Saturday afternoon several Boston bastions of political and financial power witnessed a serious public display of affection.
On April 7, members of Students Occupy Boston led a Kiss-In against Student Debt at the Federal Reserve building, at Citibank, and in front of the State House. “If banks can make out like bandits, so can we!” read the flyer advertising the action, along with the image of two masked figures locking lips. Roughly twenty students – from Tufts, Boston University, Emerson, UMass Boston, and Northeastern – exchanged embraces “to protest the devastating effects of student debt in a unique, creative way.”
During the kiss-in, activists distributed information on student debt to passers-by. Kumar Ramanathan, a student from Tufts, reports that police at the Fed moved in immediately to tear down a letter posted by the activists. At the State House, however, where a number of actions were in process, “a cop told us ‘I like this protest better,’” Ramanathan said, “So, pretty different reactions from the cops.”
In June 2010, student loan debt in the United States surpassed outstanding credit card debt. In 2012 the student loan debt crossed $1 trillion. Visit the Student Loan Debt Clock here to see the debt growing by the minute. College seniors who graduated with student loans in 2010 owed an average of $25,250—the highest level ever recorded—and 2011 debt totals were even higher, reports a study released by the Institute for College Access and Success.