Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Great NYU Kimmel Food Court Occupation comes to a bloodless end. (Or "how NOT to spend your college tuition")

Last week a group of "student-empowering, social-justice-minded" students and assorted ragamuffins and rabblerousers from neighboring colleges (many affiliated with TakeBackNYU) had the stunningly-brilliant idea of barricading themselves in a food court in New York University's Kimmell Center, "in a historic effort to bring pressure on NYU for its administrative and ethical failings regarding transparency, democracy and protection of human rights."

Charlie Eisenhood of NYU Local liveblogged the revolution -- replete with hilarious commentary .

Well, I'm sorry (not really) to report that the revolution has been brutally crushed. The Weekly Standard has the details:

The courageous (if minuscule) group of students who occupied the food court in NYU’s Kimmel Center really spoke truth to power, demanding, among other things: “The establishment of a student elected Socially Responsible Finance Committee....An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories...annual scholarships for thirteen Palestinian students,” and, hilariously, “that the general public have access to Bobst Library.” And they faced the consequences. No, they weren’t gassed, tazered, beaten, shot with rubber bullets, or hauled off in chains to waiting paddywagons. But security guards did tear down their barricades and brutally inspect their NYU ID cards! And, in spite of their pre-emptive call for “full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation,” some of them got suspended!!

Happily, one brave young man brought his camera and recorded some of the action, providing a not-to-be-missed 10 minutes of viewing.

Which can be condensed to a few snippets of dialogue:

Son, there is no 'cooperation' -- you need to just leave."

"Ok, um, we need to democratically decide on that. ... We would like to democratically decide in a consensus area. ... We need to look at the relationship here, the power hierarchy here. ... We need to decide whether we're going to cooperate with their demand. ... guys, we need to talk to each other ... ok, who wants to be facilitator? who can facilitate at this point?"

I'm embarassed to say that 15 years ago, in the heady days of my college years, I would have more than likely joined in the festivities.

But, as with St. Paul,

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things
At this point, I can only wonder what the parents of the "food court liberators" might be thinking. (New York University tuition is reportedly upwards of 45k -- money well spent?) .. and pray to God that my own son (two decades from now) will find more productive ways to spend his years.

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