Statement In Support of Pace SDS

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    Pace University
  • Sponsored By:
    Students for a Democratic Society & Movement for a Democratic Society
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We the undersigned members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Movement for a Democratic Society(MDS), and friends thereof, denounce the actions of Pace University in regards to the planned arrest of several SDS first amendment activists on November 15, 2006 at the downtown campus. The targeting of these activists for their efforts to organize an SDS chapter at Pace is reprehensible. President David A. Caputo and the Pace administration have violated the civil rights of the student population and we join with SDS Pace in calling for David Caputo to step down now.

The SDS organizers at Pace were exercising their first amendment rights to demonstrate on the campus of the university wherein they are matriculated students. At the time of their arrest they were demanding the right to free expression and to speak with President Caputo and Dean of Students O'Grady for a redress of their grievances. Instead they were arrested for standing on the sidewalk of the very university they pay to attend.

If a matriculated student cannot express her/his views in a nonviolent manner something is seriously amiss. If Free Expression is denied on the grounds of a college campus where is it protected?

We call upon the board of trustees to request President David Caputo's resignation now in order to ensure that Pace University ceases all attacks on free expression and the civil rights of its student population. We demand that Pace University stop the harrassment of Students for a Democratic Society, a student-led political organization which has indeed applied for a charter. In light of the fact that Dean of Students O'Grady informed Brian Kelly in no uncertain terms that SDS will be recognized - we demand full and unconditional recognition now.

We further demand that Pace University inform the New York Police Department and the District Attorney's office that they will not be a complainant in this matter and want to see all of the spurious charges against the SDS activists dropped now. We demand that all disciplinary charges against individual SDS members be dismissed immediately - fliering on a college campus is a right, not a crime. Our institutions of higher education must do everything in their power to protect free expression and we demand that the students' right to freedom of speech and assembly be recognized immediately.

Lastly, we demand a letter of apology from President Caputo to the students whose civil rights he has violated.