Free University Week, September 18-22, draws over two thousand in Madison Square Park


Free University Week, September 18-22, draws over two thousand in Madison Square Park

as Occupy Year Two begins to flourish

Press Inquiries :

New York, NY (September 24, 2012): Leaping into year two of Occupy Wall Street, a coalition of students, faculty, and community groups hosted the Free University Week—a way to create education that is democratic, critical, and accessible to all. This event was held in Madison Square Park across five days—Tuesday through Friday, September 18 – 21, from 2pm to 7pm, and on Saturday, September 22, from 10am to 2pm. Participants gathered in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street’s one year anniversary, as well as with education movements in Chicago, Quebec, Chile, Puerto Rico, and beyond.

Over two thousand people transformed the park throughout the week with lectures, workshops, skill-shares, discussions and classes—all free and open to the public. Of the over 160 scheduled workshops, highlights included: ‘On Disasters and Encampments’ with Rebecca Solnit; ‘Occupying Language: A Conversation’ with Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini; ‘CLASSE and the Quebec Student Movement with Philippe Lapointe; ‘The Carceral State’ with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, ‘The NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium’ with Ben Katchor, ‘Transforming Land Relationships’ with Robert Robinson of Take Back the Land; ‘Viva La Resistancia: The Battle for Ethnic Studies in Arizona’ with Betsy Catlin; ‘STRIKE DEBT: The History of Debt Resistance’ with George Caffentzis; an Occupy Wall Street Screenprinters artshop, an ‘Occupy Guitarmy’ musicianship certificate program, and a Really Really Free Market.

The first Free University on May Day, 2012, welcomed over two thousand participants for dozens of classes and workshops in Madison Square Park. This week-long reprise rode the momentum of Occupy Wall Street’s September 17 actions, in addition to other demonstrations against neoliberal assaults on democracy and social justice. These include the recent Chicago teachers’ strike, ‘Hot and Crusty’ workers’ occupation in NYC, and victory of the Quebec student movement that defeated a 75% tuition increase and ousted Premier Jean Charest. The Free University constitutes a hub of political education in New York City that will enhance the movement’s clarity, confidence, and direction for years to come. Its next meeting on Sunday, September 30, will discuss how to proliferate Free University events across city boroughs and social issues, as well as highlight a campaign to refuse CUNY Pathways and lay the groundwork for a New York City student union.

Photographs from Free University Week can be found at  For more information on the week’s schedule, visit To schedule a press interview, contact

DATE: Tuesday, September 18 – Saturday, September 22, 2012
TIME: Tuesday – Friday, 2pm-7pm, Saturday, 10am-2pm.
LOCATION: Madison Square Park, 23rd St and 5th Ave, Manhattan, NY.


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