Police violence at #May2 Brooklyn College Student Manifestation
[Update 5/3/2012] As of 6pm, both students arrested at Brooklyn College the day before were released; one has a court date scheduled for June 20. They were greeted by a crowd of 15–20 supporters who formed a jail support team the night of the arrests. There are more details about student and faculty support for Brooklyn College students in another post.]
The mood on campus today had been grimly authoritarian since morning; multiple campus security guards were posed at each entrance, religiously checking ID’s, and a van full of NYPD officers was waiting just off of campus, in view of our quad.
Six students, including myself, made a human chain in front of the door of her [President Karen Gould] office and sat down, while a group of roughly thirty students and professors began using the people’s mike to lead chants and speak-outs in the hallway.
The police entered the aisle created by the crowd and were standing by to begin arresting the sit-in. Suddenly, the crowd started to move and the hallway filled with yelling as the NYPD violently shoved the people on the edges of the crowd on both sides down the hallway and ordered them to disperse. The officers then used the ensuing chaos to begin dragging away those of us who were sitting in, starting with me, on the end. I and the others sitting down were grabbed by the officers and dragged to the doorway of the nearest stairwell, at which point I was told to “just get the hell out of here,” and shoved into the doorway, opening it with my face. A few others were tossed through the doorway after me, we re-grouped in the stairwell and joined the demonstrators on the other side of the hallway, who were not allowing the police to move them down the hallway, soft-blocking them and doing a decent job of holding the line.
This prompted the officers to begin grabbing students and attempting to drag them behind the police line. However, the students would not allow this to happen, and managed to pull the police off of every person they attempted to snatch away. This resistance prompted a melee of police brutality, including multiple students being slammed against walls, knocked to the floor, manhandled, and injured. Personally, I was grabbed by the arm and shoulder and slammed into a wall by a cop after helping to pull him off of another protestor. Most disgusting however was the assault on a disabled protestor by a group of NYPD and BC-PD officers, who took her cane and attempted to drag her behind their lines to be arrested, which was only thwarted by the efforts of multiple other demonstrators to physically separate her from the officers.
We managed to make a tactical retreat outside; losing the hallway but suffering only one arrest. That student, an organizer who had been pushed to the ground by a cop with enough force that her eyes were cloudy after her head hit the floor, was carried out of Boylan and off of campus by three NYPD officers. A second student was arrested attempting to separate her from the officers
The full account is available at here.
There were multiple reports on Twitter of police violence at Brooklyn College today connected to the Student Manifestation planned in the quad. A banner was dropped from the 5th Floor of Boylan Hall as 6 students soft locked outside the president’s office and dozens were ejected.
For more updates, visit our Storify page on this: http://storify.com/OccupyCUNYNews/police-violence-at-brooklyn-college-breaking. We’ll have more coverage later as information comes in–please help contribute!
The full press kit on the event (released earlier today), including a Solidarity Statement from Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, is below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Julieta Salgado, Cell phone: (585) 698-3653, Email: Joolietasalgado@gmail.com
Sara Beth Curtis, Cell phone: (646) 377-2590, Email: Bwsara@gmail.com
Biola Jeje, Cell phone: (347) 681-5923, Email: Biolajeje@gmail.com
May 2 NYC wide Student Manifestation on the Brooklyn College Quad
The Brooklyn College Student Union, Brooklyn College New York Public Interest Research Group, Students United for a Free CUNY, New York Students Rising, the CUNY Graduate Center General Assembly, and the Brooklyn College Professional Staff Congress welcome you to a New York City Student Manifestation on the Brooklyn College Quad at 12pm on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Join us in taking back our education from the Board of Trustees, Wall Street, and our college administrators with a springtime display of student power, free lunch, teach-ins, and a collective bursting of student loan debt balloons. In solidarity with rising student movements in Quebec and their adopted symbol of resistance, wear red to show that you believe in the right to education for all.
