KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Missouri at Kansas City student Caleb Michael Files says that his support of the Occupy movement cost him his job, and while he and others are fighting to get his job back, school officials claim that he endangered the lives of students by letting the movement on campus.
Files, a social justice coordinator at the Johnson Hall dorm – a resident adviser position that gives him free room and board at the school, says that he lost his job after a group of approximately 20 protestors decided to occupy the dorm last month.
“If you ask the occupiers, I did not let them in the building,” said Files, who says that because of the firing he will be forced to leave the school. “I was being terminated. The contributing factor to my termination was that I allowed the Occupy UMKC students into the building. And that I endangered the lives of students.”
Files says that he is being punished for being supportive of the Occupy movement. Assistant Dean of Students Eric Grospitch says told FOX 4 that he cannot discuss the reasons behind Files’ termination, but he says that while the school is not trying to prevent protests, there are policies requiring the school to be notified 10 days in advance of any demonstration, and Occupy UMKC protesters are not following them.
Grospitch says Occupy UMKC is not a registered student organization and has no rights on campus.
“I’m very vocal in politics in Kansas City. I have been, I was named one of the top three activists by Pitch magazine. My involvement with political issues in Kansas City is very prominent. The university has asked me to tone it down in the past,” said Files.
An online petition to reinstate Files has gathered over 200 signatures so far, but opinions among UMKC has been mixed – none of the students that talked to FOX 4 were willing to go on camera, but some said that student security should come first, while others say that Files should get his job back.