greggarious
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Take Back NYU!

Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:33 pm

For those of you unaware, here's an idea of what's been going on these past couple of days at my university:

This past Wednesday at 10 PM, a group of some 60-odd students at New York University affiliated with the organization Take Back NYU! barricaded themselves in the 3rd floor dining hall of the university's student center. The next morning, the group presented to the administration a list of demands, ranging from the legitimate (tuition stabilization and disclosure of the uni's investment strategy) to the hilariously absurd (annual scholarships for 13 Palestinian students, donating excess supplies to rebuild the Islamic University of Gaza, opening Bobst Library up to the public). The self-titled "occupation" of Kimmel went on for a couple of days and finally ended this afternoon with the removal of the barricading students. Those who stayed until the end have been suspended and await expulsion hearings, or so I've read.

As an NYU junior, I can certainly agree with TBNYU on the need for greater transparency from our administration and its president, John Sexton. NYU has among the worst financial aid system in the country for private universities, with the administration instead using NYU's money by taking a merger-and-acquisition approach to buying up any available real estate in the Village. With that said, I can't really feel much sympathy for a group that shot themselves in the foot at every turn during this entire process. Why did they decide to occupy the STUDENT center in a protest against the administration? Who decided to make the list of demands so absurd? (An in-depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories? Really?!?!) When they politicized their demands by including this Palestinian nonsense, my support for them completely went out the window (my feelings towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict aside, these sorts of demands had no place being waived in front of the university's administration, unless they were consciously trying to fragment their support from the student body).

The sad part is, any progress they had hoped to make by engaging in this sort of demonstration was blown to pieces by their own ineptitude. To me, TBNYU comes off as a bunch of clowns in Che t-shirts and keffiyehs after this episode. Any legitimate grievances they had against Sexton and the administration(which were shared by many fellow students) were cast asunder by the fact that they did EVERYTHING wrong in their attempt to bring attention to their cause.

Sigh... any thoughts? Anybody been following this?

http://www.nyu.edu/public.affairs/releases/detail/2502

http://takebacknyu.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kit-ga...back-nyu-change-we-c_b_168560.html

http://takebacknyu.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/make-nyu-affordable.jpg
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:41 pm



Quoting Greggarious (Thread starter):
Sigh... any thoughts? Anybody been following this?

Whilst I'm not familiar with this particular situation, I remember a few years ago at USC, when a bunch of students "took over" president Stephen Sample's office.

I think they were protesting USC's purchasing of athletic equipment from Nike or something, relating to sweatshops in Asia. I suppose it shows how useless a gesture it is, if I can't even remember what it was about.

To sum up my opinion on the matter, whenever I hear of college students doing something like this, I just shake my head in embarrassment. Whatever point they're trying to get across inevitably gets drowned out by the sheer stupidity of the whole situation.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:24 am

ahhh university....

from my five years at my local unciersity(25k students) i remember several events that stick in my mind, but no occupations.

Like Vikkyvik said, sometimes it seems people that do stuff like this just have really odd goals. While i obviously dont know anything about NYU, it seems that a lot of university students hark back to the 'romantic' times of their parents when they were protesting the vietnam war and similar on campus. I read the list of demands, and it really does seem to be all over the place. They want transparency in the financials of the school, yet they want any 'extra' money to go to Gaza and they want to fund palestinians' education. Valiant, sure. practical, probably not.

Like most contentious issues i saw on campus, i am sure there are some students that wholeheatedly support this, others that just say let me get on with school, and even more that could care less. How is NYU's voter turnout for things like student elections? My university's election turnout was always below 20%. I found most kids(at least my friends in engineering) just wanted to go to school, study, get good grades, graduate and be successful. Others did use university as their own 'fight the man' episode.

