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[The] New School Free Press Issue 6, November 30 - December 13, 2011 Behind the Writing on the Wall: What Actually Happened Inside the All-City Occupation The Lang Science Department — An Experiment The Opinions Section: Occupied 2 Miles Kohrman [ins&outs] TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor in Chief Managing Editor Amanda Aschettino 3 4 6 7 8 9 The Sheikh and I How to (not) make a film with Caveh Zahedi Occupy The New School What went down at 90 Fifth Ave. + Death of an Institution Cooper U
  [The] New School Free Press Issue 6, November 30 - December 13, 2011 Behind the Writing on the Wall:  What Actually Happened Inside the All-City OccupationThe Lang Science Department — An ExperimentThe Opinions Section: Occupied  Editor in Chie  Miles Kohrman   + Managing Editor  Amanda Aschettino Editors [News]Rey Mashayehki[Arts & Culture]Elisabeth Sherman[Opinions]Kimberly Lightbody [Photography]Courtney Stack[Copy] Ashley Chervinski Deputy Editors Chris Hooks, Jill Heller,Michael Kaplan,Eric Fernandez, Cal Stamp,Harrison Golden  Reporters  Ada Akad, Danielle Balbi, Stephany Chung, Lara Hannawi, Emily Katz, Aaron Light, Brianna Lyle,Joey Mulkerin, Richard Rabeau, Andrea Vocos Faculty Advisors Heather Chaplin, Andrew Meier      + The opinions expressed heirein are thoseo individual writers and not o  The New School Free Press. Please send any lettersor submissions to ns The New School Free Press doesnot publish unsigned letters. Letters &submissions will be edited or length andclarity. The New School Free Press is notresponsible or unpublished letters orsubmissions. ++++  Additional Faculty Editors Charles Taylor,Josh Karant The New School Free Press Published by theEugene Lang CollegeLiterary Studies Department.65 W. 11th St. Room 458New York, NY 10011 = + Designers  Amanda Aschettino,Courtney Stack + Design Editor Daisy Georey  2 [ins&outs]    T   A   B   L   E   O   F   C   O   N   T   E   N   T   S Howoftendoyougettheopportunitytobecompensatedwhiledoingsomethinggood? If you want to help someone create a family of their own, and you are a woman ingood health between 19 and 29 years old, you may be eligible to be an egg donor. MyDonor is a New York City based egg donor search program. You’ll becompensated for your time and effort, and, most of all, feel good knowing thatyou have contributed to their lives. For more information,visit or email us at or simply call us at 212.349.0011. We’ll be happy to respond. MyDonor Egg Donation...With Care   Letter to the Editor I eel like a crotchety man yelling rom the sidelines. It’s your show and I respect how you’ve handled it. But because I’ve devoted three years to the paper I think I’ve earned the right to give you an honest critique o how it’s changed. I’ve told the current board beore that Ilike the idea behind the redesign. Readers now have dierent news habits and organizations need to adapt to that. Since most people nowget breaking news online, print publications need to shit their breaking coverage to the web and their print product into a longer analyticalorm that helps readers digest the constant stream o data they’re bombarded with.But in the last issue, the redesign looked like a huge gamble that ell short. The layout is ull o small mistakes (a proud  NSFP  tradition)and the graphic choices seem arbitrary. I you put so much emphasis on graphic design, you must execute. The many small mistakes andshortalls throughout the issue give it a garbled voice that comes o as amateur.It has no banner, which I think is indicative o how the redesign shredded the brand and whatever gravity that the paper had beore. And I think a lot o the alumni dislike the redesign because that brand was totally abandoned. Sure, it’s purely sentimental; we nurturedthe identity o the paper or years. But it was also a symbol that told people that we should be taken seriously. The three onts are also odd,and again, I like the idea behind it. But right now, it looks cheesy and contributes to the garbled voice/brand. The idea is really smart: distinguish dierent sections in subtle ways. But because they are all so distinct, it conuses the voice. Within each section, it’s negligible, but when they’re all next to each other like on the ront page, it looks like a yer or a 1920sthemed 8th grade dance.There are a lot o other little things, but there always are so it’s not air to nit pick. The two things I mentioned above best represent theproblem with the redesign.  