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UA student gets credit for becoming involved in protest

Rich Robinson

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While many UA students watch the Occupy Wall Street protests from afar, one has jumped onto its front lines and is receiving class credit for doing so.

Henry Perkins, a junior in New College, has been receiving credit for his occupation of Zuccotti Park since October and is embracing the opportunity.

“I’m sort of the luckiest guy in town,” Perkins said.  “I saw what was happening on the Internet and knew that I needed to be there.”

Perkins is politically progressive and was sympathetic to the fledging movement during its infancy.

“It was a week into it when I decided to go,” Perkins said from New York. “My view is that [the protestors] are fighting for everybody to be nice, which I am all about.”

Perkins’s decisions were not without consequence, though.

“I had to drop French 103 and Asian civilization to do this, but I’m getting credit for New 100, New 492, New 216 and I am also getting an Independent research credit.”

Perkins moved to New York during the first week of October and currently lives in less than ideal circumstances.

“I live on a marble bench,” Perkins said. “It feels like home despite the back pain. I’ve got a sleeping bag and a table above me on the bench, and I also have a broken cot and tarp walls.”

He also said he had not showered in weeks and that the glamorous life of a protestor turns out to be non-existent on Wall Street.

“You wake up and somebody takes a picture of you and then you go to the McDonald’s to use the bathroom.” Perkins said.

He said that when he is not eating at the various fast food restaurants in lower Manhattan, he is either protesting or working.

“I’m writing all the time up here,” Perkins said. “I handwrite my experiences and then transcribe them onto an email to my professors whenever I can get a chance to be on a computer.

“We have food and clothes that are donated by supporters and passersby,” he said. “We also have a library, which is very cool, and our own security force.”

With his final projects not due until December, Perkins said he has time to soak up more of the movement.

“These are the best people that I’ve ever met,” Perkins said. “Age, race and religion have stopped mattering in the park. This is the best I’ve ever felt; my life is filled with purpose.”

Perkins also has some advice for all students at Alabama.

“Drop out of school and come to New York. I recommend that everybody does that”

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UA student gets credit for becoming involved in protest