Daily Archives: November 22, 2011

Library Press Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        CONTACT: press@occupywallst.org

For this event: William Scott, 412-390-6510

Occupy Wall Street Librarians Address Bloomberg for Destroying Books
Over 4k Books, Documents, Were Trashed by NYPD & Dept. of Sanitation in Raid

OWS Library Staff Recovers Books and Supplies, Less Than One-Fifth is Usable

What: Press conference to address the destruction of the OWS People’s Library by Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 11/15 raid.
*Photo Opportunity* All of the recovered, destroyed books will be at the press conference.
Where: 260 Madison Ave, 20th Floor, between 38th and 39th St
When: Wednesday, November 23, at 12:00 noon
Who: Norman Siegel will host and moderate. Speakers: Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild, Hawa Allan a Fellow at Columbia Law School, and Occupy Wall Street Librarians from the People’s Library. Law professors from Columbia, members of the American Library Association, various writers and others have been invited.

So far, the People’s Library has received 1,099 books back from the Dept. of Sanitation after last week’s raid (some of which were not library books to begin with), and out of these, about 800 are still usable. About 2,900 books are still unaccounted for, and less than one-fifth of the original collection is still usable. These numbers may change slightly when the People’s Library gets an exact count of the recent (and final) retrievals from Sanitation, but not considerably.

“The People’s Library was destroyed by NYPD acting on the authority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the night of the raid. In addition to all our supplies, laptops, and tent, they threw roughly 4,000 books into garbage trucks and dumpsters that were adjacent to the park, as well as assorted rare documents that were associated with OWS,” says William Scott, an Occupy Wall Street Librarian.

Watch video of the NYPD and Dept. of Sanitation destroying the OWS People’s Library tent and throwing away all the books. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTkUjQwHf4I

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to more than 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. For more visit www.occupywallst.org

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Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Media

Violence Against Students & Faculty at CUNY

CUNY Public Safety Officers taking up arms against students and faculty.

Media are picking up the story of the violent attack on students and faculty inside a CUNY campus last night and a petition is up calling for the Chancellor of CUNY to resign. boingboing covers it here. Chronical of Higher Education covers the story here. The NYT cityroom blog covers the events here and reports that when officers began attacking, students on higher floors dropped books on the police from above. In light of recent events, I can’t think of a more appropriate response considering:

  • CUNY Public Safety took up arms against students and faculty.
  • CUNY students and faculty were denied entry into a meeting about tuition raises.
  • CUNY students and faculty were arrested on CUNY grounds for peacefully protesting.

This event makes me question why CUNY has a police force and who do they work for? I work at CUNY, inside the Mina Rees Library, (though not for the library) and I interact with CUNY Public Safety officers every day. I’ve watched them save the life of one of my colleagues. I’ve taken First Aid classes from them. In my workplace, they have been part of the CUNY family. But now, CUNY has ordered them to take up batons against students and the officers at Baruch have complied.

A faculty statement against this violent response to nonviolent protesters went up last night. But this egregious attack on freedom of expression and student’s rights demands more. This demands an immediate response from all students, faculty and staff of CUNY and all educational institutions in solidarity with the students and faculty who were arrested last night and in solidarity with the students who were pepper-sprayed at UC Davis. They have seized our books, they have told us we can’t make music or read poetry, or assemble in the public plaza and have conversations, and now they are attacking us inside the universities across the country.

CUNY Public Safety Officers taking up arms against students and faculty.

The CUNY Public Safety officers cannot and must not be used as a tool to prevent free speech. To take action, you can call the office of the CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein at 212-794-5311 or email him at chancellor@cuny.edu. The President of Baruch College is Mitchel B. Wallerstein and he can be reached at 646-312-3310 or email president@baruch.cuny.edu. The following points come from the Faculty statement, and can be used as a suggestion when you call and email:

  • Deplore any use of violence against nonviolent student protesters, anywhere.
  • Call upon the CUNY administration to support and engage respectfully with those students, educators, and community members who are working to open up spaces for protest, dissent, and discussion.
  • Declare that the use of any violence whatsoever against nonviolent student protesters will never be tolerated at CUNY.
  • Insist that administrators at both the CUNY-wide level and at individual campuses not call upon any outside police forces, including the New York City Police Department, or any other city, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, in order to disperse students who are engaged in nonviolent protests.

CUNY Public Safety Officers taking up arms against students and faculty.

CUNY is the nation’s largest urban public university system  and consists of 23 educational institutions here in New York City. In the past, CUNY was literally the People’s University, offering open and tuition-free education to the poor and working class. However since 1975, CUNY has charged tuition and has increasingly made admission and attendance more and more difficult. The CUNY Board of Trustees has repeatedly voted to increase tuition, making access to this public institution more difficult. Campuses that used to be open to all have installed security barriers and turnstiles, and partnerships with corporations are privatizing this public educational space. At the very first CUNY General Assembly, held at Hunter College – CUNY Public Safety officers were ordered to deny entry to CUNY and Hunter students, faculty and staff who sought to enter the building and have a peaceful meeting, even though they all had proper ID. This denial of entry was based entirely on the political character of their speech. This disturbing trend at CUNY must be stopped before the people lose their university completely.

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Filed under #OccupyCUNY, Free Speech, Media, Michael, Opinion