The Free Press looks like  Inprint  and the  Lang Student Dispatch, two slapdash papers the alumni tried really hard to distinguish them-selves rom. Both wanted to be very graphic and lacked cohesion which sunk their brand/voice.Don’t take this to mean I want you to do things the way we did them. Progress is good, but this progress looks like a regression to some-thing that a lot o us tried to be better than.-Aidan Gardiner, The New School Free Press News Editor 2008-2011 In Response   The old editorial board o  The New School Free Press prided itsel on giving the newspaper an “identity.” They had reason to be proud —compared to what the newspaper had once been, they transormed it into a coherent and inormative publication, one with a solid reader-ship and a respectable reputation.But when the new editorial board took over the newspaper, we quickly realized that its “identity” wasn’t working anymore. The articles were well-written and the design was proessional, but there was an inherent problem: every two weeks, we published a paper that ap-peared to hold breaking news, but that, in reality, held articles that were outdated and irrelevant by the time they were read.Logistically, we couldn’t make our newspaper a daily, or even a weekly. So we did this.The redesign o  The New School Free Press may have “shredded the brand” that the old board built. But that was the point. Our printpublication now contains only a ew longer, in-depth eature articles, while our website is updated daily with shorter, more timely stories. While everything that we publish — on web and in print — is still important and inormative, our layout needs to mirror the type o paperthat we are. We can’t masquerade as a daily newspaper with breaking news when, in act, our print content is now much more magazine-ey.The redesign o our paper is not a regression. It represents, rather, our growth as a publication We no longer look like a daily newspaperthat ocuses on spot news. We look like what we are: a bi-weekly newspaper with long eature stories.The current editorial board spent a sub-stantial amount o time deciding how tochange the design o our newspaper. It was a not a decision that we took lightly. We regret that certain members o theold editorial board aren’t happy withthe current  New School Free Press , espe-cially considering how much their eortshelped us get where we are. But our newnewspaper is a denite step in the rightdirection, in terms o both content anddesign. The New School Free Press hasnally entered the 21st century o jour-nalism. We moved to the web, and welaunched an overhaul o our print edi-tion. That overhaul merited a acelit —one that would make us look more like anews magazine, and less like a pseudo-  New York Times .-Kimberly Lightbody, The New School  Free Press Opinions Editor 38476101112 The Sheikh and I  How to (not) make a lm with Caveh Zahedi Occupy The New School What went down at 90 Fith Ave. Death o an Institution Cooper Union considers tuition Dissecting a Science Department The mystery department at Lang  The New Youth o AA   Examining the rise o teenagers in Alcoholics Anonymous The Making o a Literary Magazine Critics, poets and essayists come together to tell the story o The New School  The Opinions Section: Occupied  An outsider’s perspective- how DVZ successully handled the occupation A statement rom the occupiers and a note rom DVZ    Two Dierent Perspectives 9 Get it Done To-do lists rom New School students  Front page photos: top: Daisy Georey,bottom: Andrea Vocos  [News]   The Sheikh andCaveh Zahedi I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Any-more (1994) In the beginning,Zahedi calls this lm “an experi-ment in aith” and an attempt toprove that God exists by docu-menting a trip to Las Vegas withhis estranged ather and hal- brother. The lm drew ack orone scene in particular, in whichZahedi tries to convince his dadand brother to take ecstasy withhim on camera. Whether or notZahedi succeeds in ullling theloty metaphysical goals he setsor the lm is anyone’s guess. In the Bathtub o the World(2001) A video diary basedon the concept o lming oneminute every day o 1999 andediting the results down to 90minutes, the lm shows Zahediat his most playul and whimsi-cal, but also his most narcissisticand sel-indulgent. One minutehe’s worrying about a myste-rious indent in his orehead,the next he’s at Sundance la-ment ing not being able to meetMichael Stipe in the bathroom when he had the chance, all cul- 3 CHRIS HOOKS Reporting by EricFernandez & Aaron Light I t is hard to understand why thecurators o the Sharjah Art Founda-tion in the United Arab Emiratescommissioned New School proes-sor and l’enfant terrible o Americanindependent