Professors arrested at Baruch College protest

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 17 members of the City University of New York’s faculty and union members following a protest at East 25th Street where they demanded better funding that included a raise. The protest occurred on December 10 during a meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees, which approves the university’s annual budget request.

Among those arrested for disorderly conduct were Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress union, PSC’s first vice president Andrea Vasquez and PSC secretary Nivedita Majumdar, in addition to other union members, professors and adjuncts throughout the CUNY system.

Police said that the protesters were yelling loudly, chanting and blocking the entrance of Baruch College at 55 Lexington Avenue at around 5 p.m., preventing people from going inside the main entrance and preventing people from leaving for more than 10 minutes. Baruch Public Safety asked the protesters to leave and they allegedly refused to do so.

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Epstein wants student loan forgiveness for low-income NYers

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Late last month, the State Assembly held a hearing in an effort to come up with solutions to the worsening student loan crisis.

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein later said that while it’s yet to be determined by his colleagues if this is a matter to be handled legislatively, he personally supports student loan forgiveness. At the hearing, testimony was also given about whether it’s necessary to regulate student loan servicers in New York.

Over the past decade, student loan debt in New York State has grown by 112 percent, bringing the number of borrowers here to just under three million. Prior to the hearing, the Assembly said the stats highlight “the significant impact the student loan industry has on our population and (how it) needs to be examined with greater urgency.”

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Caroling at Gramercy Park

Carolers in Gramercy Park (Photos by Ira Fox Photography)

On Christmas Eve, the trustees of Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Block Association hosted an evening of caroling, an annual tradition that draws thousands from around the city to the normally private park. The event was hosted by Arlene Harrison, president of the GPBA; Calvary Rector Rev. Jacob Smith and Rector Emeritus Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike. Caroling was led Kamel Boutros, music director at Calvary-St. George’s, with music by Alex Nguyen and Friends.

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UPDATED: Two attempted robberies on Oval

Dec7 ST Christmas security booth

Security booth at Stuyvesant Oval (pictured December 2017)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuy Town’s Public Safety department is on the lookout for two male suspects who attempted to rob an older man as well as a couple in the Oval early on New Year’s Eve morning.

A Town & Village reader alerted us that as he was walking around the Oval at around 12:30 a.m., an older man was mugged by two people. Fortunately, the victim was able to get help from a couple of other people who happened to be around. The reader noticed this happened near the security booth, which was unmanned at the time.

Asked about this, Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk confirmed the incident, but said the victim wasn’t touched by the suspects.

According to Hayduk, they’d approached the man on the Oval and said, “Give us your money.” The resident refused and continued to walk away and they didn’t chase him. However, the pair then tried the same thing with a nearby couple, who also declined to turn over their money, and the would-be muggers fled empty-handed towards First Avenue.

“The first resident immediately reported it to Public Safety who canvassed the area (officers on foot and by video) to no avail,” Hayduk said, adding that the resident asked management not to call the NYPD.

Hayduk added, “The Oval booth is only occupied when the officer is seeking shelter, otherwise that officer is patrolling the Oval or the immediate vicinity.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect management’s statement that there was no physical contact between the suspects and the victim.