‘Occupy’ Group Takes Shelter at New School
November 19, 2011
the wall street journal By Sumathi Reddy
A group of protesters have occupied a student study center at the New School, where they slept Thursday night and remained on Friday with the permission of the university’s administration.
Jeff Smith, an assistant professor of politics and advocacy at the New School, said about 100 protesters connected to Occupy Wall Street had gathered inside the study center. The space, on the second floor of 90 Fifth Avenue, is leased by the university.
Smith, who is following the movement and sympathizes with some of its concerns, said protesters are currently working on bringing in more people. He said the protesters believe the school rents the space from Wells Fargo & Co., a factor that influenced their decision to occupy that facility.
A university spokesman said he did not immediately know who owns the building.
Peter Taback, assistant vice president of communications at the New School, said only university students — from any university — were being allowed into the 6,699-square-foot study center. ”They’ve agreed to keep themselves at 140 which is the occupancy of the space,” he said.
According to an email sent to the New School community from President David Van Zandt, the protesters entered the building shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
The protesters posted signs on the window in support of Occupy Wall Street. Van Zandt and Tim Marshall, provost of the school, went to speak with the protesters. The group refused to leave but made it clear that the occupation was not an action taken against the school.
“In a courteous exchange, we reached an agreement that The New School would not have the protesters forcibly removed at this time,” said Van Zandt in the email. “In turn they agreed that they would not disrupt classes, interfere with other tenants in the building, or violate its legal occupancy limit.”
The New School has a history of occupations, which sometimes have resulted in confrontations with the administration. Van Zandt said the school was not taking a position on the Occupy Wall Street moveme