Protesters in ‘shock’
Lots of university administrators make feeble pleas and then cave to the unhinged demands of student protesters who decide to take over a campus building.
New York University got tired of caving – at least once.
The private university threatened to take housing from anti-fossil fuel protesters and revoke their financial aid after they refused to leave a campus building overnight on Monday, protesters told The Washington Post.
They’re members of NYU Divest, which has been making increasingly disruptive demands to divest from companies that profit from fossil fuels:
Last week, protesters stayed in the admissions office, demanding that trustees hold a two-hour town hall led by students, that the board take another vote on divestment and that a student trustee be added to the panel.
When administration officials declined that demand, 19 students intensified their efforts by staying on the stairway of the Kimmel Center for University Life and remaining there overnight.
“We were told we would be risking disciplinary action,” said Sarah Singh, a senior from New Jersey who is a member of NYU Divest. “We reiterated the fact that we were attempting to hold a trustee town hall.”
The school didn’t budge, calling them into “student-conduct disciplinary meetings” Tuesday and then secretly calling their parents to warn that “financial aid was in threat, scholarships were in threat,” Singh said:
Students received panicked phone calls from parents. … We are working with different ally groups to spread our shock.
The administration disputes that NYU threatened the housing or financial aid of the protesters, but noted that “some types of discipline” could affect housing and financial aid.
Whatever the threats, they did the trick: Protesters left “peacefully” before the building closed Tuesday, and the school let them off the hook.
Spokesperson John Beckman said this wasn’t a speech or protest issue: They were “disrupting university operations” by staying in the building after it closed.