Members of NYU’s Student and Labor Action Movement have set up a sit-in protest and hunger strike inside Coles Sports Center today.
This grassroots technique is another attempt by the group to garner more attention for their continuing fight to save Coles from being demolished as part of NYU 2031.
CAS senior John Smalling explained classes and estranged relationships, not to mention an uninviting future, are not issues for these protestors who are dedicated to creating a fair NYU for all.
“If we need to sit in here until they bring the wrecking ball out in 17 years to keep this institution up, we will,” Smalling said.
He said Coles was his favorite place during Welcome Week, and he did not want to lose such an important landmark of his college career. Other protesters shared this sentiment.
Clark Tristan Cooper, a politics professor and ardent SLAM supporter was present, showing his encouragement for the protesters.
“Any attention is good attention,” Tristan Cooper said. “If it weren’t for The New York Times agreeing with everything NYU does, people would know what is going on here.”
SLAM has been successful with many other protests in the past. In late February, the group’s movement and cause gained massive media traction when Matthew Broderick joined and made an appearance at the Manhattan Supreme Court to testify against NYU, which startled NYU President John Sexton.
“Their efforts are strong but I know Ferris Bueller won’t be at this one, so I hope they don’t get as much media coverage,” Sexton said.
Peyton Woodruff, class of 1995, has been playing at Coles every day since his freshman year, and can still be found hitting J’s from the elbow. Woodruff expressed a mixed sentiment for SLAM’s effort.
“I’m not sure if they’re expecting to see a wrinkled up Miley on top of that wrecking ball or what, but I’m happy if this place gets torn down for a building that actually has air conditioning,” Woodruff said.
Despite the fact that Coles is only open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, SLAM plans to continue their protests indefinitely inside Coles and invite anyone to join the cause.
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