The 89% strike UCLA — liberty style!

Our Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UCLA just finished our April Activism event, “Occupy the Honor Roll,” in which we took campus by storm to protest the egregious GPA inequality of our educational system. Between cries of “We are the 89%,” “Redistribute GPA, fairness at UCLA,” and “Don’t let the 11% take 89% of the grade points,” we turned heads and passed out all of our fliers with more information about YAL on them. 

The 89% out in force

We tabled on Bruinwalk, the high-traffic corridor of campus, and proceded to walk up and down it holding a large posterboard sign. It read, “We are the 89%” on one side, and “We will no longer remain silent” on the reverse, with #ODL (Occupy the Dean’s List, our version of the honor roll) symbols at the bottom. It also happened to be Israeli Independence Day. We took advantage of the large crowd already gathered at a Bruins for Israel event in celebration to promote our (satiric) message of equality, fairness, and good grades for all.

To our surprise and excitment, we met an actual Occupier on-campus promoting a May-Day protest in Downtown LA. He earnestly believed that we were on his side, provided words of encouragement, and even gave us one of his May Day fliers. Sadly, he left before we could see his reaction to our informational YAL flyer. For a little while afterward, we followed him from a short distance behind, exhorting people to stop being selfish and start being more charitable about their GPA while he asked them to do the same for their incomes, never noticing that we were mocking him the whole time.

Students join the 89%

Apparently, some members of our student body were better at reading as they actually stopped to ask us questions. One insisted that income and GPA were too separate to equate to each other. We kept making the point that achieving a high GPA, like achieving a high income, requires hard work. He asked us about people who work hard and don’t get paid much. We asked him about people who study hard and don’t get good grades.

The protest created an interesting dynamic — on one hand, people who were Occupiers or who had sympathies for the movement were quick to publicly display their denial. On the other, many people overheard our conversations, figured out the real point of our protest, and came to us for information, which we gladly provided.

Overall, the event was a great success, and the satirical dimension gave it an edge over standard YAL tabling.

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