Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Most Of Us Are Happy I Think"

My friend goes to The New School, where a massive student protest is happening. She was studying inside a campus building.

AIM IM with friend.
11:35 PM
friend: 5th ave is apparently is shut down in front of school
Joshua Becker: omgg
friend: like 100 cuny kids shows up outside
friend: and started to chant
Joshua Becker: LOL (Yes, I'm immature.)
friend: and kids inside 65 5th were debating whether to set off the fire alarms to let people in though a back door
Joshua Becker: kumbayaaaaaaa
Joshua Becker: are u even doing work
friend: not now
friend: i am too distracted
friend: i might head over around midnight
friend: or when i am closer to being done
friend: because i wont be able to come back in
Joshua Becker: wait how long is this supposed to last
11:40 PM
friend: however long it takes
Joshua Becker: to accomplish what
Joshua Becker: making kerrey resign?
friend: maybe
friend: there is a list of things they want
friend: ughh i wish i was done with this shit
Joshua Becker: what else
Joshua Becker: and do you want them?
friend: like choose provost
friend: i forgot the whole list (It's here.)
friend: yeah i do
Joshua Becker: what do you think about all this
Joshua Becker: like...why now
friend: well like finally we are getting our voices heard
Joshua Becker: actually can i put this convo on the blog
friend: like we established a student senate to have a better communication with the university
friend: and basically the university ignores everything
Joshua Becker: are classes suffering for that ignoring?
friend: in a way yeah
friend: becuase they are larger
friend: and we dont have the proper facilities
friend: i mean theyve raised tuiton like $3200 in the past 2 years
friend: but we arent reaping in any of the benefits
friend: all of our tuiton is basically going to build some new fancy 14 story building at 65 5th avenue
Joshua Becker: but aren't large class sizes and rising tuition a problem everywhere in nyc schools? it's a problem here at nyu too
friend: the school literally does not have the space
friend: yeah
friend: and kerreys paycheck is larger than most school presidents
friend: like we are talking john sexton status paycheck
friend: and the whole university is what, like the size of the freshman class at nyu
Joshua Becker: good point.
friend: i think it was the no confidence vote that was the straw that broke the camels back
Joshua Becker: does the administration (or the students for that matter) show any sign of caving?
friend: yeah
friend: people are complaining that they cant leave to go get coffee or wahtever
friend: and some think its stupid
friend: but i actually am really impressed that the students are taking the steps to create change
Joshua Becker: yeah
Joshua Becker: how exactly
friend: these are problems that i have even had with the university as a freshman
Joshua Becker: did the students take over the buildin
friend: i dont know exactly
11:50 PM
friend: they just all came toegther at like 8 pm last night i think
friend: and it kept growing and growing
Joshua Becker: and broke into the graduate studies building?
Joshua Becker: or is this a school-wide thing now
friend: no they didnt break in
friend: like it is called the graduate building
friend: but all schools have classes there
Joshua Becker: so they just didn't leave
Joshua Becker: once inside?
friend: there is a reading room, a lecture hall, cafeteria, admissions office, registrars plus 2 floors of classrooms
friend: i think that is how it worked, like i said, i am not entirely sure of how everything happened
Joshua Becker: are students joyful or unhappy right now?
friend: most of us are happy i think
Joshua Becker: like are their physical efforts catching up with them?
friend: what do you mean their physical efforts?
Joshua Becker: like
Joshua Becker: i imagine this is a taxing, tiring process
Joshua Becker: i guess you just have to have the spirit to keep up the effort
friend: yeah
friend: i heard that once student had full control over the building
friend: they started to blast music
friend: everyone is working together
friend: it is a really uniting thing
friend: i mean, there is kind of like a divide between the schools within the new school
friend: and this whole thing is bringing all of the schools together
friend: so that is a nice outcome
Joshua Becker: that's awesome, i can't imagine something like that happening at nyu
Joshua Becker: well
friend: that could be because nyu is soo large (I was more talking about unity between the vastly disparate schools at all, but my friend makes a good point.)
Joshua Becker: this'll conclude the interview, unless you have any last words for our readers.
friend: haha no i do not ill let you know if i hear things though
Joshua Becker: okay stay strong!

