[I don’t know the full details in the following matter.  As I have been following events this past decade at CCNY, it has looked as though administrations there have used campus security officers in heavy handed ways against student protesters.  I happened to be doing a visiting year at Barnard and Columbia and moonlighting my philosophy of law course at CCNY the year — 1969-70 — when, with the introduction of the draft for students for the first time and the growing recognition of the disaster unfolding in Viet Nam, students generally came alive and began protesting injustices that they were perceiving.  One has the sense that the Bush administration and others to the far right are at this point in history trying to rewrite it in ways that are growing increasingly destructive, both at home and abroad.  Others might want to explore this meeting.  Ron McGuire who sent on the following notice is a CCNY grad and lawyer of that era who often defends student rights being threatened within CUNY colleges — mainly CCNY in recent years.  Assata Shakur, a black Panther, is a controversial figure as the following websites indicate and the reason that the CCNY administration has been trying to close out this student/community center in response to a recent NY Sun article.  She was charged with killing a police man and was shot by two police, convicted, escaped from prison and fled to Cuba. She was classified as a “domestic terrorist” by the FBI May 2, 2005:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assata_Shakur

http://www.assatashakur.org/

Guillermo Morales also fled to Cuba after working for Puerto Rican independence and membership in a group that used bombs as protest instrumentalities:

http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/2002/vol6n22/FBI-en.shtml

Ed Kent]

……………………………………

YOUNGBLOODS, ELDERS and FRIENDS,

Community and Student organizers throughout New York City are being asked to come to an urgent meeting to support the beleaguered City College Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center on Wednesday, January 3rd at 6:30 PM at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church at 463 West 142nd Street between Convent and Amsterdam Avenues in Harlem.

The nearest subway stops are 145th Street on the A/B/C/D or the #1 trains

The Morales/Shakur Community Center has moved the meeting off campus because the last two community meetings at the City College were disrupted by the CUNY SAFE team and CCNY security which barred community members from coming to Community Center..

Since the Daily News published a front page article attacking the Community Center,  City College has removed the sign naming the Center, has threatened the students at the center with disciplinary penalties if they replace the sign and has threatened to review the Community Center’s use of the room where the Center has been located for almost 18 years.

Since 1989 the Morales/Shakur Community Center has been a vital link between City College students and the Harlem and North Manhattan communities. The Center’s name symbolizes the decision of the Black, Puerto Rican and Dominican students who founded the Center to connect their struggle for educational democracy with the struggles of the 1960’s for liberation and self determination epitomized by Guillermo and Assata.

Guillermo Morales was one of the students who organized the historic strike by Black and Puerto Rican students at City College in 1969 that forced CUNY to  implement Open Admissions and establish ethnic studies departments and programs at City College and every school within CUNY.  Assata Shakur, who attended City College after Open Admissions was won, was a member of the Black Panther Party.  The Panthers were one of the key organizations that participated in the Open Admissions Strike of 1969.

The Black and Puerto Rican students who occupied City College’s South Campus for two weeks in 1969 renamed CCNY the University of Harlem. The naming of the University of Harlem reflected a vision that was both local and global. The name symbolized the student’s recognition that the students’ struggle for educational self determination at CUNY was inextricably linked to the history of the movements for liberation and self determination in their communities.  The naming of the University of Harlem also reflected recognition by the students that the success of their struggle for educational democracy depended on the support of the Black and Latino communities in New York City.  Finally, the renaming of City College represented the vision of the Black and Puerto Rican student strikers that the mission of City College and the other colleges operated by CUNY was to empower both the students and the communities from which CUNY’s students come. This meant that City College and the other colleges of CUNY must develop programs relevant to the needs of those communities and to their histories and cultures.

