Friday, April 10, 2009

Protest at the New School

Early this morning students from the New School, a university based in New York City, occupied a university building, ejecting a maintenance worker from the building and chaining the doors closed. The student protesters called for the resignation of the school's president, Bob Kerrey, as well as James Murtha, the school's executive vice president. They cited a loss of confidence in Kerrey and Murtha as the reason behind their protest.

Five hours later police officers entered the building with batons and pepper spray and arrested nineteen protesters for trespassing. The identity of the protesters as New School students has not yet been confirmed. According to the New York Times, the New York Police Department spokesman stated the arrests were made in an "orderly fashion." However, the Times also notes that students claim they were pepper sprayed before being arrested. Footage posted on the Times' website but shot by a freelance journalist, shows the police officers using pepper spray and pushing a protester down.

In December New School students occupied their cafeteria for 30 hours and called for the resignation of Kerrey and Murtha as well as greater student involvement in university affairs. Earlier that month the New School Faculty Senate passed a motion of no confidence in Kerrey.