Thursday, February 26, 2009

NewSchoolInExile.Com Revamped and Back Up!

Dear Friends,

The Primary website of The New School In Exile (www.newschoolinexile.com) has been reformatted and is back online! Please check it out!

Also we want to publish an open letter from a student of the Graduate Program in International Studies at The New School:

Hi GPIA,

I just want to bring it to everyone's attention, again, that there is
a huge issue happening with the administration. I want to share with
you what happened this afternoon so that people know the stakes. There
is an April 1st deadline issued by the students that Kerrey, Murtha,
and Millard step down from their posts, and there's a lot of
anticipation and energy around this date. The attempted suppression
of the teach-in today was appalling. Obviously it won't get press, so
I am sharing.

APPALLING
The teach in was scheduled for 3:30pm-8pm in the Eugene Lang
courtyard. About 20 or 30 students from various divisions of the New
School gathered in the courtyard and in the lower level of the lobby
of 65 W. 12th St. It was too cold so people decided to bring it
inside. As we started to sit down, man twice my height approached
people and started handing out a photocopied paper on New School
letterhead. The paper said that the administration had been informed
of the teach-in and that as all events had to be authorized, and that
this was an unauthorized event, it violates the Student Code of
Conduct, and that violators may be subject to disciplinary action.
After the first speaker began, the man came twice more to threaten
that administration had in fact decided that it was a violation and
that everyone would be subject to suspension.

This was a student gathering! Students were sitting around talking!
Is there a new rule against loitering in the New School? Is this not
what students do? It is abhorrent that the administration would try
to quash this meeting.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised after learning more about the changes
Bob Kerrey made to the school after he began his tenure as president
in 2001. I also imagine that it represents that the administration
feels genuinely threatened. But really! These are some George
Bush-era tactics!

Security stopped allowing visitors or students with no ID into the
building. There was a verbal interchange between the
suspension-wielding man and some students at one point, but the
teach-in continued until 6:30pm, when students left to go to support
the NYU rally for the expelled students involved in last week's
occupation. Security personnel said that they were ordered by
President Kerrey to shut the meeting down, but security refused.

THE TEACH-IN
The format was students sitting and standing around about 5 people who
presented and then solicited discussion with the participants.

The presentation included a history of the University in Exile, which
was formed of scholars dismissed and fleeing persecution from
expanding fascism in Europe, the first wave in 1933 and then more in
1938. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_School#University_in_exile

Next there was a description of the problems that people are having
with the president. The list is enormous: unethical investments,
increasingly limited student space, a diminishing and wholly
inadequate library, Kerrey's use of the New School as a platform to
push the country further into the war in Iraq, the use of the Parsons
Institute for Informational Mapping (PIIM) to provide the Dept. of
Defense with battlefield mapping technology, the firing of provosts,
who are like mediators or representatives of the faculty to the
administration, and the list goes on. More students are squeezed into
the biggest-paying programs with less professors. The University's
collaborative program with the Actors Studio was closed in 2005. It
was not bringing in enough profit, and the program was moved to Pace
University.

An international student described her experience of dealing with
trying to find informal work to supplement her tuition costs. Finding
study space and computer space is still a problem. She also reported
big problems with getting medical treatment and having to negotiate
the Medicaid system. Is there no health insurance offered to
international students?

There was a section on past resistance. In about 1971, there was a
21-day occupation of the graduate faculty building. In 1997 a popular
tenure track professor Jacqui Alexander was fired and students went on
a hunger strike. They also invoked the "University in Exile" as a
source of guiding principles for just education. During Kerrey's
term, there were protests against his invitation of John McCain to
speak at Commencement and Newt Gingrich to speak about solving
American poverty, amongst others. And then, the December occupation.
The faculty vote of no confidence.

Apparently Executive Vice President James Murtha is responsible for a
lot of the issues, as his responsibility is the function of the
University. Also is treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Robert B.
Millard, because of his position as chairman of the executive
committee of the military contractor L-3 Communications. Apparently
his business associates have been the recipient of University's
strategic investment plan.

The occupation of the GF building in December, which got a lot of
criticism as well as approbation, pointed to some of the large
problems people have with the administration of the New School. I
would point you to the website to see the list of issues and demands,
but the site is suddenly and mysteriously down. Keep checking...
newschoolinexile.com

I just got my letter informing of this year's 4.5% tuition hike. Can
anyone afford this school anymore? Did anyone in our program receive
a scholarship? Why do we have such a high ratio of adjunct faculty to
permanent faculty?

The recent Times article on the issue:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/nyregion/11kerrey.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=new%20school&st=cse


With Determination,
The New School In Exile

10 comments:

  1. where is the proof for all these accusations? How do we know that Millard is giving money to L3? How do we know that his business associates have been the recipients of University's
    strategic investment plan? How do you know and how do you expect everyone to believe Kerrey's use of the New School as a platform to push the country further into the war in Iraq, the use of the Parsons Institute for Informational Mapping (PIIM) to provide the Dept. of Defense with battlefield mapping technology? Dont get me wrong, I believe you, but if you want to have a respectable, organized protest and really bring some change, you need to start showing your sources, and please do, because i want to see them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Millard is the CEO of L3. All the sources used in the letter are either general public knowledge about these men or have been printed in various news media over the past few years.

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