After last week's emotionally charged protest at City College -- which led to several arrests and at least one student being pepper sprayed -- Chancellor Art Tyler is ordering an independent review of the pandemonium that erupted on campus.
"As I stated last week, I am deeply saddened that we had physical altercations involving students and police on campus," Tyler said in a statement released this afternoon. "I believe we must do a better job at establishing a safe and respectful campus environment. It begins with doing a better job of talking to each other and sustaining a civil environment for teaching and learning. We must promote civil and respectful discourse. It is our only hope for moving forward together."
Tyler is planning to stop by the College's Participatory Governance Council tomorrow to propose three initiatives that'll hopefully promote "a respectful campus climate" -- in other words the exact opposite of what we saw last week.
For starters, he wants an independent review by an outside consultant regarding last week's events, including recommendations for improvements in managing campus demonstrations in general.
Tyler is also proposing a Task Force on Civil Discourse and Campus Climate to assess campus climate and formulate processes and procedures for ensuring "open, free, safe and respectful dialogue" between the college constituencies.
Lastly, Tyler is asking the College's Crisis Management Team, an existing group of students, faculty and staff, to host a community forum where everyone can discuss any issue related to the college.
Last Thursday evening, two students were arrested and another was pepper sprayed during a heated protest fueled by the ongoing instability and possible closure of the college. After a rowdy stand-off with police, demonstrators occupied Conlan Hall overnight, demanding the resignation of Robert Agrella, the special trustee who was installed last July to run the school in the wake of its closure. Agrella had implemented a controversial plan that would require students to pay or establish a payment plan prior to registering for classes.
"I think everyone on the City College campus and in the larger community agree that violence is not a means to solving disagreement," Tyler said. "We must do better."