Statement and update from the occupation of the University of Exile in New York, including their demands for funding to be redirected from capital improvements to tuition and study space.
To our comrades and fellow workers around the world
The original idea of the University in Exile, and the New School in general, was to be a safe-haven for academic freedom and scholarship free of oppressive political regimes, be they in Europe or America, and to be a center for critical engagement with important issues of our times. It was known for its deep thinkers, its innovative academics, and its committment to social and political justice as a bedrock of all other scholarship. The New School, under its current administration, is no longer able to fulfill that role of critical engagement and dissent. This continued betryal of our founding principles cannot be tolerated any longer, and the time has come to revive the University in Exile. This is a call for student action!
!! FLASH UPDATE !! (8 pm)
There is now a large crowd occupying the outside of the occupation building chanting "let them in" as students continue to hold the occupation inside. Furthermore, we have received a copy of a letter sent by President Bob Kerrey to the media where he claims that students assualted security guards and have created a "security threat" at the university. His letter is full of outright lies and distortions, and only serves to further confirm the unilateral and unaccountable decision-making of President Bob Kerrey. We encourage the public to watch and decide exactly who is using force against whom!
Statement to the New School Faculty
We need your voice if we are going to successfully challenge the university administration. We supported your vote of no confidence in the President, and now we need your support in our occupation and furthering of this call for fundamental change at this institution. Come join us. Come stand with us. Come occupy with us.
Statement to the New School Community
We have successfully occupied the Graduate Faculty student building (65 5th Avenue) and established a student space. We are in control of this building, and counter to any claims by the administration, they have not "let us stay." We have taken over this building and are actively occupying it. Come join us!
Statement to New School Workers
We wish to state publicly to the New School janitorial, clerical and related union staff (UNITE HERE! Local 100 and other locals) that we support you and wish to ally with you. We also ask you to respect the strike and occupation that the students have called and taken in the 65 5th Ave. building, and hope you will join efforts to improve the university for all of us, students, teachers and workers. If there are demands or issues you would like us to help voice, please bring them to students.
~ Updated Demands of the Occupation ~
We, the students of The New School, demand:
1. Amnesty for all participants in this student movement, including Elliot Liu. Staff and security guards affected by this protest shall receive appropriate compensation and no repercussions for dutiful fulfillment of their jobs;
2. That students may use the GF building at 65 Fifth Avenue until a suitable replacement is secured, that all capital improvements at the university shall be suspended and these funds shall be redirected toward (a) an autonomous student space where we can study and engage in group work, (b) scholarships and tuition, (c) a respectable library, that students will be included in the decision-making process in order to establish a viable plan for a student space;
3. That all investments and finances shall be fully disclosed so as to permit complete transparency and intelligibility of the creation of a Socially Responsible Investment committee;
4. That an equitable and authoritative tripartite committee including faculty, staff, and students to select an interim provost as well as a permanent replacement for provost, and a new president and vice president, for which there will be no presidential veto for this committee's decision;
5. That there be regularly appointed a student as voting member on board of trustees; and
6. That President Bob Kerrey, Executive Vice President Jim Murtha, and Treasurer Robert Millard be removed from their present positions at the University.
We ask that these demands are binding, and that they be met in writing, on New School University letterhead, signed by President Kerrey or members of the Board of Trustees, BEFORE we leave this building, and that they be presented to students in the second week of spring semester.
We demand further that:
1. Demands 1 and 2 be approved immediately in writing;
2. Demand 3 be enacted in a succinct and clear presentation at a school-wide student assembly during the second week of the spring semester - and that the student body be notified of this next week;
3. Demand 4 be initiated by next week, and that we be notified of this in writing;
4. Demand 5 be finalized at the next board meeting; and
5. Demand 6 be met by the beginning of next school year.