On Sunday October 20th, administration of the City College of New York (part of the CUNY system) raided the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Student and Community Center, closing it off to students and community members and locking down the library during mid-terms week. The center has been a center for the activities of the Students for Educational Rights and the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee and allowed community outreach throughout the Harlem community.
The next day the entire building was placed under lockdown. The University issued a statement saying that the Community space would now be designated as a Career Resource Center. Student belongings, including books and documents, were taken from the center to be held and “examined.”
On Thursday October 23rd the students held a very participated sit-in in protest of the closure of the center. The situation soon escalated and a CUNY alumnus was pepper sprayed and arrested.
On Monday October 28th the Office of Student Affairs suspended and removed two student leaders from The City College of New York campus. In a few months, the Board of Trustees will vote on the Expressive Activities Policy which would further restrict the first amendment rights of student and faculty
The Cornell Student for Justice in Palestine, condemns the actions of these administrators and the City College of New York police. We stand in solidarity with Students for Educational Rights, all of the students of City College of New York, and the larger Harlem community which has benefited from the Morales/Shakur Center.
We believe the actions of the CCNY/CUNY administration have seriously infringed on student and community rights to organize, and have intentionally disempowered students doing important anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and anti-rape organizing.
We believe in the right of students to hold independently run spaces inside THEIR university. We believe universities should be spaces of knowledge and exchange, where students can grow also as political individual and empower themselves. We oppose a university vision exclusively career oriented with no space for political dissent.
We oppose in the strongest possible terms the recent trend of militarization of the CUNY system and the clear attempt of CUNY administration to silence the voice of students infringing on their first amendment rights. Both CCNY and NY police should have no space on campus. We support our fellow students at City College in their movement to stand up for themselves and their community, and reclaim the Morales/Shakur Center.
Unite we will win!