OPEN LETTER REGARDING NOVEMBER 28th RALLY

Dear Allies:

Students United for a Free CUNY is having a rally on Monday, November 28 at 4pm. We are meeting at Baruch College (East 24th Street and Lexington).

This rally is in response to a couple of things. First, the vicious attack of CUNY students by CUNY public safety officers at the Baruch campus on Monday, November 22, 2011. We demand the immediate resignation of both Chancellor Goldstein, as well as, the Head of Public Safety. Second, addressing the reason students were at Baruch on the 22nd in the first place, which was the outrageous way the Board of Trustees continues to run CUNY like a financial institution rather than an educational institution. They make tuition increases over the summer knowing many students are not on campus, they continue to increase tuition, while cutting, resources (closing libraries, writing centers, etc), they have public meetings where students and faculty are denied admittance, then are beaten for attempting to peacefully assemble and have a voice.

Students United Mission Statement is as follows: CUNY was an institution originally founded on the principle that every person has a right to excellent and accessible free higher- education. Unfortunately this came to a halt in the late 70’s when New York State instituted tuition on a public service that before was considered a right. Moreover, it was no coincidence that tuition was instituted in the same year that the incoming freshmen students where a majority people of color. Ever since then, the opportunity that was allowed to underprivileged people of the working class has been carefully, slowly, subject to cuts by those who have assumed control over our education. In our lifetimes, quality higher education continues to diminish as more classrooms become overcrowded, less services are offered to students, the deterioration of our campuses becomes more and more evident, and those who educate us and maintain and run our campuses’ day to day activities, (Faculty and Workers) face attacks on their union benefits and layoffs. This concerted attack on the working class and underprivileged by those who own and run the show will continue at a rapid rate unless we organize, educate and empower ourselves to fight and take back those opportunities won for us by former CUNY students. It has been done before and can still be done today! Students United for a Free CUNY is a Student led, Student organized, multi-campus collective of those who struggle to see a Free and Excellent CUNY once again.

We often hear about the gentrification of neighborhoods, but that is what is going on at CUNY: the gentrification of our education. Mark Torres (City College Alumnus) wrote this about the gentrification of CUNY: “…part of this gentrification plan has included imposing tuition (CUNY was free from 1847 until the 1970s when People of Color became the majority) and constantly raising tuition, underfunding CUNY, eliminating open admissions, using waiting lists to dissuade people from entering CUNY, making the application process more difficult, segregating primarily Black and Latino students into Community Colleges, underfunding and disbanding Black, Latino, Asian and Women Studies Departments and downgrading them to programs, recruiting European-American students to the Senior Colleges with scholarships and building dorms for them, and by creating a police state on campus that on a daily basis harasses and attempts to deny students their rights to free speech and assembly..”

We are not going to give up our right to higher education. Follow our progress and please visit our blog at: studentsunitedforafreecuny.wordpress.com.

We hope you will circulate this to your networks, and help support us in our continued struggle demanding access to excellent FREE higher education for every CUNY student.

Peace and Solidarity,

Students United for a Free CUNY
studentsunitedforafreecuny@gmail.com

posted by Carly Smith on our Facebook page

The College has decided to re-schedule all classes occurring in the Newman Vertical Campus (NVC) only that begin after 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011. These classes will be re-scheduled for Friday, December 2nd in the same room and at the same time. Existing Friday afternoon sections will be rescheduled. Please check the college registrar web page, which will be updated by Monday morning, or the instructor’s Blackboard account, for the latest scheduling information.

All administrative staff who work in the NVC only are also being granted administrative leave, beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday. Individual unit managers and division directors are authorized, however, to move essential personnel to a different work location as they deem necessary.

These actions are being taken to ensure the safety of all students, faculty and staff during the period surrounding the meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees in the Newman Vertical Campus on Monday afternoon. For this reason, student presence in the Vertical Campus after 3:00 p.m. will be limited only to those completing a class already in progress and initial access will be granted only to those with an urgent and legitimate need to be in the building. We are determined to avoid any repetition of the regrettable events that occurred in the narrow confines of the NVC lobby during the CUNY Board’s public hearing last Monday. (emphasis added)

It is indeed fortunate that no Baruch students were arrested last week, and that none of those who were arrested was seriously injured. According to the information reaching me, all of these individuals were charged with a misdemeanor; and contrary to certain information in circulation, no one has subsequently been denied access to any Baruch College facility.