As far as having caps on tuition increases, that is a touchy subject to me. I started school in 2000, the first year my province had a tuition freeze. The universities here could not raise tuition at all(well they could, but only for international students who saw huge increases). This went on for all 5 years i was there. By the time i graduated, i was steadfastly against this freeze. My lab equipment sucked, programming was cut, funding for clubs was cut. All because they couldn't raise tuition to keep up with costs. And all the while our faculty was on the brink of losing our national engineering accreditation(or, at least this was the tactic of faculty admin). Throughout my education i went through a professor strike, as well as a food service/garbage pick up/support staff strike. It was bad. But alas, the government put in a loophole into the freeze law saying if the individual faculty voted in favor of an increase, they could have it. So, after i left school, the engineering faculty decided to do just that. Now, there were two main groups, one for and one against. The 'for' group was comprised of engineering students who attended the faculty. The against side was comprised and backed by the entire student union, which was run by mostly liberal arts groups, and backed by a national student organization. How these people that were 'looking for our best interests' thought they knew the crap we had to use in labs was beyond me. I do understand how an arts student can't see why tuition should go up by much. But engineering is different. We require technology to be professionals, and we require updated labs. But the increase ended going through.

Moral of the story, i think there are many kids that are young, idealistic, and decide they think they know what a lot of people want. In the process, they end up fracturing that relationship and the admin doesn't look fondly at them. College is a time of experimenting, and i guess sit ins and occupations are part of that.
 
jcs17
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:48 am

They should be expelled, but they won't.

Unfortunately, NYU probably won't teach these dopes a lesson in life. I can't wait until one of these sniveling, idealistic losers tries to pull something like this in the workplace. Security and the police will be called and they'll be fired immediately.

There is a proper way to address your concerns, and this is not one of them. Not only do they attract negative attention upon their cause, they attract negative attention on NYU, as whole -- which seems to have a controversy each year.

By the way, knowing several NYU students, I wonder how many of those students are actually paying their own way through college...
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:55 am



Quoting Greggarious (Thread starter):
To me, TBNYU comes off as a bunch of clowns in Che t-shirts and keffiyehs after this episode.

Isn't every university "cause" this way. Get a bunch of young idealist protesting something and its just hilarious. I just picture them saying everything ending with "MAN."

College protests in this day and age accomplish nothing and are just stupid. It gets reported in the shitty 1000 weekly printing college newspaper and its forgotten until the next horseshit gay rights, tuition, parking, or administration protest that comes along.

I always laugh at it all. More power to em, though.
 
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fr8mech
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:20 pm



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 1):
To sum up my opinion on the matter, whenever I hear of college students doing something like this, I just shake my head in embarrassment.

Whenever I hear about college students doing this, I know it's time for mid-terms or finals.

As for the "legitimate" issues: NYU is a private university...it can do whatever it damn well pleases with its money. They can, or should be able to, charge what they want. If the market can bear the price, so be it...if not, they price themselves out of existence.

These students chose to go to NYU knowing what the tuition was and they also should have known what the average annual increase in costs has been.


Of course, since NYU probably does take government money, under this presidential administration we may see an attempt to impose the administration's will on the school 'ala the salary stipulations imposed on those receiving bail-out, sorry, rescue money.
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ltbewr
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:35 pm

The protest at NYU went way too far for many. Those that destroyed property should be expelled. For all involved with the occupation, I hope a notation is made in their academic records and the Uni posts pictures of those involved on Facebook or other online media, and the like. That will look good when they go to get a job in the future. While I understand some of the issues there, including the rotten schlorship situation and too high tuition and fees, this way of doing it made 1000's of students who only care about getting an education to get decent job more difficult and in the end was counterproductive.
 
us330
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:58 pm

99.9% of the time, I wish I was back in school (I only graduated last year). Instances like that which you just described represent the other .01%--as to why I have no desire to go back to school.

I went to Yale, and we had our own group of self-righteous types--they called themselves the U.O.C, or Undergraduate Organizing Committee. Now a name like that conveys the message that they represent all undergrads, but in reality, they were the far left of the far left. I don't throw around the term "Communist" lightly, but these people were about as close as one could get to them. Even self-professed hardcore liberals that I knew and was friends with (and still am) couldn't stand these people--that's how bad and far off the mark they were.

My freshman year of school, they, like the people of Take Back NYU!, took a legitimate issue that was worth discussing and protesting, and absolutely backed over it with a steamroller, with actions so radical that even if you supported their political position, it was hard to condone any of their actions without first wanting to vomit.