-Josh

P.S. I don't hate the New School. I think this protest proves my point, at least partially; there was a huge lack of communication between the administration and the students, and things need to change. I understand how important this is, but a little humor never hurt anyone. With that said, if you have any other information, please leave a comment!

UPDATE: A student sent a picture of the "occupied" building, taken from across the street (click for bigger):

2 comments:

Duncan said...

this occupation is dope. I was there most of today, anyone who can go down should. Much love to the folks who are putting themselves out there to make their university better.

-Duncan

willow said...

Dear all,

Below you will find the statement from members of the Radical Student
Union and other students at The New School regarding our reasons for
occupying our university in our struggle against president bob kerrey
and others. We will be having a rally and press conference outside of
65 fifth ave (fifth and 14th st.) at 10:30 am and would love for you to
come or show your support in any way you can.

peace,
atlee

An Open Letter: Come Occupy a Building with Us.Now

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you from the inside of the New School Graduate Faculty
Building on 65 5th Ave. We are occupying it. Right now. Literally.

Students of the New School University, along with our partners from
other universities and groups - like NYU, Hunter College, City College
of NY, CUNY Graduate Center, and Borough of Manhattan Community College,
have organically risen up to demand the resignation of President Bob
Kerrey, Executive Vice President Jim Murtha, and Board Member/torturer
Robert B. Millard (he multi-tasks)

. We have come together to prevent our
study spaces from being flattened by corporate bulldozers, to have a say
in who runs this school, to demand that the money we spend on this
institution be used to facilitate the creation of a better society, not
to build bigger buildings or invest in companies that make war. We have
come here not only to make demands, but to live them. Our presence makes
it clear that this school is ours. And yours, if you are with us.

The outside doors have been closed now, so we can't exactly invite you
in.sorry. We know you wanted a piece of the action, but we'll be around
for quite some time. Join us at 7 AM tomorrow when the doors open again,
or come now to stand outside with a sign in solidarity. You are
cordially invited to join us in any way you can. We are not going
anywhere. We have all
night to make things interesting, and the website will continue to be
updated. Stay tuned for the musical pieces, doctoral dissertations, and
creative finger-paintings that seem to be the natural result of 150
students locked into a building together for a night.

We are here, making decisions collectively, doing teach-ins, listening
to music, studying, singing. We've got an upright bassist, guitarists
and vocalists (If anyone can volunteer a drum-set we'll be well on our
way.). We'll be here until this university changes, or until the party
gets boring (but it doesn't seem likely that will happen). We're not
going anywhere. We hope to see you soon, and if you really can't wait a
few hours - what the hell - occupy your own universities or work spaces.

Come use your voice to declare loudly that this school and this world
are yours. Come use your mind to think up a better world. Come use your
body to create it, one all-nighter in the university cafeteria at a
time. Come stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of
this university. Come to write letters of condolences to the people of
the village Thanh Phong whose parents were murdered by the current
President of the New School during his service in Vietnam. Come join the
struggle with the people of Iraq who are being tortured and killed by a
company funded by this university and represented on the New School
Board of Trustees. Come here to join the uprisings and outpouring of
passionate resistance currently taking place all over this country, and
all over the worlds - from factory workers in Chicago to students in
Greece. Come for yourself. Come for all of us.

In solidarity,

The New School in Exile

What We Want:

. The removal of Bob Kerrey as President of our university.

. The removal of James Murtha as Executive Vice President of our
university.

. Election of the President, EVP, and Provost by students, faculty, and

staff.

. Students as equitable voting members of the interim committee to hire
a provost.

. The removal of Robert B. Millard as treasurer of the board of
trustees.

. Intelligible transparency and disclosure of the university budget and
investments.

. The creation of a committee on socially responsible investing.

. The immediate suspension of capital improvement projects like the
tearing down of 65 fifth Ave.

. Instead, money towards the creation of an autonomous student space.

. Instead, money towards scholarships and reducing tuition.

. Instead, money for the library and student life generally.