FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2015
Student Sit-In Forces NYU to Reconsider “THE BOX”
[New York, 11 December 2015] Students activists from the Incarceration to Education Coalition are meeting with high-ranking New York University administrators this Friday, December 11, to discuss sending a public letter from the university to the Common Application. This meeting comes in response to an IEC action last Friday, December 4, in which student activists staged a sit-in at NYU’s Welcome Center in support of the “Abolish THE BOX” campaign.
At the sit-in, the IEC demanded that NYU publicly reject the Common Application’s practice of requiring applicants to disclose criminal records and high school disciplinary infractions. Students occupied the Welcome Center, starting at 1:30pm, disrupting campus tours for prospective students. There was also a gathering of support outside the center, which included artistic performances and collective protest by students of color, people impacted by mass incarceration, and allies. IEC remained in the Welcome Center until top administration officials came down to speak with the protestors. The students negotiated with Lynne Brown, Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs.
This action comes on the heels of decisions by New York City and the federal government to Ban the Box for employment. Students at George Washington University, Princeton, and SUNY have joined with IEC to form a national coalition to Abolish THE BOX on the Common Application. The campaign to “Abolish THE BOX” at NYU is fueled by demands for racial justice and an end to mass incarceration, as well as over two years of dialogue with NYU’s senior administration. NYU alum and IEC organizer Eric Sturm noted, “NYU leadership has responded to IEC’s work by stalling decision-making and implementing an ineffective reform that does not address the root of the issue.”
The IEC is a group of NYU community members, with and without criminal records, working to end discrimination against formerly incarcerated college applicants. IEC is founded on the principles that education is a human right, and that members of NYU have an active obligation to expand access to education, while working for racial, economic, and social justice. IEC organizers emphasize that THE BOX does nothing to promote public safety, and that college education is the best way to reduce recidivism for formerly incarcerated people.
Cory Greene, formerly incarcerated NYU alum and IEC organizer, asserts, “THE BOX does not make us safer, and it is not radical to abolish THE BOX. It is simple justice.”
Contact 1: Cory Greene 347-575-6900, CoryHolla@gmail.com
Contact 2: Sumathy Kumar 914-274-0736, Sumathy.firstname.lastname@example.org