cinema Caveh Zahedito create a lm or the Sharjah Bien-nial, a cornerstone o contemporary art in the Middle East. Surely some-one along the line would realize thatthe auteur behind the autobiograph-ical “I Am a Sex Addict” would be anill-tting choice or the most impor-tant cultural event in the Emirates, aconservative autocracy most amousor its extravagant wealth and hu-man rights abuses.But commission they did. Withthe promise o $15,000, money romthe Emir o Sharjah himsel, Zahedilet New York in the dead o winteror the arid Gul State. With NewSchool students in tow as internsand production assistants, he set outto make a movie about the experi-ence o making a movie in Sharjah.One year later and the lm is banned in the United Arab Emir-ates, having never been shown atthe biennial it was commissionedor. Zahedi and his crew have beenthreatened with arrest i they return. A year-long legal battle about therights to his surviving ootage hasonly recently been resolved in his a- vor. Now, the director is working ona eature-length version o his story;a movie about censorship, politics,religion and lmmaking itsel.“I think they thought that becauseo my name, I would know what todo and what not to do in a country like that,” Zahedi, an Iranian-Ameri-can, said. “I didn’t.”When Zahedi accepted the gig, thecurators gave him three guidelineshe was required to ollow: no rontalnudity, no mockery o the prophetMuhammed, and no derision to- wards the government o the U.A.E.or Sheik Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi o Sharjah — who unded the biennial and whose daughter, theSheikha, ran it.“They didn’t make it sound se- vere at all. They made it sound likeI could do whatever I wanted, i Iavoided a ew specic things,” Za-hedi said recently in the basemento a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, where he lives with his wie and son.“It sounded like I might have to cutcertain scenes or the biennial, butthat I could do whatever I wanted with my own ootage.”It’s air to say that Zahedi ollowedthe prohibition against nudity to theletter. But in the nished product,“Plot or a Biennial,” the director rst bumps against, and then steamrolls,the second two directives, identiy-ing almost every kind o politicaland cultural sensitivity he can andconronting them ull-orce.Just a ew o the highlights: arow o Indian kids, the children o migrant laborers, dance the can-can to the Islamic call to prayer. A Palestinian working with the bien-nial describes pervasive racism inthe Emirates. In one scene, Zahediconvinces a local Sharjah resident,ater a great deal o coaxing, to play Sheikh al-Qasimi, the Sharjah big- wig, in an elaborately staged kidnap-ping plot, ater which, in one itera-tion, the Sheikh comes to his sensesand changes the labor laws o Shar- jah — a sore spot with the country’sruling elite, as Human Rights Watchaccuses the U.A.E. o exposing mi-grant workers to “severe exploitationand abuse.” Closer to home, Zahedishows how the Sheikh’s daughter, who ostensibly helps run the pres-tigious art oundation, is never actu-ally in her ofce. Day ater day, her  The Films of Zahedi secretary oers the same excuse: theSheikha is “praying.”So it’s unsurprising that the lm wasn’t warmly received when Za-hedi submitted a cut to the estival.First, the lm was banned. Then, thedirector and his crew were bannedrom the country, along with his stu-dent assistants, and threatened witharrest i he returned. The U.A.E. isone o ve Muslim-majority coun-tries that has the death penalty or blasphemy, the likely charge.But Sharjah oundation ofcials weren’t content to merely preventthe lm rom being shown at theestival. At rst, the oundation de-manded that all scenes reerring tothe Sharjah Art Foundation or theSheikh be deleted, which wouldhave constituted the majority o themovie. Eventually, Zahedi and theoundation worked out a settlement which allowed him to keep his oot-age.Now, Zahedi is working on a ea-ture-length movie about his experi-ence in the U.A.E., the making o themovie, and the ght aterward. OnNovember 11, he screened a roughcut o the new movie, “The Sheikhand I,” or his Lang contemporary cinema class, his lawyer in tow. “T he Sheikh and I” is a whol-ly remarkable lm. Instead o anhour-long piece or a biennial, un-likely to be seen much again, Zahedihas wrested rom the experience adeeply layered and involving piece o lmmaking. It is a documentary, in a way, about the Emirates. It’s also anaecting personal testimonial: someo the lm’s most memorable scenesconcern his son, Beckett. And it’s aplayul postmodern meta-narrativeabout lmmaking.Zahedi has talked in multiple ven-ues, most notably the 2001 RichardLinklater movie “Waking Lie,” aboutthe ‘holy moment:’ André Bazin’sidea that lmmaking at its best is atranscendental — and religious —phenomenon. Film is Zahedi’s reli-gion, and one he takes seriously.