Archive for the student power Category

NYU Occupation Repressed by Administration

Posted in Accessible Education Campaign, Occupation, resistance, sds, student power on February 20, 2009 by Jasper Conner

The NYU administration, through deceit and force, has broken the NYU Occupation.  Below is some slightly edited text from the http://takebacknyu.com concluding their experience with the Occupation.

NYU students who participated in the Occupation not only face expulsion, but are also being kicked out of their campus housing .   Please send e-mails immediately to housing@nyu.edu to denounce this political repression!

At around 2pm today, members of Take Back NYU! left the Kimmel Center for University Life, ending a 40 hour+ occupation.  Their action made national and international news, and showcased the real power of the new student movement sweeping the globe.

Near the end of the occupation NYU put some of its dishonesty on wide display.  5 students occupying the building were told they would be offered negotiations with Lynne Brown, and willingly passed their barricades to begin serious talks.  As soon as they left, a cadre of NYU security guards swept them away and served them with papers saying they would be expelled.  No negotiations ever took place.

To the end, NYU showed just why we need more actions like this occupation: to hold NYU to its word, and to put students first.

No doubt NYU will begin attempting disciplinary action, but no suspensions, expulsions or arrests can contain what began in the last two days.  This fight will carry on in the hands of the dozens of people who made it inside, and the hundreds more who came out to support the occupation.  NYU showed it’s irrational need to defend secrecy and its exclusive hold on power, and that alone will drive this movement forward.

For everyone showing support: the real lesson here is that you can act and you can make a difference.  Take the lessons from the occupation on to your own struggle, and begin to act yourself.  Onward.

http://takebacknyu.com

NYU Administration refuses to negotiate, threatens expulsion

Posted in Occupation, resistance, sds, student power on February 19, 2009 by Jasper Conner

NYU Refuses to Negotiate with Student Occupation!

SUPPORT NYU OCCUPATION!

Make NYU Affordable

NYU’s administration refuses any face-to-face contact with student occupation, drawing out Take Back NYU!’s occupation, currently making national news.

The occupation, which began at 10pm on Feb. 18th with the seizure of the 3rd floor of the Kimmel Center has made news across the country and received declarations of support from universities across the world.

NYU’s Administration refuses to allow the students of the occupation a place at negotiations, instead relying on threats and intransigence to try to end Take Back NYU!’s campaign.

The NYU administration has threatened students with arrest late tonight, they need your support NOW! Click the link below and after you call and e-mail the administration, send the link to your friends!

SUPPORT NYU OCCUPATION!

You can also sign the online petition!

Below is a recent press release from Take Back NYU! detailing the administration’s refusal to negotiate and their intention to maintain the Occupation.

Continue reading

New School Students Lead Occupation for Democratic, Accessible and Socially Responsible Education

Posted in resistance, student power on December 18, 2008 by Jasper Conner

Students in the Radical Student Union at New School University in NYC Occupied the Cafeteria of the Albert List Academic Center Yesterday and remain barricaded inside the building at 65 5th Avenue.

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The RSU, which is comprised of Students for a Democratic Society and Student Environmental Action Coalition has a site, keep checking it for updates!  – http://www.newschoolinexile.com/

You can also, of course, join the Facebook group

Recently the occupying students released more immediate demands for tonight.  Below is their communique which includes both long term and immediate demands.  Police have arrested multiple students but the occupation continues!   Of particular note is that the unionized cafeteria workers are honoring the occupation and refusing to cross the barricades.

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.

Keep checking the following for continued updates:

http://www.newschoolexile.com

http://www.newsds.org

http://www.forstudentpower.org

Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond

Posted in climate justice, collective liberation, resistance, student power on August 11, 2008 by Jasper Conner

Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond Virginia from Bank of America and other Dirty Energy Companies

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

The Southeast Climate Convergence which lasted from August 5th through the 11th culminated today in an action demanding an end to coal fire and nuclear power that destroys our environments and cripples communities. During the Convergence, activists and organizers throughout the South came together to learn about Environmental Justice issues such as Mountain Top Removal and the vibrant social movements that are organizing for sustainable economies and the dignity of their communities.

Law enforcement responded to people demanding that Dominion Virginia Power become responsible in its energy production choices with a swarming presence, surveillance and intimidation. Police were in full force in an attempt to impede our growing environmental justice movement.

“This expensive diversion of public funds from protecting the public to protecting a powerful group that is harming the public—Dominion—is just as irresponsible as using coal and nuclear power when cheaper, cleaner and safer options are available now,” Blue Ridge Earth First! activist Willie Oaks said, “We’ve been to hearings, circulated petitions, talked with our elected officials and more, and Dominion’s harmful projects are still moving ahead. We now feel compelled by our consciences to take further non-violent action.”

