posted 2011-04-06 13:00:12

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Kirstine Jungkurth, President of Hunter Internationalist Club

Contributing Writer

To the Editor,

In a recent issue of the Hunter Envoy (Feb. 23), an article titled “International Socialist Club Clashes with Hunter Security,” dealt with recent harassment by campus security of students who planned to hold an event in solidarity with protesters in Egypt. We, the Hunter Internationalist Club, are writing to protest this intimidation and defend the right to have public speak outs, rallies or protests here on campus.

Furthermore, we would like to add that what happened on Mar. 4, 2010, during the rally here on campus was a police lockdown. As we pointed out on our leaflet released a few days after the rally:

“We are exercising our most basic rights when we protest hikes and cuts that amount to a ‘race and class purge’ of CUNY. But the administration turned Hunter College into ‘Lockdown U.’ For them, it was one big opportunity for a show of force... So on Thursday, massive police presence swarmed the halls and doorways, seeking to intimidate would-be protestors and actually, everyone, in what the administration hypocritically calls ‘the Hunter community.’ The cafeteria was locked tight; NYPD officers rushed to stop protesters from having any sound amplification outside the building; students and faculty expressed outrage at students and faculty being denied entry to campus for hours after the incident if they could not produce a Hunter ID. If you wondered what the CUNY administrators want to accomplish by installing turnstiles and ‘controlling access’ to Hunter, you saw it in action Mar. 4. Welcome to ‘Turnstile World.’”

Lockdown, repression and intimidation of both student and faculty activists in CUNY are not new. We have the courageous example of Miguel Malo from Hostos Community College. In October 2005, Malo was convicted in the Bronx Criminal Court on trumped-up charges of “reckless assault” and disorderly conduct, falsely accused of assaulting campus “peace officers” who in fact brutally attacked him.

We also have the case of staff worker, Carol Lang, and the three CCNY students: Nick Bergreen, Justino Rodriguez and Hadas Their, who were arrested in March 2005 protesting the presence of military recruiters on campus.

Here at Hunter, we have seen this repression escalate as well. In December 2009 student activist, Agustin Castro, was arrested during a protest in defense of the Childhood Learning Center (the charges were later dismissed by the judge).

The Board of Trustees along with the Hunter Administration would very much like to silence all activists and demonstrations that go against their plans of privatizing CUNY. We must stand up against these attacks and we must defend those like the International Socialist Club members who seek to express their political views and exercise their right to protest. Stop the witch-hunt against activists! All cops off campus!

The CUNY Internationalist Club fight for open admissions and for the elimination of tuition; for the abolition of the Board of Trustees, and for student/teacher/worker control of the university.