Students Debate Right to Protest
Acting on a proposal from the Lang Student Union, The New School debate team will hold a public debate addressing the issues created by last April’s occupation, hopefully putting them to rest.
The debate, to be held on April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Lang Café, will explore the positive and negative effects of the protest rights students have on campus.
However, opinions will likely influence arguments, says Mike Girouard, the debate team’s coach. According to Pang, the team is so diverse that some members were in the occupation while others disagreed with it.
Johanna Goossens, the debate team’s secretary, arguing the negative side, agrees with the concept of protesting, but believes it is not being carried out properly. “I think there are
The affirmative side plans to discuss how institutional jurisdiction deters “real” demonstrations.
Jim Freeman, the team’s vice president, advocates protesting. “I think a protest with a permit is masturbation because you’re not screwing anyone,” he said.
Both sides will dissect the student and university rights in the new protesting guidelines, released on April 7, comparing them to those at other schools known for protesting.
“I think we should be talking about the ideal university,” said Freeman in an April 12 planning meeting.
Goossens is nervous about the event’s outcome. “I feel like a lot of kids who still feel raw about it might take it the wrong way,” she said. The team hopes protesters restrain from disrupting the event.
Girouard cautioned those involved in past protests to not feel attacked by the debate. “The purpose is not to assign blame,” he said.
Pang and Kadirgamar agree the event will finally air lingering opinions and arguments from the occupation. “Do we actually get results from these demonstrations?” asked Kadirgamar. “No, we didn’t, because people refuse to interact with the university.” Freeman hopes students show up. “I’ve gone to a lot of Lang events and it’s, like, five people there,” he said. “I’d be happy with 20 to 30 non-debaters.”