What The Fuck Happened Friday Morning?
April 11, 2009
A timeline of events from the re-occupation of the New School building at 65 Fifth Ave
WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED FRIDAY MORNING?
That’s the question on just about every New School student’s mind right now. Too make a long story short what happened was a peaceful act of civil disobedience and reclaimation of space was violently evicted by the NYPD in cooperation with the New School administration. But here’s the full story:
5:00 AM: About 60 Students enter 65 5th Avenue. No property was destroyed in the process. Students begin to lock doors and barricade themselves in the building.
5:30: Two maintainence individuals in the building were asked to leave. One individual who the students believe was another maintainence employee attempted to open a door from the outside as the building was being barricaded, students pull the door shut and the individual’s leg was momentarily accidently caught in the door in the process. His leg was not injured, he did not need to be hospitalized.
5:45: Police arrive
6:00: More police arrive and they work out their gameplan with New School security and Linda Reimer. Police use Fanton hall as a planning area.
6:30: A picket begins in front of the building, but is shut down by police move supporters from corner to corner. One officer is heard to say “get them as far back as possible.” Media begins to arrive
7:00: More supporters are arriving only to be constantly dispersed by police.
7:30: Student representives of the “Advisory Committee on Free Speech Activities” set up to determine what should happen in just such an instance as this attempt to meet with Linda Reimer. Linda Reimer refuses to meet with them, saying that this is “the big time.” Predictabally, this committee is revealed to be a sham. The administration calls the shots, not the students. The student occupiers appear on the roof and start giving speeches.
8:30: Supporters continue to be pushed away from 5th Avenue. Kerrey releases a statement that he “no longer considers [the protesters] students.” This despite the statement in the University’s ‘Guidelines for Demonstrations at University Facilities’ that states: “The Code of Conduct indicates that when members of the university community are alleged to have committed violations, ‘they will be accorded the due process to which they are entitled. Members of the university community are granted a fair hearing: they are fully advised of any charges against them, they are afforded ample opportunity to respond to accusations, and they are given a clear explanation of the right to an appeal.'”
9:00: Many police are showing up now. It becomes clear there is going to be a raid. Police appear on the roof of the building.
10:30: The occupiers attempt to leave peacefully out of a door on 14th street. Cops slam the doors closed and spray pepper-spray at the students. This incredible incident was captured on video and can be viewed on the New York Times webpage. Supporters, including at least one New School student, apprently vocally shaming the police for their brutality, and beaten up, pepper-sprayed, and arrested.
11:00: There are hundreds of police now. The entire area is shut down. Helicopters circle in the sky. Confused spectators think this is some kind of bomb threat. Police throw tear gas into the building, presumably to move the students towards the first floor.
11:30: 19 are arrested from within the occupation. The rest presumably escaped safely sometime throughout the morning. Police begin to get rough with spectators outraged by the absurd excessive force and brutality they have witnessed.
12:00: The arrested students are brought to central booking. Shock begins to spread with the rumors of beatings and teargas.
12:40: Bob Kerrey releases a message wiping his hands clean of the situation and justifying the police intervention by fabricating an incident where a security guard had been injured. Upon talking to security guards, students discover that this a complete lie, no security guard has been involved in any physical altercation with protesters throughout the morning. It appears Kerrey purposefully twisted the incident at 5:30 AM to justify the use of violence.
After this, things begin to settle down. Legal aid goes to central booking, a support rally is called for Union Square at 10PM.
How can we make sense of what happened here? The president of the New School authorized the use of teargas and pepper-spray against his own students. When he realizes what a disgrace he has caused he invents a story to justify it. As word spreads from student to student rage about how this action was handled reaches a fury. Videos surface of the brutality. People’s friends and classmates are in jail.
This has to be the last straw. Bob Kerrey, the students who were ambivlent towards you before certainly fucking hate you now. You gassed our friends, you locked them up. You will never be able to walk through your campus again. We need to get this violent fucker out of our school now in solidarity with the beaten and choked students sitting in jail. Write Bob Kerrey and tell him how disgusted you are, write the Free Press, write the board of trustees, student senators, deans, administrators, anyone you can. Kerrey needs to understand what a disgrace his handling of this event was for our university.