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.