Social media fuels Occupy Colleges movement

Twitter and Facebook have served as effective recruitment tools for Occupy Colleges protesters and organizers, Ciavola said, but using the popular platforms has drawn an undesirable crowd.

“I think social media hurts their cause because it turns out people who come and don’t know why they’re there,” he said. “They don’t know what the government does or how the economy works. [Social media] gets people out there, but the people they’re turning out are not good spokespeople for their cause.”

Republican representatives and conservative pundits have lashed out at the Occupy demonstrators, often criticizing college students for directing their dissatisfaction toward Wall Street instead of Congress.

Lawmakers’ decision to increase federal student aid to almost $150 billion annually has benefited colleges and universities while contributing to higher tuition costs, wrote Neal McCluskey, associate director of the conservative Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom.

“The feds have been blasting helium into the college-cost bubble, enabling profits — which, if driven by undistorted demand, could be good — to balloon at the expense of students and taxpayers,” McCluskey wrote.

The solution, McCluskey wrote, is in direct opposition to what many Occupy Colleges protesters are calling for: Reducing tuition tax deductions, Pell Grants, and “cheap student loans.”

“The outcry would be that this will hurt students, an objection that would probably issue loudly from the people raging against the financial machine,” he wrote. “But it would do the opposite, forcing schools to keep their prices in line with the real cost of providing education, and saving both students and taxpayers big bucks.”

Abrams from Occupy Colleges said the conservative criticism of Occupy demonstrators ignores the jobs crisis hurting students and recent graduates.

“Some people on the right are saying to just get jobs, but [the jobs] aren’t out there, or they’re jobs we should’ve had in high school, not after going to college and getting an education,” she said.

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