Junette Reyes/Staff Writer
As an opinion writer for The Beacon, it is more than obvious that I am an advocate of free speech. Still, the events that occurred on Jan. 12 involving the Occupy FIU movement and the FIU Police Department that eventually led to the arrest of the FIU 7 left me somewhat uncertain as to how I should conclude my thoughts on this situation.
After an initial judgment of the circumstance, however, I believe that neither party involved acted appropriately. Both participating parties must treat this as a precedent for future events. It is through this precedent that there is a window of opportunity that presents an interesting future for both the protesters and the school administration.
The error of both parties was that they acted how they believed they were entitled to act, which only seems reasonable considering they were both just doing their jobs, so to speak.
FIU Police acted as the extension of school administration that they are while the Occupy FIU members did what they do best when opposed: hold their ground and demonstrate.
In agreement with The Beacon’s editorial on this situation, published on Jan. 18, it must be stated that those members of Occupy FIU should have been more aware of their limitations and restrictions. Of course, this does not excuse the unnecessary way FIU Police decided to handle this situation.
While the members of Occupy FIU definitely need to be smarter about their assemblies in order to be successful, the University as an administration also needs to be careful with how it interacts with them because a repeat situation may produce a worse outcome.
Due to this situation, the future of the relationship between the University and the protesters can turn out in two ways: either the University continues to irrationally take action through its extensions, or an effective relationship between both parties could thrive from this in terms of a better understanding of each other and cooperation.
As an institution, the University’s initial concern might be to maintain its reputation, given a case like this. This means the latter of those two possibilities might happen simply because the University has already drawn attention to itself, so it might do whatever it takes to avoid another conflict like this. This does not necessarily mean complete compliance with what the protesters want, but it could very well mean the beginning of an interesting future.
It might be a shaky start, but only a drastic event like this could have given that push needed to set everything in motion.
As previously mentioned, both Occupy FIU and the University need to be careful with how they interact with each other. Hopefully, they see this as the opportunity that it is and take it to better collaborate with one another.
thank you for a well reasoned well informed opinion and printed on a fiu banner tyvm