New Schools for Old

exile_logoI’m posting this for Imogen, among others….

Subject: Update on New School University sit-in/occupation going on — support needed!

Solidarity statements can be sent to

This from the New School in Exile Occupation

12:00 noon update, 12/18/08:

Students have just expanded the occupation to control one sidedoor exit at
the occupation, and President Kerrey just showed up a little before noon.
NYPD police have showed up and begun trying to arrest people at the side
entrance (13th st.) of the building. Witnesses report at least two people
were dragged out onto 13th street and there was as least one person
confirmed arrested.


New School in Exile Occupation

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 committment
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 betryal 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!


Statement to the New School Community

We have successfully occupied the Graduate Faculty student building (65
5th Avenue) and established a student space. We are in control of this
building, and counter to any claims by the administration, they have not
“let us stay.” We have taken over this building and are actively occupying
it. Come join us!

Statement to New School Workers

We wish to state publicly to the New School janitorial, clerical and
related union staff (UNITE HERE! Local 100 and other locals) that we
support you and wish to ally with you. We also ask you to respect the
strike and occupation that the students have called and taken in the 65
5th Ave. building, and hope you will join efforts to improve the
university for all of us, students, teachers and workers. If there are
demands or issues you would like us to help voice, please bring them to

Notice to Consortium Students

You are welcome to join our occupation, and we strongly encourage you to
join us. However, the university administration and security have
unilaterally refused to allow other consortium students into the building
without any reason. This is a direct violation of the Consortium agreement
and is another attempt by the administration to claim they are “allowing”
us to be here.


Demands of the Occupation

* The removal of Bob Kerrey as president of our university

* The removal of James Murtha as executive vice president of our university

* Students, faculty, and staff elect the president, EVP, and Provost.

* Students are part of the interim committee to hire a provost.

* The removal of Robert B. Millard as treasurer of the board of trustees.

* Intelligible transparency and disclosure of the university budget and

* The creation of a committee on socially responsible investments.

* The immediate suspension of capital improvement projects like the
tearing down of 65 fifth Ave.

* Instead, money towards the creation of an autonomous student space.
* Instead, money towards scholarships and reducing tuition.
* Instead, money for the library and student life generally.


An Open Letter: Come Occupy a Building with Us…Now

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you from the inside of the New School Graduate Faculty
Building on 65 5th Ave. We are occupying it. Right now. Literally.
Students of the New School University, along with our partners from other
universities and groups–like NYU, Hunter College, City College of NY,
CUNY Graduate Center, and Borough of Manhattan Community College, have
organically risen up to demand the resignation of President Bob Kerrey,
Executive Vice President James Murtha, and Board Member/torturer Robert B.
Millard (he multi-tasks). We have come together to prevent our study
spaces from being flattened by corporate bulldozers, to have a say in who
runs this school, to demand that the money we spend on this institution be
used to facilitate the creation of a better society, not to build bigger
buildings or invest in companies that make war. We have come here not only
to make demands, but also to live them. Our presence makes it clear that
this school is ours, and yours, if you are with us.

The outside doors have been closed now, so we can’t exactly invite you
in…sorry… We know you wanted a piece of the action, but we’ll be around
for quite some time. Join us at 7 AM tomorrow when the doors open again,
or come now to stand outside with a sign in solidarity. You are cordially
invited to join us in any way you can. We are not going anywhere. In the
meantime, check out our Web site: We have all
night to make things interesting, and the website will continue to be
updated. Stay tuned for the musical pieces, doctoral dissertations, and
creative finger-paintings that seem to be the natural result of 150
students locked into a building together for a night.

We are here, making decisions collectively, doing teach-ins, listening to
music, studying, singing. We’ve got an upright bassist, guitarists and
vocalists (If anyone can volunteer a drum-set we’ll be well on our way…).
We’ll be here until this university changes, or until the party gets
boring (but it doesn’t seem likely that will happen). We’re not going
anywhere. We hope to see you soon, and if you really can’t wait a few
hours–what the hell–occupy your own universities or work spaces.

Come use your voice to declare loudly that this school and this world are
yours. Come use your mind to think up a better world. Come use your body
to create it, one all-nighter in the university cafeteria at a time. Come
stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of this
university. Come to write letters of support to the people of the village
of Thanh Phong whose parents were murdered by the current President of the
New School during his service in Vietnam. Come join the struggle with the
people of Iraq who are being tortured and killed by a company funded by
this university and represented on the New School Board of Trustees. Come
here to join the uprisings and outpouring of passionate resistance
currently taking place all over this country, and all over the world–from
factory workers in Chicago to students in Greece. Come for yourself. Come
for all of us.

In solidarity,
The New School in Exile



5 thoughts on “New Schools for Old

  1. FLASH UPDATE !! (4 pm)

    Students are holding strong in the occupation of the Graduate Faculty building at the New School with over 100 people and growing. We are continuing to put out media, talk with students, faculty, union and other worker allies, and trying to broaden this struggle beyond the original student occupation currently underway. The NYPD has returned to the premise, but no immediate signs of arrest or attempt to break the student strike and occupation have occurred yet.


  2. I seem to have fallen into a timewarp and am back at university in 1972.

    “money towards the creation of an autonomous student space”

    in those days translated to “we need money to put on a lot of parties and have some of our favourite bands”

    Plus ca change … don’t bogart that joint …


    1. Easyriders is the right reference for that I am sure – Bernard Stiegler was saying so the other day – but I think there is an even older nostalgia here – the idea that students might elect their faculty stretches back to Bologna, some 800 plus years. Pah, uppity conservatives!


    2. And I remember Bogart playing Steve, when Lauren Bacall replied to his wanting to see her later with the great lines: ‘you just have to whistle Steve. You remember how to whistle, don’t you Steve. Just press your lips together and blow’. …. Swoon.


  3. You could always look at the New School in Exile site, but here are the updates anyway:

    University in Exile Occupation Wins Major Victory
    over University Administration in 3rd Day (3 am)

    After more than two weeks of concerted actions, students in the occupation were able to win significant victories in the ongoing struggle to improve the New School. Those concessions include an agreement not to press charges or impose academic punishments, the implementation of a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) committee within the university, more autonomy and power for Student Senate to communicate with the student body, more representation on the Board of Trustees for students and faculty, and finally the creation of more student study space on campus. A full list of the final demands between the student negotiators and the administration will be posted here shortly! In solidarity. This struggle will continue. This is one more step. Onward.

    !! EMERGENCY UPDATE !! (11:30 pm)

    A huge group of students have just gained access to the 65 5th Avenue building and joined the ongoing New School student occupation. For a few minutes the cafeteria was a whirling maze of shouts, cheers, dancing and jubilation as friends inside the occupation were joined by friends and supporters outside. Students breached the security lockdown shortly after 11pm est. The student negotiators who had been meeting with the university administration reported back shortly after the breach, and have reported that the negotiations were very successful and there is widespread support for our demands, including information that President Kerrey himself has agreed to some of the student demands. In solidarity with the students, staff, faculty and supporters around the world we are with you, and thank you!

    !! FLASH UPDATE !! (8 pm)

    There is now a large crowd occupying the outside of the occupation building chanting “let them in” as students continue to hold the occupation inside. Furthermore, we have received a copy of a letter sent by President Bob Kerrey to the media where he claims that students assualted security guards and have created a “security threat” at the university. His letter is full of outright lies and distortions, and only serves to further confirm the unilateral and unaccountable decision-making of President Bob Kerrey. We encourage the public to watch and decide exactly who is using force against whom!


Comments are closed.