2006_12_joannachemiard.jpgA day after the Daily News reported that City College had allowed a campus center to be named after two controversial figures on its cover, complete with scorching editorial criticizing the school, City College's chancellor Matthew Goldstein had the sign taken down. The center was called the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community Center. Guillermo Morales was a radical for Puerto Rico's independence and made bombs, including one that killed four people at Fraunces Tavern in 1975. His fingers blown off while making a bomb, but he escaped from Bellevue to Mexico and now lives in Cuba. Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Liberation Army. In 1973, she killed NJ State trooper Wayne Foerster, she escaped from prison in 1979, headed to Cuba and now goes by Assata Shakur. There is still a $1 million reward for her capture.

Apparently the trustees never approved the sign! We're confused, because the News reported, "The Morales/Shakur Center got its name in 1989, a reward to radical students who took over City College's North Academic Center to protest a proposed tuition hike." So, the sign has been there for 17 years, but the board never approved it? Nice! Especially after the school told the News on Monday they weren't going to take it down. The groups that use the center are the Students for Educational Rights, the Student Liberation Action Movement and Dominicans 2000.

2006_12_chesmiard2.jpgCity College reaction was mixed about the sign. Some didn't realize the center was named after a "terrorist" while others said Shakur is a hero and was framed by the government. The Daily News story was prompted by a letter from student Sergey Kadinsky who wanted to "raise awareness and raise a debate." Our commenters had some interesting POVs yesterday:

- Its one thing to name a center after someone like Malcom X - who, while controversial and sometimes vitriolic is seen by many as a community hero. Its another to name it after a cop murderer on the FBI's wanted terrorist list. That is simply insulting to every man and woman-in-blue who put their lives on the line to protect the public.

- this whole assata shakur thing is bullshit...the dominant group in America (Whites) do not want her name removed from the sign simply because she is a 'cop-killer', but because she is a 'black militant' whose main goal is to 'terrorize' and shake the very foundation of the U.S. racist structure in which rich whites have strived so long and hard to maintain and protect. she represents everything the social, political and economic elite in this wretched country hate--someone from a disadvantaged group who 'doesn't know their place'.

What do you think of City College's decision to de-sign the center? And former Governor Mario Cuomo, who had vetoed the tuition increase at the time, told the NY Times, "Considering the problems we have in society. I’m not sure this is one of the major upsets to our tranquility and equilibrium."