Students Occupy the New School, Call for Kerrey's Removal

Protesting students release list of demands for the New School

Former Nebraska governor and senator Bob Kerreyreceived a no-confidence vote from some senior faculty members last Thursday at The New School, where he has served since 2001.  About 75 students took over the New School building at 65 5th Avenue on Wednesday night in what they are calling an occupation. The New York Times is reporting, "Large recycling containers and tables blocked doorways, and banners went up, some reading “Books Not Bureaucracy.”

The students released a list of their demands Thursday morning on

  • 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 investments.
  • The creation of a committee on socially responsible investments.
  • The immediate suspension of capital improvement projects like the tearing down of 65 fifth Ave.

The protesters also updated their Letters in Exile page, saying, "We are now entering our second day of the New School occupation. We have held our space, and a new day is just starting. In solidarity with the workers and students of the US, striking students in Europe and everywhere else where people are struggling for a more just future, we are with you and we are standing strong. Thanks to everyone that has called or is spreading the word about this occupation!"

NY1 reported Thursday that Kerrey has announced he'll no longer be serving as provost, reflecting concerns following last week's no-confidence vote.

A spokesperson for the group this morning said they are "going strong," noting that they are letting students into the building to study and are in light contact with the University. However, New School representatives have not made any concrete attempts at negotiations as of yet, but the group hopes that will change soon. When asked how long they plan to stay, he said, "We'll be here until they drag us out," or until Kerrey's resignation. At the very least, the group hopes the school will open up to negotiations.

Calls to the New School went unanswered on Thursday. To stay updated by the protesters, visit their blog at New School in Exile or their Facebook page.

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