CUNY brings in cops & District Attorney to file criminal charges against student activists
November 17, 2013
There is now a new and unprecedented escalation in repression against the CUNY movement and the campaign to save the Morales / Shakur Center at the City College of New York (CCNY).
Earlier this week, Tafadar “Taffy” Sourov and Khalil Vasquez, two student leaders suspended without a hearing by CCNY, were ordered by the New York State Police and the New York County District Attorney’s office to present themselves downtown to be arrested. They were told that criminal charges would be filed against them, as a result of three-week-old allegations against them from the October 24 demonstration at CCNY to save the Morales / Shakur Center.
Preempting its own student disciplinary process, which has yet to run its course for Taffy and Khalil, CUNY brought in the cops and the District Attorney to punish these two student activists. This represents a heightening of collaboration that is without precedent between CUNY and the cops, between the University and the Repressive State. This is an attack on the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC), Taffy and Khalil’s organization which has been at the forefront of the CUNY movement.
More than any other recent event, this embodies the entire trend in CUNY towards increasing repression and militarization. The appointment of ex-General David Petraeus to a teaching position at the CUNY Honors College. The raid and seizure of the Morales / Shakur Center, the last autonomous student space in CUNY. The draft “Policy on Expressive Activity” proposed by the CUNY administration severely restricting free speech on campus. The deployment of massive numbers of cops and barricades against demonstrations.
Now, the CUNY administration is overtly collaborating with the criminal legal system to punish student protesters. The CUNY administration is planning for a future where not only will student protesters be suspended, but they will be arrested and given criminal charges as well. Our student leaders, the CUNY movement, and the University must be defended against this repression.
On Monday, November 18, Taffy and Khalil will present themselves at the District Attorney’s office to be arrested and held in jail for 24 hours. On Tuesday, November 19, they will see a judge for their first court appearance. Students, faculty, and community must turn out from throughout CCNY, CUNY, and New York City to stand with our courageous young leaders in court.
On Sunday, October 20, the CCNY administration illegally raided and seized the Guillermo Morales / Assata Shakur Community Center, a space that has existed at CCNY for more than 20 years and was first won in 1989 through a mass student strike and occupations throughout CUNY.
On Thursday, October 24, Taffy and Khalil participated in a demonstration on campus to save the Morales / Shakur Center.
On Monday, October 28, CCNY VP of Student Affairs Juana Reina suspended Taffy and Khalil without a hearing or due process. As they were leaving their Monday morning classes, Taffy and Khalil were stopped and removed from campus by CCNY Public Safety officers.
On Friday, November 8, after being suspended already for two weeks, unable to go to class and threatened with arrest if they stepped back onto campus, Taffy and Khalil attended their first scheduled disciplinary hearing at CCNY. About a hundred people rallied outside to support them, with a large red banner reading, “LIBERATE CUNY FOR THE PEOPLE / LIBERAN CUNY PAL PUEBLO.”
No observers were allowed to attend the closed hearing. Taffy and Khalil’s lawyers made motions for a public open hearing, for a chance to review the evidence against them before going forward, and for other elements of due process for a more fair hearing. Following the motions, the chair of the disciplinary committee adjourned the process to another date, to be scheduled.
Taffy and Khalil remain suspended from CCNY.
On Tuesday, November 12, Taffy and Khalil were told that the New York State Police and the New York County District Attorney’s office was demanding their arrest and prosecution for criminal charges.
Stand with CUNY student activists!
Tuesday, November 19 at 8:45 AM Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, Arraignment Part AR1 or AR2