The occupation at the New School in New York ended around 3:30AM last night– major aspects of the student’s demands were met; some very important one’s weren’t (there have been no resignations).  For those of you keeping track at home, that’s two institutional occupations in the U.S. in December (the first obviously being the factory sit-in in Chicago), and two significant victories for the uprising forces.  Slowly, but surely, we’re getting somewhere folks.  The concessions made by the school administration weren’t perfect, but what they did win though:

1) I agree to grant total amnesty for all participants involved in the occupation and all events related to it over the course of 12/17/08 through 12/19/08 at all New School Buildings. Neither criminal charges nor academic disciplinary measures will be pursued against those involved.

The University will not press charges against Eliot Liu.

Staff and security guards will be compensated for all time lost over the course of the occupation.

2) I agree that students may use the GF building at 65 Fifth Ave until a suitable replacement is secured and instituted, which would include the re-installment of suitable library and study space. This would need to be approved by the USS.

3) I agree that students will have voting representation on the search committee for the interim-Provost and the Provost, as well as any searches that may take place in the future for a new President. The details of this will be worked out with representatives of the University Student Senate, and input from the student body at large.

4) I agree for student participation to establish a committee on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for the University’s endowment and that this committee will then establish an independent auditing process with the SRI framework. The committee to establish the SRI will meet by the first week of April, 2009.

5) I agree to grant the University Student Senate the ability to communicate with the student body freely and without constraint (and to not restrict their access to Groupwise email and other technologies that enable this).

6) I agree that a representative of the USS should be allowed to have a representative at meetings of the Board of Trustees in order to speak to specific issues that pertain to decisions passed by the USS or directly relating to USS business.

A pretty significant victory really.  Anything more that could be said, at least for now, I’ll leave to philosopher (and eminent “post-structuralist anarchist” thinker) (and if you’re not sure what post-structuralist anarchism means, well, then you probably don’t need to; a bunch of academic mumbo-jumbo really, which, like all academic mumbo-jumbo, is a bit good, a bit bad, and largely irrelivant to our daily lives)… anyway, Clemson University Professor of Philosophy Todd May, as posted on the New School in Exile blog:

December 18, 2008
Thursday evening, 7:42 p.m.

To the Students, Faculty, Staff and Supporters occupying 65 Fifth Ave.

I write to you this evening in support and gratitude. Support for your actions on behalf of the New School and in solidarity with those who struggle, and gratitude that you have renewed the meaning of the New School against those who would deny it.

Too often, in our world, we are told that politics is dead, that resistance is useless, and that public action is nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. We are told that we live in a post-political world, where we must compromise with those who would oppress us and must subordinate ourselves to those who would manage our lives for us.

These past few days you have shown, as others in Europe, in Latin America, in Asia and Africa seek to show, that politics is not dead, that resistance is not useless, and that public action is precisely what our world requires and demands. To the forces of hierarchy and autocracy you have responded with democracy and collective action. To the forces of corporatization you have responded with community. To the forces of conformism you have responded with a critical solidarity that would make the founders of this great school proud.

As you sustain yourselves through this period, know that many of us are with you. Many of us endure the corporatization of university life, and we are with you. Many of us feel the sting of politicians who deny our voices in the name of efficiency and vocational training, and we are with you. Many of us recognize the isolation into which those in power would cast us, and we are with you.

You have nourished us with hope and for that we thank you.

In solidarity,

Todd May
Professor of Philosophy
Clemson University

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