Hundreds of students showed up to support the approximately 80 students occupying an NYU cafeteria last week. Organized by the TakeBackNYU coalition of dozens of student organizations, the occupying students asked for increased campus democracy, transparency in operations, and accountability from the administration to faculty and students. Specific demands included tuition stabilization, collective bargaining with student employees, socially responsible investing, fair labor practice on offshore NYU campuses, and thirteen scholarships for students displaced by the bombing of Gaza.

The occupation followed on the heels of a similar occupation at the New School that won concessions from that school’s administration including amnesty for participants and a student voice in campus building, administrative search, and investment policy. Militant students there are still organizing to force the resignations of top campus administrators.

Several of those in the loud but evidently non-violent NYU crowd Thursday night were clubbed and maced by a police line surrounding the building.

Apparently determined to close down the occupation without making the sort of concessions forced from the New School, NYU administrators lured student leaders from the building with the promise of face-to-face negotiations, then detained and isolated them, seizing their cell phones. Security personnel then rushed in, physically overpowering the remaining students, who believed their leaders were engaged in settlement negotiations.

NYU ordered suspension of eighteen student activists, including barring them from their campus residences. They were photographed and handed previously-prepared letters declaring them persona non grata and evicted on the spot. (Education institutions are apparently exempt from NYC’s fairly strict eviction proceedings that protect tenants from arbitrary actions by landlords.)

GSOC-UAW’s Rana Jaleel, who has discussed the emerging coalition of movements at NYU before in this column issued a statement calling NYU’s actions “abhorrent,” and demanding that “protesters who have been evicted from campus housing immediately be given full access to their homes.”






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