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Students Occupy New School, Demand President Kerrey Resign

by Doug Michel |
December 18, 2008
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Sign: University is now Occupied
A sign in the window of the occupied building at New School in New York City. (Fight Back! News)

New York, NY - Over 100 students are occupying the 65 5th Avenue building of the New School. The occupation began Wednesday, Dec. 17 and has the broad support of faculty and staff at the university. The New School in Exile, as the building occupation is called, is organized by the Radical Student Union (RSU), a coalition of Students for a Democratic Society, Student Environmental Action Coalition and United for Peace and Justice at New School.

The protesters demand that the president of the university, Bob Kerrey, step down for undemocratic behavior and putting corporations and the interests of war profiteers ahead of the needs of students, faculty, staff and the community around the New School. The building occupation comes shortly after a vote of no confidence on Kerrey from the faculty.

The demonstrators also call for the resignation of Executive Vice-president James Murtha and board of trustee member Robert Millard as well as more institutional involvement and representation by students within university government, the creation of a university committee focused on socially responsible investing and the redirecting of financial resources away from capital projects and towards improving student resources and space.

Students took inspiration from recent labor struggles to take over the building and fight for their rights. “I was really inspired by the striking Chicago workers at the Republic Window and Door factory two weeks ago,” said New School student Tim Hearin, “and I’m humbled to be the next link in the chain of people taking matters into their own hands in the name of improving their living and working space.”

Kerrey released a letter claiming that RSU members have created a “security threat” to the university. RSU members say that these are lies and distortions and invite everyone to see who is attacking who at the 5th Avenue building.

The Radical Student Union’s occupation serves as a call to return to critical and democratic education that serves the people, not corporate interests and war profiteers.

To demand that New School President Bob Kerrey resign, sign the petition:

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