| – 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