Yesterday was May Day, the international day of leftist protest. This year, college and high school kids from around the City converged at Cooper Union. From its founding in 1859 Cooper Union had not charged students tuition; that is, until April 23rd, when the school’s Board of Trustees announced that students would have to pay because of the Union’s shrinking endowment. Otherwise, it would go bankrupt.
Obviously, people are infuriated and blame the school’s administration. Because of these events, student organizations decided to show their solidarity with Cooper Union by protesting in front of their school.
The rally had about three hundred people, standing in a circle. Speakers moved to the middle of the circle and spoke to the crowd, yelling over the sound of the traffic. The protesters also were confined behind metal barricades with about twenty police officers and detectives watching from the curb.
As you can imagine there were a considerable number of speakers that lamented over Cooper Union. All of the Cooper Union speeches were given by students, some of whom told the crowd that they could attend the school because they would have to pay. Others talked about how it set a dangerous educational precedent. Basically they all shared the same basic sentiment, being really pissed off (with good reason).
There were some NYU speakers, also. One talked about the petition to remove unpaid internships from NYU’s job listings. Another told the crowd about Sexton’s high salary and NYU’s expansion plans (both got considerable boo‘s). There was much rhetoric in all the speeches about forging cooperation between student organizations city-wide to combat what they perceive to be injustices against students. The anger was directed towards the autocratic decision making of schools administrators and the ways in which those decisions affect students.
With the close of the speeches, they marched off to join the rest of the Mayday-ers in Union Square.