Save the Morales/Shakur Center - the last liberated space in CUNY!

TO:

Dr. Lisa S. Coico, President of the City College of New York
Juana Reina, Vice President of Student Affairs at the City College of New York
Pasquale Morena, Executive Director of Public Safety & Security at the City College of New York
160 Convent Ave.
New York, NY 10031

William P. Kelly, Interim Chancellor of the City University of New York
Office of the Chancellor
205 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

RE: Save the Morales/Shakur Community Center! Keep safe spaces, safe!

BACKGROUND:

As of Sunday 10/20, the City College/CUNY administration has taken over the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Student and Community Center. Early Sunday morning, the North Academic Center, which houses the Morales/Shakur Center, and the library were both closed during the day. Though the library has since reopened, the Morales/Shakur Center remains closed, despite a policy for all CCNY buildings to be open 24 hours during midterms week to allow students to study. Police, CUNY Security, and administrators have been refusing to let students into the Morales/Shakur Center, and have already arrested one former CCNY student. The administration has placed a sign in front of the Morales/Shakur Center that reads "Center for Professional Development.” Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Diedre Hill representative informed students in a press release, and in person, that the Morales/Shakur Center has been closed and will be designated furthermore as a Career Resource center. Books, documents, and personal belongings of students were removed from the center and are being held and “examined,” as a means to ensure that “they can be redistributed accordingly.”

An emergency press conference will be held before a CUNY demonstration Monday, 12:30pm, outside North Academic Center Room 3/201 City College at 138th St. and Amsterdam.

ABOUT THE MORALES/SHAKUR CENTER:

The Morales/Shakur Center--won through 1990s CUNY struggles--has been an invaluable space for community groups to meet on campus, for students to connect with their political elders, and for movement histories to be retained and shared in Harlem. For the last 15 years the Morales/Shakur Community Center has been a valuable resource for the college community — From providing lower-cost textbooks, to mentoring services, to printing facilities, and to running soup kitchens. The MSCC has run classes and workshops on political education and the history of City College and CUNY and the struggles peoples have fought and won for open admissions.

In addition, the Center has provided a space for students to organize around a number of issues recently, including the addition of gender identity into the school’s anti-discrimination policy, and the combating of rape culture at City College. The closure of this space is a serious assault on our right as students to organize and cultivate community. Furthermore, the CUNY Board of Trustees plans to impose a policy broadly curtailing our right to political assembly on CUNY campuses at its next November 25 business meeting.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE:

Students for Educational Rights, the Black Student Union, the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, People's Survival Program, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence at CCNY, the Ad-Hoc Committee for the Multicultural Gender Resource Center, the Corbin Hill Farm Share, and countless other student organizations that utilize the public space were not notified, and communication over the space’s reallocation was never relayed to Undergraduate Student Government.


Statement from Morales/Shakur Community Center Director - Alyssia Osorio

“This morning I got a text saying that the Morales-Shakur Center was under attack, and I ran here as soon as I could. Every single campus building was shut down. I saw that they took away our table and everything out of the center, and they replaced our sign with Career and Professional Development Institute.”

Statement from Undergraduate Student Government President – Mel Niere

“I am disturbed by the lack of communication by CCNY administration. Undergraduate Student Government along with the student groups who used the MSCC were not informed about the new plan for student space usage. VP Hill has not only stated the Morales/Shakur Community Center will be replaced,but all student material within the center will be reviewed by administration. The Undergraduate Student Government of CCNY is reaching out to CUNY student governments, local politicians and CCNY
administration officials regarding the situation.”

Statement from Black Student Union Alumni Chair - Rakim Jenkins

“It was a place where students and the community could organize around issues that were pertinent to them,” said Rakim Amalu Jenkins, a City College student and member of the Black Student Union.


DEMANDS:
- The reinstallation of the Morales/Shakur Community Center (NAC 3/201), complete with all of the belongings that were removed from the space; to Students for Educational Rights, and the student body at large.

- A formal apology and explanation from the CCNY Administration with regard to the shutdown of the MSCC and the Library.

- Stop the criminalization of dissent among CUNY students, faculty, and community members, and truly protect First Amendments rights.


Signed,

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