Letter of Solidarity with CUNY Students

Dated November 3rd, 2013

To all members of The New School and City University of New York communities,

We wish to express our deepest sentiments of concern at the current actions undertaken by City University of New York (CUNY) administration and the direction they appear to be steering our fellow NYC university.

On the morning of October 20th, without any warning to the students or student organizations, police and CUNY officials shut down the Guillermo Morales / Assata Shakur Community and Student Center on the third floor of the North Academic Center building on the City College of New York (CCNY) campus. Since 1989, this beloved center has served as a hub for campus organizing and political activism, which acted as a student group meeting space; a study center; a community center for programs like book and farm shares; and a safe space for both CCNY students and the larger Harlem community.

The without warning move by the CUNY administration to shut down the Morales/Shakur center can only be viewed as an act to repress student dissent on campus. The waves of authoritarian repression visited on CCNY students and faculty by the administration as they have continued to heroically protest this move, which has gone as far as suspending leading organizers, must be also be denounced. Furthermore, the recent moves by the CUNY administration to drastically raise tuition and attempt to appoint former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus as a visiting professor, can only be seen in the larger context of the further militarization and neoliberal restructuring of our universities.

Our struggles are one. At The New School we have also fought for and won more adequate student community spaces, as well as our ongoing struggle against rising tuition costs. We stand in full solidarity with the CUNY and CCNY community in their fight to reclaim the Morales/Shakur Center. We encourage all CUNY and The New School students to lend their hand and join these protests to the best of their ability. Together, as all NYC students, we can stand up to the forces of repression and austerity and for a world that guarantees a just and free higher education for all.

Sincerely,
The New School University Student Senate

Additional Resolution and Letter to Students on Fossil Fuel Divestment

To all New School students,

The University Student Senate was created to express the concerns of the student body to The New School Administration. Our duty is to ensure that the actions taken by the administration accurately reflect the beliefs, values, and needs of the students it aims to serve.

In this light, the University Student Senate calls on The New School’s Board of Trustees to approve the Climate Change Action Plan proposed by The Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. As a university which touts sustainability as one of its core focuses, and climate change as the issue of our time, it is imperative that we “put our endowment money where our mission is”. Divestment is a key step on the path towards a fossil free future, and if The New School wishes to remain a leader in progressive education and values - we must act now.

Fossil fuel divestment will not remain a progressive idea for much longer as the movement has already spread to over 300 campuses nationwide, and 3 universities have already publicly divested from fossil fuels. The New School however, would be the largest by a wide margin, and news of our action would reach the ears of every climate-conscience student around the globe - the very students we seek to invite to our campus.

We’d like to inform you of an opportunity to take action on the issue of divesting from fossil fuels in our university’s endowment. The Climate Change Action Plan, written by the Advisory Committee for Investor Responsibility, is making its way to the Board of Trustees and they are seeking support from Deans. It would be enormously beneficial to show all the Deans that there is student support behind this issue so that when they are approached, they will voice their support in turn.

Below we have provided a list of all The New School Deans with their respective divisions.  You can make a difference in two different ways:

1. Below is a sample email that you can send to your Dean.  Just copy the text, paste into a new email, sign your name, and send it along to your Dean.

2. We also highly encourage speaking to your Dean in person.  Feel free to reply here, to let us know if you are interested. We can then connect you with other interested students in your department to organize our efforts and make something great happen at The New School!

Joel Towers - Parsons (towersj@newschool.edu)

Will Milberg - NSSR (milbergw@newschool.edu)

Stephanie Browner - Lang (browners@newschool.edu)

Richard Kessler - Mannes (kesslerr@newschool.edu)

David Scobey - NSPE (scobeyd@newschool.edu)

Pippin Parker - Drama (parkerp@newschool.edu)

Martin Mueller - Jazz (muellerm@newschool.edu)

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FORM EMAIL TO DEANS (COPY BELOW)

Dean [last name],

I am concerned about The New School’s efforts to address climate change. I want to let you know that I support the recent document created by the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility called the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) in its efforts to make a difference through our university’s endowment.  This includes complete divestment from fossil fuels.

I believe this will have a positive impact on recruitment at this university in the short-run and will be financially beneficial in the long-run.

I hope you will consider supporting the CCAP for the reputation of our progressive university.

Best,

[your name]

Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution at The New School

October 9th, 2013

The Brief

The New School University Student Senate aims to represent the voice of the student body to the best of our ability, to present to the administration and the Board of Trustees the concerns on the mind of students today. This can take the form of expressing concerns about the proliferation of unpaid internships, tuition hikes, student representation in the administration matters, the need to address student debt, or here, the important issues of the environmental destruction and global climate change.

The students of today have a strong ecological awareness, and they want to see their university’s practices and investments reflect these principles of environmental sustainability. By divesting its endowment from fossil fuel companies, The New School is putting itself on the right side of history and what’s best for the planet.

The Resolution

WHEREAS, In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New School University Student Senate acknowledges that global climate change is the critical issue of our time and that energetic steps must be taken to address it.

WHEREAS, The New School has taken a strong stand of principle to be environmentally sustainable and ecologically conscious in its practices.

WHEREAS, Global climate change is caused by humans, primarily through usage of fossil fuels and other CO2 emitting processes. That those companies who are engaging in the business of fossil fuel extraction, refinement, production and consumption have a vested interest in continuing its exploitation and should be therefore seen as a principle obstacle in humanity addressing global climate change.

WHEREAS, There is a global movement of environmentally conscious universities, individuals and pension funds to divest their holdings from fossil fuel companies and those companies who profit from the continued emission of global warming gasses.

BE IT RESOLVED, the University Student Senate is in favor of The New School staying true to its sustainability principles and divesting its endowment away from all fossil fuel companies.

BE IT RESOLVED, the USS demands that the Board of Trustees and administration take immediate steps to divest from fossil fuel companies, and ensure that The New School remains a leader at the cutting edge of university environmental sustainability.

BE IT RESOLVED, the USS encourages the whole New School community, students, staff and faculty, to educate themselves about the issues surrounding fossil fuel divestment and assist us in pressuring the Board of Trustees to comply with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility's recommendations. We encourage all students, staff and faculty to attend the Campus Sustainability Day on October 23rd, from Noon-2pm in Arnhold Hall of the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, to help show their support for this resolution.