Night Falls On the NYU Protesters: Will Negotiations Happen?

on 19 February, 2009

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For my previous coverage of this event, go here.

7:04 – As TBNYU’s new rules bar me from basically every meeting, my voice, the voice going out to the people, is being silenced Dead clever the life and crimes of julie bottomley download. As I sit far, far away, the protesters scheme and plot while leaving me totally unrepresented. These kind of scare tactics will not stand! Here are my demands:

First, I demand to be allowed to continue to blog from here in the occupied space even if I betray TBNYU’s trust, lie, or commit other egregious ethics violations.

Second, I demand full negotiation plan disclosure.

Third, I demand that a group of NYU Local writers form a new oversight committee with full power to override any TBNYU plans that are deemed bad ideas.

Fourth, I demand a silly antic rate increase of no more than 1%/year.

Fifth, I demand that 13 NYU Local writers be given full member fee waivers to join TBNYU, including funding for spraypaint and vegan delicacies.

Sixth, I demand that the Taiwanese get all leftover vegan foods.

Whose radical student group? OUR RADICAL STUDENT GROUP.

(I kid TBNYU, I kid. Don’t throw me out of here – see my first demand).

More liveblog after the jump.

7:29 – guy fawkes: “DEMAND #7 amendment: Transparency in clothing is an acceptable alternative to transparency in NYU’s budget.” Lol city. What a day, everyone. What a day.

7:37 – Mad love to my boys from Ultimate Frisbee, Gabe and Chappy, for getting on the CBS news.

7:40 – Funny, funny stuff in the comments. @Anna: Fairly big. Capacity 319.

7:43 – Big news. Various administrators are calling parents of students, alerting them to what their children are doing, and scaring them with “vague” threats of punishment to their kids.

7:48 – I’m a little late to this, but my publisher and editor are debating top people from WSN on WNYU. Right now they are trying to discredit what I’ve been doing all day, saying the WSN story is the “official” version of the story.

7:54 - You’re gonna want to check the archives on this WNYU show. I’ll post it and twitter it once it archives.

It seems like most of the last meeting was spent talking about meta stuff about the night. Not much planning or scheming. New pics coming up shortly.

8:03 - Mood is sour here. People are on their cellphones, stressing out. I’m gonna try to get some interviews here in a minute.

8:10 – Some guy who I’ve never talked to just came over and, in a threatening voice, told me not to post anything I’d heard from their meeting. He actually said, “Do you understand?” Wow I’m sick of this. These people need to chill out a little bit, damn. Anyway, here’s my blogging territory and view from my blogging territory, respectively:

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8:18 – NYU Local publisher (Cody) and writer (Jess) debated WSN writers on WNYU earlier. The major point of discussion was the TBNYU occupation coverage. Check out the whole archived show here.

8:19 - This is the most negative I’ve seen the group tonight. I’m overhearing talks of failure and fear. People are worried about being arrested and/or expelled. A little tense in here.

8:23 – @Kristen: As long as they need to, they say. However, people keep leaving – that could end up causing trouble. Which leads me to @Avery: my current count is 33. It’s definitely dwindled.

8:37 – @Kate Turtle: I think you’re right. The people remaining here are brave; they are aware of the fact that this probably won’t end well. I’ve been thinking about what the endgame might look like. I don’t foresee negotiations – there hasn’t been even an inkling of a serious offer on the part of the administration to talk to the protesters. I think it could get rough. Discuss.

8:49 – @Brett Anon: It’s been difficult to tell if there’s been a guard build-up recently. I haven’t noticed one, but there are back entrances to Kimmel so it’s impossible to know. I think force isn’t out of the option. The question is how using force will reflect on NYU. Will they be bashed for refusing to talk or thanked for ending an “annoying” occupation? Hard to say really. If you judged by what the consensus seems to be here on this blog, people wouldn’t be against force. But remember that groups like TBNYU are a very vocal minority and all those groups will come out of the wood work and raise hell. I’m not sure I can make a confident prediction.

@Dev I: Yes, there will be a midnight protest, says TBNYU. And big thanks for checking me more than Perez and FB. Seriously that’s probably the nicest thing anyone’s said all night! lolol

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8:57 – BREAKING: More people just busted in through the barricade to join the occupiers. Video to follow.

9:05 – Lots of people just got in. Takes a little time to post to YouTube but i’ll have it shortly. Not surprisingly, people are hyped again.

9:15 – Well over 50 people got in. Guards are pissed, Bob is red-faced angry. Guard broke hurt his arm too. Yikes.

9:21 – Just after the break-in:

img_0251img_0247This was how they tried to stop 55 people from getting in.

9:27 – Correction: A guard’s arm was hurt, not broken, and another was hurt as well. But no broken arms. I pulled that up out of the comments and didn’t read the WSN piece myself. TBNYU people and guards confirmed NO break.

9:29 – Video of break-in:

9:33 – Crazy, right? 55 people didn’t get in though, TBNYU gave me bad numbers. There’s a total of 62 people here, according to TBNYU. I guess I should double check since they just gave me faulty data.

Will have some interviews with new “occupiers of space” in a bit.

