Columbia University in New York is offering a new class this spring semester in which students will be required to take part in the social movement known as Occupy Wall Street that swept the nation this past fall.
Dr. Hannah Appel, an anthropologist who reportedly supports the OWS movement, will teach the class titled “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” The course will involve class work as well as projects out in the field.
According to the syllabus, the course will allow for up to 30 students to get involved with OWS through “fieldwork.” This idea prompted the New York Post to ask, “Does getting pepper sprayed count as extra credit?”
In her blog, Appel backed the movement by saying, “It is important to push back against the rhetoric of ‘disorganization’ or ‘a movement without a message’ coming from left, right and center.” She has reportedly camped out among the protesters in Zuccotti Park.
The New York Post asked Appel if her personal allegiance to the OWS movement would present a problem when teaching the class. She answered, “Inevitably, my experience will color the way I teach, but I feel equipped to teach objectively. It’s best to be critical of the things we hold most sacred.”
On the syllabus, Appel addresses safety issues regarding the movement.
“I can say with absolute certainty that there is no foreseeable risk in teaching this as a field-base class,” she writes.
This news comes after 68 protesters were arrested at OWS encampments on charges of trespassing, reckless endangerment, and disorderly conduct on New Year’s Eve.