Student protesters arrested at Baruch College
STEPHON JOHNSTON Amsterdam News Staff | 11/23/2011, 2:55 p.m.
According to CUNY, they had to remove the protesters in order to ensure the safety of the students who were attending classes that evening. They also said one public safety officer was sent to a hospital for chest pains and two others received minor injuries.
The AmNews contacted CUNY spokesman Michael Arena for further explanation of Public Safety's tactics. When Arena learned that there was a YouTube video of the incident, he said he'd call the paper back after watching the video. After a few hours he replied via email, with a statement from CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
"Those who wish to speak must give notification at least one (business) day in advance of the hearing," said Goldstein's statement. "They are then signed in to speak and are asked to submit written statements, a summary of which are submitted to all trustees prior to the board meeting."
"For the November 21 hearing, 95 people signed up to speak," Goldstein continued. "Speakers are permitted three minutes each for their remarks, and arrangements were made to accommodate all signed-in speakers. At the hearing, a total of 65 people spoke, and the hearing lasted nearly four hours. Faculty, staff and students spoke at the hearing and were in the audience. The trustees and members of the chancellery in attendance were prepared to remain at the hearing for as long as there were speakers."
Goldstein also said that the safety of students and faculty is "paramount" and that the officers needed to ensure that students would be able to get to class without any hassle. "The very purpose of our public hearings is to encourage participation and feedback by members of the University community and the public," he said. "We are committed to that process, just as we are committed to the safe operation of our educational programs."
Many of the protesters are members of the Students United for a Free CUNY group. On the group's website some of their demands for CUNY include "free tuition and admission open to all with a high school diploma or GED, with special attention in admissions to New York City public high school graduates," funding adjuncts' health care, and all wages, benefits and working condition-all paid for by continuing the Millionaires' Tax, reinstating the Stock Transfer Tax (by which the state collects a tax on each stock transfer), and "pivoting spending within CUNY away from wealthy top administrators' compensation and toward the education of students and compensation of faculty and staff."