April 29, 2005

Rally and Protest to end expulsions for drug possession

SUNY New Paltz Campus

Haggerty Administration Building (HAB) / Student Union Concourse


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Event EmCee: Rob Robinson, director, New York NORML and NYCAN, advisor to New Paltz NORML / SSDP, and editor-in-chief, Notes on the Scene

The anxious crowd began to gather in the shadow of the HAB at about 4:10 PM.
The weather was warm and breezy despite predictions of rain.

Student Senator Jenny Loeb begins the speaking engagement to an excited audience of over 100 students.
Click here to hear Senator Loeb's radio interview with local NPR affiliate WAMC.

Ulster County Legislator Hector S. Rodriguez speaks.

Expelled Student Kate Cozik speaks and receives thunderous applause and chants of "save Kate" - perhaps the loudest part of the demonstration as more and more gather.

Left: The crowd packs in to see what all the ruckus is about.

Right: Protestors show off their "Save Kate" apparel.

Student Senate Chair Justin Holmes, reading from his laptop, speaks to a crowd that has swelled to over 200.

Village of New Paltz Mayor Jason West speaks at the peak of the rally.

The crowd, pictured at three angles, at its peak during Mayor West's remarks.


The leftmost picture shows (from left to right) Student Senator Steven Ruggiero holding a sign which reads "Stop locking the classroom door," Student Senator Jenny Loeb talking with Rob Robinson, and Expelled Student "Imaginary" Steve.

The middle picture shows about 1/3 of the crowd, with three students holding signs which say "RISE-UP," signifying their support for Student Senate Resolution 6, the RISE-UP Act (Removing Impediments to Students Education Under Prohibition).

The rightmost picture shows Avi Israeli, instigator of the event, beating a djembe drum.

A momentous occasion: the crowd roars as West and Robinson shake hands following West's powerful but calm speech.

Student Senators Justin Holmes and Jenny Loeb begin to tape petitions with over 700 signatures calling for the abolition of the policy of expulsion for controlled substance possession to the doors of the Haggerty Administration Building (HAB).  After a few minutes, the crowd begins to dissipate.  NORML / SSDP activists Jake and Annette continue to post petitions.

The crowd continues to dwindle as the posting is completed.
These photos are taken from second story of the Student Union Building, across the concourse.

Village Trustee Michael Zierler speaks after doubt is cast over his attendance.

Left picture: New Paltz NORML / SSDP representative to the Council of Organizations Matt Namer surveys the petitions.

Right picture: Matt speaks barefoot.  Rob Robinson and Student Senator Steven Ruggiero converse in the background.

 Steve, another expelled student, speaks.

Protestors look up at the upper stories of the HAB for any signs of movement.

A third expelled student, Rich, addresses the crowd, which is still more than 100 strong.

The crowd on the eastern concourse.

Close-ups of the crowd on the southern concourse at the end of the rally.

Left: A protestor holds a sign which reads "Bring Bowen Back," a reference to ousted college President Roger Bowen.

Left picture, from left to right: Jonathan (local activist), Former NORML / SSDP President Jen Rog (foreground), Village Trustee Michael Zierler, (unknown in background), reporter Hemmy So of the Poughkeepsie Journal, Mayor Jason West, Plainclothes University Police Officer filming the event.

Right Picture: Village of New Paltz Mayor Jason West speaks with another reporter.

Left: Student Senator Jenny Loeb, County Legislator Hector S. Rodriguez, event EmCee Rob Robinson

Right: Event Instigator Avi Israeli, Student Senator Steven Ruggiero

More than 50 protestors remained well after the speakers had finished.

Left picture:  The last of the crowd as pictured from the 4th floor of the Student Union.

Middle Picture:  Mayor West greets Annie (daughter of Bethel-Woodstock, granddaughter of Frith).

Right Picture: Mayor West and others survey the petitions as the protest comes to a close.

Media hits:

Coverage in New Paltz Times

Coverage in New Paltz Oracle

Coverage in the Drug War Chronicle

Coverage in Poughkeepsie Journal

Coverage in Hudson Valley News

Coverage on NPR affiliate WAMC

Coverage on Mid Hudson Radio

Preview article in Times-Herald-Record

Preview article in Poughkeepsie Journal


(NOTE: This page is continually updated with pictures and news.  Check back soon.)