NYU mishandled student protest

Eighteen students were suspended from New York University after a 40-hour protest was forcibly ended at 2 p.m. Friday.

The protest was led by student group Take Back NYU, and included up to 70 protestors.

‘We are fighting for transparency,’ NYU student Drew Phillips told The New York Times.

A list of demands included the creation of a socially responsible finance committee and access to NYU’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. The students also demanded amnesty, the unionization of graduate teaching assistants and 13 annual scholarships for Palestinians living in the Gaza.

The protest, which began 10 p.m. Wednesday, failed to achieve any of its goals.

NYU officials said in a press release the protestors broke a lock to gain access to a balcony, injured a security officer and could no longer be considered non-violent.

Methods employed by these student protestors are a far reach from methods employed by older generations of protestors (1960s Columbia University comes to mind), let alone violent.

Students who left the protest Thursday were not punished, which begs the question: If all protestors were complicit, why only punish the last standing? NYU, a supposed institute of higher learning, is rewarding passivity.

NYU officials also said the protest ended peacefully; however, Take Back NYU! members disagree.

‘In the course of defending its secrets, NYU put students and its security guards at risk by encouraging the use of physical force.’ ‘hellip; Officers used billy clubs and mace against demonstrators outside the building,’ the group said on its Web site.

Despite NYU’s alleged ‘commitment to free exchange of ideas,’ the University has failed students and mishandled the situation.

Perhaps the students were wrong to break the lock, but the University’s retribution was disproportionate to the offense. NYU officials are essentially ‘crying wolf’ to distract people from the real problem: NYU doesn’t want to expose its financial ties.

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