The New School in Solidarity with JNU

We, the undersigned, students, faculty, alumni, and staff at the New School University, New York, stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in their protests against the militarization of the campus and suppression of dissent by anti-democratic and divisive Hindu nationalist groups allied with the Modi government.

We condemn the arrest and detention of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the criminalization of peaceful demonstration and healthy debate through the use of anti-democratic sedition laws, and the surveillance, intimidation, harassment of and outright brutality and use of force against members of the JNU community.

We condemn the Modi administration’s part in the complex of factors that led Ph.D. student Rohith Vemula to decide to end his life; we condemn the use of party machinery to expel and intimidate minority and marginalized students who are already underrepresented and face constant discrimination in an Indian university system that largely maintains and consolidates the power of upper caste Hindu elites; we condemn the blatant complicity of the police and mainstream media and the inflammatory statements made by Arnab Goswami, among others; and we condemn this latest attack on academia that the state has also opportunistically used to draw attention away from Dalit struggle on campuses and its part in expelling Rohith Vemula.

We affirm a shared transnational struggle to bring to light and address long legacies of colonialism, marginalization and erasure in our scholarship, institutions, and communities. We find the Indian government’s use of colonial era sedition laws deeply disturbing, and its use of anti-colonial rhetoric to demonize progressive politics manifestly hypocritical.

Recent statements by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Education Smriti Irani are indicative of the fundamental opposition of the current regime to free thought and expression, and show the degree to which BJP politicians enjoy impunity for their part in the systematic suppression of dissent that the Modi administration and its associated complex of Hindu nationalist organizations has carried out since its rise to power. Student protests have been quashed, forestalled, and criminalized through the use of every tactic possible. ABVP chapters across campuses have orchestrated a concerted campaign of intimidation, aided by massive police complicity and the full support of state, police and media, to suppress talks, film screenings, and peaceful demonstrations, threaten and harass students, faculty and staff, and start smear campaigns condoning and inciting the use of violence against scholars deemed “anti-national”. The Modi government routinely targets scholars already made vulnerable by multiple axes of marginalization, seeking to silence their dissent at the expense of their safety and their lives.

The Modi government seeks to criminalize any disagreement with India’s undemocratic actions as “anti-national”. This “anti-nationalism” can only have meaning in relation to an imagined nation that is, at its core, fascist. Such a nation equates the peaceful expression of dissent with violence in order to justify its own brute force, creating a cycle that has no hope of ending when every avenue of democratic accountability is being systematically infiltrated or removed.

As members of a university that was founded on exile and resistance to fascism and that shares with JNU a fundamental commitment to justice, we stand with the courageous and inspiring protests at JNU and call on scholars and allies everywhere to do the same.
In solidarity,

  1. Jasveen Sarna, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
  2. Sabrina Garity, MFA Creative Writing Non Fiction
  3. Melissa Guerrero, Eugene Lang College
  4. Luis Herran Avila, PhD, Politics and History, The New School For Social Research
  5. Joshua Lacle, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
  6. Tamara Oyola-Santiago, Wellness and Health Promotion
  7. Ana Miljak, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
  8. Andrew P. Tucker, Design & Urban Ecologies
  9. Evangeline Scazzero, Journalism+Design Junior, Eugene Lang College
  10. Ryan Khosravi, BA, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
  11. Masoom Moitra, Student Co- Chair, Social Justice Committee, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design

As a co-chair of the Social Justice Committee at The New School, I strongly condemn these actions. They not only have a grave impact on the lives of students who have directly been targeted by the government, they have a long-term impact on the future of institutions that are supposed to  nurture and cultivate lovingly, the minds of students in the country. This is a massive betrayal. The concept of ‘sedition’ is obsolete and must be destroyed! This is an insult to the idea of a democracy!

  1. Geeti Das, PhD Candidate, Politics, The New School For Social Research

The attacks on Rohith Vemula, MM Kalburgi, Kanhaiya Kumar, FTII, and JNU are the actions of those who respond to their own fear by trying to create it in others. No student should find themselves left with only the hope of “knowing other worlds” because the one in which they find themselves so devalues their brilliance and their humanity. A just and democratic society can have no reason to meet peaceful dissent with brute force.

