Friday, April 10, 2009

Police Raid The New School

In response to the student body's disappointment with the leadership choices (among other decisions) made by New School President Bob Kerrey, a student group called the New School in Exile threatened to shut down and occupy the school on April 1st, an action that never came to fruition but was certainly made known to the public.

Below is a letter from President Bob Kerry about the 60-student protest and building occupation that resulted in a massive police raid incleuding alleged tear gas and violence. An article on the incident can be found here, which cites the fact that 19 of the 60 participants were actually arrested. I kind of wish I hadn't missed out on the mayhem, although while I certainly understand their motives I'm very thankful I'm not involved in this mess.

"A Note to the Community

"On December 15, 2008, an unofficial student organization calling themselves the New School in Exile occupied the cafeteria at 65 Fifth Avenue, barricaded themselves into the room, and issued a set of demands. Early on the morning of December 16, a group of students and non-students broke through a fire exit on 14th street and entered the building.

"Although the occupants had violated a number of important security rules, the university made the judgment they were neither an operational or a security risk. Accordingly, we did not file a complaint with the New York Police Department to have the occupants removed. Instead we entered into a process of negotiations with our students and reached agreement on a list of demands including amnesty for all involved early on the morning of December 17. The students left peacefully at that time.

"In January, this same unofficial student organization issued a public threat to forcefully shut down the university on April 1 unless the President and Chief Operating Officer were removed. Following this they were caught stealing an entire edition of the student newspaper on account of a story they regarded as unfavorable to them; and subsequently they vandalized the university's presidential residence.

"During this time the university has allowed and accommodated every peaceful protest, teach-in, and demonstration. We have enforced our rules governing such events in such a way as to permit protests, so long as they don't endanger the safety of other members of the community or destruction of property.

"This morning's illegal occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue was joined by a number of New School in Exile students as well as individuals without any affiliation to The New School. Their claim that this was a simple political protest is false. Their entry into this building was forced, they removed a man who was cleaning the building, took his phone, injured a security officer, and did physical damage to the building.

"Accordingly, in this case the university asked the New York Police Department to remove and arrest those who were trespassing on our property. We suspended, pending administrative review, all New School students who were a part of this action.

"The New School prides itself on civic engagement. We have been and will continue to be a refuge for open and critical political debate. Students and faculty who choose to peacefully and passionately oppose the policies of the university will have their rights to do so protected as strongly as we protect our right to safely and securely operate our university."

President Bob Kerrey


Khawer Khan said...

Have you seen the videos of the arrests? People were arrested for saying "shame"!

When protestors stated on camera that they did not know why they were arrested and that they did not have their rights read to them, NYPD attacked the cameraman.

Anonymous said...

*President Bob Kerrey