The space the group was occupying, however, wasn’t owned by the New School itself but was leased (or rather borrowed, as it was “leased” rent-free), and before too long the owners started making noises about evicting the occupation. Fire Marshals were called. The New School offered to relocate the group to the Kellen gallery, another NS space a few blocks away, with a commitment to let them stay until the fall semester ends in late December.
The occupation voted to accept the offer at a mass meeting on Tuesday night, but the vote wasn’t close to unanimous and some charged that non-occupiers had been sent in to tip the vote. As a result, one group moved to the new space, while another stayed at the old, and set up their own blog.
In the early morning hours of Friday, November 25, the group that stayed behind at 90 Fifth Avenue released a statement saying that they had received word of a planned police raid, and that they had “chosen to barricade all entrances to this space and will defend it by all means available to us.”
Then they left.
What exactly happened at that point isn’t completely clear, but New School officials say that the group abandoned the occupation during the night, and that some of the occupiers then vandalized the Kellen Gallery with messages that included “Spoiled New School Anarchists,” “Free Education,” “Pussies,” and “Cops Out Of CUNY.”
By morning, there were just five people left in Kellen, and the New School president asked them to leave so that the space could be cleaned and painted. They did.
The New School says that they hope to have both previously occupied spaces reopened by Monday morning. They intend to return the space at 90 Fifth Avenue to its previous use as a study area, and have not yet announced whether they plan to offer the Kellen Gallery to the occupation again.
- The New School Free Press, which has been covering this story since the beginning. (Twitter here.)
- The original blog (and Twitter account) of the occupiers.
- An early critique of the political and interpersonal dynamics of the occupation.
- The blog of the group that stayed in 90 5th Avenue.
- Another blog that may or may not have been put together by the 90 Fifth group after they left.
- Messages to the New School community from its president, including several relating to the occupation.
- A New School student’s criticism of the Kellen vandalism.
Update | Here’s a Flickr photoset from a NS person. The first six shots are of preparations for the Kellen occupation, and the rest are of graffiti left behind by the 90 Fifth Avenue occupation.