Following the collapse of the occupation at 90 Fifth Ave., and the dissipation of the short-lived alternative provided by the administration at Kellen Gallery, The New School student body was left with a crucial decision. The fate of a space where students could attend teach-ins and lectures, hold open debates and discussions, and organize politically, hung in the balance.
The occupation of 90 Fifth Ave. proved to be a contentious and divisive issue for the entire community. For many students, the occupation represented a manifestation of the ideals that they had come to The New School to experience: our historically active and progressive university was, once again, making its voice heard in an important social movement. But plenty of others were opposed to the occupation, and raised concerns about the graffiti on the walls of the Student Study Center, the loss of valuable — and limited — study space at the university, and the perceived exclusiveness of the occupation.
Until now, The New School Free Press has operated much like newspapers did in 1978. Though we’ve tried to bring you all of the important news from our community, our bi-weekly print schedule often made our articles irrelevant after a few days. Instead of taking part in the greater discussions of the news world, we floated in the background, failing to provide our readers with the information they needed.
The Occupy Wall Street movement may have began as a small group of people protesting against our nation’s economic system, but over the past few weeks it has grown into something more: all across the country, communities are rising up and airing their local grievances. The rallying spirit has spread from Portland, Oregon to Northampton, Massachusetts; in a town in Western Alaska, with a population of 6,400, one woman stood alone with her three dogs in frost-covered grass holding a sign: “Occupy the Tundra.”
The occupation is not merely an opportunity for people to rant about the general injustices of the world. Those who are down in Zuccotti Park, and who have been down there for days, have something very real to say — the state of America’s broken economy and corporation-infested government needs to change.
It’s no secret that apathy runs rampant among Lang students, and that inactive organizations like the LSU are often the butt of jokes. But $40,000 isn’t a joke — it’s an opportunity for students to make a change. If no one gets involved, then no one reaps the benefits.
Streamlining services and integrating related academic programs will save funds, prevent bureaucratic hurdles for students, and, most importantly, give students access to more opportunities across campus.