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Students Walk Out, and March Down to Wall Street (Updated With Raw Footage)

As expected, hundreds of students from NYU and the New School showed up at Washington Square Park Wednesday afternoon, before marching down Lafayette Street to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters. “A lot of the problems that Occupy Wall Street is addressing have a particular impact on students,” said co-organizer of NYU Student Walk Out, Christy Thornton, 32. After hooking up with what she said were 60 community groups and what the Times reported were several labor unions at Foley Square, several thousand marched on to Zuccotti Park, per the AP. In the course of the evening, about 28 arrests were made, according to NY1 (update: City Room hears that 23 were arrested), and protesters reported police using pepper-spray and batons to keep the crowd at bay. (Gothamist has video of one such incident.) As you can see from Liv Buli’s report above, the Local was at Washington Square Park to see the start of it all.

Update | 11:15 a.m. Our reporter Yoo Eun Lee was also on the scene and captured the raw footage below. Read more…

In Class With Professor James Franco

City Room sits in on a film class taught by the star of “127 Hours” and “Milk” at NYU, and the first-time professor’s curriculum is as avant garde as one would expect. Soon the nine graduate students will travel to Detroit to shoot a collaborative film with the themes of “rejuvenation and memory.” Of course, the class has its fair share of perks, too. The students’ films will likely get attention from film festivals, and then there’s just the thrill of spending time with Mr. Franco. “I got over being star-struck,” one student said. “But handsome, yes, he is handsome.”

A School’s Closing Creates Uncertainty

RGA ClassroomLaura E. Lee An empty classroom at Ross Global Academy.

With the end of the school year just around the corner, students at Ross Global Academy are eagerly awaiting the start of summer. But some families face uncertain futures when the academy permanently closes its doors at the end of the month.

The New York City Department of Education announced the closure the charter school on East 11th Street at First Avenue in December, citing the reports of the school’s low test scores and high teacher turnover.

With the announcement, parents and staff fought to keep the school open. The school’s founder, multimillionaire Courtney Sale Ross, sent a letter to the Department of Education asserting that the Department did not follow proper procedures and requesting a renewal. Chancellor Joel Klein denied the request.

Richard Burke, executive director of the school, said that the Department has promised to place everyone by the end of the month. But some parents, still bitter about the circumstances of the closure, are angry about the reassignment process.

“We’re displaced,” said Noemi Hernandez, president of the academy’s Parent-Teacher Association. Ms. Hernandez said that although she lives in the neighborhood, she cannot register her two children at local schools without Department of Education approval.
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Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Graduate

Woo!Peter Boothe

A few weeks ago, NYU seniors from Avenue D to West Fourth Street washed their greasy hair and used their parents’ credit cards to buy something nice-looking for the penultimate of college events — graduation. For what seemed like way too many days I stood in line behind glossy moms in white ankle pants at H&M, mingled with round, red-faced Dads on the F train, and dodged double decker tour buses barreling through my streets, working overtime to accommodate all of the neglected aunts and uncles.

I wanted to run and hide, not because I was jealous of all the checks being picked up by parents at Mercadito, nor because those parents then gave their little graduates some “beer money” before they stepped into a cab to retire to their Times Square hotel. Not even because I’m scared of other people’s grandmas (which I am).

No, I wanted to get the hell out of the East Village during those days because from what I could see, all parties involved with the occasion seemed extremely unhappy and unhopeful, both for their own futures and for the futures of everyone around them. Yes, even commencement speaker Bill Clinton.

It reminded me of the misery of my own college graduation. My Dad cried, which I thought was sweet, but my mother assured me he was having a reaction to looking at his bank account. Last week, when I saw a silver-haired man in a Pebble Beach baseball cap painfully clutching the brunch menu while waiting in a throng of other silver-haired men outside of Peels, I assumed it was a similar situation.
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