Day 2: NYU Students’ Occupation of Kimmel

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For previous coverage of this occupation, go here.

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6:45 AM - As the sun rises and the protesters wake from their uncomfortable sleep, there is an air of excitement about and anticipation of the coming day. I overheard one woman say, “I’m more scared about missing class then getting arrested!” The leading organizers have been prepping for upcoming negotiations and figuring out what exactly they want to say to the administration. The admins will be meeting at 8 AM to discuss their options. Stay tuned to this post all day for a liveblog with your bleary-eyed, fake-journalist broski.

6:52 - So much for the dining hall employees not crossing “picket lines.” I just spoke to a chef who told me he’s going to go ahead and prep for the day unless his boss calls him to tell him not to. So Kimmel Marketplace still could be open. TBNYU people are worried they might try to open the gates, breaching their barricade.

Full coverage after the jump.

7:01 - WSN has some nice historical context for this protest here.

7:11 - The coffee is brewing. Everyone is crowded around. Someone just said, “Can this coffee come out of this thing any slower?”

7:17 – Organizers plan on contacting the union around nine to keep Kimmel workers from coming to work and disrupting the sit-in. (They want them to be paid, though.)

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Needing coffee really bad.

7:22 - Some faces among the crowd. I asked them all, “What do you hope will be accomplished today?”

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Peter Wirzbicki – NYU Grad Student – “It’s part of a fight to make NYU more democratic in two ways: making the institution more reponsive to the people who are part of it, pay for it and making it more affordable so it’s a feasible option for lots of different types of people.”
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Eleanor Kahn – Gallatin ’09 – “All of the demands, of course. I know that they will. And students everywhere feel inspired to hold people accountable for what they do.”

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Maria Lewis – CAS ’11 – “Budget disclosure, endowment disclosure…” She rattled off all of the demands faster than I could write them all down again, then continued, “Above all, well, maybe not above all, that we can be a catalyst for student power across the state and across the world.”

7:35 - The negotiating team:

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7:54 – Some Office of Student Affairs people just rolled in and they were talking about photos on NYU Local. Now I know all you NYU admins are reading this. If you have anything you want passed through to the people working here, drop a comment or send me an email at charlie@wnyu.org. Don’t be shy, JSex.

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Bob Butler, executive director of OSA, chatting with the occupants.

From mid-barricade:

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8:00 – I’m kinda hoping a SWAT team busts in. That’d be crazy.

8:04 – New video stream up here. It’s recording right next to me. If you want me to shout you out, drop a comment.

8:08 – The Aramark dining hall workers are here, but aren’t planning on working, according to TBNYU folks. They are waiting for confirmation from their union (Local 1102) before they go home and get their hazard pay.

8:10 – Reports are coming in that the third floor is totally shut off. Apparently the elevators can’t stop here and there is no stair access.

8:23 – It’s a beautiful day for an occupation.

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8:26 – There will indeed be a rally at 12 PM today, in front of Kimmel Center. There will be a press conference at that time as well.

Kimmel officially opens in 4 minutes.

8:37 – TBNYU is hoping to have Kimmel 3rd floor balcony access for their press conference at noon, as I touched on last night. Uncertainty abounds.

8:58 – The initial meeting between administrators is currently taking place on the 6th floor of Kimmel, an admin told me. They will send Bob Butler down after that meeting to update TBNYUers.

9:04 - At this point, there is no slow down in the kitchen – it looks (for now) that the dining hall is set to open on schedule. TBNYU is calling the union right now to try to stop the opening.

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9:08 – 2 more students trickled out to class or work. There are only around 50 people in the room at this point, if that. It’ll be interesting to see if the dwindling ranks have an effect on negotiations.

9:20 – Cleaning time.

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9:30 – By my count, there are 47 people here, including me and the NY Times reporter. As you can tell by my posts, not much is happening right now. It’s a waiting game.

9:37 – Some men in coats came and asked, “How many of you are vegan?” When pressed for answers on why they asked that question, they hedged and said Bob Butler would come let us know soon. They denied being members of the sixth floor administrative meeting. Perhaps more delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies are coming our way?