I want to restate again my commitment to the right of free expression on the Baruch College campus. Until such time as we are able to obtain an outdoor public plaza, we will work to identify other public spaces where members of the Baruch College community can gather to express their views in a peaceful and orderly fashion.

Mitchel Wallerstein
President, Baruch College

TRUTH from Mark Torres!

Sisters and Brothers,

There is a new student group called Students United for a Free CUNY that is fighting the attempt of CUNY’s Board of Trustees to keep working class youth (especially Blacks and Latinos) from attaining a college education.  This courageous group of young women and men were brutality attacked by CUNY’s police force on Monday November 21st because they were speaking out against the GENTRIFICATION of the colleges.  
Part of this GENTRIFICATION PLAN has included imposing tuition (CUNY was free from 1847 until the 1970s when People of Color became the majority) and constantly raising tuition, underfunding CUNY, eliminating OPEN ADMISSIONS, using waiting lists to dissuade people from entering CUNY, making the application process more difficult, segregating primarily Black and Latino students into Community Colleges, underfunding and disbanding Black, Latino, Asian and Women Studies Departments and downgrading them to programs, recruiting European-American students to the Senior Colleges with scholarships and building dorms for them, and by creating a POLICE STATE on campus that on a daily basis harasses and attempts to deny students their rights to free speech and assembly.

The GENTRIFICATION OF CUNY is most glaringly apparent at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn which has been chronically underfunded and is now headed by a race traitor who has attacked vital programs that link the college to the community, and who has destroyed any sense of democracy on campus.  Clearly, the Board of Trustees wants to take Medgar Evers away from the Black community and hand it over to the Hasidic Community–NYC Divisive Race Politics 101.
Moreover, the New York City Department of Education graduates students who are not ready for college, over 3/4 of our high school graduates need remedial classes when they get to CUNY, and the CUNY Board of Trustees is “RAISING STANDARDS” to push out and keep out our future leaders and defenders.  Our youth are being squeezed between RACISM at the Kindergarten through High School levels and RACISM at the City University of New York.  

While we are clear that CUNY’s Board of Trustees are puppets of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Wall Street (10 out of the 15 appointed “Trustees” are directly tied to Corporate Interests and includes 1 Board member who worked in the FBI’s counterintelligence division), we need to speak out at the next Board of Trustees’ meeting and plan for the continued fight against CUNY’s Gentrification Plan.

Press Conference

You can find links of videos and reporting done on the attack of students by CUNY Public Safety and NYPD.

Students gathered at Baruch at 4pm on Monday, November 22.  It was a CUNY-WIDE march organized by Students United for a Free Cuny, a coalition of CUNY campuses dedicated (among other things) to having open admissions at CUNY, along with its original mission of being free for any NYC public school graduate.   Students were there, in part, because the Board of Trustees is known for making damaging decisions for students, without hearing from any students.  Further, since many of Trustees are not actually educators or affiliated with education in any kind of way (they are bankers or work in Finance) it would make sense that they hear from the people whose lives they are affecting.

Over the summer the Board raised tuition for the next five years, knowing that many students were not on campus, and there would be little push back from them.  On Monday the 22nd, the Board had a “public” meeting to discuss tuition increases.  Many students tried to register and were not allowed to, meanwhile, many PSC members were denied admittance.  There was nothing public about this meeting.

The protesters were met with hostility from police and public safety, which quickly escalated into a violent attack of students and professors.  Students United is holding a press conference FRIDAY @ 12pm on the steps of CITY HALL to discuss the attack.

Watch these links and show up.

There will be another protest on Monday November 28, @4pm at Baruch, more details to come.

LINKS REPORTING ON BARUCH COMPILED BY JULIAN GUERRERO

First, an overhead video shot from inside. See the footage at 3:50 to see how the police attack the demonstratorsABC (some of the best video I’ve seen of the police violence):