Open Media Boston Supports Occupy UMass Boston; Calls for Public Action to Defend #OUMB Encampment
There is far too much for me to say about UMass Boston to fit in one editorial; so I'll restrain myself and keep this brief. Open Media Boston strongly supports the Occupy UMass Boston movement's decision to found an encampment at the UMB Campus Center on Monday. And supports the movement itself. For the first time in a long time, Boston's working class university - my alma mater - is home to a growing and vibrant network of progressive students who are organizing for radical and much needed changes to public higher education system in Massachusetts. There have been many attempts to spark such a movement in the last four decades - some of which I have personally participated in, and helped organize - but this is first attempt that is part of a society-wide movement for social change. And the first one that looks to be willing to engage in sustained direct action outside "official channels" to demand full government funding for public higher education, an end to the privatization and corporatization of the Mass. public higher education system, free speech on campus, and a complete reorganization of the UMass system to serve the needs of the Commonwealth's working families rather than the needs of the unelected businesspeople that currently control the UMass Board of Trustees - and our government at all levels. The OUMB movement is swiftly gaining traction among UMass Boston students, staff and faculty - which, as a commuter campus, has long been a very difficult place to engage in grassroots political organizing. And that's all to the good.
However, the UMass Boston administration - controlled as ever by the UMass President's Office and the Board of Trustees in close coordination with the Governor's Office and key state legislators, and beholden to corporate interests - is not going to take this threat to their power lying down. Yesterday at 5 p.m. they issued an "eviction notice" to the OUMB encampment - telling them that they would be allowed to use the established "protest zone" at the entrance to the campus on Morrissey Blvd., but would not be allowed to keep the encampment in the Campus Center.
The movement hung tight - supported by people from Occupy Boston and several OccuTrip participants from Occupy Wall Street and as far away as Occupy Mexico - and refused to move the encampment. So far the administration hasn't sent in the UMB police to force them out, but that's only a matter of time.
To forestall that eventuality as long as possible, Open Media Boston calls on our viewers to call or email their support for OUMB to
UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley
UMass President Robert Caret
UMass Board of Trustees
Governor Deval Patrick
Demand that the Occupy UMass Boston encampment be allowed to remain in place in the UMass Boston Campus Center in its current location for all long as its occupiers wish to stay in the name of their Constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Check out the Occupy UMass Boston website at http://www.occupyumassboston.org and their follow their Twitter hashtag #oumb for more up-to-the-minute information.
And be sure to get over to the UMass Boston Campus Center for visit the OUMB encampment and offer them whatever support you can.
If you're a UMass alumni, call up the Alumni office and say that you will refuse to donate to to the school if the OUMB encampment is touched.
If you are part of a community, labor or religious organization, get it to issue a public statement of support to OUMB. If you can offer material aid, do so.
If you can help get the word out, do that. Certainly forward this editorial as widely as possible.
That's it for now. Let's see how this plays out.
Jason Pramas is Editor/Publisher of Open Media Boston