New School (New York, N.Y.). New School Archives and Special Collections
March 5 2020
Chris Crews was interviewed by Anna Robinson-Sweet on March 5, 2020. In this interview, Crews recounts his memories of activism at The New School during his time as a student in the politics department at The New School for Social Research from 2008-2019. At the beginning of the interview, Crews speaks about arriving at The New School in 2008, when protests against New School President Bob Kerrey and Executive Vice President Murtha were escalating. He describes the initial occupation of the campus building at 65 Fifth Avenue in the fall of 2008, which did not result in Kerrey or Murtha’s resignation, but did result in the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. In the spring of 2009, a small group of students re-occupied 65 Fifth Avenue, and President Kerrey responded by calling the police to remove the students. Crews recounts how Kerrey received criticism from the faculty for doing so, and how continual protests eventually resulted in Kerrey stepping down in 2010. In the second half of the interview, Crews talks about the Occupy Wall Street protests and the student occupations of various campus spaces as part of this movement. He reflects on the difference in how the new president at the time, David Van Zandt, responded to this occupation as compared with his predecessor. Throughout the interview, Crews describes the different factions of student activists at The New School, an understanding he gained through ethnographic studies of campus activism he did as part of coursework. At the end of the interview, he discusses his involvement in the University Student Senate. He concludes by speaking about the lack of awareness about institutional history and the legacy of activism at The New School.
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