Last Monday, a new Occupy came to be, as Vanderbilt students here in Nashville took to the tents to protest the below poverty level wages of Vanderbilt Dining workers, with a typical worker earning $16,500 a year. Not only are employees treated as seasonal workers, but they are also denied unemployment claims when they are laid off for the summer. Lest you think that Vandy execs set an austere example, their Top 10 made on the average over $2 million in 2008. The top of the heap made $5.2 million that year.
Occupy Nashville couldn’t be prouder, and while a few ON members have been involved, they want OV to become all it can be, standing on their own feet, and as these kids are more than alright, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
OV has a unique situation, being on campus property, which should help them avoid some of the problems that plagued ON, such as an unruly and uncontrollable element. Overnight protestors are limited to students, and there is a campus police presence 24/7 (While I was there this morning, there was a single policeman in a car who greeted and waved at me). Occupiers Tori and Ben were both very nice and knowledgeable, and allowed me to tape a short interview; unfortunately, my normally faithful Flipcam was neither nice nor faithful, and said interview was eaten, so I’ve had to rely on their handouts and a faulty memory to recreate my visit.
You can read their declaration here. As a new Occupy, they are wrestling with the usual logistics, so they were quite happy to learn about FDL and Occupy Supply, not to mention our weekly webinars and helpful hints. I am hopeful they will link their community with ours, and I hope to see their posts here as we learn and work together on their progress and problems. Because that’s what friends are for. Of course, you can find them on Facebook. There are also these links on the handouts they gave me, www.OURVandy.Org, and occupyvanderbilt.org.