Well, this is uncomfortable.
About fifteen minutes ago, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was answering questions in former NYC Mayor/Columbia Professor David Dinkins’ SIPA class about urban public policy when a student pulled out a projector and began to screen images of police officers beating civilians on the wall behind Kelly. “We’d like to offer an alternative version,” one slide read.
People started shifting awkwardly in their chairs, then shifting much more awkwardly when the student turned the projector around so that the film was facing Kelly as he continued to speak. Kelly ignored the film, finished answering his question and called on another student, who was interrupted by a young man reading a textbook about military history.
This student stood up and called for Kelly’s resignation. “Are you serious, Kelly?” he asked. “Resign now.” Professor Dinkins sprung up from his chair and instructed the young man to “take it easy.” Several students asked if he was even registered for the course. “No, I go to NYU,” he said. A groan went up and students began asking him to leave.
“Well, this is very intimidating,” Kelly said, grinning.
The NYU student stood up, got his coat and textbook, told the class he’d been arrested three times for “freedom of speech on this land,” and walked out the door.
A few minutes later, another student asked Kelly why most people who are arrested are incarcerated for “drug crimes.” Dinkins said he didn’t understand the question, and things got confrontational between the student, Kelly, and Dinkins pretty quickly. The student’s SIPA colleagues were not pleased—a few students and a TA asked if she was registered for the class. “No,” she said, “but I do have a question.”
Commissioner Kelly, still grinning, leaned over to another guest for today’s class, New York District Attorney Cy Vance, and loudly whispered, “Says something about the security of this school, doesn’t it?”
Kelly got a round of applause as he left the class a half-hour before it ended.
A teach-in with Kyung Ji Rhee, from the Institute of Justice Reform and Alternatives, is planned in the SIPA 4th floor lounge at 6 PM.