University News

Main Green campout to greet the Corporation

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy College Hill, a campus-based offshoot of Occupy Providence, will host a “One Night Stand” campout on the Main Green tonight to kick off discussion about how to improve the University. The event is scheduled to immediately precede the meeting of the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, in University Hall Saturday.

“Many people — including myself — have grievances with the Corporation,” said Julie Pittman ’12, one of the event’s organizers. “We’re trying to bring everyone together to start talking about those grievances.”

The group has not yet come to a clear consensus about what its grievances are, Pittman said. She would like to see more transparency regarding investment, more student involvement in Corporation decisions and a stronger relationship between the University and Providence, she said.

While the campout format of the event models Occupations across the country, Pittman said the group is not launching a long-term Occupation. This “solidarity Occupation” will support the protests taking place in New York City and downtown Providence, Pittman said, but tonight’s event is not intended to be confrontational.

“I’m hoping that it will be a chance for people to educate themselves more about the way our University functions and exists in the world,” Pittman said. “I’m especially hoping that our conversations can lead to concrete action to improve our University.”

The event was approved by the Student Activities Office, in part because of the group’s assurances that it will be camping for one night only, Pittman said.

Janet Cooper Nelson, University chaplain and director of the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, expressed concern in an email to the Occupation’s organizers that the event may interfere with a memorial service being held for John Shroeder, former English professor, in Manning Chapel Saturday morning. Pittman said that she does not foresee the Occupation disrupting the dignity of the service.

In addition to discussions about the University’s future, the event’s itinerary includes a potluck, performances by live local bands and a game of capture the flag. “Friday night’s going to be really fun,” Pittman said. “So people should just come and have fun too.”

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