The Occupation Ends at MSU

Photo courtesy of Joey Cohen

The sign proclaimed “Tent State University” — an obvious allusion to Kent State — but there were only six tents. And there was no teargas, no reaction from the administration and, fortunately, none of the bloodshed that marked that protest 42 years ago.

“I don’t have a problem with what’s going on,” said Nick Russo, a physical education major. “I don’t really understand it completely, but I think it’s good that students are standing up for what they believe in.”

The four-day occupation of the quad that began last Monday may be over for Montclair State University’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), but the group will keep the movement going with talk of plans to occupy the quad again next spring, or possibly sooner.

“I would say the week went as expected,” said SDS member Greg Tuttle. “We talked to students for hours every day, we got a few people to call senators and assemblymen/women and we didn’t face any problems with university police or the administration.”

The group packed up their tents on Friday evening after a week of holding teach-ins, signing petitions and speaking to curious students passing by the camp of about six tents. Although it seemed that during a few points, the protest was overshadowed by the “Spring Week” activities, like the Mr. Softee ice cream truck handing out free ice cream, set up on the opposite end of the quad.

Tuttle said he feels the group will definitely have another protest next spring, but was unsure of wether they would hold one before then.

According to the list of “Post Occupy” meeting discussion topics on the SDS’s Facebook page, they’re looking to have a more “aggressive outreach”, but they received “lots of signatures on the Anti-Tuition Petition.”

Although MSU’s protests were largely ignored by President Susan Cole and the campus police, the SDS’ predecessors at Columbia University made waves with their spring protests in 1968, when the group occupied several main university buildings until students were violently removed by the New York City Police Department.

Students not involved in the protest had mixed reactions to the tents on the quad. A few observers commented to The Montclarion about the protest.

“The Occupy Movement has gotten a lot of criticism for being not specific, and I get that,” said Veronica Furman, an anthropology major. “But I don’t think that camping out in tents in making any kind of statement.


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  1. An absolute non-story, this one. And only written well after the fact. Even by Baristanet’s usually low standards for what constitutes “citizen journalism,” after all, the, uh, “occupation” didn’t merit previous coverage here.

    As the good prof points out, too, bringing up Kent State was both astoundingly dumb and invidious as a comparison. Even during the most tumultuous days of the 60’s, when there were literally hundreds of protests nationwide daily, the overwhelming majority were always peaceful to a notable degree. Was Ms. Milsop thus actually hoping for something worse?

  2. What if there was a revolution and nobody came? That’s a story. The Kent State allusion may be crass, but it’s right there on the sign. And we did cover the beginning of the occupy MSU movement last week.

  3. “And we did cover the beginning of the occupy MSU movement last week.”

    The beginning of the movement? Doesn’t something have to, you know, “move” to be a movement?

    You covered the planning for the “movement”. You covered the announcement of the “movement”. You covered the hope that a “movement” would appear.

    It didn’t.

    Now you cover the non-appearence of something which was never an “event” in the first place.

  4. Daft middle digit on keyboard caused me to extrude an “elude,” when I should have stroked an allude.

    cro gets a star today [prof pats cro on his little head], well played young man.

  5. “feed the trolls”?

    This was more like fish in a bucket, jersey.

    But whatever happened to the posts from that MSU Administrator? Wasn’t there going to be an on-going feature with someone from MSU here?

  6. RoC, sounds like they did their job. Whether it was effective or not, large enough or not, etc is irrelevant. So it turned out to be a non-event. I would prefer this over another “create a…” or “name that” drink story.

  7. An “Anti-Tuition petition”??? That is funny.

    And Prof, I read that article. I don’t necessarily think that someone with a creative writing degree working at a coffee shop is underemployed. Simply sitting in a classroom for four years and partying does not make someone “qualified”. I am not surprised at all if its 50/50 when including this perceived “underemployment”. I would say a combination of academic performance in college and useless majors could easily eliminate 50% from being employable at more desirable jobs. (ie those that offer higher wages and benefits).

  8. cro. I agree with that article, you made my point. The article itself states that there are exceptions. “First the exceptions: Most or all engineering degrees, any degree in nursing, bachelors in Accounting, for sure, and possibly in Finance. I think that’s it.”

    I do think there are a few select others, for example, depending on school and program computer science can be very valuable. A degree in physics also can help one get into almost any position whether business, finance, academic, etc.

    Overall I agree though.

