SUNY staff/students resist violent attacks

Chris (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 11:45:35 -0700 (PDT # gurley's time zone)

[Also note you can e-mail protest to:

1. President Lois DeFleur phone 607 777-2131
2. NY Senators Alfonse M. D'Amato phone 202 224-6542 fax 202 224-5871
3. Daniel Patrick Moynihan phone 202 224-4451

I received this through members of the Graduate Student Employees Union/
CWA Local 1188. I thought others would be interested in helping out any
way they can.

In Solidarity,
Ricky Baldwin
GSEU-Buffalo Staff

Forwarded message:

> Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 15:30:53 -0400
> Reply-To: Stony Brook Graduate Student issues discussion list
> From: Soenke Zehle <br00492@BINGHAMTON.EDU>
> Subject: Corrected Press Release-Please repost (fwd)
> Soenke
> Student Coalition Press Release
> October 18, 1996
> We, the coalition of concerned students, have occupied the Couper
> Administration Building at SUNY Binghamton since Wednesday, October 16,
> and will continue to do so until our demands have been met by University
> President Lois B. De Fleur and her Administration.
> On Tuesday at 7:15 PM students attempted to exercise their right
> to free assembly by attending their Student Assembly (SA) meeting. At the
> previous SA meeting President De Fleur and the Student Assembly Executive
> Board misconstrued students' desires to speak out against Judicial Board
> election violations as a "disturbance." Consequently, De Fleur and the SA
> E-Board called an unconstitutional meeting in order to construct an
> illegal lottery system through which only 30 students would be selected to
> attend the meeting. In addition, De Fleur ordered that the University Law
> Enforcement Department (ULED) officers, in riot gear, enforce her idea of
> "ordered liberty." When the students tried to enter the meeting ULED
> officers responded with physical force. After shoving, manhandling and
> beating students, ULED deployed pepper spray directly into students'
> faces. Many who were not sprayed--students, a member of the press, SA
> representatives and ULED officers--were nonetheless affected by the
> concentration of fumes. Though ULED has direct radio access to Harpur's
> Ferry Emergency Medical Service, students were deprived of immediate
> medical attention. When the call for assistance finally reached Harpur's
> Ferry, it was placed by a student manager.
> This violence occurred within a specific context. Since his
> election last year SA President Anthony J. Benardello has been on a
> personal crusade to silence every student voice that threatens his
> reactionary agenda. One of his earliest tactical maneuvers was to remove
> the Vice President of Multicultural Affairs (VPMA) Natalie Bledman from
> her office, and to block at every moment the campaign for her
> reinstatement. Judicial Board elections were anti-democratic to the
> extreme. Candidates were required to state their political stances and
> any student in political disagreement with Benardello was not considered
> for appointment. Most recently he invited, without the support of Board
> members, an alleged CIA agent to speak to the campus as an expert on
> multiculturalism. His advertisements for this event contained an image of
> Nazi soldiers, and claimed multiculturalism is "The New Fascism." By
> refusing to condemn these actions, the University Administration provided
> Benardello an unchallenged space for his extremist agenda.
> We are not rioting, we are rallying. A riot is spontaneous,
> unfocused, damaging and potentially violent. What we are doing is part of
> an historical struggle for student rights. We are focused on a goal and
> work toward it intelligently, responsibly and with conviction. The people
> that have united here represent every race, ethnicity, sexual orientation,
> economic background, religious belief, etc.--a truly multicultural
> coalition. We are peacefully exercising civil disobedience and will
> continue to do so until our demands are met.
> Our struggle is not only a struggle of student rights, but of
> human rights. We urge you to take a stand.
> This is not only our fight, but yours as well.

Here's a forward I received on the Binghamton occupation, whicj includes
the text of an AP story on the events. Faculty and staff of color at
Binghamton are also circulating a petition I can forward if anyone would
like to see it.

In Solidarity,
Ricky Baldwin
GSEU Staff

> ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
> Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 01:39:18 -0400
> Reply-to: *PHI180-L Electronic Study Group
> <>
> From: Marc Eagle <bd30001@BINGHAMTON.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Real Deal !
> Students Sit In At Administration Building At SUNY
> Binghamton
> BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) - Rebellious students
continued to
> occupy a state university administration building Thursday night
> in a protest over the behavior of campus security guards and some of their
> classmates.
> A group of 10 protesters met for three hours Thursday
> afternoon with State University of New York at Binghamton President Lois
> DeFleur and other administrators but failed to resolve the situation, said
> university spokeswoman Katie Ellis.
> The students - most of them minority - are upset
over a
> skirmish with student protestors earlier in the week in which campus guards
> used pepper spray. The incident is also part of a larger struggle between
> minority student leaders and its majority-white student government.
> "They at this point in time feel they are not
> represented at all by the student association," Ellis said of the minority
> student leaders, but added that some whites were also
> participating in the sit-in.
> About 30 percent of the university's 12,000
students are
> minorities, she said. DeFleur and the student group are expected to meet
> Friday. In the meantime, the protesters returned to the administration
> building, where they continued a peaceful sit-in throughout the night
> Thursday.
> "They're bringing in their own food, they have music
> going, they had TVs going to watch the coverage of what's happening,"
> said.
> About 100 students moved into the administration
> building's main lobby Wednesday afternoon after campus security guards
> the pepper spray after a group of students tried to enter a student
> government meeting Tuesday. By Thursday afternoon, only about 50 students
> occupied the building, but several hundred more were clustered
> around outside.
> "I'm very upset that this looks like a bunch of
> minorities running around causing a ruckus," said student Dan
Fernandez, a
> member of the school's Philippino-American League. "This is about
> the fact that representation has been denied on a state campus and
> if it can happen here, it can be extended elsewhere."
> The student government had decided to limit the
> who could attend the Tuesday meeting because of prior disturbances by those
> who were upset with recent decisions, such as the elimination of the
> vice president for multicultural affairs, and the appointment of five
> males to the student judicial board.
> "I can't see this as anything other than a racial
> issue," said student Ben Greenzweig.
> Student Association Vice President Jeff Golant said
> judicial board members were chosen on merit only. "Isn't it funny a group
> that's supposed to believe in racial tolerance and multiculturalism
> these people could not represent them based on nothing more but the
> color of their skin?" he said.
> When too many people showed up for Tuesday's meeting,
> campus police tried to keep them out, and used pepper spray to
disperse the
> crowd. Students claimed that campus police abused their power, but Ellis
> said the officers kept their response as minimal as possible.
> Three students were treated and released from a local
> hospital for burning eyes nd breathing difficulties, and one officer
>suffered a
> sprained wrist, Ellis said.
> School officials are continuing their investigation and
> charges are possible, Ellis said.
> In response to the altercation, students held a
> demonstration Wednesday, demanding to meet with DeFleur. In addition for
> amnesty for protesters, the students also are calling for the
> dissolution of the entire student assembly and the reinstatement
> of the student multicultural affairs position.
> "I don't really know what is going to become of it,"
> Ellis said of the discussions. "I don't know if there is a way the
> will be satisfied with a resolution because the administration is not
>really the
> entity that can resolve this situation. It is really a student-student
> The student association is an independent organization
> and largely responsible for its own affairs, Ellis said.
> Marc Eagle
> "Rivers belong where they can ramble, Eagles belong where they can fly" -
> "One song glory, one song before I go" - Rent
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