January 3 2012
College Credit for Protesting?
The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be slowing down. Some people don't want to let that happen, so they are turning to our universities for the next generation of protesters. Our universities are showing that they are too often a training ground for leftwing activism.
Columbia University is offering a new course, "Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequity, Social Movement". This doesn't appear to be a course studying the movement or even better, comparing the dynamics with another protest movement such as the Tea Party Movement. Instead, unfortunately, this appears to be credit for protesting.
Here is the course description:
The course begins next semester and will be divided between class work at Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus and fieldwork that will require students to become involved with the Occupy movement outside of the classroom.
This doesn't sound like a serious academic course. The class will be taught by Dr. Hannah Appel, who is described as a "veteran of the Occupy movement." Were there any courses taught on the Tea Party Movement? I don't remember hearing about any such courses. Maybe there was no need since there were more people at those.
Appel says that one of the problems that needs to be addressed is the messaging of the Occupy movement. The Occupy movement is struggling with the message, but that is because of the deeper problem of the lack of a clear understanding of economics. These students would likely better understand the movement (and be more marketable after college) if they signed up for an economics course rather than this anthropology course.