to teach objectively,” Appel told The Post. “It’s best to be critical of the things we hold most sacred.”

The class will been broken up into three sections. The first portion of the course is titled “Occupation, Direct Action & Other Tactics.” The second portion is called “On Revolution.” The third and final portion of the course is called “The Alter Globalization Movement and the Question of Anarchy.”

The Blaze has addressed the issue of academia engaging OWS before, but perhaps it bears repeating: if University professors want to have an honest and open discussion on “income inequality,” revolution, anarchy, and total social upheaval, perhaps it would behoove them to review the following figures—you know, for “objectivity's” sake:

Consider the following:

  • Harvard Professor Average Salary: $193,800
  • Columbia Professor Average Salary: $191,400 
  • University of Chicago Professor Average Salary: $190,400
  • Stanford University Professor Average Salary: $188,400
  • Princeton University Average Salary: $186,000

Now compare these numbers:

  • U.S. Marine 20+ Years Median Salary: $76,200 
  • U.S. Marine 10-19 Years Median Salary: $53,100
  • U.S. Marine 5-9 Years Median Salary: $40,000
  • U.S. Marine Less Than 5 Years Median Salary: $28,700

Given these sets of facts, would it be unfair to demand Miss Appel offer a seminar titled “Occupy the Quad”?

As written earlier on The Blaze:

To be fair, the difference in salary between a tenured Harvard professor and a U.S. Marine may not be as extreme as, say, the difference between a Goldman Sachs executive and a New York City police officer.

However, as far as one can tell, the Occupy movement isn’t just about a difference in numbers. It’s about a specific socio-political theory that says, “It’s not fair that so few should have so much.”

When the Occupiers say that we should protest Goldman Sachs because hedge funders are paid more than the police, wouldn’t that same logic apply to [Columbia] because its professors are paid more than the U.S. Marines?

It would seem that both of these examples are flawed in their logic because, at their root, they are dependent an arbitrary and personal understanding of what “too much” is.

Who gets to decide that? …unless someone produces a fact-based proof for what “equal” looks like, then the entire idea of “income inequality” will continue to go in circles…

Click here to read the full syllabus.

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