Conversation, debates, but no solution—yet. Melissa Holmes and her two fellow University Student Senators moderated the Town Hall meeting held in the newly painted Kellen Gallery on Monday. Over the weekend, volunteers had painted over the walls that have been graffiti-ed by some of the occupiers. While a variety of opinions were heard, no conclusions were drawn as to whether Kellen Gallery will be offered again to the occupiers.
Among the first to speak was Adam Rodriquez, a student worker who has worked at Kellen Gallery for two and half years. He expressed his disappointment in the administration’s lack of judgment. “Where is the common sense?” he asked. The administration had seen the occupiers vandalize the study center at 90 Fifth Avenue, and Rodriquez wanted to know why the administration did not foresee that the occupiers would trash the gallery too. “It looks like we have no control over the school,” said Rodriquez. He was also concerned about losing his job at the gallery, but the curator clarified by saying student workers will still get paid.
Many had hoped that the New School Occupation would provide a “space for discussion and conversation.” The point many student occupiers tried to get across was that the graffiti was done by a minority within the group. “The minority didn’t get what they wanted and set out to make sure no one else got what they wanted either,” said one student occupier. One person proposed that the graffiti should be perceived of as art. “Shouldn’t art be political?” he asked.
Time and again, Holmes tried to “take the temperature” of the crowd to see if a decision could be made about the fate of Kellen Gallery.
The assistant director of the gallery expressed that she is “not sure [Kellen Gallery] is the best place to carry out the conversation” because “the space has become loaded.”
“The student movement is one of the most important things I can see myself partaking in,” said Ted, a student pursuing his masters in Philsophy at the NSSR, “we need a space.”