Dissent declines

Queen’s exchange student Antonio Cillero of Spain was one of approximately 20 protesters who marched on Princess Street on Saturday as part of the Occupy Kingston movement.
Queen’s exchange student Antonio Cillero of Spain was one of approximately 20 protesters who marched on Princess Street on Saturday as part of the Occupy Kingston movement.
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Protesters with the Occupy Kingston movement dwindled from over 100 to five yesterday.

While most vacated Confederation Park after the first day of protest on Saturday, four camped overnight in a tent in the middle of the park.

The movement began Saturday afternoon in protest of student debt and the postgraduate job market.

More than 100 Kingston locals, Queen’s alumni, students, professors and politicians gathered in Confederation Park at 1 p.m. The group chanted “occupy Wall Street, occupy our street” while marching along Princess Street.

Two police cars attempted to stop the march up Princess, but no known arrests were made and the march continued.

Occupy Kingston occurred in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and other similar international protests, in countries like Spain, Belgium, Australia, Ireland and South Africa.

The movement came to Bay Street in Toronto on Saturday. Throughout the day, numbers fluctuated between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees but were significantly smaller by Monday.

Many attendees said the Occupy movement isn’t one singular day, but a longer trending dissatisfaction with government and corporate greed.

Ethan Vos, who studied economics at Queen’s in 2008-09, said there’s a lot of frustration with the treatment of poorer students in the Queen’s community.

“I know a lot of people are rather upset with Queen’s and what some have called discrimination against its poorer students,” Vos said. “They’re struggling to find jobs once they graduate and that’s a big problem in Kingston. You kind of have to take what you can get.”

Students and alumni said the scarce job market is a concern for graduates, who often struggle to find work after school.

The work put into receiving a university degree isn’t paying off as it should, said Michelle Dorey, ArtSci ’77. She said student debt creates undue dependence on the Canadian employment system.

“They become indentured servants, slaves to the system. They have to wait years to find a decent job,” she said. “You work hard in school and when you graduate, you should have the opportunity and the system isn’t providing opportunities.”

Ian Hughes, a retired Queen’s mathematics professor who started teaching 43 years ago, said he’s unsure what the effect of the Occupy movement will have on Queen’s students’ future. His aim, he said, was to see change in Kingston City Council.

“I’m here because this is a popular international movement,” Hughes said. “I’d like to see a city council, which is supportive of people — and the marginalized particularly — and not business. This particular council is business.”

Jim Moriarty, ArtSci ’06, said he was concerned about the living standards for students in the future. He attended Occupy Kingston in support of this generation of students.

“This is the first generation since the Industrial Revolution that will not have the ability to exceed the standard of living of your parents,” Morarity said. “It’s not going to happen for you. That’s why I’m here. I’m here for you.”

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