9:42 – Sounds like Kimmel will open for lunch. There may be a limited menu, though. Also, one of the men in coats was Owen Moore, Aramark’s director of dining services here at NYU. So the chance of food delivery is increased.

9:47 – @ Alex G: Um, what? We broke this story well before WSN and have discussed every major development from the beginning. If you prefer slower updates with boring writing, I guess my “paper-thin live-blogging trash” wouldn’t be interesting to you.

9:58 - Protesters start taking more precautions. First, cover up security cameras.

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10:08 - @Eric: I think they’re trying to make it harder for the SWAT team.

10:11 – The smokers are going crazy. They haven’t been able to smoke since around 9 last night. One guy just said to me, coffee in hand, “When I get a cigarette in me, I’m gonna pass out from ecstasy.”

10:29 – Negotiations beginning now.

10:35 – I have been informed by the girl who dislikes me (“fucked up” comment last night) that I am not allowed to listen to the negotiations because I am here as press and not as an activist. I did catch the first part – no concessions to open the balcony for smokers/press conference. Not a good start…

10:43 – Sounds like this is more technical stuff – not broad demand negotiations. Aramark (NYU’s dining service contractor) is willing to supply food, but a TBNYU protester just told me that some people aren’t OK with that because “Aramark uses prison labor.” So they are trying to find a way to have friends be allowed entrance to deliver food. Here are the only photos I managed to snap before I was sent away:

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10:59 – @Eric: Yes, Bob Butler is here.

The preliminary negotiation is continuing, and there is a meeting starting now (figuring out the upcoming plans).

11:03 – Access denied.

11:06 – Just got a text: “Ps fuck this bobst shit! I don’t want randoms creeping on me in the stacks!”

11:08 – Very serious, quiet meeting. I can’t hear anything from where I’m sitting.

From the video feed chat: “the only incentive is that they want to look mildly decent to the media, which is why they aren’t pepper spraying kids”

11:14 – Via Gothamist comment section: “send in the Crips, Bloods, and Latin Kings to broker peace” LOL

11:28 - Still waiting for word from meeting. I’m guessing not much is happening. Rally still planned for noon/12:15. My 6x zoom makes me feel closer to the action:

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11:41 – From the comments: “one of the terms of NYU’s purchase of the tamiment collection was that the community was allowed access. so if you enter the library, go to the window on the left and ask for a pass to go up to tamiment, they’ll give you a sticker and you can go anywhere in the library.” Can anyone confirm this?

11:54 – Confirmed.

Also, I just got shredded again by another TBNYUer that I hadn’t met yet. She warned me of posting anything from their “highly sensitive” meeting. Of course, I was in the corner and couldn’t hear, so why ream me out? She apologized after I explained my position.

Here’s what I know: “There will be a meeting outside” Kimmel at 12:15. No confirmation of where that meeting will be held. I’ve been cut off from a lot of info. Will bring you as much as I can.

12:00 PM - Something’s brewing.

Also, everyone seems really bothered by the Bobst demand. Here are my thoughts: first, it seems unnecessary to open Bobst to the public when New York has the best public libraries in the country. It’s not like you’re missing out when you go to them. And if you need particular info for research, I’m sure Bobst allows you in. That said, I sense that this demand is one of the most likely to be met by the administration (along with granting Kimmel room rental priority to students). We may well see Bobst opened up a lot more. Thoughts?

12:08 - Via Gawker comments: “I will support their cause if they can get me into the magical NYU Chik-fil-A”

Brief “Democracy Now!” coverage.

12:15 – Students have begun to congregate in front of Kimmel in preparation for upcoming press conference.

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12:27 – The delay of the press conference seems to be caused by a desire to wait for more students to gather out front.

12:45 – Straight up ridick. There is a girl topless outside standing by the barricade. Lots of people. No press conference yet.

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12:54 – A TON of students just bum rushed the door and busted into the room. Lots more people here now. Video to follow.

12:57 – Exuberant mood here now. About 25 people got in past guards.

