While I Was Out, NYU Apparently Decided to Go Insane

Well, not so much NYU (which is already so overburdened by the weight of its students’ neuroses that going to school there is like being cast in an MTV show written by Woody Allen’s less sophisticated nephew) as the student organization Take Back NYU! (exclamation mark theirs). The group was always kind of crazy in an irritating, Code Pink kind of way, but now they’ve outdone themselves.

Being huge dicks at a town hall is one thing. Occupying a university building is quite another.

I mean, Jesus.

This whole occupation is fairly obviously inspired by a similar incident at neighboring New School (an incident which I’ve written about before), but that sit-in took place in a completely different context. Despite what the head of TBNYU argues, all other avenues of negotiation with the school administration haven’t so much been exhausted as never attempted. When has TBNYU ever made an attempt to try and work with the administration instead of treating NYU President John Sexton like Mussolini? I’m not the guy’s biggest fan either, but this sort of bullshit is ridiculously counterproductive. Not only is it illegal, but it leaves people with the (admittedly accurate) impression that the folks behind TBNYU are out of their goddamn minds. That makes the administration less inclined to hear out their legitimate concerns, and drives student apathy up because they feel like there’s no forum in the school to voice their concerns that isn’t either useless or apeshit.

Not to mention that the demands TBNYU makes are as overly ambitious as they are completely scattershot. I mean, what does Gaza have to do with anything? What the fuck are you guys talking about? There’s a lot to be said for opening high so where you get talked down to is acceptable. But this list of demands is so long and, well, demanding that it’s almost like it was specifically crafted to alienate anyone who might be sort of sympathetic to TBNYU’s cause but isn’t a true believer.

Plus, as Lucas helpfully points out, one of the demands–a “reassessment of the recently lifted of the ban on Coca Cola products”–is basically seeking to overturn a decision made by our democratically elected student council representatives. If TBNYU was interested in openness and student engagement, those would be the folks they were petitioning with that item number. Otherwise, they’re demanding that the administration step in and overturn one of the few legitimate acts of student empowerment NYU has seen recently.

All of which leads me to believe that this whole occupation thing hasn’t been thought all the way through.

It’s still ongoing, and Charlie is doing some stellar reporting from right inside the occupied building. I’ll have my eye on it until the whole thing inevitably falls apart.


7 Responses

  1. Talk about the very fucking definition of giving college/direct action a bad name. The list of demands is so scattershot and unfocused, they have given the administration no way of dealing with them seriously. Its like they took 17 different advocacy groups and stuck them together into one large self-congratulatory clusterfuck. The worst part is that down the road, when this is all over, every cause associated with TBNYU is going to have a harder time getting any concessions out of the administration simply because they had anything to do with this.

    Way to fuck it up.

    -A pissed college organizer

  2. So much of this is just ego gratification for those involved. “Look, we’re just like the sixties!!”

  3. Ned, even though we might not be close enough for me to say this, I am going to anyway: I’m kind of in love with you after reading this.

  4. Agree with everything. It really is amateur hour (or day) over at Kimmel 3rd floor now. I wonder how long until their craving for vegan cupcakes kicks in and they all call it quits.

  5. […] Back NYU! and the Art of Diplomacy My old roommate and I were talking about all this occupation insanity, and he pointed out the hysterical closer line of the NYT piece on TBNYU’s occupation of […]

  6. […] Charlie Eisenhood! Even as Take Back NYU! wastes everyone’s time, there is at least one clear winner in this standoff: my alma mater NYU Local, and more […]

  7. […] Resnikoff] writes about the current occupation of a university building by a group of NYU students and expresses an apparently common (1, 2, 3) feeling that they’re not exactly the most […]

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