Art Students and Faculty Rally for Palestine at Cooper Union


At least 100 demonstrators from student groups at New York City art schools gathered in Manhattan’s Cooper Square this afternoon, waving Palestinian flags and carrying banners calling for the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art’s (CU) divestment from individuals and corporate entities linked to Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza.

Organized by CU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose Instagram account was suspended yesterday by Meta, the protest began at 1pm with a rally that drew support from local residents as well as students and faculty from nearby institutions including the School of Visual Arts, New York University, and Pratt Institute.

Consisting of a standing rally and brief march encircling Cooper Union’s original Foundation Building and $166 million aluminum-encased New Academic Building, today’s action drew connections between the ongoing student movement for Gaza and the Free Cooper Union movement, an organized effort that launched in 2011 in response to administrators’ plans to start charging students tuition.

SJP organizers displayed a massive red banner with white block text that read “Free Palestine Divest Now.”

A group of around 10 self-identifying Zionist Jewish CU students carried Israeli flags. One of them, who declined to use their name, told Hyperallergic that CU SJP’s demands “do not represent the whole student body” and that protesters have “made [campus] feel like an unsafe and unwelcoming environment for Jewish, Israeli, and Zionist students.”

Drawing inspiration from the Free Cooper Union effort, SJP organizers displayed a massive red banner with white block text that read “Free Palestine Divest Now” at the same site where Free Cooper Union activists displayed a similar “Free Education To All” banner just a decade earlier. 

Approximately a dozen police officers were present at the rally. At 2:24pm, six officers tore down the fabric sign to the chants of “Shame! Shame!” from rally participants.

IMG 7854
Carol Dudek with her watermelon pin

“What’s happening in Gaza is so shocking,” Carol Dudek, an East Village resident who wore a watermelon pin to today’s rally, told Hyperallergic.

A design graduate of Parsons, Dudek said she has been participating in the student-led protests around the city because it’s important “for students to see that older generations really support what they’re doing.”

During the rally, organizers distributed pamphlets detailing the “bloodstained” military career of CU trustee Stephen P. Welby and zines recounting the history of Free Cooper Union. The materials also cited CU administrators’ recent response to community opposition to Israel’s attacks on Gaza, citing the firing of faculty member Shellyne Rodriguez. 

“We see who is passing by and who is not at the rally with us,” said a first-year fine arts student at CU who asked not to use their name. “You cannot call yourself an artist if you’re not here because your job is to speak for the people.”

Emmaia Gelman, a public policy and politics professor at Sarah Lawrence College, also attended the demonstration wearing a black shirt that read “Not In Our Name.”

“I and lots of other faculty across the country and around the world have just been so grateful for and so impressed by the student movement [for Gaza],” Gelman told Hyperallergic, calling upon other faculty to support students and keep them safe “from the emerging police regime on college campuses.”

The rally concluded by 3:15pm with no arrests. Hyperallergic has contacted CU administration for comment.

IMG 7808 1
Brooklyn artist Sara Erenthal wearing handmade watermelon earrings
IMG 7828
A group of self-identifying Zionist Jewish CU students stood by the action, carrying Israeli flags.
IMG 7813
The action was organized by CU’s Students for Justice in Palestine group.
IMG 7819
During the rally, organizers distributed pamphlets detailing the military career of CU trustee Stephen P. Welby.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top