[UPDATE BELOW] Well, that was short and sweet, and everybody gets out of here in time for lunch! Except for the protesters, who were promptly arrested in an efficient, well-organized raid. Because the students had been threatening to "shut down" the New School since April 1st, the fuzz had plenty of time to prepare, and Bob Kerrey wasn't about to let this thing turn into a prolonged media circus like the last one.
It all happened so fast that by the time we realized the student occupiers were, in fact, live-blogging their sit-in, the building was reportedly filling with tear gas. According to this penultimate post on the "New School Reoccupied" blog, "PEOPLE OCCUPYING THIS WHOLE MOTHERFUCKER ARE NOW BEING ARRESTED!!! It took the pigs and new school authorities pepper spray, tear gas, and beating up some bystanders outside." NYPD spokesman Paul Browne tells City Room, "Reports that the police used tear gas or mace are false."
NY1 reports that police have arrested 19 out of the estimated 60 students who occupied the building. It's unclear what happened to the other 40 or so protesters, but let's not rule out a second occupation-within-the-occupation behind a false wall somewhere in the building, ala Inside Man. Or maybe they came prepared with fake NYPD uniforms and blended in during the raid? Who knows—according to the blog there's a solidarity rally now at the 6th Precinct (233 West 10th Street): "Let’s get them free!!! NOW NOW NOW Until every last one is out!"
UPDATE: New School president Bob Kerrey has sent the following e-mail, pasted below, to the students and faculty:
"A Note to the Community
"On December 15, 2008, an unofficial student organization calling themselves the New School in Exile occupied the cafeteria at 65 Fifth Avenue, barricaded themselves into the room, and issued a set of demands. Early on the morning of December 16, a group of students and non-students broke through a fire exit on 14th street and entered the building.
"Although the occupants had violated a number of important security rules, the university made the judgment they were neither an operational or a security risk. Accordingly, we did not file a complaint with the New York Police Department to have the occupants removed. Instead we entered into a process of negotiations with our students and reached agreement on a list of demands including amnesty for all involved early on the morning of December 17. The students left peacefully at that time.
"In January, this same unofficial student organization issued a public threat to forcefully shut down the university on April 1 unless the President and Chief Operating Officer were removed. Following this they were caught stealing an entire edition of the student newspaper on account of a story they regarded as unfavorable to them; and subsequently they vandalized the university's presidential residence.
"During this time the university has allowed and accommodated every peaceful protest, teach-in, and demonstration. We have enforced our rules governing such events in such a way as to permit protests, so long as they don't endanger the safety of other members of the community or destruction of property.
"This morning's illegal occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue was joined by a number of New School in Exile students as well as individuals without any affiliation to The New School. Their claim that this was a simple political protest is false. Their entry into this building was forced, they removed a man who was cleaning the building, took his phone, injured a security officer, and did physical damage to the building.
"Accordingly, in this case the university asked the New York Police Department to remove and arrest those who were trespassing on our property. We suspended, pending administrative review, all New School students who were a part of this action.
"The New School prides itself on civic engagement. We have been and will continue to be a refuge for open and critical political debate. Students and faculty who choose to peacefully and passionately oppose the policies of the university will have their rights to do so protected as strongly as we protect our right to safely and securely operate our university."
President Bob Kerrey