by Hannah Sayle
If you haven't seen the chilling footage of campus police officers pepper-spraying a line of seated, peaceful Occupy protesters at the University of California Davis, you should probably take a few minutes to watch the video here.
In response to the UC Davis incident, Rhodes College students have organized a solidarity vigil on Barret Lawn at 8 p.m. According to the event flyer: "This is an event to demonstrate that we, the Rhodes community, stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement, specifically with the students who have been unfairly and unnecessarily brutalized as they protested peacefully."
Occupy Colleges, an organized response from higher education institutions to the Occupy Wall Street movement, has enjoined colleges and universities across the country to hold candlelight vigils for UC Davis.
"This is about the role of campus spaces in a democracy, so we don't want to wait until our campus space is violated to see that it has anything to do with us," says Leigh Johnson, a philosophy professor at Rhodes who specializes in ethics and social and political philosophy. She has been asked by student organizers to say a few words at tonight's event. "What's important here is to insist upon maintaining the integrity of campus spaces for things like critical discourse, civic engagement, and democratic action."
Johnson anticipates that, despite the inclement weather, a couple of hundred students will be in attendance. The vigil is also open to the public. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.