From Quebec to Greece to Chile to the UK, students have been protesting against the increasing commercialization and privatization of public education, and fighting for free and emancipatory education. The increasing cost of tuition at CUNY narrows access and adds to burden of indebtedness among students. As Brooklyn College junior Biola Jeje states, this is “not just an issue for students but for working families who often take on debt to return to school in the hopes of finding higher paying jobs to support their families as the cost of living, especially in New York City, increases. If we want to help working families in a concrete way we need higher education to be free and for student debt to be forgiven.” The organizations endorsing the event are demanding a more inclusive implementation of policies that promote access to higher education in the United States. They assert that creating access to higher ed must include: a millionaires tax that would subsidize college tuition for CUNY and SUNY students, the abolition of Board of Trustees and the creation of a more democratic governing body, getting rid of restrictions on financial aid and scholarship restrictions for undocumented youth seeking to obtain college degrees, collective student loan debt refusal, university divestment from Wall Street and radical reforms that serve low income students of color in K-12 public schools.
For interviews regarding May 2 NYC Student Manifestation contact: Julieta Salgado
For interviews about the May 1 and May 2 Free University contact: Sara Beth Curtis
May 2 Education Convergence Schedule of Events:
12:00: Sign Making, Music, Student Loan Debt Balloons,
12:30: Political Theater: Wedding of CUNY Chancellor Goldstein + Kroll Security Group
1:00: Student Speakers, Reading of Solidarity Statements from Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and The Quebec Student Strike.
2: 00: Free Lunch and Free University teach-ins: David Graeber, and others! – Many for the May Day Free University (maydaynyc.org/freeuniversity)
2,5 Train to Flatbush Ave/Brooklyn College, Walk one block West on Hillel Place
B,Q Train to Ave H. Walk Four Blocks East on Ave H to the Campus Road
(If security guards are assholes, then walk to another entrance. We will have tenure faculty at some of the entrances ensuring people get in.)
Another University is Possible. Wednesday, May 2nd, students from across NYC will be joining together at the Brooklyn College Campus to take back our future from the 1%.
Hundreds of students will be staging a continuation of May Day and the Free University by taking over the Quad at Brooklyn College with Teach-ins, food, music and events to show an alternative university.
While subsidies, tax breaks, and corporate loopholes continue to exist allowing banks and corporations to make record profits, slashes to education have resulted in students paying more and more in CUNY while receiving less and less.
Solidarity Statement from Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, May 1st, 2012
All around the world, young people are leading resistance movements against repressive governments and repressive economic policies, from the Arab Spring, to Occupy Wall Street, to the Spanish Indignados, and countless other protest movements around the globe. It is right that young people are at the center of these movements, since it is your futures that are being stolen by austerity budgets, reckless environmental policies and discriminatory immigration laws.
In Chile and Quebec, student strikes and protests have transformed into mass social movements, ones that raise profound questions about the fundamental injustices of their societies and raise real hopes for transformation. With your actions, you at Brooklyn College are joining this inspiring global uprising against a collapsing system and we are proud to stand in solidarity with you.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
IN WAKE OF TUITION HIKES AND SECURITIZATION,
STUDENTS STAGE SIT-IN IN BROOKLYN COLLEGE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE
This May 2nd afternoon, dozens of City University of New York Students reclaimed the administrative office of President Karen Gould of Brooklyn College. The students dropped a banner off the balcony of the President’s office overlooking the Brooklyn College Quad and the borough of Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue that read: “This Office is Occupied by the CUNY Student Movement”.
The students released the following goals for their occupation via their website: www.takebackbrooklyn.wordpress.com, as well as sending the letter of demands via direct email to the Presidents of each CUNY campus.
“We want a tuition free CUNY.
We want a participatory democratic CUNY.
We want a state-funded CUNY.
We want a CUNY that employs just labor.
We want a high quality CUNY.
We want a CUNY that is free of surveillance and policing.”
In addition, the students have outlined six demands which they say will prompt them to leave the office peacefully. They claim they will not leave the office until they meet with President Karen Gould and members of the CUNY Board of Trustees regarding the conditions of their schools and the financial burdens facing students that have driven them to occupy her office.
1) Repeal NY SUNY 2020 and implement a tuition freeze
2) End the racist securitization of CUNY
3) Repeal CUNY Pathways
4) Preserve and increase multiculturalism at CUNY
5) Drastically increase the funding of student services at CUNY and Brooklyn College.