Photographs of the UC Davis pepper spray incident shocked Occupy sympathizers familiar with police aggression but galvanized by the perceived banality of the violence against students.
St. Lawrence students shared their thoughts about the police attack and made connections to their own campus for a Hill News vox populi.
J. J. Stopyra ‘13: I have a visceral reaction to it. The visual is pretty dramatic, the contrast between stoic violence of the police and the pain you can see them going through. At the same time we can appreciate how united they are.
Jack Siuta ‘15: That happens pretty much everywhere. It’s not a new thing. It’s corrupt but I really just don’t think about it. Our rights clearly aren’t being protected.
Wilson Blackhurst ’12: This sort of thing has happened throughout history – oppression – but he was just doing his job.
Alex Epstein ’12: You can’t blame the individual person like this policeman because he’s simply functioning in the way society is making him function. It comes back to a something Gandhi said about civil disobedience: ‘You should hate the wrongdoing not the wrongdoer.’
Corinne Becker ‘13: It’s horrifying that students can’t peacefully assert their opinions without something happening to them.
Maureen McCoy ‘13: It’s usually the people that are most privileged with the most power in our country. It’s prevalent everywhere: environmental issues, social issues, it’s everywhere in our country.
Kelly Prime ‘12: The first time I saw this photo I thought about us being out there and if this is legal then campus police could come along and pepper-spray us because they are clearly not doing anything… People are really comfortable [at SLU]. It costs a lot to go here, and although some people do get a lot of help, including myself, there are a lot of people who don’t need help to go here. I think if you are comfortable where you’re at, you are not as likely to raise hell.
Sunčica Habul ’13: I don’t think security here would get involved in such a drastic way. They wouldn’t be allowed to do something like that. At public schools with more students and bigger cities, I think there are more chances that something like that could happen and that’s ridiculous.
Anna Lavanger ‘14: My friend goes to that school. To think that she could have been a part of this is really sad and crazy. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Kayleigh Balon ’12: Ridiculous. I think people in general, because of the Occupy Wall Street, are becoming desensitized to it. They don’t think it’s that big of a deal anymore. It’s just kind of upsetting.
People like to take the power away from other people and it’s just such a corrupt society these days that people kind of turn a blind eye. But there are a lot of basic human rights that are being violated on an everyday basis.
A lot of people just don’t want to cause any problems and just go with the flow. If you don’t do anything, nothing is going to get changed. It’s just going to be complete oppression. You are just going to get shit on by people nonstop. People expected an authority figure to come around and brutalize these kids. There’s nothing to say this won’t happen here.
Zachary Stockman ’15: You lose a lot of rights at a private institution.
George Chapman ‘15: Pretty sure it doesn’t give you the right to be pepper sprayed by the police.
Stockman: I guess they made the wrong school choice is what it looks like to me… Stuff like this happens at McGill too. This is as peaceful as it gets so that’s pretty ridiculous. What would the faculty have to do? Step over them to get to the building? And they decided to pepper spray them to open up a little gap. I don’t agree with it.
The government is always talking about how we aren’t on top in education. How can they expect us to be on top when you need $200,000 to go to school nowadays? Fifty percent of the population can’t afford that. This is just an example of it.