1:26 – Got put on the chopping block in a meeting, but TBNYU decided to keep me around. Might have something to do with the fact that everyone’s reading this coverage.

Talking with Press Person Emily Stainkamp right now about food delivery, press conference, and broader goals.

1:30 – Follow us on Twitter.

1:42 – Press conference is no more? Apparently it was just a rally. It’s still happening – here’s an interview taking place on the street.

And negotiations are taking place at the door. Bob seems pissed that new students busted in – he wants any non-NYU students out of the building. Things are escalating.

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1:48 - Video of break in:

1:50 – BREAKING: TBNYU breaks open door to balcony. Rallying supporters now.

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2:05 – So before all hell broke loose, I sat down with Emily Stainkamp (CAS ’11) to talk about how food was going to get in here. She told me that NYU made a “bizarre” and “paternalistic” move by “[offering] to bring [them] food.” TBNYU said that the food would have to be vegan and NYU agreed. But then TBNYU decided that it couldn’t accept food from Aramark because the “outsource to prison labor.” Stainkamp said, “Why can’t our friends just bring us food?…Our food, our space.”

NYU said “they would talk to their people.” So there is currently no food, and with the added development of people breaking into the occupied area and breaking through the balcony door (dead bolt!), it seems unlikely that there will be any.

Hoo-wah.

2:21 – Press conference and rally scheduled for 5 PM in front of Kimmel again.

2:22 – Just ate my first food of the day (part of the little bit remaining in here). Vegan chocolate chip cupcake. I can tell it doesn’t have eggs. But it’s food. Yum.

2:25 – This is no surprise, but suspension/expulsion have now been threatened. As far as I know, pepper spray and SWAT assault are still possibilities.

2:28 – TBNYU hate blog spawned.

Also, I just heard the extremely impatient pizza lady from Kimmel bitching about having to work at Weinstein some today. Kimmel >> Weinstein.

2:49 – It’s calmed down a bit. More photos to come. The protesters were just dancing again, to Lauryn Hill. Say what you want about the dancing, but don’t you dare hate on Lauryn. She jamz.

2:52 – BREAKING: Between 20 and 40 guards just entered Kimmel. Fear is setting in.

2:55 – Gmail chat with a friend giving advice to TBNYU: “…Kidnap J-Sex, hold him for ransom…..1 million hugs and the budget” LOL

3:00 – Deep thought: There have been no serious negotiations yet.

I’m guessing there aren’t ever going to be?

3:04 – Enjoying this coverage? Please digg it.

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3:15 – Here’s what TBNYU and the protesters have requested: a student rep for direct negotiations (and no go-between), permission for a group to travel to tonight student Senate Council meeting, permission for delegation of student Senators to come to Kimmel for talks, permission for food (vegan) to be brought by friends, permission to enter the balcony.

Here’s what NYU granted: Nothing. Zero zilch zip nada. They’ve also closed the 3rd floor “officially” and are only granting access to students with class in the building or students attending a specific event. They also said that Kimmel closes at 1 AM and that TBNYU has no authorization to be here after 1. And they stressed that any breaches of conduct (like breaking the door and entering the balcony) WILL have consequences.

Oh, and remember the non-violence/no property destruction statement? Revised. Only non-violence applies. Property destruction is now OK. Oh, hey, they broke onto the balcony. Hmm…

3:21 – People are back on the balcony cheering and waving.

3:26 – Bob just offered TBNYU protesters a meeting for five students with Linda Mills, the senior Vice Provost, and Lynne Brown, senior Vice President of University relations. The offered the meeting at 5, but the condition was that all of the protesters had to leave by 4. Unsurprisingly, TBNYU declined the offer.

TBNYU offered to meet at 5, as scheduled, but refused to vacate. The university declined the offer. The plan is to push forward with the press conference/rally at 5.

Here’s TBNYU’s take on the standoff.

3:50 - Citrus flavored powerbars are NASSSTY.

This girl was intrigued by my crouching at the window:

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4:01 – In case you didn’t believe me about the topless girl, let there be PROOF!

