Occupy Eugene protest sets up camp on Oregon campus

Occupy Eugene protest sets up camp on Oregon campus »Play Video
Occupy Eugene campers pack up at Alton Baker Park. The group relocated to the University of Oregon campus, although university officials have said camping will not be allowed there.

EUGENE, Ore. - Occupy Eugene packed up and moved their camp to the heart of the University of Oregon campus, where officials said a campground is incompatible with the mission of the university.

"The UO supports the right to free speech and encourages the active exchange of ideas," Lorraine Davis, the acting provost, wrote in a message to university staff obtained by KVAL News. "Those concepts are at the foundation of higher education. But the time, place and manner for expression of ideas must be consistent with the university’s mission, and the UO cannot accommodate a campground."

Members of Occupy Eugene told KVAL News that this is another temporary move.

The camp relocated from downtown Eugene to Alton Baker Park last Friday to accomodate the Eugene Saturday Market.

The City Council exempted the protest from a ban on camping in public parks until mid-December.

But after six nights in the park, protesters said they felt they were out of the public eye.

Protesters said occupying the memorial quad between the library, business school and art museum will allow the group to protest issues like the rising cost of tuition and the privatization of public education.

"Not only will we get incredible amounts of exposure from being at the campus because there's thousands of people down there everyday, but we would also like to build more solidarity with the students," said Elizabeth Yandel, an Occupy Eugene organizer.

"This is a place where people have expressed their Constitutional rights for many, many decades in this country," said another Occupy organizer, Jamil Jonna. "It has a long pedigree, so I think it's very rational and reasonable just from a historical perspective."

While the universtiy said it does not allow camping on campus, officials said they are working with Occupy Eugene and the City of Eugene to help the group find a better location.