NYU Diaries: Occupation Sensation!

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 – W.M. Akers

According to NYULocal: “The third floor of Kimmel has been cleared and no arrests made. None of the 13 demands of TBNYU! have been met and there were never any extensive meetings with the administration about meeting them.” Earlier today, our old NYU correspondent W.M. Akers, now with the Washington Square News, filed a dispatch from outside the Kimmel Center.

Like democracy itself, last night’s carnival outside of the occupied Kimmel center was little but an anticlimax. All day, 1 a.m. had been the unbreakable deadline, the moment when negotiations would go through or the brave little protestors would be dragged out by the black clad riot gurus of the NYPD. At midnight the protestors  held a rally, drawing a few hundred sympathetic students, a quartet of surly ninja-looking anarchists, a marching band, and a couple dozen embittered conservatives. Some of the students in front of Kimmel had come in support, but most were just there to see something happen. Their voices hoarse after twenty-eight hours’ bloviation, the occupiers led the crowd in chants, while the rest of us waited for a massacre.


The little siege had already had drama, but the swarms of police — who gradually replaced all the NYU guards — were, from outside our bubble, a nod from the administration saying, “Yes. Somebody you know did something worth taking notice of.” Nobody actually wanted anyone to get hurt, but, with the same evil thrill that one feels whenever breaking news bulletins appear on CNN, the students looked hopefully for riot police.

I wonder if the occupying students had the same itch. By yesterday morning the words of the people inside had taken on a uniform hopeful tone, as the administration’s stonewalling congealed them into a solid, inseperable mass, like a vegan muffin. It’s clear that their fear of the University is outweighed by a fear of missing out, of backing down and becoming the cowards that, for now, they are not. A nightstick scar on the elbow would be the ultimate souveneir.

 – W.M. Akers

Just after the deadline passed, NYU Local’s Charlie Eisenhood – who, for all his blog’s sniping at the newspaper I work for, did an incredible job – reported “violence in the streets. People are actively fighting cops…ACTUAL riot in the street.” He posted a video of people surging towards the barricades just west of the Kimmel doors, and from his vantage on the third floor balcony it looked like October, 1917. From where I was, a few feet behind the charging crowd, it was nothing but a little shouting and a shuffle of feet. I understand why he wanted something to happen. After all, we all wanted to see history last night – something memorable to take away from four expensive years – and it’s not history until somebody gets hurt.

By this morning their power and internet had been cut off, and nobody – not even press – was being allowed inside the building. By noon the barricades were down, and by one most of the protesters were out on the street, facing suspension twelve hours after the first deadline (Ed. note: around eighteen or so students are facing suspensions and loss of university housing). For all our desire to see something historic, only one question remains: is the dining hall open, and when can I have my white pizza?

– W.M. Akers

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  1. akers' writing

    reminds me of what's wrong with my generation. this whole disaffected "i'm-too-cool-to-care-about-anything" schtick is just depressing. obama won because people were excited to care about something. criticize the protest or support it, but are we really so jaded that this -- a young man's half-hearted desire for pizza and a glimpse of cops bashing the heads of his classmates -- is the best editorial we can get?

    • on the flipside  

      i think it's actually these kids "occupying" their building that is "what's wrong with my (our) generation." this is not obama's campaign, or any other historic event for that matter; this is a bunch of spoiled kids "putting it all on the line" (aka risking school suspension and loss of housing privileges hahaha) for 13 demands that nobody even knows about. the same distorted sense of entitlement and self-righteousness that leads the spoiled chumps of our generation to "occupy" university buildings (if you have balls let's see you occupy a federal building, or let's see you pull this shit in russia) is the root of the sentimental reactions of poster #1. this kind of "campus activisim" (an oxymoron) is about as important as celebrity gossip or weird news, and it deserves to be treated as such. give me a break (and some white pizza)

    • Well

      I recall sitting in Hungarian last year when the anniversary of the '68 protest was taking place. Two withered looking hippies were sitting at a table with two young, skinny-pant wearing girls. One girl commented "man, that's what is wrong with our society, no one has the drive like you guys had."

      She was making the same mistake you are making now. We aren't apathetic about problems, but most people have read enough history about the 60's to know that a bunch of spoiled white kids with signs doesn't accomplish much. I'd like to believe many people, like myself, have come to the conclusion that Gandhi's quote was spot on: be the change you want to see in the world.
      Some of us instead of running off to chase our windmills in student centers, study our arses off in the libraries of the universities so we can make real differences through education, science, politics, etc. That is the major problem with these kids: they don't know anything yet! They can't even come up with a coherent set of points to support their screams. Full, public access to the library? Did you even think about the repercussions to that? Full-rides for the Palestinian students? What about the other terribly disadvantaged kids.
      Protest is too often a thoughtless passtime. Get back to the books and do something with your life.