In the 1970’s City College under its greatest President, Robert Marshak, attempted to implement  the vision of the 1969 student strikers. Marshak saw City College as a unique urban university with a special relationship to Harlem, where it was located, and to the history and future of the Black and Latino communities and homelands from which its students were drawn. City College established a Black Studies Department under Professor Leonard Jeffries that soon became the largest Black Studies department in the United States.  More significantly, the City College Black Studies Department developed a uniquely activist academic practice.  Rather than focusing on sterile academic research unrelated to the community, Black Studies professors helped transform City College into a unique institution in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  City College Black Studies Professors organized study groups in the communities,  helped gain recognition for prominent Black Scholars like John Henrik Clarke who had been ignored by the white academic establishment.  The Black Studies department was also instrumental establishing an Afro-Centric Child Development Center and recruiting Haywood Burns to establish the Urban Legal Studies Program at CCNY.  The Black Studies Department also forged links with Africa, holding conferences and events at City College in Harlem that were attended by hundreds of representatives of the emerging African countries.

In 1989 the City College students who led the largest student shrike in CUNY’s history chose to name their Community Center after Guillermo and Assata to symbolize their commitment to the principles of self determination and struggle of their predecessors in 1969.

Since the early 1990’s an important part of CUNY’s attack on Open Admissions has been an attempt to sever the links between City College and the Black and Latino communities.  The City College Black Studies Department has been abolished, Open Admissions has ended  and Afro American students are again becoming rare on the City College campus in the middle of Harlem.

The Morales/Shakur Community Center remains one of the last links between City College and the legacies of the students who struggled for educational democracy and self determination in 1969 and 1989.  The attack on the Community Center’s name is a prelude to an attack on the existence of the Center and its work connecting students with their communities and their histories.

The attack on the Community Center is also part of the state’s current attack of the U.S. government on Assata and everything she stands for.  Not only does the government want Assata dead, but the government wants to define Assata, Guillermo and the liberation movements they participated in as terrorists.

The larger issue in the Community Center is the right of the students, the communities and the progressive movement to define who our heroes are and to recognize the role of freedom fighters like Assata and Guillermo in our history.

Hands Off Assata!
Hands Off the students!
Hands Off the Morales/Shakur Community Center!

Please come to the meeting to plan a campaign of support for the Morales/Shakur Community Center.

Wednesday, January 3rd 6:30 PM at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church, 462 West 142nd Street between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues.  Nearest subway A/B/C/D or  #1 to 145th Street.

For further information call or visit the Morales/Shakur Community Center in room 3/201 at the City College NAC Building.  212-650-5008.

In Solidarity,
Ronald B. McGuire (see demands of the Morales Shakur Community Center, below)

**********************************************************************************************************
Following the community meeting on December 15th, we
have put forward the following demands:

AUTONOMY
The CCNY administration must respect the right to free
speech by
immediately returning the photographs taken from the
Morales/Shakur Community Center sign,
– putting the sign in its original place, and
– issuing a formal apology for infringing on academic
freedom and right to free speech to the entire student
body and members of the Center in particular
– refraining from any reprisals for activity at the
Morales/Shakur Community Center in the past, in the
current situation, and in the future based on the
designation of the space as autonomous in 1989.

ACCOUNTABILITY
The CCNY administration must be open to discussion of
pertinent issues, disclosure of procedure and goals,
and be responsive to democratic input from faculty,
staff, students, and community.

ACCESSIBILITY
The CCNY campus must be open and accessible at all
times to community members and students who wish to
reconsider the relationship of the college to the
surrounding community.

The CCNY administration has until January 2nd to
respond to our demands. In the meantime, we are
organizing on three levels:
1) Legal: We are going to court to get an injunction
and a restraining order to prevent any further
violations against the Morales/Shakur Center.
2) CUNY: Though many students are away for winter
break, we are connecting with groups on and off the
CCNY campus to get student support, raise awareness,
and build for future actions.
3) Community: We’ve received a lot of support from
community organizations and residents, and we must
strengthen those connections to make CCNY open its
doors once and for all.

To add your ideas and energy to this work and to plug
into at least one of the above areas of organizing,
please attend the meeting on
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 3 5:30PM
NAC 3/201
CITY COLLEGE (138th & Amsterdam)
1 to 137th Street; A,B,C,D to 145th Street
(212) 650-5008 for more info and directions

In struggle,
Members of Morales/Shakur Community Center
Students for Educational Rights (SER)
Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!)

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AcademicFreedom
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrivacyRights
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

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