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Since 10pm Wednesday night the third floor of the Kimmel Student Center at New York University has been occupied by more than 70 NYU and non-NYU students. Originally present for the first few hours of the occupation I had to leave for personal reasons, but it is still going strong and spirits are very high. It was recently announced the head of NYU university relations has cut his vacation short and is flying back home. They're clearly worried.
There are 13 demands relating to NYU investments in war profiteers and occupation, the cost of tuition, the lack of transparency and the lack of respect for NYU workers.
See the full list of demands here: takebacknyu.com... See live streaming video from the occupation here: www.ustream.tv...
In order to create a more accountable, democratic and socially responsible university, we demand the following:
* Full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation.
* Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.
* Public release of NYU's annual operating budget, including a full list of university expenditures, salaries for all employees compensated on a semester or annual basis, funds allocated for staff wages, contracts to non-university organizations for university construction and services, financial aid data for each college, and money allocated to each college, department, and administrative unit of the university. Furthermore, this should include a full disclosure of the amount and sources of the university's funding.
* Disclosure of NYU's endowment holdings, investment strategy, projected endowment growth, and persons, corporations and firms involved in the investment of the university's endowment funds. Additionally, we demand an endowment oversight body of students, faculty and staff who exercise shareholder proxy voting power for the university's investments.
* That the NYU Administration agrees to resume negotiations with GSOC/UAW Local 2110 – the union for NYU graduate assistants, teaching assistants, and research assistants. That NYU publically affirm its commitment to respect all its workers, including student employees, by recognizing their right to form unions and to bargain collectively. That NYU publically affirm that it will recognize workers' unions through majority card verification.
* That NYU signs a contract guaranteeing fair labor practices for all NYU employees at home and abroad. This contract will extend to subcontracted workers, including bus drivers, food service employees and anyone involved in the construction, operation and maintenance at any of NYU's non-U.S. sites.
The establishment of a student elected Socially Responsible Finance Committee. This Committee will have full power to vote on proxies, draft shareholder resolutions, screen all university investments, establish new programs that encourage social and environmental responsibility and override all financial decisions the committee deems socially irresponsible, including investment decisions. The committee will be composed of two subcommittees: one to assess the operating budget and one to assess the endowment holdings. Each committee will be composed of ten students democratically elected from the graduate and under-graduate student bodies. All committee decisions will be made a strict majority vote, and will be upheld by the university. All members of the Socially Responsible Finance Committee will sit on the board of trustees, and will have equal voting rights. All Socially Responsible Finance Committee and Trustee meetings shall be open to the public, and their minutes made accessible electronically through NYU's website. Elections will be held the second Tuesday of every March beginning March 10th 2009, and meetings will be held biweekly beginning the week of March 30th 2009.
Originally posted by tallcool1
You must have gone to college because you didn't understand what I was saying.
We, the students of New York University, declare the successes of this occupation.
The administration demonstrated their steadfast commitment to disregard for its students. There was no single attempt to negotiate with the students. The administration disingenuously presented the students with negotiation, which the students readily accepted. Once in the negotiation room, the administration revealed it had lied to us in order to remove us from the room. Their intent was never to negotiate, but instead to remove negotiators from the space and present them with a non-negotiable punishment.
The administration’s refusal to look students in the eye or attempt to hear our voices clearly reaffirms the need for changing university policy. An administration so unaccountable for their actions and so secretive in their operation, pushed multiple democratically elected students senators to reclaim the Kimmel Marketplace in the name of real democracy. We are appalled that the university put Public Saftey Officers at risk use of the guards as a tool to silence voices in solidarity. Several students and one security guard were injured when Public Safety was ordered to refuse the entry of food and hundreds of supportive students into the reclaimed space.
This protest is just a beginning to what is to come. Their action made national and international news, and showcased the real power of the new student movement sweeping the globe. Here in New York, a City Council member, Charles Barron, has publicly endorsed our campaign and shamed the university for its mishandling of student protest.
"Take Back NYU! has been trying to engage the university for two years now," student protestor Anna Mullen said. "This is the first time we have gotten their attention. So if this has been going over the line, it's because we were driven to it."
"We have been clear that there are legitimate means of protests which we encourage our students to pursue…but there are illegitimate means of protests as well and this is what this is," said NYU spokesperson Lynne Browne.
Emily Stainkamp, a sit-in participant, called the university's call for the students to leave the Greenwich Village building "ridiculous."
"Holding the space is essential to having our demands met," said Stainkamp, an 18-year-old freshman from Greensboro, N.C.