      • agreed  

        couldn't have put it better myself. if you want to make a difference, acquire a solid set of skills and get yourself into a position that forces other people to take you seriously (without sacrificing your sense of right/wrong along the way).

        i think we can all agree that the world is fucked up in really basic ways, but the revolution isn't coming anytime soon. become both productive and good by using the opportunities that you have been given.

        stupid brats.

  2. i this happened here...  

    I would personally beat the shit out the other students that did that for embarrassing our university. These students need to get a life and find an effective means of change, not this stunts. I am glad they are suspended and I hope they get kicked out to set a no tolerance example for this kind of behavior

  3. just a note

    more than half of the people outside of the building at one last night were chanting things to the likes of "go to jail," "take back kimmel," "we want quesidillas," and (in response to 'this is democracy') "this is hypocrisy."...so i think the "a few hundred sympathetic students" might be a bit of an overestimate.

  4. ...  

    i think there could be an awesome movie plot hiding in here...

    a bunch of hopeful future journalists fearful of a tightening job market get their friends to stage a takeover so they can get draw attention to their coverage, only they did too good of a job while writing the parts for the protesters and an impromptu movement sparks massive violence at college and city centers all over the country.

  5. Bouyah!  

    God those kids should have been expelled.

    If Michael Phelps can lose twelve million for smoking up, being unmitigated self-entitled douchebags

  6. Screw Manhattanville,

    We should take over NYU. C'mon, if these kids could do it barely overnight, it should be easy enough.

  7. Mark L. Pohk  

    Wow it is so easy to be mean and insensitive when you're anonymous, huh?

    • Post#6

      I seriously hope you aren't referring to my post being mean and insensitive. I would like to think that mine was actually thought at not a simple OMG BRATZZZ post. There is something seriously wrong with this protest and protesters.

  8. ugh  

    what a bullshit article from a bullshit pretentious dirtbag. there were about 600 people outside, all chanting, cops were pepper spraying the crowd, and the occupiers didn't just "leave", they were TOLD that the administration would begin negotiations and once they walked out of the occupied space they were told they would be expelled and no negotiations took place.
    fuck this article, william akers needs to drop this 'im too cool to give a shit' attitude and stop twisting the truth.
    oh, and the guy from nyulocal? sat in the corner on his computer blogging the entire time like a little friendless douchebag because no one likes him :)

    • hahaha  

      so as I understand it, the NYU administration told them negotiations would begin, got them out of there, and then said whoops! we lied!
      HAHAHA. What a bunch of morons. The level of idiocy on display is astounding. You give all activists a bad name (yes there is such a thing as positive activism, but you wouldn't know it looking at the SDSs and the TBNYU's of the world)

  9. haha

    They got what they deserved #13. That was not a crowd of 600 people (most of them were chanting things like "we want quesadillas.") Public sentiment was far far farrrr from being on the protesters side and for good reason.
    And oh no!!! Don't tell me the NYUlocal guy was *gasp* reporting like he was supposed to be doing. Frankly, he is the man of the hour if he was friendless in that group of people.
    People don't have this "I'm too cool to give a shit attitude" they have a "we think the protesters don't have ground to stand on" attitude, which makes what the protesters did a joke...and rightly so.

  10. 00000  

    oh please. public sentiment? you mean people who comment anonymously on blogs? of course theyre going to sound bitter and mean.
    and umm.. sitting in a corner isolated from everyone on your laptop the ENTIRE time is not reporting. its being a pathetic jerk, only typng about what one sees (in a hostile and condescending manner) without actually engaging with the people involved. hah. "the man of the hour"? sure, if you think reporting is making immature comments degrading people and whining about how he hopes he wont get in twubble!!

    haha.. most of 600 people chanting "we want quesedillas?" thats fucking ridiculous. gimme a break. you think cops came and started pepper spraying people because they chanted about quesedillas? someone's obviously talking out of their ass

    there wer 23+ successful occupations in the UK, and one at the university of rochester and another at the new school, all in the past two months. dont act like an occupation "can't change anything". that's just ignorant. the NYU administration is just bullshit :)

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