  9. I suppose it depends upon what your point is. That was certainly not clear from your original post.

    The only job that one’s major gets one, generally, is the first job. After that, it is the body of work one has created, or contacts, or any number of other factors. To think that there are “useless majors” in that context is foolish, for the “major” does little to steer a career path. Indeed, many of the jobs that are most in demand today did not even exist 10 or 20 years ago, and it is reasonable to assume that this trend will only continue.

    But it is convenient to sniff that art history majors aren’t underemployed if they’re waiting tables, I guess.

  10. Talking about protesting…

    What do you think about this HR 347 that the one term-er signed into law last week and was supported by both sides of the aisle?
    To be honest I just heard about it and don’t know what to make of it ..yet.

  11. no, it’s graduate school where you see the big bucks wasted.

    a sampling from Rutgers:

    Women’s studies
    Visual Arts
    Theater Arts
    Jazz History (!)
    Creative Writing

    These are all laudable things to study and should be studied. I’m just not sure what the taxpayer receives from a Doctor of Jazz History that warrants the considerable subsidy.

  12. RoC,

    A Dr. of Jazz would be able to tell us the origins of this cool sax part. And a Dr. of Dance, would do the same for this interpretive dance.

    We NEED these Doctors!!

    (Though I refuse to call academic folks Dr., I use Professor. If you can’t tell me why it hurt when I do this, I won’t call you a Dr.)

  13. Can a graduate degree in Television History be far off? Perhaps a department of Batman Studies?

  14. The context was short term Cro, as was the article that was posted. The subject was employment immediately following college graduation.

    “But it is convenient to sniff that art history majors aren’t underemployed if they’re waiting tables, I guess.”

    The truth remains in this situation, these people are not underemployed as they have yet to create any “body of work” to use your words.

    “The only job that one’s major gets one, generally, is the first job. After that, it is the body of work one has created, or contacts, or any number of other factors.”

    Again I completely agree. However this is by far the most important job one will ever have as it often forms the foundation for ones “body of work, or contacts, or any other number of factors” to again use your words.

    College grades don’t need to make 100k their first year out, but they do need a foundation and any major that is not or generally does not allow one to build a solid foundation for their career is useless.

  15. I had this conversation with my husband this morning. If I was a young woman graduating from high school today, I would seriously consider learning a trade first (to earn some money) and going to college once I was able to pay for it. With the economy as unstable as it’s been, it’s not a bad idea to have a plan B in mind.

  16. RoC, we would need to have one full course dedicated to bat-fight words.

    A huge problem is that guidance at the high school level is virtually non-existent in public schools. The college decision should be involved with respect to course of study decisions, financial decisions, etc etc. It is as big of a decision as buying a home, or getting married. Unfortunately the message has become “go to college and be successful” when it should be “go to college if you can afford it or take on a reasonable amount of debt and major in something that will offer you the opportunity to land a job and jump start your career and said job does not necessarily have to be what you love it just as to pay the bills, your performance in your professional career will determine your future and will offer you the ability to try new things, build a resume, start a business, etc.”

    One thing however, the govmint has to unwind the higher education bubble that they have caused via $1 trillion of student debt.

  17. I do not agree at all that one’s first job after college is the most important one. For a great many, including me, all it did was serve to show me what I DID NOT want to do with my life. Any contacts, etc. I made there are long since forgotten, and were never very helpful in terms of helping me to get where I ended up.
    However, those skills revolving around team work, cooperation, how to conduct oneself in the workplace, how to meet deadlines, how to identify problems and find ways to solve them, are vital. And they are developed, as the article suggests, in college and honed, one hopes, in the workplace. To think that one will have a clear idea of what path they want to follow for the next 50 years or so upon graduating from college at 21 is unrealistic, in my view.

    Prof, attaining a Ph.D., Ed.D., or Psych.D. is a significant accomplishment and it is indicative of hard work, dedication, and research. While there are indeed silly doctorates like those that ROC pointed to, most are not. These people deserve the title and I can tell you that in a professional context only, I insisted on it. A “where does it hurt” doctor has done no more study that a physics Ph.D, and to imply otherwise is foolish. And, as you know, when can be and often is a “professor” without a doctorate of any kind.

  18. “To think that one will have a clear idea of what path they want to follow for the next 50 years or so upon graduating from college at 21 is unrealistic, in my view.”

    Right, how about a 10 year plan, or even a 5 year plan? How about having A plan? The idea is to major in something that opens up doors. The article’s point is that a vast majority of majors leave the graduate with no real prep to enter the chosen area of study and then mentions a few practical exceptions, engineering (all types), accounting, nursing, finance…. Why not major in one of these fields, get a job, and then figure it out?

    I think we in some sense agree, just approaching this from a different angle.

