Following the “Occupy” protest trend in San Marcos and Austin, Texas State students are in the works of getting an organization on campus.
The Occupy Texas State group has doubled in size since its inception and is on the heels of sponsorship as a student organization.
The Occupy Texas State movement has nearly doubled in size since its formation and is on the verge of becoming a recognized student organization. The group held its second general assembly Oct. 13, attracting approximately 50 students.
Josh Harvey, organizer of Occupy Texas State, said the group is in the process of gaining university sponsorship with the only step left to pick a faculty adviser.
“I want to turn it [the protests] from a moment to a movement,” Harvey said.
Occupy Texas State held their second general assembly Sept. 13. Approximately 50 students gathered on campus in solidarity with the Occupy College movement taking place at more than 90 universities across the nation, according to their website.
Occupy College, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street effort, is taking issue with inflating costs of student loans and tuition.
“Higher education has become a business in itself,” Harvey. “Over the last eight years, cost for students per semester has risen 63 percent in Texas.”
As for Texas State, tuition increased 98 percent since the state legislature deregulated tuition in 2003, according to a Sept. 15 University Star article.
Harvey said once the group is sponsored, their goals would be to work with City Council, the Associated Student Government and the Texas State Board of Regents to find ways to make higher education more affordable.
Harvey said one of the primary goals of the group would to be to establish a scholarship for students who are active in the community.
Wade Smith, elementary education junior, said he stopped to listen to the activists in between classes afternoon.
“I think a college campus is a perfect environment for this type of demonstration,” Smith said. “Based on what I’ve heard so far, they have done their research and are very passionate on the subject.”
President AJ DeGarmo stopped by the rally and said he enjoys seeing students using their First Amendment rights. DeGarmo said it exemplifies Texas State’s Common Experience theme this year.
“It’s empowering to see students organize and take part in a national movement,” DeGarmo said.
However, not all students were in support of the protest.
Brent McArthur, marketing freshman, said the national movement “will destroy the country.”
“Their demands are illogical and unattainable,” McArthur said. “To fall to their demands would kill American banks and businesses. They want the minimum wage to be $20 and all the debt in the country to disappear.”
According to the Occupy Wall Street website, there is currently no official list of demands. However, Adbusters, the organization behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, released one specific goal Sept. 17, (the first day of protests): “President Obama to ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.”
Other student critics of the protest like Eric Reaves, exploratory professional sophomore, said the protesters are wasting their time.
“Instead of holding a sign, they should get take off school for a semester, get a minimum wage job, save some money and go to a cheaper school where they won’t have to take out a student loan,” Reaves said.
Anne Halsy, wife of a faculty member, participated in the rally with her three children ages 6, 3 and 1.
“I brought my kids because it is important for them to learn that you have to stand up for what you believe in,” Halsy said. “If we don’t fight for a better education system, we deserve what we get.”