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Duke in Pictures: Occupy Duke

Duke in Pictures: Occupy Duke

Students begin protest on main West Quad

October 24, 2011 |
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About 30 students from Occupy Duke set up tents and banners in front of Duke Chapel Saturday afternoon, seeking to promote campus conversation about economic disparity and related issues.

"Many times we say 'work hard, play hard,' but we don't really have time to think. This is a time for us to think about broad issues facing the Duke community and the nation," said Shreyan Sen, one of the student organizers, as the group sat in a circle on the grass shortly before the nearby walkway filled with fans returning from Duke's football game with Wake Forest.

"I think at Duke we sometimes live in a bubble. We want to have a substantive conversation and create debate on campus about difficult issues," said Casey Williams, another student in the circle, leading others to wiggle their upraised fingers in silent agreement.

The students said they expect Duke faculty members, staff and others to join them for informal classes and discussions. They also hope to engage others in conversations about economic justice. Like their counterparts near Wall Street and elsewhere around the country, they said they will resist electing leaders or endorsing specific policies.

At a meeting with Duke officials Friday, the students said they will keep their site tidy and not interfere with campus activities near their site, which is open to the public but limited to members of the Duke community at night. They also have created a Facebook site to promote online discussion.

"We're going to try to make this an atmosphere on campus where these kinds of issues can be discussed," said Anastasia Karklina, a Duke student from Latvia.

Some people walking by Saturday stopped to talk with those at the site, while others ignored it, such as one student who said, "I live here. I don't need to occupy it." Another paused for a few minutes, saying, "I'm not sure about this but I'm checking it out."

Story by David Jarmul.  Photo by Jared Lazarus

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