3 Washington University students arrested in Occupy St. Louis Protest
The three students, seniors Adam Hasz and Molly Gott and sophomore Kait Mauro, were arrested near the Martin Luther King Bridge. They were held in the St. Louis City Justice Center for about 10 hours and released on bail Friday morning.
The students participated in the march from Kiener Plaza to the bridge as part of a national day of action recognized by the entire Occupy movement. The Post-Dispatch reported that 800 people marched and 14 were arrested.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) planned the local rally. Their main demand is the rebuilding of the crumbling public and social infrastructures. One of SEIU’s short-term solutions is to create new infrastructure jobs to repair the ill-maintained bridges.
Upon arriving at the bridge, Hasz said that police gave protesters the option to either step back or be arrested.
Hasz, Gott and Mauro chose to stay put and were put under arrest.
“The people who were willing to take the rap stood forward and the others stood back,” Hasz said. “It means that I am fully committed to the ideas of the Occupy movement and making it my own. The arrest symbolized my personal commitment.”
Hasz said he is part of the Occupy St. Louis movement because of the light that it sheds on social issues.
“We need to invest in our physical and social [infrastructure] in order to create jobs and revive the national economy,” he said. “For me the Occupy movement represents this unique [opportunity] to talk about all of society’s problems and how they’re connected, how economic injustice is related to economic issues, or how racism is related to sexism.”
Mauro views the movement as a way she can contribute to the country’s future.
“For me, a student about to graduate and engage with the world, with the economic crisis, with all of these social ills, I see this movement as a way for students to fully get involved in what the future of our country looks like,” Mauro said.
Hasz said that this particular march was important to him because of the recent, nationwide crackdowns on the Occupy movement.
“I had to take a stand when evictions were happening this past week. I thought that marching was the best way that I could take a stand and say I want to be a part of it and I want to contribute in any way I can,” he said.
The arrested students say, in comparison to schools like University of California at Berkeley, few students at Washington University are getting involved in the Occupy movement.
“For me it’s really about the fact that everyone here has privilege… it’s not, in my experience, a place that fosters action,” Mauro said. “We spend so much time talking about really good questions but at a certain point it becomes an excuse to not take action, but I think there has to be a balance of both in the culture.”