Friday, December 19, 2008

New School Students End Dining Hall Sit-In (10:34am)

Student protesters who had occupied a dining hall at The New School, at 65 Fifth Avenue, said that they ended their sit-in around 3:30 a.m. Friday, more than 30 hours after it began.

Kevin Dugan, one of the students inside the cafeteria and the senior news editor at the The New School Free Press, said in a phone call that the students decided to leave after the university’s embattled president, Bob Kerrey, agreed to four demands: amnesty for students participating in the demonstration; student participation in selecting a new provost; creation of a committee on socially responsible investment, with student representation; replacement in other New School buildings of space that will be lost because of the demolition of 65 Fifth Avenue, including a library and a 7,000 square foot reading room.

At the beginning of the protest students had said they would not leave the cafeteria unless Mr. Kerrey and other administrators resigned. But as the occupation grew in size and stretched into a second day, a new consensus seemed to emerge, with some students saying it was it unlikely that Mr. Kerrey would agree to such stipulations and instead advocating goals that they said had a better chance of success.

According to Mr. Dugan, student mediators announced around 2:30 a.m. that Mr. Kerrey had agreed to the four terms. Those inside the cafeteria then held a lengthy discussion before voting to leave the cafeteria, he said, emerging onto side streets whooping in jubilation.

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