Wednesday, November 30

The New School Open Discussion

On Monday, November 28, New School faculty, staff, and students gathered in an freshly painted Kellen Gallery to discuss the future of the occupiers and the space. University Student Senate led the open dialogue. President David Van Zandt and Provost Tim Marshall were also in attendance.

Before discussing the matters of Kellen Gallery, University Student Senate secretary Melissa Holmes announced that the "open dialogue" will begin with people "telling their stories."

Adam Rodriguez, a Parsons student and Kellen Gallery worker, was first to speak. Without a doubt, Rodriguez displayed his anger towards the occupiers, continuously blaming them for the "defacement of the gallery."

While Rodriguez was still speaking, a graduate student sitting in the crowd interrupted him and questioned his choice of words, specifically choosing to call the occupier's work "graffiti" and not "art."

"Shouldn't art be political?" the graduate student asked.

Many agreed, until the graduate student randomly began questioning the University Student Senate's position.

"Who are you guys?" he questioned. "Are you administrators?"

A bit taken a back, Holmes quickly answered the graduate student that the University Student Senate are the "mediators" for the open dialogue. While all of this was going on, President Van Zandt and Provost Marshall said nothing.

For an hour and thirty minutes, Parsons faculty, Kellen Gallery workers, and occupiers continuously expressed their opinions, with many wanting the space to be restored as a gallery.

With 30 minutes left of the allotted 2 hour time, a huge portion of the audience had already left. Holmes asked the rest if it would be appropriate to "vote" on what to do with Kellen Gallery and the occupiers.

Many agreed that it would be ridiculous to have 30 people "vote" for the whole university. The University Student Senate agreed and decided that the best way would be to send out a mass e-mail to all university students to either "cast their votes" or "send suggestions for a new space the occupiers can use."

At the end of the open dialogue, nothing was accomplished.

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