Statement Condemning Police Violence at CUNY Board of Trustees Public Hearing

PRESS RELEASE: Board of Trustees Public and Budget Hearing, Baruch College, CUNY
#occupyCUNY[1], November 21, 2011

WE CONDEMN the use of police violence against CUNY community members who were protesting peacefully at the public Board of Trustees Public and Budget Hearing at Baruch College on November 21, 2011. We also reject the official statement[2] released by the administration of the City University of New York regarding those events.

STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF peacefully entered the Baruch lobby to attend the public meeting of the Board of Trustees and were immediately met by a line of police carrying large wooden truncheons and blocking access to the building. Students who were on the official roster of speakers were also denied access. At no time did the students, faculty, and staff attempt to push past the massed police officers, nor to confront them physically in any way. The police directed us to the first-floor overflow room where the meeting would be televised live. Knowing that our voices would not be heard in the broadcast room, we decided that we would hold an assembly in the lobby and allow people to tell their stories and testimonies of experiences as students at CUNY. Most of us sat down on the ground so that speakers could stand and be heard.

THE POLICE ATTACKED US shortly after we sat down and began pushing us toward the wall, responding to our peaceful, lawful protest with physical confrontation. The suggestion provided in the CUNY administration’s statement that anyone “surged forward toward the college’s identification turnstiles, where they were met by CUNY Public Safety officers and Baruch College officials” is a categorical lie, and this is documented in video footage of the events (see below). As the officers continued to push us away from the public meeting, they blocked all exits from the lobby but a single, revolving door, through which we were forced to walk one at a time. Many of the peaceful protesters were shoved violently by the campus police, jabbed and struck in their ribs with wooden truncheons, and left badly bruised. At least one student was struck in the face. It was a miracle that no one was more seriously injured. Those who refused to leave were told that they would be arrested; when one person identified himself to officers as a CUNY faculty member and asked on what charge he would be arrested, he was not given an answer. Another officer blurted, “Because it’s a riot!”

WE DEPLORE THE USE OF VIOLENCE against peaceful protesters. We deplore the criminal charges made against peaceful protesters exercising their Constitutional rights of free speech and peaceful assembly. We also deplore the CUNY administration’s misrepresentation of the events at Baruch, devised to obscure its complicity in violent action against its own students, faculty, staff, and community.

###

Video footage of the event can be viewed at the following links:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czi4Htwti44
http://vimeo.com/32494471
http://youtu.be/YAX4tzcPM9E
http://youtu.be/JpX48XIStEw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czi4Htwti44
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkBGMULZKxY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGMS5G3gxq8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGvO8TQSLQk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSeNS77XJd0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klsh3YlhEg8
https://www.facebook.com/video/?id=168721598130
http://www.theticker.org/about/2.8215/students-united-for-a-free-cuny-escalates-at-baruch-nvc-1.2675035#.TstLcvEWUTk
 


WHO WE ARE:

We are CUNY. We are of the working class of New York City. We teach the working class of New York City; we teach the immigrants who have come to New York to live and work; we teach the present and future public employees of New York City. Our brothers, sisters, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandparents—they are police officers, firefighters, social workers, teachers, factory workers. WE ARE NEW YORK CITY AND WE STAND WITH NEW YORK CITY. We are CUNY students, who believe in this university and in this city. We are CUNY faculty, who have chosen to teach at CUNY because we believe in the mission to educate and elevate our sisters and brothers. We are the 99%, and we demand a public education system that is truly public.

For standing with our brothers, sisters, and students, we have been assaulted by police officers who have not yet accepted that they have a legal responsibility to refuse unlawful orders, and that they have a moral responsibility to follow their conscience when they are told to turn on their own. Our fight is not with the Police Department of the City of New York, but the NYPD has chosen to fight their own brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and children. We have no desire to be in conflict with them, but if they continue to “just follow orders” in the face of all moral, ethical, and political compulsions to the contrary, then we have no choice but to resist them. But we will resist them peacefully, civilly, using our rights to do so. We do not want to fight them; we want them to realize that our fight is one fight. We know that they know this.

The students and teachers of the CUNY system stand with all of those who believe in the mission of public education, and the crucial importance of education for the public. We stand against those who seek to privatize an institution that was established to serve the most disadvantaged of New Yorkers. And we refuse to passively accept a program of tuition increases that would disenfranchise our students, whom we love and we fight for every day of the week. We do our jobs based on heartfelt and hard-won principles; we study in order to be better citizens and workers, we teach to be better citizens; and we ask that the city’s police, firefighters, public employees, teachers, transport workers, shopkeepers, students, factory workers, service workers, care workers, health workers—THAT THE WHOLE CITY STAND WITH US.


