The Daily Texan published a column Tuesday about why the new camping ban is good. When the University updates its policies after seeing what is happening nationally, it looks fishy, and it actually is. Students sleep on the South Mall, in their classes and in the Texas Union without tents and sleeping bags all the time already, so why have a policy outlawing camping when nobody has set up tents?
Because the University wants to curtail protesting. The only reason increasing tuition has become an issue that we take seriously is because of the occupation-style protests that began on the West Coast. The camping ban at UT was implemented to intimidate protesters from repeating the example set on the West Coast. Tuition at UT is too high, and Texas is becoming California in slow motion.
The media characterizes Zuccotti Park as unsanitary, unsafe, dirty and a threat to public health and safety. It was this rhetoric that helped to turn public opinion away from the movement and to the filthiness of the protesters. When students camped out at University of California, Davis, it wasn’t the students who were in the wrong but the university, which exposed itself as the greatest threat to students on campus.
The columnist falls in line with right-wing attacks in the media that concentrate on the homeless population’s presence rather than their problems. The policies of our city make people homeless. When the city decides to close down the state mental hospital because of “budgets cuts” just to build on the space after the hospital has been bulldozed, it is clear the city does not care about people and would rather just put them on the street. To treat the homeless like they are the problem rather than the system that favors capital and profits over human need is just silly.
The columnist wrote, “UT has a right to protect its property.” You mean our property, right? It is the tuition of the students that pays for the facilities on campus, and we should be able to use it any way we please. If we want to use it to protest racial inequalities on campus and protest proposed budget cuts, let us. If we want to camp out all night with tents, let us.
Michelle Uche is a Government senior.