4:02 – I just overheard someone say, “Nah, we’re not getting expelled. I have no plan B. We’re not getting expelled.” o.O

4:22 - Student Senators on the scene – TBNYU negotiators just left the occupied area to sit down with the Senators and negotiate(?)/talk.

img_0226img_0227Negotiators leaving the occupied zone.

4:32 – Protesters attempt to get food:

img_0224Yes, that is a bucket on a rope hanging over the 3rd floor balcony. No, they haven’t acquired any foodstuffs.

4:38 – Just saw these dudes across from my blogging spot in Kimmel:

img_0229img_0230Anti-riot cops? SWAT SWAT SWAT SWAT SWAT?? They definitely have abnormally large helmets.

4:49 - Press conference coming up in 10 minutes. People are already flocking to Kimmel.

4:58 – Chant begins: “Disclose it/Get off it/Put students over profit”

5:02 – Conference underway. “We will not stand for these scare tactics!” (referring to threats of expulsion). “We demand the administration negotiate with us now!”

Lots of people:
img_0232There are even more now.

5:09 – Protesters just asked for support from crowd all night, particularly at 1 AM at which time they are supposedly illegally here.

@ Kat: Ohhhh. It was way more fun thinking they were riot cops. Pony cops, huh? I guess that’s kinda funny on its own.

5:13 – More indignant anger. “Show me what democracy looks like. THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.” Don’t you just want a pitchfork and an inextinguishable torch?

5:22 – Still happening…

5:26 – @ Brett: No! Without interwebs, I am nothing.

Rally is over.

Deep thought: Now what?

5:30 – I’ve been pretty lax on anonymous commenting today, but I’m getting posts from Anon (anon@anon.com). Fail. You gotta at least show me you’re trying.

5:31 – “I have absolutely nothing new to report from the Senate meeting.” – TBNYUer

Intrapost poll - Should I stay or should I go? You want to see this through to the end? Discuss.

5:42 – Resounding calls for me to stay. I’m not worried about getting in trouble – the administration knows who I am and knows I am a journalist.

@ John: Yea, the press conference/rally is over.

5:44 – Thanks for the support, everyone! I’ll be here for now. Currently I’m being kept out of their disciplinary meeting. More pics coming soon.

5:49 – Dining hall staff just said they have mashed potatoes and chicken. I can’t really explain to you how phenomenal that sounds right now. I might pass out from ecstasy. (LOL @ smokers)

However, I’m willing to bet that TBNYUers won’t accept the food. I, however, will accept the food. Maybe I can get the whole pans of food to myself.

5:55 – New signs up in the occupied zone:

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6:08 – No. Way. TBNYU just voted to accept the food. OMG so hyped. Tables are being removed from the back of the barricade to serve up the delicious comida.

img_0238Look at those potatoes. Not Vegan = MORE FOR ME.

6:11 - Gawker drops bombs.

6:19 – Overheard: “My Mom called me a terrorist once.” “Your mom?” “Yeah.”

Unadulterated beauty:

img_0239Looks like a god damn advertisement.

Deep thought: What if it’s poisoned?

6:27 – The only thing that would improve this meal is a Diet Coke.

6:31 – @ Chris Schenk: Ipecac?! Come on, that’s not a nice thing to wish on anyone.

6:40 - @ Chris: Yea, bathroom privileges since the start.

Also, @ Johnathan: Any citation for that statement? That would be big news.

6:45 – Terrific meal. Just stellar.

Everyone is on their cell phone hiding from me. I’m going on a fact-finding mission.

6:57 – @ Madeline: I was thinking the same thing. At the appropriate moment I’ll start a 3rd post.

7:20 – New thread. Go here.



211 Comments

  • lamer
    February 20, 2009

    WOW, When threatened with suspension you all left your post.
    That is so revolutionary.
    I guess y’all are too afraid to piss off mommy and daddy to stick to your politics.
    Have fun in your lux, apt with your trust fund baby friends and thanks for watering down youth rebellion to a palatable consume of lies and weak wills.

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