“Filmmaking is a release or me,and it’s hugely important to me per-sonally,” he said. “Nothing irritatesme more than people getting in the way o my movies.”The United Arab Emirates comesacross, then, as a place specically designed to rustrate the director.Over the course o the movie, Za-hedi systematically ails to be able topractice his religion, stymied by o-cials, unwilling participants, and ahost o cultural conventions.“The Sheikh and I”’s true valueis not simply that it says disparag-ing, and oten true, things about theEmirates — or example, that racismis a widespread problem. The prob-lem the lm poses to the Emir isprecisely that it shows that no one isallowed to say that racism is a prob-lem.As Yassan, the Palestinian bien-nial employee, says in the movie, incountries with no reedom o speech,“no one is allowed to say there is noreedom o speech.” B ut or all o the remarkablethings “The Sheikh and I” has to say about lie in the Gul states, the lmtook a toll on many o the people ittouched. Perhaps the most impor-tant question the movie poses to its viewers: What is the ethical respon-sibility o an artist operating in anauthoritarian state?First, Zahedi employed dozens o Sharjah residents — rom all dier-ent backgrounds — to act as extrasin his movie, and he talked to a greatmany people about lie in the Emir-ates.Now that the lm is known tothe government, Zahedi and his American assistants are saely over-seas. But the impact on the otherso taking part in what is seen by theauthorities as a blasphemous andtreasonous venture is unclear. At the very least, many involved eel per-sonally betrayed.“They’re all urious,” Zahedi said.The director added that he was sur-prised by the hostile eedback hereceived rom some o the lm’s par-ticipants.Rasha Salti, the curator who srci-nally invited Zahedi to take part inthe biennial, is troubled by the e-ect the movie has had on its partici-pants.“Caveh never realized how many people’s eelings he hurt in Shar- jah,” she said in an email. “He never wanted to acknowledge that they eltmanipulated and betrayed by him.”Zahedi also said that he doesn’tknow what has happened to any o the people he lmed in the movie.He said he has been advised not totry to contact them, as his emails would likely be read by the authori-ties.Some actors are more vulnerablethan others. O particular concernto Zahedi — and to the viewer — isa Pakistani migrant, Mansour, whoserves as Zahedi’s driver. It is Man-sour who Yassan speaks o when de-scribing the pervasive racism in theEmirates, and he also takes part inthe scenes involving the kidnappingo the ake Sheik.But others stand to be negatively aected, as well, including Yassanand Zahedi’s translator, Camille. Inone scene that is difcult to watch, Yassan tries to warn Zahedi againstusing an actor to portray Sheik Qasi-mi while being surreptitiously re-corded by the crew. Yassan proceedsto give his most damning indict-ments o lie in the Emirates. Zahedisaid his cameraman misunderstoodthe order to stop recording — but hestill put the ootage in his movie.Camille, a Canadian convert toIslam, was mortied at being part o a movie he elt mocked his religion.He’s currently seeking residency inthe U.A.E., his application may beaected by the lm.Salti remains immensely rustrat-ed and regretul about the situation.“I carry the burden o ailure thatthe invitation to Caveh eventually turned out to be,” she said. “I regret-ted every moment I trusted Caveh.” Y  et even though “The Sheikhand I” is at times uncomortable to watch, it’s impossible to avert youreyes.While Zahedi and his crew were inSharjah that winter, protests in Tuni-sia and Algeria, ostensibly triggered by rising ood prices, were pickingup pace and attracting scattered me-dia attention in the west. Ater they had returned to the States, the ArabSpring came into ull bloom.The Gul states have proved most-ly impervious to the wave o popularprotests. With indeatigable reserveso oreign currency, the Emirateshave been able to attract high-pro-le Western cultural institutions— a branch o the Guggenheim, theLouvre, an NYU campus in AbuDhabi — while masking the autoc-racy within. Zahedi’s movie poses anexcellent and well-timed challengeto the hollow, ake openness o theGul States.Zahedi is condent that he madethe right decisions, and said he hasreceived positive eedback rom oth-er lmmakers.Alan Berliner, the documentary lmmaker, told Zahedi that “youdid everything you were supposedto do as an artist. The act that they  banned it just means you hit the bulls eye.”Bahman Kiarostami, lmmakerand son o legendary Iranian direc-tor Abbas Kiarostami, was morepassionate in his support.