Students are set to “Occupy Vanderbilt” this coming Monday in solidarity with Occupy movements all over the world.
After a rally at 5 p.m. Monday in front of Kirkland Hall, some students plan to set up tents for an indefinite occupation. In addition to showing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, they hope to draw attention to three specific issues related to administrative policy: ethical investment, fair wages to Vanderbilt employees and communication with Vanderbilt students.
“There is a lack of communication between the student body and the administration,” said Victoria Clodfelter, media contact for Occupy Vanderbilt.
The Occupy Vanderbilt movement comes on the heels of several student protests over similar issues. Most recently, the Responsible Endowment Coalition staged a teach-in in Kirkland Hall to protest Vanderbilt’s investment in EmVest, a company accused of unethical land grabs in Africa, and HEI Hotels, a company accused of unfair labor practices. Meanwhile, the Vanderbilt Living Wage Campaign has long been fighting for higher wages for Vanderbilt employees.
The lack of action in response to these campaigns has played a role in the formation of the Occupy Vanderbilt movement.
“We occupy when we see that the 1 percent is not only unwilling to talk to us but unwilling to change practices that benefit them but hurt the rest of us,” Clodfelter said.
However, she added that Vanderbilt has the potential to be a positive agent of change.
“We think that there are ways Vanderbilt can use its prominence to make the world a better place,” Clodfelter said.