Occupy Columbia granted town hall meeting with administration

By Samuel Charles

At approximately 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, more than 20 members of the Occupy Columbia coalition camped outside President Warrick L. Carter’s office on the fifth floor of the Alexandroff Campus Center, 600 S. Michigan Ave., asking for a town hall meeting so the group may have a chance to “air grievances” against the college. The grievances are hallmarked by Columbia’s rising tuition costs.

After more than an hour of back and forth negotiations between Occupy Columbia and members of the administration—Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Louise Love, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Susan Marcus and Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff Paul Chiaravalle—Love offered to meet with the group on Friday, Dec. 9, from 1 – 2 p.m. on the eighth floor of the Alexandroff Campus Center.

Throughout the duration of their occupation of the fifth floor, the present members of Occupy Columbia echoed the cramped hallway with chants of unity and solidarity.

Several members of the activist group Coalition Against the Corporatization of Higher Education, C.A.C.H.E., were also present. The group is made up of students from different colleges throughout the Chicago area, including DePaul and Northwestern universities. Ashley Bohrer, a member of C.A.C.H.E. and student at DePaul, at one point suggested faculty, staff and students organize walkouts in order to obtain the administration’s attention more fully.

Before coming to a final agreement, Love offered to meet with the group while they were on the floor. The group refused her offer, saying that all the members were not present and a meeting then would not fully represent them.