“It is an honor to be banned by those Emirati bastards,” he said. minating in taking ecstasy  with his wie on new year’seve, moments beore thenew millennium. Zahedi’sdaily lie isn’t consistently interesting enough to war-rant an hour and a hal o one’s undivided attention, yet, in it’s own way, thelm is signicant or beingahead o its time: a precur-sor to the deluge o video blogs that have since be-come ubiquitous in mod-ern society by way o siteslike Youtube. “I Am a Sex Addict”(2005) Zahedi’s mostully realized lm, I am aSex Addict took 15 yearsto make. By way o reen-actments, home movies,candid conessions andanimation, Zahedi chroni-cles his longtime addictionto prostitutes and the hav-oc his perpetual honesty about it wreaked on hismarriages and relation-ships. Caveh Zahedi and his son Beckett, a main character in his new lm “The Sheikh and I,” at their home in Carroll Gardens. Photos by Eric Fernandez   [News] 4 The Glorious Riseand Ignominious Fallof a Student Occupation  The sound of sirens and helicopters ooded the airspace surrounding the New School campus MILES KOHRMAN, KIMBERLY LIGHTBODY, REY MASHAYEKI Reporting by Danielle Balbi& Stephany Chung O n Tuesday, November 22, Kellen Auditorium was lled to ull capacity asmembers o the New School community turned up or a public orum, organized by President David Van Zandt, regarding thestudent occupation at 90 Fith Ave. Beorethe meeting had even begun, security guards were ushering attendees into an overowroom next door, where they could watch theorum on a live video eed. Tensions werehigh as Van Zandt prepared to address thecrowded room, acing his most difcult test yet as president o The New School.Since November 17, students rom univer-sities throughout New York City had beenoccupying The New School’s Student Study Center, inuenced by the Occupy Wall Streetmovement that has swept across the country. As part o a student-organized “Day o Ac-tion,” thousands had converged on UnionSquare beore marching over to Fith Av-enue, where dozens o students entered theNew School building at 90 Fith Ave. There,they took control o the Student Study Cent-er’s second oor and announced the thirdoccupation o a New School building in three years. Optimistic and energized, the occupi-ers hoped to transorm the Student Study Center into a space where people couldopenly discuss economic issues pertainingto students, organize political actions, andlaunch a national student movement.But ve days into the occupation, as VanZandt stood in ront o more than a hundredpeople in Kellen Auditorium, it was clearthat the occupation o 90 Fith Ave. haddivided the university. An overwhelming ma- jority o the students who spoke at the publicorum were opposed to the occupation, andmany expressed anger at the administrationor allowing it to continue. While a numbero the students there said that they sup-ported OWS and had initially supported theoccupation, they were dismayed by the turno events at the Student Study Center.What had begun as a widely-supportedand inclusive movement had, somehow, de- volved into a tense, convoluted, and unpopu-lar situation. T he most signicant chapter o theNew School community’s involvement in theOWS movement began on a rainy Thurs-day, only two days ater the NYPD evictedoccupiers rom Zuccotti Park. The sound o sirens and helicopters ooded the airspacesurrounding The New School campus as,across the city, students marched and ralliedin support o OWS.By that aternoon, The New School hadound itsel host to a citywide group o student activists. The hope was that theStudent Study Center would become “ahub or a genuine student movement o thesort that really hasn’t existed in the UnitedStates since the ’60s,” said NSSR studentDan Boscov-Ellen, who was involved in theoccupation.As the protesters settled into the StudentStudy Center, they prepared the space ora lengthy occupation, placing a large tableat the landing o the second-oor escalatorto serve rst as a barricade, and, later, as aninormation desk. They plastered signs to the windows and hung large banners out o the building.“The Zuccotti Virus has spread,” read onehand-painted banner, billowing above the building’s entrance on Fith Avenue.“This is an Occupied Building,” saidanother, posted in a window over 14 Street.