school daze

NYU: The Protests Get Serious

[Ed: One of the rare (okay, not so rare) bonuses of having a bunch of fetching local students as your interns is that we have immediate access to the “kids these days.” So when we heard about the ruckus going on at NYU today, we dispatched our Mike Vilensky to the scene.]

While tabloid reporters were stuck milling about outside the Kimmel Center today trying to get a peek at the student protest inside, certain NYU-affiliated reporters were able to flash their NYU I.D.s and slip upstairs. How often does that ever happen?

Inside the student center, spirits were high. As in, party high. The event even began with a dance party (featuring tunes by MSTRKFRT and Cypress Hill — “Insane in the Membrane,” predictably, was a hit). Student Emily Stainkamp explained that the dance party was “kind of a diversion, kind of a galvanizing force.” Other highlights from the wild rumpus include:

A Gallatin junior going topless: For, you know, the good of the cause. (One NYU security guard remarked: “If people are looking at her, it could be sexual harassment.”) UPDATE: It’s catching on. two more girls, sporting signs that read: “Show your tits for TBNYU!” hung around for half an hour as TV news crews filmed their backs during interviews.

Protest Signs

Photo: NYULocal

A counterprotest, by protesters: Across the barricades, some scruffy guys held up “You Suck!” signs and threw the “Take Back NYU!” flyers back at students. The counterprotesters were members of Food Not Bombs, apparently.
Downsized lunch service: Food was still served to protesters on the floor below the main protest. Can’t have those kids go hungry! There are still a few dozen kids on the third floor of the Kimmel Center, with the rest of the protest having been moved outside.
A surprising lack of stress on the part of the students: We asked Ellie Kahn, a Gallatin student, if she was worried she might be expelled for the cause. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that,” she told us. “If they want to do that, that’s not exactly a selling point for NYU. ‘We expel people who try to express themselves’? I don’t think so.”
An unsurprising lack of stress on the part of the school: “We’re getting a messenger telling us that all the answers are ‘No,’ and not actual engagement,” complained Kahn. “We’re not getting any recognition. We want to negotiate the demands face-to-face!”
Ooh, signage:

All of the students we spoke to — some of whom had graduated years ago, plus a couple of SUNY students and New School students — claimed they would stay “until the demands are met.” “This is a sleepover for student empowerment,” a pamphlet explained. “[It’s a] party for participation in the University.”

Earlier: Student Group Takes Over NYU Dining Room, Makes Demands

NYU: The Protests Get Serious