November 20, 2011
1.) Today, students from schools across the city met in citywide GA, mobilizing for a solidarity rally at CUNY Monday and launching the Occupy Student Debt campaign.
2) The People’s University, held in the occupied space today, hosted Olivier Besancenot, former French Presidential candidate, anti-capitalist, and mailman. Besancenot spoke to need to develop an international student movement. The video will be posted soon.
3.) Dmitri Nikulin came to give a talk about Foucault on truth-telling and radical action, and to begin a conversation about the importance of dialogue between a variety of political perspectives in free spaces.
4) At present, press is not allowed into occupation itself, because the GA has decided upon the need to maintain the occupation as an open meeting space where people feel free to speak without fearing that press are listening in. However, we are happy to answer any questions downstairs or via e-mail / phone. Press should firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
November 19, 2011
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
November 18, 2011
from the New York Times
By AIDAN GARDINER
Much of New York City may be having a hard time getting used to the presence of protesters, but at the New School, the progressive liberal-arts bastion in Greenwich Village, occupation is a semiregular occurrence.
And on Thursday afternoon, as thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched from Union Square to Foley Square, roughly a hundred New School students veered off, rushed the university’s study center at 90 Fifth Avenue and declared the school to be occupied once again.
It was the New School’s third occupation in four years, and in stark contrast to 2009, when the university’s president at the time, former United States Senator Bob Kerrey, called in the police to arrest student protesters, the university’s administration is fine with it.
“As long as they’re not disrupting the educational functions of the university they can stay,” the university’s president, David E. Van Zandt, said Thursday. “It’s a tough time for students right now, and we’re aware of that. These are big social issues.”
After entering the space, protesters asked those present to leave if they did not want to participate in the occupation. Then they covered the windows and hung banners outside with slogans like “Annihilate capitalism! Retaliate and destroy,” and “People power not ivory tower.”
The occupation followed a rally in Union Square Thursday afternoon where students from Cooper Union, New York University and the New School and other colleges spoke out against what they called high costs and weak financial-aid systems.
Dacia Mitchell, a 30 year-old doctoral student at New York University holding a toddler in her arms, said at the rally, “I’m here with my 2 year-old because I can’t afford child care. I cannot say I haven’t received any support. I get a stipend of $200 per semester which affords me one week of day care if I’m lucky.”
Tuitions at the New School vary depending on the division, but often approach $20,000 per semester.
After the students occupied the study center, police officers initially barred others from following the protesters, but eventually Dr. Van Zandt told them to allow people with valid student identification to pass through, even those who attend other universities.
The study center is on the second floor of a larger apartment building. The university leases the space, and Dr. Van Zandt said that although he had no intention of ousting the students, the building’s owner, 90 Fifth Owner L.L.C., could call the police in if it deemed the protesters hazardous.
Many protesters declined to speak to reporters because they had not yet collectively decided how to interact with the press. Protesters also barred reporters from entering the occupied space.
Chris Crews, a graduate student studying politics at the New School, said that the scene inside was calm. Students were gathered in general assemblies. He also said that the group did not yet have many provisions like sleeping bags for a longer stay, but they would gradually collect them.
By Friday morning, the number of occupiers dipped to about 30, but many had left to run errands and collect supplies for their return later in the day.
“The most encouraging thing is that the administration and students haven’t had a serious confrontation yet,” Mr. Crews said.
In a statement released online, the occupiers said that universities create social inequality because they are so expensive.
“Skyrocketing tuition costs at public and private institutions deny us access to higher education and saddle us with crushing debt,” the statement read. “We will reclaim this elite space and make it open to all.”
The occupiers plan to hold another general assembly on Friday afternoon where they seek to draw more students from neighboring universities.
“The hope is that the space at 90 Fifth can be a jumping-off point for student activism throughout the city,” Mr. Crews said. “This could be a one-off, or it could be the beginning of a new wave of student occupations.”
November 18, 2011
As we are continually and violently pushed out of public spaces, the people of this city must find new spaces in which to foster dialogue, learn and engage politically. Private spaces must be liberated; the movement must expand. We students, educators and members of the broader public have come together to occupy this space, seeking to transform it into a place of public education, safe and open to all.
Much of the repression of this movement has been conducted under the pretense of public health and safety. We, the occupiers, declare that our primary concern lies in the safety and well-being of this occupation and its participants. New School President David Van Zandt and the New School Administration have expressed concerns that we observe the building’s fire code. We share these concerns. Licensed fire guards are included among the occupiers and we will continue to take the necessary steps to prevent harm from coming to anyone.
We reiterate that this occupation is not a New School action; this building actually belongs to Wells Fargo, whose role in the current economic crisis is well-known. We are occupying a building: and we, as occupiers, are not solely students – we are workers, teachers, students, unemployed, under-employed, indebted and exploited. We are creating a common space that will eventually be open to all. In addition to the people’s university, the CUNY adjunct project, and the all-city student assembly, we are in the process of planning a series of open teach-ins and events. Schedule forthcoming.
November 18, 2011
Today, the university is a supreme symbol of social and economic inequality. Skyrocketing tuition costs at public and private institutions deny us access to higher education and saddle us with crushing debt. We will reclaim this elite space and make it open to all. We will foster dialogue and build solidarity between students, workers, and others excluded or marginalized by economic and social inequalities. We will build community through the commonality of occupation. We will offer free education – this is systematically forbidden. We join a long tradition of student activism and struggle. We the indebted and the future unemployed and underemployed stand committed to this movement for our collective lives. We invite all to join us in this open occupation.
Workers, students, and the millions of this city unite!
Together we will be victorious.
ESCALATE the Struggle. EXPAND the Movement. OCCUPY!