“Join Us. Take Back That Which is Already  Yours.”That rst night, about 80 studentsgathered on the second oor o the StudentStudy Center. Sitting on tables and chairs,they quickly adopted the General Assembly model, a democratic decision-making pro-cess that the OWS movement has used sinceit began in September. The All-City StudentOccupation then held its rst General As-sembly in 90 Fith Ave. to discuss the intento the occupation and how the occupiers would move orward.“The initial goal behind this occupation was to create an autonomous space to acili-tate political discussion and organization,as well as have radical and experimentalorms o education that were all-inclusiveand open to the public,” said NSSR studentErin Schell, who was active in organizing theoccupation. “There was a desire to push theOccupy movement orward by contributingto the creation o a strong student move-ment.”The occupiers held a number o GAs overthe next ew days, although a press reeze barred reporters rom the occupied oor andorbid any recording or photography. Severalteach-ins and programs rooted in socio-political and economic discourse also tookplace. During one discussion, the ar-letFrench politician Olivier Besancenot deliv-ered a harsh critique o capitalism; anotherday, Paul Mattick, a philosophy proessorrom Adelphi University, gave a talk titled“Demystiying the Economic Crisis.”“There were some days when I thought[eviction rom the space] was imminent,”said Aaron Jae, an NSSR student who wasinvolved in the occupation. “Other days, Ithought we were doing such constructive work that anyone with a social conscience would be crazy to evict us.” D uring the rst hour o the occupationon November 17, when hundreds o protest-ers were still rallying on the street in ront o 90 Fith Avenue, police stood in ront o the building, blocking the doors to prevent morestudents rom entering.Shortly ater, President Van Zandt andProvost Tim Marshall arrived at the scene with a delegation o New School aculty andadministration. As protesters celebrated inthe Student Study Center, Van Zandt spoke with a small group o occupiers at the topo the escalators. They quickly reached anagreement and, per the administration’srequest, the police were called o. It wasdecided that the matter would be handledinternally by the university and that, orthe time being, the occupiers could stay inthe space — so long as they did not damageproperty, disrupt student access to the study space, or violate re codes. The building would be kept open 24/7, and the lights andheat would stay on through the night.“I think they’re carrying themselves inan excellent light,” Van Zandt told The Free Press on the night o the occupation. “I’m very proud, actually.”Van Zandt’s attitude surprised many,especially those who were at The New Schoolduring Bob Kerrey’s presidency. In April2009, Kerrey’s intolerance toward the stu-dent occupiers o the now-demolished build-ing at 65 Fith Ave. led to NYPD interventonand a number o student arrests. Van Zandt,however, appeared determined to ensurethat the situation at 90 Fith Ave. reached apeaceul conclusion.But by the ollowing Tuesday, problemshad arisen between the administration andthe landlord o 90 Fith Ave., real estate ty-coon Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC. At thepublic orum on November 22, Van Zandtannounced that the re marshal had issueda citation to The New School or breakingre codes in the Student Study Center. Thelandlord, meanwhile, had issued a noticeo deault to the university or breaching itslease — a possible precursor to legal actionthat could evict The New School rom the building entirely.“Normally, they don’t do that unless they  want you out,” said Van Zandt to The Free Press ater the orum. “But they haven’t leda lawsuit yet.” A  s the week wore on, the occupationound itsel increasingly isolated rom therest o the student community at The NewSchool. A number o students were upsetthat valuable study space was being occu-pied, especially as nals drew near, and wereangered by the vandalism inside the StudentStudy Center. At the public orum on No- vember 22, many o them complained andlamented the act that Van Zandt was lettingthe occupiers destroy the space. One student, who did not identiy himsel, had takenphotos o the grafti inside the occupationand read some o what had been scrawled onthe walls.“Fuck peace, it’s boring. Let’s uck shit up,” Te view rom 90 Fih Ave. on the Day o Ac-tion as protesters fooded 14th Street   Masked students hurdled down fights o stairs to let more people into thebuilding via the reight elevator entrance o the study center on 14th Street. COURTNEY STACK 
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