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/ February 20, 2009
Take Back NYU! Calls NYU’s 1AM Bluff

Fox the child the download.jpg” alt=”dsc_0002″ width=”551″ height=”360″ />The crowd outside of Kimmel consisted of anarchists, radicals, media-types, and those timid masses that stayed out in the cold in the hopes of seeing bloody skulls or zip-tied wrists being paraded along West 4th Street. Murmurs rushed through the crowd, discussions of the future of Take Back NYU! quoted NYULocal’s previous coverage of the event, and general dismay over the fate of our precious quesadillas spread like wildfire. Students wanted to see something happen.

Instead, the crowd grew and grew while masked strangers carrying bullhorns and drums incited cheers and songs, but at the end of the night, there was little to show for all the hubbub that had brought these excited students together. There were easily more than one hundred police officers, two ambulances (for precautionary measures, the drivers insisted), and approximately five mounted officers (one of the night’s most memorable images) gathered before the Kimmel Center. Mace was used at one point to squelch an attempted bum rush of the Kimmel’s front lobby, and an arrest occurred after a student allegedly struck a cop. But the activity of the night was generally muted as all eyes peered towards their watches, waiting for 1am to arrive.

Earlier in the evening, the NYU administration had stated to the occupiers of the Kimmel Center that at 1:00am, any offers of an easy exit would be taken off the table and more drastic measures applied. The students, through texts and blogs, came to the collective conclusion that such a statement meant the night could end with expulsions, forceful detainment, and multiple arrests.

With nearly 700 students joining together at 12:59am, the air was rife with anticipation that the evening’s previous threat would breed the kind of scene that would grace the cover of The New York Post or The Daily News, and, if the stars aligned, would garner a blurb on the twenty-third page of The New York Times’ Friday edition.

But what happened at 1:00am was a sad display of what our university plans on doing over this pressing issue: they pussied out.

No officers entered the building. No arrests were made. No tear gas filled the Kimmel Cafeteria. And no drastic action occurred, despite the threats of Bob Butler, Lynn Brown, and John Beckman.

So what does this mean for the protest and the stance TBNYU! has taken? Well, it shows that these remaining twenty students have the balls to stand up to their administration. They faced an imminent threat of something that could fundamentally alter their futures, and instead of trembling in the face of this probable future, they stood strong. Regardless of how you feel about the group’s goals or methodology, it is important to recognize that, for this one instance, David beat Goliath.

As it stands, the amnesty the students so greatly desire is still not on the table and the safe harbor deal offered by Bob Butler of OSA has been removed (after the students unanimously rejected it), at least until tomorrow, at which time we expect a similar offer to be put back into play.

So for now, the students may again sleep on the cold floor of Kimmel, smoke their remaining clove cigarettes on the balcony they broke their property-damage resolution for, rub their eyes as the cold glare of fluorescent lighting streams down upon them, and dine on the unquestionable deliciousness of mashed potatoes and ludicrous demands.

Photo by Mickey Lewitter.