New New School Occupation Crushed With Extreme Prejudice

Recent student takeovers at the New School and NYU were allowed to drag on for days with negotiations and demands; but today's New School takeover has already been crushed by cops! And there's no amnesty:

At around 11, riot cops stormed the occupied building and started pulling out the protesters and arresting them. It looks like this occupation—the most reasonable one so far—is now over. Note to protesters: an end like this is far, far better for your cause than, say, the pitiful fizzle that happened at NYU. New School prez Bob Kerrey just sent out this email to the student body:

Subject: Announce from President Kerrey Concerning today's Break In at 65 5th Avenue

April 10, 2009

A Note to the Community

On December 15, 2008, an unofficial student organization calling themselves the New School in Exile occupied the cafeteria at 65 Fifth Avenue, barricaded themselves into the room, and issued a set of demands. Early on the morning of December 16, a group of students and non-students broke through a fire exit on 14th street and entered the building.

Although the occupants had violated a number of important security rules, the university made the judgment they were neither an operational or a security risk. Accordingly, we did not file a complaint with the New York Police Department to have the occupants removed. Instead we entered into a process of negotiations with our students and reached agreement on a list of demands including amnesty for all involved early on the morning of December 17. The students left peacefully at that time.

In January, this same unofficial student organization issued a public threat to forcefully shut down the university on April 1 unless the President and Chief Operating Officer were removed. Following this they were caught stealing an entire edition of the student newspaper on account of a story they regarded as unfavorable to them; and subsequently they vandalized the university's presidential residence.

During this time the university has allowed and accommodated every peaceful protest, teach-in, and demonstration. We have enforced our rules governing such events in such a way as to permit protests, so long as they don't endanger the safety of other members of the community or destruction of property.

This morning's illegal occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue was joined by a number of New School in Exile students as well as individuals without any affiliation to The New School. Their claim that this was a simple political protest is false. Their entry into this building was forced, they removed a man who was cleaning the building, took his phone, injured a security officer, and did physical damage to the building.

Accordingly, in this case the university asked the New York Police Department to remove and arrest those who were trespassing on our property. We suspended, pending administrative review, all New School students who were a part of this action.

The New School prides itself on civic engagement. We have been and will continue to be a refuge for open and critical political debate. Students and faculty who choose to peacefully and passionately oppose the policies of the university will have their rights to do so protected as strongly as we protect our right to safely and securely operate our university.

President Bob Kerrey

[Pic: yee.doris' Flickr. If you have video of the alleged police pepper spray rampage, send it here]