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Open Forum 'Occupies' College Students in Harrison

HARRISON, N.Y. - It's an occupation that has lasted close to two months but for these students, it's a message that's been a long time coming .

Purchase College students assembled Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after New York City Police raided Zuccotti Park in Manhattan to rid it of Occupy Wall Street protesters, discussing and debating the ideals of the movement.

"I'd like to say that what we are fighting for is to raise the bar of humankind," Emma Devine said. "The occupation's purpose was to draw attention to the fact that there are reforms that need to be made."

Devine and close to 20 other Purchase College students sat in a circle Tuesday night following an organized method to share and debate Occupy Wall Street ideology, organized by the SUNY Purchase Community General Assembly. And not all of the students appeared consistent with the message.

"What is it we are protesting?" student Ramon Lantigua asked. "It seems we're attacking thin air."

Elan Cohen said he participated in early marches with the New York City protestors, citing the looks of fear and guilt he said he saw in Wall Street bankers' faces as a purpose of the movement.

"We're in a position in America that is totally unprecedented," Cohen said. "This isn't about money. It's about a shift in culture with everyone's voices behind heard to minimize the marginalization."

The college has a knack for facilitating politically-involved students, with some having visited the Manhattan protests that have grown into an anti-corporate international movement, leading to their ultimate arrests .

The conversation went on for close to two hours and focused on various subjects including the validity of money in society and what methods of protest were most effective in spreading the group's messages for equality. And though corporations have been a vilified aspect of the discussion, students generally agreed that not all were evil.

"The real problem here is that there are too many people in office who do not represent our interests," Devine said.

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