Students Protest at N.Y.U.
Several dozen students occupied a cafeteria at New York University on Wednesday night, barricading themselves inside with tables and chairs and chanting a list of demands.
The protest began shortly before 10 p.m. when about 70 students, most of them members of a student-run group called the Take Back N.Y.U. Campaign, gathered on the third floor of the Kimmel Student Center at Washington Square South and La Guardia Place.
The students pushed tables and chairs against the doors, and a woman with a megaphone outlined the group’s demands.
They included a full and annual reporting of the university’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. The students also demanded that N.Y.U. provide 13 scholarships annually to students from the Gaza Strip and give surplus supplies to the Islamic University of Gaza. On the group’s Web site, it also asked that all participants in the protest be granted amnesty from punishment.
Take Back N.Y.U. has been a vocal presence on campus for the last few years, said Lynne Brown, the senior vice president for university relations. Ms. Brown said that she believed only about half of the protesters were from N.Y.U. and that the rest probably included students from the New School, which had its own student occupation in December during protests over the school’s embattled president, Bob Kerrey.
Ms. Brown said the university will allow the students to remain in the cafeteria through the night and will give them access to restrooms.
About an hour after the shut-in began, Ms. Brown described it as a “peaceful” yet perplexing gathering.
“We’ll be trying to clarify the exact nature of their complaints,” Ms. Brown said, “and try to engage them in colloquy and conversation. It’s a little unclear for us now.”