The issue was financial aid reform--and the replacement of loans with student grants, and making it more affordable for lower income and middle income families to send their kids to Yale. Like I said, it was a cause that was hard not to support. Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Princeton had just recently (within the past month) publicized their own reforms designed to ease the burden, and Yale was at risk of being left behind by their competitor schools.

Well, these spoiled brats--they were all white and probably didn't receive any financial aid (those that actually did were too focused either working an on-campus job to help pay their portion of self-contribution, studying or doing another activity designed to maximize their Yale experience, like attending an on-campus lecture, or contributing to an on-campus organization)--decided that it would be a great idea to chain themselves to the undergrad admissions office, and refused to leave. Needless to say, they were arrested.

A day or so later, Yale publishes their own reforms, very akin and similar to the reforms put forth by Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and the like. Everybody is very happy. The U.O.C., though, has the balls to claim that without their actions, these reforms never would have happened. To this day, they still claim it as a victory that they won, and to this day, I am unable to take anybody who ever participated in this organization seriously.

Quoting Greggarious (Thread starter):
With that said, I can't really feel much sympathy for a group that shot themselves in the foot at every turn during this entire process. Why did they decide to occupy the STUDENT center in a protest against the administration? Who decided to make the list of demands so absurd?

The sad part is, any progress they had hoped to make by engaging in this sort of demonstration was blown to pieces by their own ineptitude. To me, TBNYU comes off as a bunch of clowns in Che t-shirts and keffiyehs after this episode. Any legitimate grievances they had against Sexton and the administration(which were shared by many fellow students) were cast asunder by the fact that they did EVERYTHING wrong in their attempt to bring attention to their cause.

Very apt description. From my own experience, including the one I described above, and others like them, I too have found that many of these protest groups shoot themselves in the foot in terms of the actions that they decide to undertake--basically, by being too radical and alienating a great deal of potential supporters. They don't seem to understand that moderation is often the best course of action--the reason being is that so many of them are stuck in their own little worlds that there is no room for any outside feedback or dissenting opinion. You are either with them or against them.
 
greggarious
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:28 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 7):
I went to Yale, and we had our own group of self-righteous types--they called themselves the U.O.C, or Undergraduate Organizing Committee. Now a name like that conveys the message that they represent all undergrads, but in reality, they were the far left of the far left.

That sort of thing bothered me in this case, as well. Their list of demands started with the line, "We, the students of NYU, declare an occupation of this space." As if a group of 65 speaks for a (undergrad) student population of 20,000! It's a shame how TBNYU managed to embarrass us all...

Quoting Fr8mech (Reply 5):
As for the "legitimate" issues: NYU is a private university...it can do whatever it damn well pleases with its money. They can, or should be able to, charge what they want. If the market can bear the price, so be it...if not, they price themselves out of existence.

I see where you're coming from, but at what point does a university stop becoming a place of higher education and start becoming a money-making endeavor? What sort of composition does NYU want (or expect to have) if they only make its educational experience available to those with the biggest checkbook? The university has a tremendous amount of resources at its disposal and has been, for the most part, an excellent and unique educational experience for me. But the administration's practice of treating NYU as a business first and foremost dilutes the credibility of the university as a place of learning. Sure, NYU could charge whatever it wants for tuition, but why in the world would it want to degrade itself to becoming the country club of universities? Who would take it seriously?
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:39 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 7):
I went to Yale

See, there's your first problem.  Big grin (I'm a Harvard man, myself.)

A couple years ago, there was a group of students here that went on a hunger strike to protest in favor of higher wages and a better contract for the security guards on campus. Apparently no one informed them that the idea behind a hunger strike is that you are willing to suffer severe health consequences or death if the other side holds out. And lo and behold, only one of the hunger strikers was willing to go to the hospital to get the security guards an extra $5 an hour. Big surprise, no?
Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
 
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fr8mech
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RE: Take Back NYU!

Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:01 am



Quoting Greggarious (Reply 8):
I see where you're coming from, but at what point does a university stop becoming a place of higher education and start becoming a money-making endeavor?

But it is a money-making endeavor. The administration needs to find a balance. They want to cater to thr rich, that's up to them. NYU is a fantastic university (I worked in the library while in high school), but contrary to what they may profess, they are a business first.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
You are not entitled to a public safe space.
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