On Sunday October 20th, the 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 location has been a center for the activities of various organizations, such as the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC), the Students for Educational Rights, Sister Circle Collective, the Black Student Union, 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 large sit-in to protest the center’s closure. The situation soon escalated and a CUNY alumnus was pepper sprayed and arrested.
On Monday October 28th the Office of Student Affairs banned two student leaders, both members of the RSCC, from The City College of New York campus. While the administration and the Board of Trustees are considering a so-called “Expressive Activities Policy,” which would further restrict the first amendment rights of students and faculty.
Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) condemn the actions of these administrators and the City College of New York police. We stand in solidarity with the RSCC, all the students of the 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 the rights of students and the community to organize, and have intentionally disempowered students involved in vital anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and anti-rape organizing.
We insist upon the right of students to maintain independently-run spaces within THEIR university. We believe universities should be spaces of knowledge and exchange where each student can grow as a political actor and empower him or herself. We reject the vision of the university solely oriented towards careerism 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 and thereby violating their first amendment rights. Neither the CCNY police nor the NYPD have any place on campus. We support our fellow students at City College in their movement to stand up for themselves and their community and to reclaim the Morales/Shakur Center.
United we will win!