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OWS and College Responsibilities

Posted on Saturday November 26th 2011

As the Occupy Wallstreet moves to Occupy Campuses, college faculty and administrative staff can learn lessons from recent weeks’ events.  By now most of us have seen a 2 minute or 8 minute video clip [and transcript] of the pepper spraying protesters at UC Davis.  Recent articles have urged colleges to move cautiously as students make connections to OWS movement and rising costs of college fees/tuition.  Student debt continues to concern many college students and their families. Admitting errors  and making apologies as Chancellor Katehi did after the horrific pepper spraying of protesting students at UC Davis did, can help.  Adults who have made errors in decisions, whether small or large, can help students see the value of repair. Elizabeth Spellman, philosopher/professor at Smith College, describes concrete strategies to promote healing, hope and repair,  in her book, Repair: The Impulse to Restore in a Fragile World.  As colleges connect with students in liberal arts courses and professional studies courses, all of us can continue to engage students in dialogue about these important issues.

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