Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Do the NYU Protesters Want?

I received a press release and a list of demands from the NYU protesters tonight. Here is what they say, and what they're asking for. Knowing NYU President John Sexton, who'd rather tear down the Provincetown Playhouse all the while that his own son is an actor, he'll give into nothing and harm the students.

If he or anyone else at NYU harms the students physically or academically, he should be prepared for any eventuality.

This information is courtesy of Emily Stainkamp, one of the two press spokespeople for Take Back NYU:


NYU's administration refuses any face-to-face contact with student occupation, drawing out Take Back NYU!'s occupation that is currently making national news. Members of occupation are calling a press conference to demand student participation in negotiations and university decisions.

Occupied Kimmel Center on Washington Square Park, New York City (2/19/09) –

Students participating in Take Back NYU!'s occupation of NYU's Kimmel Center called for NYU's Administration to finally offer acceptable conditions for face-to-face negotiations with the occupation. NYU refuses to look students in the eye about its policies towards the occupation and its demands.

Throughout the occupation Take Back NYU! made it clear that good-faith negotiations are a condition to the occupation's end. NYU has only made one empty offer of faux negotiations after the end of the occupation.

Members of Take Back NYU! called a press conference for 5pm ET outside the Kimmel Center to demand NYU enter negotiations. The policy of stonewalling students continues NYU's legacy of inaction and obstinacy regarding student democracy and human rights at NYU – the occupation offers the administration a chance to improve its public image and stance on these key issues.

During the press conference, students will propose expansion of pressure on the university to encourage the administration to come to the table over Take Back NYU! demands regarding student democracy and human rights at NYU.

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.

WHAT: Take Back NYU! Occupation Press Conference to Demand Negotiations
WHEN: 5pm, Feburary 19, 2009
WHERE: Outside the occupied Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South.
And this, according to Stainkamp, is the list of the students demands. (For the record, I do not agree with all of these -- this is simply what they're demanding.)

We the students, in order to create a more accountable, democratic and socially responsible university, demand the following:

1. Full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the [sleepover].

2. Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the [sleepover].

3. Full disclosure of the endowment and operating budget, published quarterly on NYUs website.

4. Full union rights for all university employees including graduate students, and collective bargaining rights for work study students.

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.

5. 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.

6. That the first two orders of business of the Socially Responsible Finance committee will be:

a) An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.

b) A reassessment of the recently lifted of the ban on Coca Cola products.

7. That scholarships be provided for twelve Palestinian students for the 2009/2010 academic year. These scholarships will include funding for books, housing, meals and travel expenses.

8. That the university donates all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.

9. That all university senate resolutions be binding, and all Senate meetings open to the public. Senate minutes shall also be made accessible electronically through NYUs website.

10. Tuition stabilization for all students, beginning with the class of 2012. All students will pay their initial tuition rate throughout the course of their education at New York University. Tuition rates for each successive year will not exceed the rate of inflation, nor shall they exceed one percent. The university shall meet 100% of government-calculated student financial need.
Stay tuned.

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