  19. “One thing however, the govmint has to unwind the higher education bubble that they have caused via $1 trillion of student debt.”

    The bubble is what creates the graduate program in Jazz Studies. If a potential Doctor of Jazz had to pony up the full cost of such an education, I doubt there’d be many takers.

    It’s the same way a housing bubble flush with cash subsidized bad loans that never should have been made.

    “Free” money is often unproductive.

    And the results are becoming the same. In that same way our liberal friends say you can’t blame defaulters for taking out irresponsible loans, you also can’t blame the hapless students who borrowed money:

    The real suckers are those of us who took out reasonable sized mortgages and paid back our student loans.

  20. I’m not disagreeing with you, styhpy. I just don’t see the practicality of asking most 21 year olds, or even more so high school seniors of 17 or 18, to make choices about career paths at that point in their lives. Everyone is different, of course. Some people know what they want to do, or they think they do, and so they choose a path like pre-med or engineering or theatre or what have you. But most don’t even know what is out there, and for them I think some work experience, some military service, or just a good old fashioned liberal arts education (don’t get all frothy on me, deadeye, I said liberal ARTS!)would serve to give the student some perspective, some maturity, and a greater appreciation for the value of study. I can’t agree that majoring in finance, for example, and then later “figuring out” that you hate it is the way to go, though many finance majors do just that. I tend to think that, with some exceptions, a broad based course of study offering exposure to a variety of disciplines is preferable to a narrow, career-directed path.
    But that’s just my opinion.

  21. And I guess our “liberal friends” say you can’t blame Wall Street tycoons and investment banks for dragging the economy under whilst being rescued by taxpayers. Even, gasp, some “liberal” ones.

    The real suckers are those who continue to bang this “liberal-conservative” drum.

  22. Cro the practical majors afford you in some sense the ability to pursue what you really want, that is my point. You can be an accountant for a wall street bank or for a not for profit or for a museum or for anything else you might be interested in, same with finance. Also same with engineering. These majors offer incredible optionality. No one has to know what they want to do when they are 17 or 18, some actually will, but for those that don’t Im asking that we as a society strongly recommend or champion something practical. To some that is boring, but practical often is boring.

  23. Yes, you have options within accounting, but suppose you find that accounting ITSELF is not what you want to do?
    You do something else, of course, but if your preparation has been limited to accounting courses and the like, you may find yourself ill-prepared for something else. Or, maybe not.
    I would say that society sort of indirectly champions certain fields by making it evident that there is more in the way of money and prestige to be had in some fields rather than others. So if that is important to you, that’s where you’ll focus.

  24. “While there are indeed silly doctorates like those that ROC pointed to, most are not.”

    Oh, an Ed. D? C’mon. I’m not alone in looking at those with a raised eyebrow. (here’s a fun discussion from the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

    And don’t be so sure about those others. So while I realize we’re supposed to bow to a “Doctorate,” they are not all equal, and many are not worth much and didn’t require all the “research” you think.

    But the higher ed bubble relies on this idea: Experienced Professionals with strong research or creative backgrounds teaching the young. Too bad that’s not always true (and with the number of Adjuncts at most Colleges, it’s rarely true save for the most advanced classes).

    So forgive me if I only refer to a Medical Dr. as “Doctor.” I hold that degree in a much higher regard (sure there are bum MD’s, but still).

    That’s me. But so you feel better, you can call me Professor OR Doctor (just don’t call me late for dinner!). Both apply.

  25. An Ed.D. program in a top-flight school is every bit as rigourous as a Ph.D. program. A Psych. D. is as well. You’re just wrong, is all. I am well aware of the research required, and the path to the degree. I trod that path many years ago, but thanks anyway for the condescension.

    And I certainly don’t “bow” to anyone, or to any degree. I do however refer to and address people in their professional settings with the title they’ve earned. So it’s “Dr. So-and so”, not “Jimmy”/ If you don’t want to do that, who cares, really?

  26. Today’s college students are part of a generation that has been raised “soft” by helicopter parents, trophies for participation vs accomplishment, and a whole lot of kid gloves and soft padding. I admire the students at MSU who are becoming politically active and who recognize that they must be the agents of change. Instead of being critical or dismissive, my baristanet friends, how about a little praise for those who dare to do instead of watch? Higher ed in NJ ranks 48th in the nation in terms of per capita funding. It’s inexcusable and I applaud these students for their efforts.

  27. By saying this story should have been written in the past tense, I wasn’t trying to be critical or dismissive. I was merely referring to those six tents that are no longer there.

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