Flavorwire stopped by the New School this past Friday to see what all the fuss was about. For the second time in less than five months, several New School students have protested New School policy by barricading themselves in one of the school’s buildings. The New York Times City Room blog caught a fairly brutal clip of what looked like some pretty intense pepper spraying and student takedowns by the NYPD.
According to the literature issued by the teacher’s union ACT-UAW Local 7902 that people were handing out after the macings where over, Friday’s protest was partly due to several “…members in the Fine Art Department at Parsons the New School for Design [receiving] notice that their teaching contracts will not be renewed for fall 2009.”
Many students have been upset with New School President Bob Kerrey for some time now. In December 2008 students took over the cafeteria in the New School building at 65 Fifth Avenue. There have been several accusations that Mr. Kerry is more interested in the financial side of the institution than the academic. Students have repeatedly said they have no say whatsoever in school decisions. Kerrey’s controversial Vietnam War record has not helped him gain any support from the ultra liberal constituency at the New School.
Just to play devil’s advocate here, colleges and universities can’t run on good will. They must remain viable financially through growing tuitions and grants and such. Kerrey should be judged on his ability to maintain a high quality of academic excellence while also keeping new revenue flowing into the institution. If a faculty member can’t do his or her job, they should be dismissed on that platform alone, simply and with out fanfare. It’s hard to be objective when accusations of war crimes and killing civilians are flying about, but is it right to judge the future of young people’s educations based on personal political ideologies and speculation on what might or might not have happened during a terrible situation in possibly the ugliest military blunder America has ever taken part in? We invite you to chime in with your thoughts. Is Kerrey really screwing the pooch at the New School or is his past coloring public opinion of him?
Check below for exclusive Flavorwire.com video footage from The New School protest. Just out of curiosity, what would you guys think about us having the New School faculty/staff and students over to the Flavorpill offices for a town hall-style gathering about all this? Today’s students are the artists we’ll be covering tomorrow…