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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/21/09

Take Back NYU's Occupation: A Young Progressive Movement with Campus Occupations?

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Take Back NYU, a student-run coalition of “nearly two dozen groups and hundreds of students at New York University” occupied the Kimmel Center at NYU this week to “pressure” NYU on “its administrative and ethical failings regarding transparency, democracy and protection of human rights.”


The action could be considered a good signal that students are willing to make sacrifices for change, but was the NYU occupation a good thing for NYU students? And what effect did the inclusion of a section for Palestinians in Gaza have on their “success”?


Creator of the Take Back NYU Facebook group, Clara Green, said, “Take Back NYU felt that since the administration would not willingly address our concerns, Take Back NYU would have to force them to. Take Back NYU was also inspired by the numerous student uprisings across the globe, from the uk to greece to the new school.”


What took place on campus at NYU was the result of students being inspired by student uprisings in Europe. The demand involving Palestinian aid came from demands European students are making of their universities.


At the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, students issued these demands: immediately suspend the school’s contract with Eden Springs, the Israeli water company which illegally bottles water from the Golan Heights in the Occupied Territories, review the school’s research links with BAE Systems, which provide arms and equipment to the Israeli Defence Force, establish a scholarship programme to fund 10 scholarships for Palestinian students, broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) campaign on campus to raise money for the reconstruction of Gaza, and pledge to donate unused equipment and non-monetary aid to the reconstruction of Palestinian universities. [bold added]


The demands in bold were demands made by the Take Back NYU Occupation. But, in the history of Take Back NYU, the Take Back NYU coalition’s demands have never included anything involving Palestinian aid or scholarships for Palestinians.




The Take Back NYU’s student-run coalition’s demands have involved the inclusion of an elected representative from the student body in New York University’s (NYU) Board of Trustee meetings, public release of NYU’s annual operating budget, disclosure of NYU’s endowment holdings, investment strategy, projected endowment growth, and persons, corporations and firms involved in the investment of the university’s endowment funds since the group’s beginning.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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