A morning rally at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has turned into what organizers are calling an “open and soft occupation” of the university’s Social Sciences Tower.

“Students and community supporters,” a post on the group’s blog declared, “are outraged over soaring tuition, budget cuts, skyrocketing administrative salaries, mounting student debt, attacks on cultural diversity groups on campus, and blatant disregard for workers’ rights across the nation. In light of recent student and worker uprisings around the world, students in the Twin Cities are no longer willing to bear the burdens of the economic crisis while the rich only get richer. Inspired by the actions of students at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Madison, and other campuses around the state, U of M students are standing up against injustices in their own state and their own university.”

The U of M occupiers are allowing other members of the campus community unconstrained access to the Social Sciences Tower, and “planning specific events for the space in order to benefit the entire community.” The building is scheduled to close at 11 pm local time, however, and it is not clear whether university administrators will try to remove them at that time.

As I noted in an earlier post, some activists have declared this Thursday to be a day of walkouts, occupations, and strikes nationwide. It seems that Thursday came early to Minneapolis-St. Paul this week.

Tuesday Morning Update | This tweet just came in from the @umnsolidarity account: “Hey everybody, the doors of the Social Sciences Building are open and Day 2 of the occupation has begun. Come on down!”

Looks like they made it through the night.

Second Update | The occupiers have released a list of demands.