If you've ever heard an "Occupy your mom" joke, you'll know that Occupy memes have gone just about as far as the national movement's politics. But the University of Denver has jumped on the bandwagon: The twenty or so members of the school's Young Americans For Liberty took on wealth redistribution of another sort by hypothetically challenging their fellow students to donate grade points to the less fortunate.
Not that the 99 percent is an accurate image to begin with, says Young Americans For Liberty member Sydney Kirchner. Although the DU group, which began only four weeks ago, takes in members of all political affiliations, it disagrees with the 99-versus-one breakdown in addition to the entire call to redistribute the top sector of wealth across the lower classes.
"I believe that I'm an educated person and I work very hard," says Kirchner, a freshman nursing student. "I'm working two part-time jobs and also going to school full-time, so I'm well on my way to getting a career and becoming self-sustaining. I'd rather not see my labor and my GPA and my work benefiting someone else who didn't put in the time."
For their first group activity at the end of March, the students gathered to take on airport TSA procedures. One of its members donned a TSA costume, and they encouraged the student body to write statements on a wall-sized, body-scanner-shaped sign. And yesterday the group met at Sturm Hall to ask students to "donate" their GPAs in an event titled "Occupy the Honor Roll."
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"We're not in support of the Occupy movement, and we're kind of doing a play on it," Kirchner said in advance of the event. "If someone comes up to the table and says they have a 3.5, we'll say, 'We have some failing students, would you like to share your GPA with them?' Then we'll start talking to them about their political beliefs and how they feel about the Occupy movement."
At that point, the Young Americans explained their own stance on the wealth divide -- namely, the opposite of Occupy Wall Street's. "I don't think they have solid enough goals, and they don't have premises on which to make any change," Kirchner says of the organization. She does, however, have friends who occupy, and she think it's fun. "That's why I'm a part of YAL -- because I actually want to see youth making change."
Here are photos of yesterday's event from the Young Americans For Liberty -- DU Facebook page.
Page down to see more photos from the Young Americans For Liberty event. More from our Politics archive: "Colorado Street Medics: Meet Ann Hirschman, one of the earliest teachers of street skills."