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Occupy protests spread to US college campuses

As the Occupy Wall Street protests have grown to cities across the United States, they've also taken root at US universities, where students have staged rallies and walk-outs from classes.

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Grad student Aaron Miller speaks at an Occupy FIU Teach-In on the Florida International University campus in Miami. Protests have taken root at the nation's universities, where students have staged rallies and walk-outs from classes.

Wilfredo Lee/AP

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Mo Tarafa stood before students at a small, outdoor concrete auditorium at Florida International University and called for volunteers to sit in the 10 chairs before her. Each chair, she said, represented 10 percent of the wealth in the United States and 10 percent of the population.

The students, mostly in their 20s and wearing jeans and T-shirts on a balmy autumn afternoon in Miami, took their places. Then Tarafa asked nine of the students to squeeze together into five of the chairs. This, she said, was the distribution of wealth in 1996.

Next she asked nine students to fit into three of the chairs. This, she said, is the distribution of wealth today. "How are you all feeling right now?" she said.

"Uncomfortable," said one of the students piled up on one another.

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The exercise was part of a teach-in that took place recently at FIU and dozens of other campuses across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. As the protests have grown to cities across the United States, they've also taken root at US universities, where students have staged rallies and walk-outs from classes. On Thursday, students were among the thousands who took part in protests across the country.

They've even set up their own tent cities: At the University of California, Berkeley, where 40 people were arrested in a violent confrontation with police last week, officers removed 20 tents on Thursday. At Harvard University, dozens of students have set up tents in the middle of campus.

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