The Juilliard School, one of the world’s leading performing arts conservatories, is better known for singing than picket lines. But students protesting a planned tuition hike took over parts of its Lincoln Center campus this week and, when they were later barred from entering a school building, staged concerts on West 65th Street. and led a dance-filled protest.
The protests began on Monday when a group of students occupied parts of the school’s Irene Diamond Building, objecting to a plan to increase tuition from $49,260 to $51,230 a year. posted photos on social media Dozens of sheets of multicolored paper arranged To form the term “tuition freeze”.
On Wednesday, the students said, they received an email from the administration stating that “school space” could not be used for non-school programs without permission. “Advance authorization is also required to post signage, posters or fliers, table in lobbies, solicit or distribute print materials,” the message said.
The students returned to the Diamond Building that day, marching through the halls and stopped outside the school’s president, Damien Voetzel’s door. At one point, some said, they knocked on his door and said: “We know you’re there. Will you meet the needs of the students and freeze tuition?
Later, protesters said, they were stopped by the Diamond Building, and the school told them it was investigating an incident that involved violations “related to community safety”. On Thursday, about 20 students continued their tuition protest on the sidewalk outside, waving placards and accusing the school of using heavy-handed tactics to suppress dissent.
“They have made it very clear that they will not listen to us,” said 18-year-old drama student Carl Hallberg.
Rosalie Contreras, a spokeswoman for Juilliard, wrote in an email that the school is increasing financial aid and minimum wage for work-study jobs on campus to $15 an hour, and that students facing financial hardship. Special funds are available for
“Juliard respects the right of all community members, including students, to express their opinions freely with demonstrations organized in an appropriate time, place and manner,” Ms Contreras said. “Sadly, on Wednesday the demonstration escalated to the point where public safety was called by an employee.”
Mr Hallberg and another student, Gabe Canepa, both said they were part of a campus group called socialist penguinwho called for protest. He said that he did not endanger anyone’s safety.
Mr Canepa, a 19-year-old dance student, said students took the tuition hike seriously because it meant they would have less to spend on “rent, groceries, subway fares, supplies needed for school”.
An online petition by the group says working-class students are at a disadvantage by “increasing the already astronomically high cost of tuition”. It added: “We demand that Juilliard cancel its planned tuition increase.”
Students who participated in the protests said that around 300 current students, or about 30 percent of the one-third currently enrolled, had signed the petition.
The Juilliard events this week appear to have been less controversial than those at school businesses that have taken place elsewhere in Manhattan over the years, including at New York University, Cooper Union and the New School, where police officers wear helmets and wear plastic bags. are shielded. arrested people who took over a portion of the school’s Fifth Avenue building in 2009. But the conflict struck a controversial note.
Juilliard is also facing pressure over diversity issues. In May, CBS News Cited A black student there said she was upset by an acting workshop in which class members were asked to pretend they were slaves, as audio of whips, rain and racial slurs were played. Juilliard told CBS that the workshop, which had been used for years, was a “mistake” and that it regretted that “the workshop caused pain for the students.”
After Wednesday’s protest, several students said they had received emails from Sabrina Tanbara, assistant dean for student affairs, informing them that their access to the Diamond Building had been suspended for investigation.
Unable to enter the building, students protested outside on Thursday, encouraging passing motorists to sound their horns in support.
A young man walks on West 65th Street. Mr. Hallberg played a guitar, and another student cracked a standup bass, raising the labor standard “Which side are you on?”
Some students said they felt they were punished without due process.
Sarah Williams, a 19-year-old oboe student, said she had written to Ms. Tanbara asking what she believed, in particular, that she believed it would be appropriate to detain her from the Diamond Building. He said that he has not received any response yet.
“My resources have been exhausted without any explanation,” she said.
Clarinet student Rafael Zimmerman, 20, said he had received an email from Ms Tanbara informing her to hold an “investigational meeting” with her to get an account of her activity outside the presidential office on Wednesday afternoon. will be contacted. .
“I think we spent too many minutes knocking on that door and singing,” he said, “essentially denying our right to gather and perform.”