[2] CUNY Newswire. “STATEMENT FROM THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK”. 21 November, 2011. (http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2011/11/21/statement-from-the-city-university-of-new-york-2/). Accessed 21 November, 2011.

N21 [TODAY!]: CUNY-Wide March Against Tuition Hikes and the Defunding of Education

Occupy The Board of Trustees!
Monday, November 21

Say NO! to Tuition Hikes and the Defunding of Public Education

  • 3pm: All-Students Rally @ SW Corner of Madison Square Park (23rd & Broadway)
  • 4pm: March to the Board of Trustees Public and Budget Hearing
    Baruch College Room 14-220 (55 Lexington Ave. at 24th St.)
  • Inside of Baruch: CUNY students will voice their grievances to the Board of Trustees
    **Bring your CUNY ID if you wish to attend the hearing**
  • Outside of Baruch: All students will participate in a Mock Trial and All-Student General Assembly!
  • Download printable flyers for N21 and other ongoing student actions
1989 Occupation

Students protest in front of Federal Hall in 1989 against proposed CUNY tuition hikes

Occupy the Board of Trustees!

Have your voice heard! Tell the Board of Trustees that our education is not for sale. A budget funded by increased tuition while increasingly exploiting precarious adjunct labor is not OK! Click on the image below (or here) to download a poster that illustrates the privatization and systematic defunding of one of the largest and most diverse public universities in the country.

With over 250,000 full-time students, over 250,000 professional and continuing students, and millions of New Yorkers with degrees from CUNY, working at CUNY, with children and friends attending CUNY…Who is CUNY?

CUNY IS NEW YORK CITY!

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Important Resources

Click the thumbnail to download a printable flyer for N21:

Week of Actions Calendar

WEEK OF ACTION (Flyer)

Monday, N14

CUNY Graduate Center

12pm-7pm Tabling in GC Lobby: info packets and activities about student strike and week of action available on site. And Wall of Grievances to be built on site.

Columbia

12pm-1:30pm @ Law School: Rally calling on Michael Sovern to end Sotheby’s Worker Lockout.  (Columbia’s Ex-President and current Chancellor Kent Professor of Law is the Chairman of the Board of Sotheby’s.)

CUNY Hunter

Organizing Basics with Resist and Multiply in Th305b

1:00 – 3:00pm: Facilitation Training
4:00 – 6:00pm: Anti-Oppression Framework/Strategic Use of Privilege
7:00 – 9:00pm: Non-Violent Direct Action- History and Training

NYU

11am: Corporate University Walking Tour of the NYU campus. Meet in front of the fountain at Washington Square Park.

Brooklyn College

12:15pm: “Legacy of CUNY Activism” Teach-in on the Quad

Queens College

12:15pm – 1:30pm: A Conversation about the 99 Percent/Occupy Wall Street. Location: Rosenthal 230 (Library Lower Level 2).

Tuesday, N15

In addition to the events planned for Tuesday, there will also likely be more unscheduled actions in solidarity with UC Berkeley’s Student Strike! (https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=259429244105424&notif_t=event_invite) More details will be posted as they become available.

CUNY Graduate Center

12pm-7pm Tabling in GC Lobby: info packets and activities about student strike and week of action available on site. Writing and display of the Wall of Grievances.

12:30 – 5:30pm @ the (room 5409), students will host an N17 strike materials work party–featuring production/design of book shields, banners, posters, other strike materials

6:30pm: Theater Department Write-In: a shared space of theoretical, radical, and personal writing. Location: Theatre Program Student Lounge on the 3rd floor (RSVP:  https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=259586160759477)

CUNY Hunter

Students United Teach-in at 4:30 – 6:30 in TH305b

Columbia

8pm: Teach-In / Dialogue with Professors on “Education as a Right, not a Privilege.”Meeting will take place at the Sundial.

Brooklyn College

12:15pm : Anti-Racism Training: “Racial Justice for people of Color , White Privilege, and Dismantling Racism” — On the Quad.

Wednesday, N16

People’s University

12:30pm – 1:15pm: “Fearless Speech”  a talk by Arundhati Roy at the People’s Univerisity in Washington Square Park. (More details here: http://peoplesu.tumblr.com/)

CUNY Graduate Center

12pm-7pm Tabling in GC Lobby: info packets and activities about student strike and week of action available on site. Writing and display of the Wall of Grievances.