Activists with Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rising Tide, Mountain Justice, and the Southeast Climate Convergence assembled to insist that Dominion Power immediately halt construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County, and abandon plans to build a third reactor at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Louisa County. This is the latest in a long campaign against Dominion’s plans.

“They’re terrified of the power that the environmental justice movement is building and they know dirty energy is coming to an end. You can’t hold back the ocean forever,” Jasper Conner of Students for a Democratic Society said.

Over 40 protesters began marching at Monroe Park around noon and made stops at the offices of Massey Energy Corp., Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Dominion Virginia Power, and concluded with a lock down the Bank of America sign at their S 12 St and E Main St office. The crowd included jesters and people holding larger-than-life puppets, banners and signs to raise awareness about the problems and actual solutions to climate change, and draw connections between local issues and those in other communities around the world.

“A new coal plant in Wise County would increase the demand for coal in a county that has already had 25% of its land destroyed by mountaintop removal mining, as well as put more mercury in our streams and carbon dioxide in our air. We cannot allow this,” Eric Blevins of Mountain Justice said.

Carrying banners reading, “No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding” and “Social Change not Climate Change,” people marched to the headquarters of Massey Energy, Dominion, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Bank of America.

At Massey Energy, a notorious coal company involved in mountaintop removal coal mining, activists surrounded the entrance and yelled, “Hands off our mountains!.” The group then moved on to the Department of Environmental Quality which recently rubber stamped Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County, VA. Next the group brought the party to Dominion, who is building the aforementioned coal plant as well as proposing a new nuke plant in Louisa County, VA. Chanting “No coal, no nukes, we won’t stop until you do!” the activists attempted to take over Dominion’s plaza but were repelled by police on horses. In a show of interspecies solidarity one horse bucked a cop off its back.

To wrap things up for the day, the crowd moved on to the the towering Bank of America building, one of the largest funders of the coal industry. In impressive feat of stealth two activists manage to infiltrate the beefed up security at the building and locked to a sign outside of the customer entrance. Marchers supported the lockdown with a die in on the sidewalk. Police eventually cut free the two that were locked down and charged them with tresspassing.

The activists say that coal and nuclear power are outdated options that are unacceptable in a world facing drastic climate change. No nuclear reactor has been built in the U.S. in the past 30 years. “The nuclear ‘relapse’ carries with it uranium mining that disproportionately occurs on indigenous lands, and diverts enormous public resources from real climate solutions to a false one. No viable disposal method has been created in 50 years of research for the radioactive waste that persists for hundreds of thousands of years,” Morgan Kipler of Blue Ridge Earth First! said.

The facts behind proposed solutions for climate change are often distorted in the press, according to the activists. “The corporate media is carrying paid propaganda spreading the falsehoods that using coal and uranium as fuel will ever be clean, will ever address the clear and present danger of the climate crisis,” said Mary Olson, Southeast Regional Coordinator for Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Coal and nuclear will never be safe or clean.”

Today’s action was not an isolated event, but is rather another event in a growing movement for environmental justice that’s seeing victories all across the entire planet.

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For photos of the day’s events, including the two brave activists who U-locked their necks to Dirty Energy promoting Bank of America, follow the link!

For more information about the day’s actions.

For updates about the three US Climate Convergences.

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Right now we’re asking for folks to donate money to the legal fund to get these brave activists out of jail.

You can donate by following the link and clicking on the paypal button at the top. http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org/wordpress/category/asheville-rising-tide/

Rutgers Students Pressure New Brunswick City Council & Successfully Pass Antiwar Resolution

Posted in anti-war, resistance, student power with tags on May 9, 2008 by Jasper Conner

Rutgers Students Pressure New Brunswick City Council & Successfully Pass Antiwar Resolution

By Timothy Horras

Members of the New Brunswick City Council were visibly shocked when supporters of three Rutgers students charged for peacefully protesting the Iraq war packed the May 7th City Council meeting, demanding the Council pass a resolution opposing the US occupation of Iraq and supporting city residents working to end the war.

In attendance were students, community members, labor union organizers and peace activists, united in their desire to bring the troops home. Supporters filled the room to capacity, the crowd spilling out into the hallway. “They wouldn’t let us in until somebody else left,” says Steve Dolnack, a Rutgers student. “When people left, we had to ask to go in, and they were really reluctant to let us. We ended up going in anyway.”

After the routine business of the Council, supporters stood up one by one and argued that the charges against the Rutgers 3 be dropped. Ignoring typical City Council etiquette, all the New Brunswick residents who spoke first introduced themselves and identified which Ward they live in. Residents of all five New Brunswick Wards were in attendance. This act showed solid support on the part of city residents for the creation of a Ward-based system of government, which many attendees spoke in favor of. (For more on the Ward Campaign, check out www.empowernb.com)

Many residents spoke their minds about the occupation of Iraq and lauded the hundreds of protestors who turned out on March 27th to peacefully oppose the war. The atmosphere was charged and emotionally intense; many attendees later described themselves as holding back tears upon hearing their fellow citizens speak out.

