Dear President Sexton,
My name is Jessica Lubin and I am a junior in CAS majoring in Journalism and History, with a minor in Italian. I’m writing to you tonight to tell you that Take Back NYU does not represent my opinions. From the moment I found out about their occupation in the wee hours of the night, I was aghast. I read their grievances online and could not see where they came from. The only one that I could fully agree with was tuition stabilization, but then again I feel that every college student taking out loans across the country feels the same way. Their grievances were a hodgepodge of requests. I couldn’t see where some of them came from, especially the ones related to Gaza, Palestine, Kimmel and Bobst.
What upset me more than their lack of a coherent vision was their means of getting their message out there. I know that they have attempted to get answers through Town Hall and Senate meetings, but by taking over Kimmel Marketplace—they went a step too far. Yes, everyone noticed but more people were infuriated with the heightened security and disruption of university dining services than actually agreeing with what they were doing. Many stood and gawked outside at the protestors. Countless discussed it on busses, between classes, and walking on the streets, but the majority did not agree or even understand what they were doing or why.
As the day went on I followed the story online. I was curious to see the progress, and to know when all would resume to normal. The protestors were pretty peaceful throughout the day and I even witnessed them dancing in the dining hall—as if it were just a party. They seemed very carefree while protesting an issue that they claim to be so serious about. I don’t remember Rosa Parks dancing in her seat when she refused to move. Or Susan B. Anthony celebrating after she tried to vote before women’s suffrage. So why didn’t the Take Back NYU students follow their lead since this issue is so important to them? Because it’s not that important. Their grievances do not reflect the student population’s beliefs. I believe they should be debated in a better manner, but this is not the answer, and I think they know it.
I am a student employee in the Student Resource Center on the second floor of Kimmel. As I was leaving tonight at 9 p.m., I heard the 50 or so students rushing to join the protestors. I heard guards yelling, “Get back.” I heard running and screaming. This is something that I don’t want to hear again. Not only did it unnerve me that this was happening just over my head, but I couldn’t believe that it was happening in the first place. For the first time in two and a half years here at NYU, I did not feel safe on campus. While there was a security guard a few feet away from me at the bottom of the escalator, I felt that something violent was going on upstairs and I did not want to be there anymore. I couldn’t believe how the day had gone from eerily quiet at 11 a.m. when I got to Kimmel for a meeting, to reckless and disturbing. I just wanted out of the building. But more than that, I wanted those students above me out.
They do not represent my viewpoint. I am embarrassed to call them my classmates tonight. Thank you to the administration for handling the situation the best way that they could, I only wish that my peers would cooperate, get off their soapbox and work with the appropriate avenues to address their issues. I also hope that those in the position to make decisions, like you and the Board of Trustees, listen to and work with them to find a solution. I know that it will take time and I only hope that these students make that time and understand that they can’t change the world in one night.