6:30: “Faculty Speak-Out: Supporting the Student Strike” with Anne McClintock and others (Location: TBA)

8:30: GC General Assembly: Special Coordinating Meeting (Location TBA)

Columbia

12:00pm speak out against profiling on campus at the sundial

CUNY Hunter

Indoor march to highlight issues at Hunter (details TBA)

New School

2pm General Assembly: including banner making for thursday’s actions

Brooklyn College

9am: “Teaching The Teachers” Students Speak-out to faculty @ Woody Tanger

Juilliard

9:45pm: Occupy Opera! — The Juilliard School has commissioned an opera about the history of international student uprisings and protest. Let’s show the bankers that the student movement is not a thing of the past, but an ongoing reality. Meet at 9:45 sharp Outside the Juilliard School (65th St. b/t B’way & 10th Ave.) Occupy Opera Flyer

Thursday, N17 

All Day: Student Strike in solidarity with the National Day of Action, Occupy Wall St. and Organized Labor rallies. (Download the Student Strike Flyer)

Columbia

11:30am Rally/Party/Brunch on Campus to CELEBRATE 2 MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF OCCUPY MOVEMENT — 2pm Leave en masse for Union Square for City-Wide Student Rally

CUNY Graduate Center

1pm speak-out/rally of students, faculty, staff will gather outside the CUNY Graduate Center — 2pm, leave en mass for Union Square (Download the GC N17 Flyer/Schedule)

CUNY Hunter

7:00am – 2:00pm: Picket in front of Hunter West

Brooklyn College

12pm: General Assembly, 1st Floor Boylan Hall

NYU

1:30pm “The 99% Reclaim the University: Student and Worker Speak-out” Location: in front of Stern business school, 44 West 4th St

New School

2:30pm New School walk-out in solidarity with the student strike.

Queen’s College
(Download QC N17 Flyer/Schedule)

10:15 – 12:05: Discussion — “OWS and it’s connections to Queens College” With Frances Fox Piven and OWS activists

12:15 – 1:30: Discussion — “Radical Movements/Activist Histories”

1:30 – 2:55: Dialogue — “Action Oriented Conversation About Activism”

3:30: Onward — Gather outside 71st/Continental Subway Station of 108th st. before traveling en mass to Zuccotti Park.

All Schools

3pm: City-Wide Student & Education Workers Convergence @ Union Square. (Download the City-Wide Student Strike Convergence Flyer)

5pm: Join up with Organized Labor Rally for a joint action.

Friday, N18:

All Day: Occupation Day! Keep your ears open for info about new occupations.

CUNY Hunter

General Assembly at 4:00pm in Hunter West Lobby

CUNY Graduate Center

General Assembly at 6pm in the 8th floor cafetaria

Saturday N19:

12pm: NYC Student Assembly Meeting @ Washington Square Park

1:30pm: Olivier Besancenot speaks at the People’s University in Washington Square Park.

3pm: CUNY-Wide General Assembly at City College (Location TBA)

Monday, N21:

CUNY-WIDE WALK OUT IN PROTEST OF THE TUITION HIKES

City College

1pm: Stand up, walk out, come to the NAC Plaza, and let your voice be heard! Then after rallying for a little bit at City, students and teachers will head downtown to Madison Sq. Park to march on the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting.

OWS: Debt Refusal Pledge Group

1:30 pm:  Launch of the “Student Debt Refusal Pledge.” Campaign will launch with a big media event @ Liberty Square. We will then travel en mass to the city-wide student protests at Baruch College against the CUNY tuition hikes. Standing together against tuition hikes will symbolically and politically fuse the question of student debt with the struggles over public eduction.

All Schools

3pm: Protest rally against CUNY tuition hikes meets at Madison Square Park. March to Baruch College. (Download the CUNY Wide Rally Flyer)

5pm: CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting @ Baruch College begins.

Call to Action

The General Call for a Student Week of Action in Defense of Education

Novemeber 14th – 21st

This site has been created in response to the call by NYC Student Assembly on Saturday October 22nd for a “Student Week of Action in Defense of Education.”

As there are numerous events and actions planned for this week, the purpose of this site will be to disseminate information about the events leading up to and planned for the Week of Action.

We hope this will be one step towards building a new student movement adequate to the grievances of our times!