Particularly poignant were the words of Chris Straub, the father of one of the three prosecuted students, who drove from Maplewood, NJ to attend the meeting and spoke on record supporting his son Erik and the other students. Chris Staub said that the students who protested are putting themselves on the line to end a war nobody wants. “Most of [our generation] are more concerned about losing our jobs or our reputations than speaking out against this war, so everybody stays quiet,” Chris Straub said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t care. These young people are saying it for us, and I’m proud of them.”

Jordan Bucey, a Rutgers student and member of Tent State University/Students for a Democratic Society (www.tentstate.com), stood up and read a resolution which had been written by the student activists, which she requested the City Council adopt immediately. “Resolved: That the city Council of New Brunswick will do what it can to support any city residents working to end the War,” she quoted. Resolved: That Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly will be staunchly upheld in all cases of peaceful protest in opposition to the War.” (Full text of the resolution is available below) This impassioned reading drew applause and cheers from the crowd.

While earlier in the evening, one member of the Council suggested that it would be impossible for them to pass the resolution that evening, Councilwoman Blanquita Valenti finally relented, calling for a vote. Councilman Joseph Egan seconded the motion and the resolution was passed unanimously, at which point thunderous applause erupted from the assembled body.

Passage of the resolution adds New Brunswick to the list of almost 300 cities in the US which officially oppose the war in Iraq. Activists said they saw the resolution’s passage as a victory, but they understood it was also an effort at appeasement on the part of the politicians; one which will be ignored if pressure is not kept up. “It’s important that we continue to hold [the City Council] accountable to their promises,” said Tiffany Cheng, a student and member of Rutgers Against the War.

This sentiment was echoed by other students, including Michelle Velasquez, a member of Tent State University/Students for a Democratic Society. “We’re not going to let this end here,” Velasquez said after the meeting. “The prosecution of our friends showed us all that [the students] need a voice and a vote in city affairs.”

Erik Straub, one of the Rutgers 3, agreed that the prosecution of peace activists has awakened students to their lack of a say in major municipal decisions. “Student’s are unrepresented in New Brunswick and that’s going to change,” Erik Straub said in an interview. “We will pass a referendum to create a ward-based system and we will make sure that students are fairly represented on the City Council.” He went on to explain that the many students will be living in New Brunswick over the summer, when they plan to continue agitating against the war and organizing their neighborhoods to gain fair representation.

Jerry Mercado, a longtime New Brunswick resident, said after the meeting that he was proud of the Rutgers 3 and he wholeheartedly endorses the students-led push for a Ward system. “Today we saw the ability to come together as a community: students, community members and city officials,” Mercado said. “Our combined power can make a difference in our city.”

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Resolution to support public opposition to the War in Iraq
Passed unanimously by the New Brunswick City Council on May 7th, 2008
WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick unequivocally supports the men and women in uniform from New Brunswick and the whole of the United State who are stationed overseas in Iraq. These individuals are making unimaginable sacrifices for their country; and

WHEREAS, The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was passed by the US Congress on October 11, 2002, and that Public Law 107-243 cited Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction as a primary reason for the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq; and

WHEREAS, On January 12, 2005, President Bush officially declared an end to the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, This March marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, The City Council of New Brunswick expresses its deep opposition to the Bush Administration’s continuation of the war in Iraq after its mendacious and deceptive methods of garnering initial support ; and

WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick mourns and honors the approximately 4,000 Americans who have given their lives; and

WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick recognizes that the physical, psychological, and emotional injuries inflicted on over a million service people who have served in Iraq cannot at this time be adequately quantified; and

WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick mourns the indescribable suffering inflicted on the people of Iraq, and

WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick, like cities throughout the nation relies on support from the federal government to adequately provide for the basic needs of its citizens; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress has appropriated over $400 billion to fund military operations and Iraqi reconstruction, while a steady decline in Federal Housing and Urban Development grants has been experienced since 2002, the year before the war began; and

WHEREAS, The City of New Brunswick recognizes the necessity of maintaining the basic constitutional rights of its citizens, especially in a time of war.
BE IT HERE BY
RESOLVED, That the City Council of New Brunswick will continue to support the troops currently serving in Iraq and their families; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the City Council of New Brunswick will do all it can to help care for those who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty, and support those who are grieving at the loss of a loved one, and be it further

RESOLVED, That the City Council of New Brunswick communicates its desire to the members of Congress to end the war in Iraq and draw down the combat troops stationed in that country, and be it further

RESOLVED, That the City Council of New Brunswick urges the Federal government to pursue solutions to our country’s domestic issues with the same zeal it pursued the invasion of Iraq; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the city Council of New Brunswick will do what it can to support any city residents working to end the War, and be it further

RESOLVED, That Freedom of Speech and freedom of assembly will be staunchly upheld in all cases of peaceful protest in opposition to the War; and be it further

RESOLVED, That at each meeting of the Council, after the Pledge of Allegiance, time is taken to suitably honor those Americans and Iraqis who have lost their lives in the conflict and communicate information about the continuing fiscal and humanitarian costs to the City of New Brunswick.of New Brunswick.

