N.Y.U. and New School students walk out, join march

By Khiara Ortiz

New York University and New School students, along with more than 60 organizations, crowded Washington Square Park last Wednesday to begin the largest demonstration yet in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Organizers spread the word using fliers and text messages saying the walkout from classes was meant to “voice the discontent with the current trajectory of this country, the financial meltdown, and the increasing costs and class sizes of higher education.”

Having been forbidden the use of megaphones, students amplified their shouts for reformation using the “human microphone” system — several voices repeating what one student said.

“Occupy Wall Street has become a space in which we can come together to discuss our common struggle,” said the microphone. “This is what democracy looks like.”

Once the procession of New School students marching down Fifth Ave. passed through the park arch, the march headed east to Lafayette St., where it turned south toward City Hall. Warnings were made about staying on the sidewalks to avoid getting arrested.

No one listened. The streets were claimed.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this movement were here to stay,” said N.Y.U. junior Hari Ziyad. “If we let it be, Occupy Wall Street is the end of apathy.”

Only encouragement and support were received from the New Yorkers who witnessed the march from their windows overlooking Lafayette St.

“We’re ruining someone’s day right now,” said a student protester. Traffic stood no chance against the thousands of people flooding the streets. Adding to the chaos were the clangs made from impromptu cooking pot and wooden spoon instruments and the chants echoing through the march.

The students flooded into Foley Square, where news camerapersons and reporters were scrambling to televise the students’ unrest.

“I think it’s important for students and young people to make their voices heard on this issue because it affects us directly,” said Wynne Lejeune, a freshman at N.Y.U. “We are the ones who are going to be inheriting the problems that older generations have created, so we need to start getting involved now. Even if we can’t change anything today or tomorrow, we still need to stand up and show the country that we’re unhappy with the way things are going.”