NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A published report Monday said City College of New York has suspended two students indefinitely, after they were allegedly accused of trying to incite a riot in a protest against the shutdown of a community center.
The students – senior Khalil Vasquez, 22, and sophomore Tafadar Sourov, 19 – told DNAInfo they were stopped by campus police and the NYPD Monday when they tried to go to class, and were told they were no longer allowed on campus, according to a DNAInfo report.
On Thursday, they were protesting the closure of the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Student and Community Center, located in the North Academic Center at City College in Harlem, the publication reported.
The protest Thursday became heated, and campus police ended up using pepper spray and arresting a college alum on charges of disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a minor, the publication reported.
Vasquez complained to the publication that City College was trying to “squash political dissent.”
Sourov also told the publication he thought City College was trying to halt the effort to save the student center.
Protests against the closure continued Monday, as students demonstrated outside the administration building at City College and marched through Hamilton Heights to Broadway, the publication reported.
A Facebook page also has been set up on behalf of the shuttered student center.
“The Morales/Shakur Center–won through 1990s CUNY struggles–has been an invaluable space for community groups to meet on campus, for students to connect with their political elders, and for movement histories to be retained and shared in Harlem,” the Facebook page said. “The Center has provided a space for students to organize around a number of issues recently, including the addition of gender identity into the school’s anti-discrimination policy, and the combating of rape culture at City College. The closure of this space is a serious assault on our right as students to organize and cultivate community.
The community center was just one room, but organizers said it was a space for gay and lesbian activists, women’s rights groups, and other community groups, according to a New York Times report last week.
But critics complained about the onetime City College students the student center honored with its name, the newspaper reported.
William “Guillermo” Morales was a leader of the FALN Puerto Rican who lost his fingers and eye when a bomb he was making misfired, and fled to Cuba after escaping from custody at Bellevue Hospital in 1979. Assata Shakur was a member of the Black Liberation Army who was convicted of killing a New Jersey State trooper in 1973, the Times reported.
City College decided the room will be turned into an annex for the school career service office and closed the student center earlier this month, the newspaper reported.
The student center was given to students following protests over tuition hikes in 1989, DNAInfo reported.
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