Defend Agustin Castro
Drop the Charges on Agustin Castro!
On Monday December 21, 2009, Hunter student Agustin Castro was unjustly arrested by Hunter College (CUNY) security during a protest against the college's administration proposed cuts to childcare space and services. Agustin may be charged with disorderly conduct or more serious charges .
As students, including parents with their children, rallied to defend the Hunter College Children's Learning Center, which provides childcare for Hunter students, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Eija Ayravainen, showed up inside the Hunter West lobby. As students tried to move inside to address Dean Ayravainen for supporting the reduction of child care at Hunter, Hunter's security officers began viciously pushing back against students, trying to force them off their own campus. Protesters were upset but peaceful as security violently shoved the students, including parents with children, back out of the building.
In the course of this incident, Agustin Castro, was arrested. He was doing nothing wrong, only peacefully expressing and defending our right to be on campus and speak with the Dean of Student Services. His arrest was arbitrary and any one present could have been targeted.
Hunter is sending a message that it views students as criminals. At best, they look at us with a paternalistic belief that they know better than we do about what is best for us. They ignorantly talk about child care as a "luxury," when Hunter has historically been the place that women, working class families, immigrants and underprivileged New Yorkers can go for an education. The violence of security was uncalled for in a peaceful protest.
Hunter students should be able to approach the Dean of Student Services of our own school. Hunter administration should have communicated with us rather than sending Hunter security officers to charge on students.
At the most basic level, Hunter has no place charging a student with crimes he clearly did not commit, according to video footage and eyewitness accounts.
We demand that any charges on Agustin Castro be dropped immediately.
We further demand that Hunter investigate the behavior of the Hunter security officers who created an unnecessarily confrontational situation in the presence of children.
We stand by every Hunter students' right to assemble and peacefully protest decisions made by Hunter on behalf of the student body. Hunter should not take criminal or disciplinary action against any of the students involved in the December 21st rally.