Tuesday, March 28, 2006

from the trenches

I'll replace this post tomorrow when I can put up something proper, but for those of you out there seeking news, this is what has been happening today.

At 12 noon a group of local clergy accompanied by faculty, workers and others marches from the Strike Sanctuary to the intersection of Granada and US1 where they joined a large group of striking workers. Altogether we were about 300 people. The traffic was blocked in both directions on US1 and a group of clergy and workers sat down in the middle of the road and... were promptly arrested. As planned.

We then began to get messages telling us to go to Ashe urgently, and when we arrived we found a group of about 15 students, plus Father Frank Corbishley, had occupied the Admissions Office. By 12.45 or so, the building was immediately secured by the police and it became difficult to impossible to go in or out. A largish group of faculty, students and others were trapped in the lobby of Ashe. Access to the bathroom, the drinking fountain and the vending machine was sporadic for faculty and nearly impossible for others. The students occupying Admissions had no access to bathrooms. Outside of Ashe a large group, mostly comprised of workers, assembled and chanted all afternoon.

Finally, at 5 o'clock, the whole of Ashe was emptied, with the exception of the occupiers. Since then, a vigil has been maintained outside the building and is going on as I write this.

President Shalala has been in to talk to the occupiers (with the exception of Father Frank, whom she insists leaves the room), so far with no concrete results. The students still have been given no access to bathrooms. The vigil will continue as long as the students are inside. If you are reading this and have any inclination, come and show up, even for a little.

Pictures and more tomorrow. In the meantime, read the on-site blow-by-blow posts on Michael Froomkin's blog.

Simon Evnine

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