Press Release

PRESS RELEASE
November 14, 2011

Contact: Caitlin MacLaren, NYU
(786) 253-8708
marcaimac@gmail.com

Zoltán Glück, CUNY
(415) 519-5541
zoltan.gluck@gmail.com

NYC Students Hold Week of Action Against Tuition Hikes, Student Debt in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

Student supporters of Occupy Wall Street will hold actions every day this week at universities throughout New York City to draw attention to issues such as student debt, tuition hikes, university ties to Wall Street, workers’ rights and structural inequalities within our schools and our communities. Actions are scheduled to take place at various City University of New York (CUNY) campuses, Columbia, the New School, New York University, Pratt, Juilliard and more. Among the highlights of the week’s events are:

  • A protest at Columbia on Monday, November 14 at 12 p.m. calling on law professor Michael Sovern, chairman of the board of Sotheby’s, to end the auction house’s lock-out of its art handlers.
  • A guest lecture by Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy in Washington Square Park on Wednesday, November 16 at 12:30 p.m. This is part of the ongoing “People’s U” series organized by student group NYU 4 Occupy Wall Street.
  • A city-wide student strike on Thursday, November 17. Students will converge on Union Square at 3 p.m.
  • A rally and march on Monday, November 21 beginning at 3 p.m. from Madison Square Park to Baruch College, where there will be a CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing. The Board has decided on 5 years of tuition hikes for students who are already struggling to cover costs.
  • Teach-ins at colleges throughout the city about direct action, anti-oppression, privilege and the legacy of student activism.

The New York City All-City Student Assembly, along with General Assemblies at various NYC colleges, coordinated the week of action in response to a number of disturbing trends, such as student debt in the United States surpassing credit card debt.

“Students now face two choices–tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt or not attending school at all,” said Brittany Robinson, a student at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. “Education should be an inherent right, not a privilege.” According to the Project on Student Debt, college seniors who graduated in 2010 carried an average of $25,250 in student loan debt.

“The lack of emphasis on accessible higher education for everyone, the quiet privatization of our campuses, the mistreatment of our professors and the in-school policing of students and their non-criminal activity is a disgrace to our country,” said Emma Francis-Snyder, a student at CUNY Brooklyn College.

“This week of action will be an incredible demonstration of student power,” said Dan DiMaggio, a student at New York University. “It is a step toward an education system geared toward the needs of the 99%.”

About the All-City Student Assembly
The New York City All-City Student Assembly convenes students from universities across New York and the region to discuss common concerns regarding the state of higher education and to coordinate efforts occurring on our campuses. We are inspired by and in solidarity with the greater Occupy Wall Street movement. The Assembly meets every Saturday at noon in Washington Square Park. Learn more at studentweekofaction.wordpress.com

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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.

Next Steps: Saturday Assembly and the WoA

Thursday’s planning meeting was great first step towards the week of action. It seems that there are a host of interesting events and actions planned at various schools for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We will be rapidly adding info to the calendar of events, so stay tuned!

The planning meeting also came to consensus on joint actions for three days of the Week of Action: (1) on Thursday, November 17th we are calling for a city-wide student strike as a repudiation of the inequities of the current educational system and in solidarity with the national day of action called for the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall St. There will be a massive student convergence at Union Square at 3pm, followed by a collective action. (2) Friday, November 18th will be Occupation Day. To be interpreted creatively… Keep your ears and eyes open for various occupations that may be brewing around you and be ready to join in! (3) Monday, November 21st we are calling for a city-wide protest against the CUNY tuition hikes. The board of trustees is holding a meeting on that day in which they will try to finalize a plan to raise tuition steadily over the course of the next 5 years. This is a direct attack on low-income families and traditionally marginalized communities who will be disproportionately affected by these hikes. It is an attack on our generation which is increasingly coerced into debt peonage in exchange for its education. We refuse to accept this assault on public education quietly. — Details on the how to participate in the protest will be posted in the coming days.

Next Steps: This Saturday, November 5th, we will hold our weekly NYC Student Assembly in Washington Square Park @ noon. This special session of the Assembly meeting will be devoted to planning rest of the week of action — there will be working groups meeting on (a) finalizing plans for the remaining days of the week, (b) writing the Declaration of Student Assembly, (c) Outreach and Movement building.

Come join us! We need you!

Planning Meeting for the Week of Action

Open Meeting: This is an call for students and educators in the NYC area to come participate in the planning meeting for the Student Week of Action (Nov 14th – 21st)

The meeting will take place this Thursday, November 3rd, 7:30pm – 9pm

@ NYU, Furman Hall (245 Sullivan st.), Room 120

Please RSVP with your name and school to nyu4ows@gmail.com, especially
if you do not have an NYU ID, so that we can get you into the building
easily!

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!