CUNY Rank and File Workers and All Supporters* Call on the PSC to Endorse the Five Demands of the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment

Original online here.

CUNY Rank and File Workers and All Supporters* Call on the PSC to Endorse the Five Demands of the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment

*This petition can be signed by members of the public who are not part of the PSC or affiliated with CUNY.

Signees names and affiliations will be made public and updated periodically here

On April 25, hundreds of students and workers from across CUNY and the city launched the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment (CGSE) at the City College of New York (CCNY) campus in West Harlem. Echoing the social and racial justice demands made by students who transformed this city and this university with campus takeovers in 1969, members of the CGSE demanded that the CUNY administration:

  1. Divest! Immediately divest from ALL companies complicit in the imperialist-zionist genocide, including weapons, tech and surveillance, and construction companies. Commit to full financial transparency regarding CUNY’s institutional investments. 
  2. Boycott! Ban all academic trips to the Zionist state, encompassing birthright, Fulbright, and perspective trips. Cancel all forms of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions, including events, activities, agreements, and research collaborations.
  3. Solidarity! Release a statement affirming the right of the Palestinian people to national liberation and the right of return. Protect CUNY students and workers who are attacked for speaking out against the genocide in Gaza and in solidarity with Palestinian liberation. Reinstate professors who have been fired for showing solidarity with Palestine. 
  4. Demilitarize! Demilitarize CUNY, Demilitarize Harlem! Get IOF and NYPD officers off all CUNY campuses, and end all collaboration, trainings and recruitment by imperialist institutions, including the CIA, Homeland Security and ROTC. Remove all symbols of US imperialism from our campuses: Rename the Colin Powell School of Global and Civic Leadership at CCNY and reinstate The Guillermo Morales and Assata Shakur Community and Student Center!
  5. A People’s CUNY! We demand a fully-funded, free CUNY that is not beholden to zionist and imperialist private donors! Restore CUNY’s tuition-free status, protect the union, and adopt a fair contract for staff and faculty.

In an earlier statement, the students of the encampment urgently called on us, rank and file members of the PSC and CUNY workers at large, to recognize that our “struggles for better working conditions and learning conditions are one.” We are deeply moved by the courage of this broad student-led movement and we strongly urge our union to take a firm position endorsing the five demands of the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

On Tuesday April 30, the eve of May Day, the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment was violently raided and dismantled by the NYPD after a fallacious state of emergency was declared by City College President Vincent Boudreau. This move, sanctioned by the CUNY administration, allowed the NYPD, including the notorious Strategic Response Group (SRG), to brutalize students, alumni, faculty, staff, as well as members of the broader CUNY community. Multiple injuries were reported: a longtime PSC member and current delegate suffered three broken ribs and an undergraduate student had their ankle broken, among others. Attacks targeted the encampment as well as solidarity protests outside of the entrance gates as protesters were not able to enter once the campus went on lockdown. Disturbingly, the roads around campus were closed off in order to block the public from seeing the violence unfolding on campus. In total, at least 173 people were arrested.

The violence on campus was not confined to the NYPD. Public Safety officers also violently attacked protestors, resulting in chemical burns, broken bones, smashed teeth and other injuries on the CCNY campus and beyond.

The PSC Principal Officers released a statement on the morning of May 1, condemning “in the strongest possible terms the militarized policing of campuses.” We appreciate the union’s concerned response to the brutalities we witnessed, but we recognize the limitations of restricting the union’s position to only address the police crackdowns against members of our community, when more is needed of us. We also must answer the call of this movement and listen to the Palestinian student leaders at its heart who urged us to not only stand against repression, but to extend solidarity and support to them in our endorsement of their demands. They have urgently called on us, PSC Leadership and Rank and File, to endorse their demands and actively engage in the struggle to achieve them, and to adamantly stand with them “shoulder to shoulder.”

In signing this document, we are standing firmly with the brave and committed students, workers, alumni, and other community members who endured physical violence at the hands of the NYPD and Public Safety officers. Some of the protesters are facing felony charges and run the risk of further retaliation from the administration. The encampment was targeted because of its principled political position in opposition to the genocide and in solidarity with the Palestinian national liberation struggle. This position is rooted in a rich tradition of anti-war activism and solidarity organizing at CUNY and in the history of the student movement in United States more broadly. We proudly and resolutely stand in solidarity with these courageous students and fully endorse their demands.

We are also conscious of the threats of retaliation and repercussions against members of the CUNY community for their participation in the encampment and for vocally supporting the above demands. In the face of a resurgent McCarthyism, it is crucial to protect academic freedom and our community’s right to protest in solidarity with Palestinians. 

We call on the PSC to press CUNY to advocate for withdrawing all charges against the protesters and to refuse to participate in the prosecution. We further call on the PSC to protect members of our community from retaliation by allocating resources to train PSC staff, union leaders, rank and file, and grievance counselors to respond assertively and transparently to any future retaliation that our students, faculty, or staff might face for pro-Palestine organizing or speech. We also ask that student organizers of the CGSE be allowed to attend and speak directly to the Delegate Assembly taking place on May 9. And finally, we urge our PSC delegates to vote at the May 9 Delegate Assembly to endorse the five demands and to protect the organizers and participants of the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment from any impending repression or retaliation.CUNY Rank and File Workers and All Supporters* Call on the PSC to Endorse the Five Demands of the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.