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Student debt and corporate influence were topics of concern for about 200 Iowa State University students and faculty and other Ames residents who gathered on Iowa State's central campus to participate in an "Occupy ISU" event this afternoon.
The gathering was touted by many participants as a "beginning" for a movement in Ames to address inequality, and a way to show solidarity with the protests of Wall Street excesses that started in New York in September and have since spread across the country.
"I think people are considering this to be a white Americans' issue, but this is a people's issue," said Lissa Place, a graduate student in educational leadership and policy studies. "This is about black people, black women. It's about working people. It's about those that have a voice, and those that don't have a voice."
Place said that now is the time for Iowans to stand in solidarity with people everywhere and to overcome the perception that people in rural communities and small towns are not engaged in the political movements occurring throughout the country. Place and Kathleen Gillon, also a graduate student in educational leadership and policy studies, wore cardboard boxes scrawled with messages including, "My student debt is boxing me in," and "We are the 99%."