As of 19:00 (7 pm, Dec. 17, 2008) a diverse collection of students from the New School community began an occupation of the Graduate Faculty building at 65 5th Ave. This is the only central student space on campus, and hosts the remnants of the Fogelman Library, the “fishbowl” study space and the Fifth Avenue Cafe. The students occupying the building have declared the 65 5th Ave. space an open student study space and intent to keep the building open indefinitely. All New School students are encourage to come and join us in our “Study-In.”
The original idea of the University in Exile, and the New School in general, was to be a safe-haven for academic freedom and scholarship free of oppressive political regimes, be they in Europe or America, and to be a center for critical engagement with important issues of our times. It was known for its deep thinkers, its innovative academics, and its commitment to social and political justice as a bedrock of all other scholarship. The New School, under its current administration, is no longer able to fulfill that role of critical engagement and dissent. This continued betrayal of our founding principles cannot be tolerated any longer, and the time has come to revive the University in Exile. This is a call for student action! (from New School in Exile)
Letter of Demands
New School: University in Exile
We, the students of the New School, declare ourselves in silent solidarity with the senior faculty’s vote of no confidence in President Bob Kerrey, and teir vote of no confidence in Vice President James Murtha. Though we have not been given a voice in the current state of the university, we too desire substantive change in the direction and future of our education. Our grievances include:
Five Provosts in less than eight years is a sign of no institutional transparency, stability, and accountability. We need an institutional politics with a system of checks and balances, not one that works at the whim of one man.
Kerrey’s unilateral appointment of himself as “chief academic officer”is unacceptable and emblematic of his inability to foster cooperative education.
The university is being treated as a profit-making venture at whose altar the requirements of scholarship are routinely sacrificed. We have been systematically stripped of the most basic resources necessary for academic excellence, including adequate funding, spaces in which to study and engage with each other, and a working library. We demand more opportunities for student funding, and we are willing to work for them. We need public spaces in which to foster a public sphere and an academic community. The absence of a serious library and its related resources for reserach is absolutely unacceptable and should not even be an issue of contention in an academic institution.
Academic planning and budgeting should be directed by individuals with a deep understanding and commitment to academic excellence and free inquiry.
We do not have adequate resources and we are not told why.
We have no hand and no say in our fates or the collective fate of our institution.
We desire meaningful and inclusive education that sees us as more than cash cows and treats us with respect as serious scholars, artists, musicians, designers, philosophers, writers, and most importantly, future educators. We are tired of being told by an out of touch administration what our needs are, and we are no longer willing to idly sit by while our education and our futures are gambled away. We want a university that is known for the quality of its students and faculty, not for its logo or the crimes of its leadership. It is time for change. We desire a better world, and we are willing to fight to achieve it.
For these and more reasons we support the faculty’s votes of no confidence in Bob Kerrey and James Murtha, and further, we call for their immediate resignation.
-The Students of the New School- 12/16/08