9:41 – Reports are all over the place. I just spoke to a guard who told me a male guard hurt his arm badly (could be broken) and a female guard hit her head and was hurt. He said, “we have to use restraint, you know?” I mentioned, “The cops are gonna be here soon, huh?” He nodded his head strongly yes.

9:49 – New occupiers are introducing themselves to the old guard in a meeting.

WSN reports that ambulance is coming to pick up female guard. She must have really gotten knocked around. NOT cool.

9:54 – Via Gmail chat with a friend: “its funny that they’ll occupy a building and run past guards and stir up a huge ruckus but they don’t smoke their ciggarettes insides”

Quite true.

9:56 – @george alumni: Take Back NYU has no hierarchy, so they don’t have any specific “leaders.” That said, there are definitely people who have had more to do with this whole operation than others. See my previous thread with pictures of the negotiating crew – they, I would say, are the larger organizers.

10:03 – @Mary Rochester: You’re right. I shouldn’t assume that it’s bad just because they call an ambulance. There’s definitely a lot of secrecy right now on both sides. It’s totally possible (but certainly a cynical view to take) that the guard isn’t hurt much at all.

@Eric Levin: Great work, man. You’re outposting me.

They’re still in a meeting here. 3 hours till the big bad 1 AM deadline of doom. It’s hard to know if NYU admin are actually going to enforce this deadline, especially now that they allowed such a large breach.

The TBNYUers are reading out loud to the group their update that Eric Levin posted about non-violence.

10:10 – Sounds like arrests will be made after 1 AM and some people may get charged for breaking the door to the balcony. The clock is ticking…

10:18 – TBNYU is arguing about the language of their non-violence statement. They seem to be missing the point..

@Eric: No, I have no press pass. I assume that means I can get rounded up with the protesters?

10:23 – Meeting is adjourned and TBNYU is now going outside on the balcony yelling again. I really hope they try the food bucket under the cover of darkness heh heh heh.

10:31 – Serious meeting between TBNYU negotiators and go-betweens (including Bob) taking place right now. Bathroom privileges have been taken away.

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@Matt Nolin: Yes, Times reporter is gone. He left a few hours ago.

10:36 – @Claire: Thanks for the support! I have to say, though, the comments have been ablaze this evening and way more info is flowing through them then through me. So, props, everyone. I hope you will all stick around the site once this is all over – there’s lots to check out.

Oh and that food was really good.

10:50 – Sorry for the long delay. I talked to some people about a press pass – they don’t seem to keen on helping me out. I don’t think it’ll be a big deal, particularly since I haven’t participated in any of the blockading/breaking onto the balcony. You better believe I’ll get a ton of video if the cops come.

THAT SAID, I’m hearing that negotiations are in preliminary stages. Unclear yet what the terms are and who the players are. If TBNYU does end up sitting down at the table with NYU admins, it will probably because of the bum rush about an hour ago. Wild stuff will keep you posted.

This is fantastic. From the comments:

11:06 – Everyone is out on the balcony right now – apparently on the local news. I’m still trying to get people to talk to me – there are a number of protesters who strongly dislike me (for whatever reason). Other protesters have been very kind and told me they really appreciate my presence. Very strange disconnect.

This is a press break – more discussion about negotiation should resume shortly.

11:12 - On the balcony, shouting at the news:

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11:21 – First new occupier interview. This is Peter Bradley, a comparative literature major in CAS (’09):

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Peter didn’t even know about the occupation until tonight when he stepped out of Bobst library (the one TBNYU wants opened to the public) for a smoke and saw heavy security at Kimmel. I asked him why he decided to join the occupation, particularly considering the risks of punishment. He said that it’s exciting but “what’s important for me is that it can enter into everyone’s consciousness.” He mentioned his time abroad in France in a school system that was cheaper and better run. Speaking of the American collegiate experience, he says, “I’m disillusioned with the cost and the supposed benefit of that cost.”

He doesn’t expect NYU to meet the demands, but says that what’s important is that they make a statement that “enters into serious national dialogue.”

11:37 – Negotiation terms are still being played. Sounds like it’s bad news for TBNYU in any case. There’s a paddywagon here! I’ll try to grab a pic.

11:41 – Bathroom access has been temporarily reinstated, but you have to go in pairs, like the buddy system. Hall pass anyone?

Fearless Prediction: This is all over by 2 AM. The more little snippets of conversation I hear, the more I think NYU’s just gonna bring in the NYPD at 1. Every “negotiation” put on the table by NYU seems to have a “You’re outta here by 1 AM tonight” provision.

11:46 – Overheard: “Let’s not get scared, guys.” ==> Get scared, guys.

11:48 – I am still shut out of the meetings, but I’m still hearing some TBNYUers talking like they have a real shot at getting demands met. It’s just not gonna happen. There has been no progress thus far. It’s really looking bleak. The administration’s only offers are unreasonable to TBNYU.

11:54 – “Negotiations about the negotiations” have begun. The administration offered, as a “favor,” a “safe haven” program which allowed students to leave and get only NYU probation. TBNYU rejected the offer.

New negotiations have resumed and are currently taking place. The TBNYUer I spoke with believes the 1 AM deadline is a bluff – she thinks the administration would be crazy to try to arrest students when there is such a big crowd (a couple hundred, I’d estimate).

12:03 – New thread! Go here.