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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A contingent of protestors remains in tents in the middle of the St. Louis University campus. The “Occupy SLU” effort is one of several efforts to raise public awareness about issues of racial profiling, police tactics and recent police shootings.
But some SLU students say the protestors have worn out their welcome. “The reaction was good in the beginning,” said sophomore Eric Whitman. “But I think some have decided it is not an open discussion anymore,” he added.
Protestor and Ferguson resident Jamell Spann said he was telling students to be open minded and experience what is happening in Ferguson by watching streaming provided by protestors or coming to the protests in Ferguson. “Stop using your privilege to alienate yourself from the struggle that we’re currently fighting for,” he urged them.
But senior student Graham Tait said white students are being labeled as “over privileged” by protestors. “They are just disrespecting us..especially turning the flag upside down is absolutely a disrespect to America and our freedom to actually do the protesting they are doing,” he complained.
Whitman suggested the issues surrounding racism should be discussed by students with the help of a mediator away from the protest site. “It’s an issue we need to solve by working together instead of yelling and not respecting each other’s opinions.”
Some protestors complained the news media is controlled by corporate or political interests and that results in stories that are skewed in one direction.
SLU’s Director of Public Safety Jim Moran said no violence has occurred, only “strong dialogue ” between students who don’t’ share the same opinion. “
We’re a university that supports thoughts, dialogue and that’s what we’ve been seeing from diverse people.”
SLU senior Logan Moore said he supports the rights of protestors to express their opinions but he said this was a midterm week for students and stressful. “They really should put the protest somewhere else and not on a college campus,” he said.