UF SDS on Hunger Strike for Socially Responsible Investment

Posted in student power with tags on April 15, 2008 by Jasper Conner

For the past year UF SDS has been working on a campaign that would ensure UF’s 1.2 billion dollar endowment is not invested in war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses. We took on this campaign because it looked like a practical and achievable goal that would help our movement in its fight for a more just, sustainable society. After a year of working on this issue and being consistently ignored, misrepresented, patronized, and denied, we felt it was time to bring the campaign to the next level. We considered a multitude of different options and finally decided that a hunger strike had the best potential to achieve our desired result.

On April 9th, 2008, members of UF SDS shared a “last supper” on the steps of Tigert Hall. At least 11 people have committed to some level of participation in this hunger strike, including some that will be consuming nothing but water until our Socially Responsible Investing proposal is accepted by the University of Florida. We need your help in letting the administration know that they can no longer ignore us and our proposal.

We are aware of the seriousness of the step we have taken, and can only reiterate the seriousness of the problem we are confronting – the systematic subjugation of people, cultures, and ecosystems before the almighty dollar. This system operates because it is profitable, and it is profitable because everyday people and institutional investors like UF have sacrificed their own values to cash in on the madness. Our proposal is an attempt to disconnect UF from this cycle and restore some sense of dignity and honor to higher education in the US.

Call school president Bernie Machen and let him know what you think about his refusal to put UF’s money where its mouth is. Ask him if he thinks it is okay if our university is profiting off of war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses.

Phone: (352) 392-1311
Fax: (352) 392-9506
Email: President@ufl.edu
Office of the President, 226 Tigert Hall, PO Box 113150,
Gainesville, FL 32611

Other administrators you can talk to:

Student Body President: president@sg.ufl.edu

Office of Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpre: dedee@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1336

Ask them to publicly declare their support for the hunger strikers and their SRI proposal.

Also, please sign our petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/srisds/petition.html

And, join the facebook group for updates: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14624337562

Can you organize a call in and letter writing day with your chapter? Every little bit helps. Thanks for your support!

In solidarity,
Gainesville Area SDS

Here is a sample call-in or letter/email script:

Hello, my name is ________ from __________ (school). I am (calling/writing) to urge you to support the socially responsible investment proposal submitted to you by Students for a Democratic Society. Currently, the SRI policy passed by the Board of Trustees provides no measure of accountability to the students or the public. If the University of Florida is to live up to its mission statement of working for the public good, it must realize that its investments should be held to the same standard. I implore you to meet the demands of the students who are on a hunger strike and ensure that the University of Florida will remain at the forefront of the fight for sustainability and responsibility. Thank you.

DC Students Protest Ridiculous Lunch Policy

Posted in resistance, student power with tags on March 31, 2008 by Jasper Conner

On March 31st, 70 students from from Woodrow Wilson High School in NW DC participated in a walkout during the lunch period. Students were protesting a new policy of Chancellor Rhea. Rhea was a controversial choice for Chancellor of DC public schools considering her lack of experience, and the total absence of community input in her appointment by Mayor Fenty. Rhea has restricted lunch at Woodrow Wilson to the classroom in response to the arrest of students during a recent fight. The walkout, which last thirty minutes was not the only sign of resistance from students that day, as many wore black armbands to signify their discontent. Other students, such as Lena Solow, have been working on a policy to replace Rhea’s current restrictions, stating that “[they’re] not consulting parents, students or teachers”. The Mayor’s office has been repeatedly bungling education in the District, from the appointment of Rhea to the current plan to shut down 17 public schools, so although this ridiculous policy doesn’t come as a surprise, the resistance from students is certainly inspiring.

Some important notes:

Woodrow Wilson High School organizers of these amazing actions should get in touch with DC Students for a Democratic Society by leaving a comment or checking out our website at http://www.dc-sds.org

Folks interested in getting involved in the local struggle to resist Fenty’s destructive education policies should join the Coalition to Save Our Neighborhood Schools.

You should also check out EmpowerDC, a local grassroots organization that does amazing work to resist gentrification, support local schools, and increase government accountability.

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Stats and Quote were pulled from Dion Haynes’ WP articles, linked below.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dc/2008/03/wilson_high_students_protest_r.html

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dc/2008/03/more_on_new_security_policy_at.html

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