Take Back NYU – an Update and Request for Your Support. Contact John Sexton. Attend Rally at Washington Sq Park Border Tues. Feb. 24, 7 p.m.

Well, if you missed it, last week, students with organization Take Back NYU took over the cafeteria at the Kimmel Center* for close to three days. Among Take Back NYU’s goals demands are budget disclosure, endowment disclosure, and student representation on the Board of Trustees. Their action was very daring and difficult at a school like NYU which is helmed by John Sexton, a University President perfectly at ease during the Bloomberg era. NYU would never have gotten away with their endless expansion eclipsing neighborhoods throughout our city without the climate and structure put into place by our CEO Mayor.

(Note: The Kimmel Center is the controversially designed building which sits across from Washington Square Park on the south side.)

Some details:

How NYU ‘acted’ vs. how New School handled its recent student “occupation”; NYU acts in ‘bad faith’

New School students recently held their own occupation of that school’s student center cafeteria in December with a much different outcome. New School President President Bob Kerrey (another controversial and not that well liked figure) negotiated and reached an agreement with the students. NYU, on the other hand, acted in bad faith. When four of the students from Take Back NYU left for a scheduled “negotiation” with NYU officials in another part of the Kimmel Center, instead of any negotiating, these students were detained and not allowed to rejoin the group. Police officers then broke down the barricade to reach the remaining students and evicted them.

And, if you’re curious, what were the negotiations between The New School and the students during a similar action? The New York Times covered the story. Here from the December 19th article:

The New School said in a statement that the agreement [reached with the students who ended their occupation] contained the following provisions:

  1. To grant amnesty for the participants involved in the occupation and the events related to it.
  2. To find a suitable replacement for the library and study space that will be lost with the closing of 65 Fifth Avenue. It was expressed to the students that this was already in the works, as we are completing work on new library and study room facilities at 55 West 13th Street. The construction of this new space will be completed in time for the start of the spring semester.
  3. To include student participation in the selection of the Provost.
  4. To establish a committee on Socially Responsible Investing for the University’s endowment.

The statement added:

We believe that the agreement reached is reasonable and will improve the shared governance of our university. Today, 65 Fifth Avenue will resume normal operation for our students, staff and faculty.

What NYU Students face

The students at NYU are in jeopardy of being suspended and have already lost their housing.

New York City Labor Against War succinctly wrote in a recent letter of support, we must demand that the NYU administration immediately:

1. Rescind suspensions, dorm evictions and all other disciplinary action.

2. Drop all criminal charges.

3. Meet the students’ demands.

What you can do:

Email NYU President John Sexton at: john.sexton {AT} nyu.edu


Take Back NYU! is asking for support for the students at a rally Tuesday, February 24th, at 7 p.m. Washington Square South and Laguardia Place, at Washington Sq Park border, across from NYU Kimmel Center.

Whither New York?

Some really great revealing articles lately on CEO Mayor Bloomberg’s New York in which, as you know, only the financial market and corporate and developer Friends of Mayor Mike are given ‘breaks’ while everyone else has their public space reduced and privatized, continually monitored, and their neighborhoods and communities across the five boroughs sacrificed for these same FOMM. I’ll highlight some of the pertinent points from a few of these articles today and in the coming days.

What follows is an excerpt from a most interesting article from the March 2009 Atlantic magazine, “How the Crash Will Reshape America,” by Richard Florida. He addresses NYC’s over-reliance on Wall Street and asks … what would Jane Jacobs say?


Whither New York?

In the short run, the most troubling question for New York is not how much of its finance industry will move to other places, but how much will simply vanish altogether. At the height of the recent bubble, Greater New York depended on the financial sector for roughly 22 percent of local wages. But most economists agree that by then the financial economy had become bloated and overdeveloped.

Financial positions account for only about 8 percent of the New York area’s jobs, not too far off the national average of 5.5 percent. …

New York is much, much more than a financial center. … Elizabeth Currid’s book, The Warhol Economy, provides detailed evidence of New York’s diversity. Currid measured the concentration of different types of jobs in New York relative to their incidence in the U.S. economy as a whole. By this measure, New York is more of a mecca for fashion designers, musicians, film directors, artists, and—yes—psychiatrists than for financial professionals.

The great urbanist Jane Jacobs was among the first to identify cities’ diverse economic and social structures as the true engines of growth. … Jacobs argued that the jostling of many different professions and different types of people, all in a dense environment, is an essential spur to innovation—to the creation of things that are truly new. And innovation, in the long run, is what keeps cities vital and relevant.

In this sense, the financial crisis may ultimately help New York by reenergizing its creative economy. … When I asked Jacobs some years ago about the effects of escalating real-estate prices on creativity, she told me, “When a place gets boring, even the rich people leave.” With the hegemony of the investment bankers over, New York now stands a better chance of avoiding that sterile fate.