Forum

‘Occupy the Fence’ falls short of genuine political discussion, activism

“Occupy the Fence Political Discussion” is a Facebook event that you probably didn’t hear about. This is unsurprising, considering nine people were listed as attending, another nine were listed as maybe attending, and 68 didn’t even bother responding. It was supposed to be held last Thursday at 10 p.m., but only Chris Palmer, a junior electrical and computer engineering major and one of the event coordinators, and two of The Tartan’s reporters showed up.

It didn’t help that the event’s description was “come paint the fence and talk about the latest news from the Kardashians” and that KGB had taken the Fence that night to advertise its game of Capture the Flag with Stuff. Poorly advertised and poorly planned, “Occupy the Fence” was an event that was supposed to talk about the politics of Occupy Wall Street, but ended up becoming a joke.

If the event had been well planned and better advertised, a real political discussion could have taken place. This is especially important given the weight of a Carnegie Mellon degree in today’s job market; many students, by the sheer nature of their career paths, will end up as members of the one percent in the not-too-distant future. Many of them already come from families in the one percent themselves. The responsibility that comes with that kind of wealth is no small matter.

It’s time that students start thinking now about the kinds of choices they’ll make when they wield the financial power that so many of their predecessors have abused. That abuse, along with other factors, has led to the situation we’re in today — and it’s up to us to determine how to be more responsible than those who came before us. With the degrees we get here, we will be establishing precedents for the next few decades that will either bring prosperity to this country or will ultimately ruin it.

For that reason, it’s even more depressing to see events like “Occupy the Fence” crashing and burning; after all, that may be one of the few forums we have to chat with our peers about the issues we will someday be involved in. While the university sometimes feels insular when it comes to current events, this is something that is very real for all of us. Instead of taking advantage of Carnegie Mellon’s open and mature atmosphere, though, we’ve only had apathy and silence. Maybe someone bold (and organized) enough can man up and change that.