  1. Nihira Ram, Freshman, Eugene Lang College
  2. Kumar Kartik Amarnath, MS, Design and Urban Ecologies; School of Design Strategies; Parsons School of Design
  3. Jamie Piper, Screen Studies, Eugene Lang College, Sophomore
  4. Aliyah Hakim, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
  5. Mariana Bomtempo, School of Design Strategies
  6. Gamar Markarian, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons
  7. Sascia Bailer, MA Theories of Urban Practice, Parsons
  8. Nicholas Allanach, Dir. of Academic Operations (& alumnus, 2006)
  9. Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  10. Kelsey Podaras, Eugene Lang College
  11. Adriana Herrera Perhamus, BA Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
  12. Silvia Resende Xavier, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design
  13. chris crews, Politics, New School for Social Research

An attack against one is an attack against all.

  1. Katyayani Dalmia, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, New School for Social Research
  2. FaDi Shayya, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
  3. J. Ricky Price, PhD Candidate Politics, New School for Social Research
  4. E Condon, BA/BFA dance/fine arts
  5. oona sullivan, BA, Psychology, Eugene Lang College
  6. Suhyun Choi, Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design
  7. Rachel Heiman, Associate Professor of Anthropology
  8. Horace Charles, Administrative Assistant, English Language Studies, NSPE (BA, 2015)
  9. Luis L., Philosophy
  10. Margarita Velasco, Politics, New School for Social Research (2008)
  11. Daniel Younessi, PhD
  12. Jawied Nawabi, MA in Economics (2008) and Ph.D in Sociology (2014)
  13. Lopamudra Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, New School for Social Research
  14. Marielle Tejada Taveras, Sociology/Global Studies
  15. Rishabh Kumar, PhD Economics, New School for Social Research
  16. Tait Mandler, Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons
  17. Kieran Gannon, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
  18. Jasmine Rault, Assistant Professor, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College, The New School
  19. Alexandria Eisenbarth, Ph.D., Economics, New School for Social Research
  20. H Howell Williams, PhD candidate, New School for Social Research, Politics
  21. Brandon Fischer, Staff – SPE – GLUE (alumnus, 2015)
  22. Chelsea Ebin, PhD Politics, New School for Social Research
  23. Joel de Lara, Philosophy
  24. Issachar Curbeon Dieng, Global Studies
  25. Johanna Oksala, Visiting Professor, Department of Politics, The New School for Social Research
  26. Blair Bainbridge, MA, Anthropology
  27. Samuel Miller, MA
  28. Tamara Alvarez Fernandez, PhD Anthropology, New School for Social Research
  29. Cagla Orpen, PhD student in Politics and History, New School for Social Research
  30. Kevin Aportela-Flores, MA, Politics
  31. Soheil Asefi, Graduate student, Politics department, and Independent journalist and scholar at The New School for Social Research
  32. Michael Isaacson, Economics
  33. Alix Jansen, MA Politics, New School for Social Research
  34. Ilker Aslantepe, PhD, Economics, New School for Social Research
  35. Jackie Vimo, PhD Candidate, Politics, New School for Social Research
  36. Eli Nadeau, MA candidate, Politics 2016, MFA Creative Writing, 2013
  37. Alexandra Délano, Assistant Professor of Global Studies
  38. Susan Austin, Staff
  39. Franziska König-Paratore, PhD
  40. Eli Lichtenstein, MA in Philosophy
  41. Greig Roselli, MA, Philosophy, New School for Social Research
  42. Alex Altonji, MA Philosophy (2015)
  43. Ramaa Vasudevan, Visiting Scholar
  44. Sara Shroff, Phd Candidate, New School for Public Engagement
  45. Veronica Sousa, MA, Anthropology
  46. Julienne Obadia, Doctoral Candidate
  47. Christopher DellaCamera, Journalism
  48. Katherine Moos, PhD Student
  49. Amanda Zadorian, Ph.D. Candidate, Politics, NSSR
  50. Micha Steinwachs, BA (2015)
  51. George Fisher, Part-time faculty, Mannes School of Music

The right to peaceful dissent without punishment or harassment should belong to all people in civilized society.

  1. Rhea Rahman, PhD Candidate
  2. Rachel Knopf Shey, Assistant Director Wellness and Health promotion, Student Health Services
  3. Jonathan Bach, Associate Professor
  4. Kemi Soyeju, M.A. Psychology
  5. Douglas de Toledo Piza, PhD student, Sociology, New School for Social Research



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