CUNY Moves David Petraeus's Seminar to a Secure Location, but Students Plan to Continue Their Protests

Categories: CUNY, The Military

Photo Credit: isafmedia via Compfight cc
Yesterday a series of e-mails were obtained by Gawker in which the CUNY administration discusses its intention to move David Petraeus's seminar to the 16th floor of West 57th Street due to security concerns. Though administrators posted the notice of the location change on the website a week ago, those announcements made no mention of the heightened security measures or the lockout of all other meetings using the 16th floor. Student protesters are aware of the impending move and are formulating a new protest strategy at the new location.

The e-mails reveal that the administration will require a CUNY ID to access the 16th floor on Mondays, the scheduled meeting day of Petraeus' seminar. The school will also move any other meetings held on that floor so that Petraeus and his class will be the only group meeting there.

The building at West 57th Street, a common classroom building for CUNY students, has a secured parking garage that will allow Petraeus to slip in and out of the building easily.

Sharmin Hossain, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, tells Runnin' Scared that although the tighter security will remove Petraeus from the public eye, the protests will follow him to the building, and that the building itself is more heavily trafficked than the old location in the Upper West Side, not less.

"Him coming in and out is not a central determinant for how we organize," says Hossain.

Protesting Petraeus, Hossain explains, is only part of their mission. Because of his visibility, the former general is a good symbol for what the Ad Hoc Committee is actually after: calling attention to the accommodations the CUNY administration has made to the U.S. military, and to the desensitization to war and violence on campus and beyond.

That includes removing the Reserve Officer Training Corps for all of CUNY's campuses, limiting military recruiters' access to students, and bringing the university's relationship with the NYPD under closer scrutiny.

"We really want to keep the focus of the protest on CUNY as an institution," says Hossain, citing the school's reluctance to dismiss the general under the guise of academic freedom.

"There are many levels of dialog are happening," says Hossain. "It just happens that David Petraeus is a very clear target."

Click through for video of past CUNY protests, including the demonstration that resulted in six student arrests.

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Same old story -- Santa Claus has to move to the North Pole to do his charity.

That's okay; people can still mail him their "gimme lists" -- in case he wants to deliver them from his "mansion" in the sky.


So Hossain thinks Petraeus shouldn’t be at a publicly funded university because a handful of people don’t like his message?

When I was in school I rather enjoyed engaging people whose thoughts and/or opinions didn’t always match mine. I found it rather… educational.

I also wonder if Hossain catches the irony that he is protesting a man who spent a career guaranteeing him that right?


As usual, the central committe has encountered Trotskyites who have a broader mission in mind.  The real issue for undergrads is to prove they are more strident than Harvard.  But wait, it turns out that Harvard now takes the hilarious position that their  ban on ROTC was only because of gay rights.  There was no gay rights issue in 1969 re the US military. Thus, liberal confusion: what is the model? ALinsky gets you screaming, but there is no goal - just screaming (AKA the "Struggle.") Now what?  This is where the Trotskyites go after mission creep and it will all end in price controls for food in Manhattan.  Then, amidst implosion, the voices will return to communist nirvana - global warming.  Maybe mandatory birth control.  Maybe, well, get out the playbook and fill in the blanks.  CAreful about Trotsky, though - he lived in the Bronx for a while.  Thus, baseball could be next. Ban it.  Wait, no, it's popular in Cuba.  What to do in a Trotskyite world?

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