Tense relations at Occupy protests

Photo by Jennifer Cheung.

Yalies looking to become more involved in Occupy New Haven last week installed a six-person tent on the New Haven Green, though opinions differ as to whether or not the protest is welcoming for Elis.

Tensions have been rising between protesters and neighboring residents both in New Haven and in other Occupy protests across the nation. On a national level, police forces in several cities across the United States dismantled Occupy camps and arrested unruly protesters, citing complaints from local businesses and health and safety concerns as reasons to crack down on the movement. In light of these issues, Yalies wishing to get involved in Occupy New Haven have questioned their safety should they join the protestors. In the Elm City, though, protesters said they do not expect to encounter similar police actions because their protest has not demonstrated the same safety concerns as those in other cities. .

“This is the best Occupy protest in the country,” said Irving Pinsky, a New Haven attorney and Occupy participant. “There were drugs on the Green before Occupy came here, but it’s much cleaner now.”

New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said the Occupy New Haven protest has been a source of few complaints. He said that despite a handful of initial incidents in which homeless people entered the Occupy camp, the NHPD has been “fortunate” in not having to deal with the problems that have arisen in other Occupy protests.

But while the New Haven protest has avoided such clashes with law enforcement, Yalies’ interactions with the Occupy protest has been tense at times.

Last week at a Dwight Hall working group meeting, student organizer Martina Crouch ’14 said that an increased Yale presence in the protest might not be helpful because “the Green is just not a receptive environment right now.”

While she later explained she was referring to specific incidents involving individuals no longer involved in the movement, other interactions have fueled discord between Yalies and protesters.

“There has always been tension between Yale students and New Haven,” Pinsky said. “When you are dealing with a group like Occupy, some people will definitely view [Yalies] as the 1 percent.”

Officials in U.S. cities playing host to some of the more problematic Occupy protests have said that the camps are hot spots for substance abuse and crime. Riot police in Oakland, Calif. cleared out an Occupy camp one week after a fatal shooting that involved a man living at the protest site Thursday night. In Salt Lake City, Utah, police dismantled another Occupy encampment and arrested 15 individuals and in Portland, Ore., more than 300 officers evicted Occupy Portland protesters from two downtown parks.

The Elm City protest has been going on for 31 days.


  • MsMoneypenny

    None of the Yalies I was friends with while there (in the ’80s) would be the 1%. They were work study, they were up to their necks in student loans.

  • OccupyNewHaven

    Reposted on behalf of Tommy:

    I am an Occupant. This comment does not reflect the views or opinions of any of the other occupants, or the Occupy Movement as it is known.

    I have been occupying the green since day 2. Yale Daily news, along with other news organizations in the local area have been CONTINUALLY misrepresenting, misquoting, and twisting the words of the Occupants here on the green. we have extended on more than one occasion an opportunity for REAL Conversation. Whenever I talk to the Yale Daily News people that come by, they waste my time, misquote me, ignore things of importance, and continue to increase the gap between the Students of Yale and the people down here at the occupation. We are not here for a fight, nor are we here quarrel over small things, or differences, however, in my opinion, the disinformation being put out through Yale Daily News in Regards to the Occupation is not only biased and uninformed, but is a disservice to the entire Yale community, and our occupation and also seems to separate our communities. Furthermore, it is a particular and shameful disservice to Yale, as the bright minds and concerned people of the prestigious school may be being dissuaded from not only coming down and meeting us, and learning about why we are all here, but also may be being dissuaded from stepping up to the plate at this amazing point in history where talents, insights and good hearts of the Yale students and professors could make a huge and positive difference in the future of the world as we know it. We are here to bridge the gaps, and I appreciate this opportunity to help clarify some of the misconceptions about this situation. I only hope that Yale will seize this opportunity, and come down and engage in the conversation, as it is open to them, as it is to all.

    Tommy Doomsday (occupant)

  • Somalia_Horn

    I would like to see a greater Yale presence on the green and in the movement in general. What Mr. Doomsday had to say is absolutely right. This is a very special time in our nation’s history, where we our carving the path for our future. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Yale students, faculty and staff chose to study or teach at Yale to be part of something special, a great institution that can be “profound and life altering.” Outside of the Yale microcosm there are real, passionate, caring, and selfless minded people that also exist. Many may be on the downside of opportunity, that just need a chance to get their feet back under them.

    What is Occupy New Haven? It is a grand opportunity to change the world and something that we have been waiting for and are so fortunate that it is happening in our lifetime. Now that it is here WE (irrespective of class distinction) need to do something to be part of it and change the world together.

    Class segregation is the worst form of segregation. Occupy movements have allowed all classes to live together and learn from one another. In a conversation I had with Mr. Doomsday, he said, “apartments exist to keep people APART,” Occupy New Haven is here to bring likeminded people TOGETHER that are tired of being bullied. Irrespective of class, race, creed, nationality, or gender, we will no longer be docile. We will stand for what’s right.

    It is imperative that Yale is involved, for many students and professors alike are well versed in the loopholes, protocols and procedures that need to be traveled inorder to implement serious changes. We all have a vital and pivitol rule to play. Mr. Doomsday said it best, “talents, insights and good hearts of the Yale students and professors could make a huge and positive difference in the future of the world as we know it.” Occupy New Haven is not a spectator sport, is is a movement that needs life to live.

    That being said, I understand the plight of many Yale students and professors alike, balancing their school and work schedules, fitting into and continually checking in with “the mold of success” that has been carved out by men before them. In “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost writes,

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    If you are one that has thouroughly bought into the “kool-aid” you may be one that will never, as Mr. Doomsday put it, “seize this opportunity, and…engage in the converstion, as it is open to [Yale], as it is open to all.” But if you believe in a better tomorrow, a better future not only for oneself but for New Haven, for our country, and for the world, then come to the green, engage in discourse, and see how you can be a catalyst for real lasting change.

  • kdaysandtou

    It would definitely be helpful if YDN reporters stopped interviewing people with preconceived notions of where the interview can/will go. Too many people are obviously typecast. I know reporters are really busy, but how hard can it be for people to feel they have been represented appropriately by the News? This is embarrassing and seems to happen more frequently than it should.

  • Bssgrl

    I welcome students from Yale to come down and engage so that they can make opinions for themselves vs spoon fed info that media is “allowed” to give. I think that discussions would not only be engaging but that there would be a lot of common ground from the students themselves.

  • Catherine08

    “He said that despite a handful of initial incidents in which homeless people entered the Occupy camp, the NHPD has been “fortunate” in not having to deal with the problems that have arisen in other Occupy protests.” Say what? Why are the homeless not entering the camp? Are the 1% excluding the .01%?