UPDATE 11/27: CLEANUP UNDERWAY AT KELLEN GALLERY
A small group of students and staff are currently cleaning and "reclaiming" Kellen Gallery, which was vandalized late Thursday night and has since been closed. It is still unclear who did the damage to Kellen; while many suspect the occupiers of 90 Fifth Avenue, this has yet to be confirmed.
The university is still discussing what to do with the gallery. Tomorrow at noon, the University Student Senate, in conjunction with the administration and faculty, will be holding a Town Hall meeting in Kellen to discuss the possibilites. During the cleanup, student volunteers and Kellen staff, many student themselves, expressed different opinions: while some want Kellen to return to its normal usage, others hope that the administration will allow it to become a space for student dialogue and activism.
"The school needs to give students an autonomous space," said Radhika Subramaniam, the curator of Kellen Gallery who helped coordinate today's cleanup effort. "Whether or not that space is going to be this gallery is an open question."
The fact that the Kellen staff had to close an exhibition to accommodate the occupiers didn't bother Subramaniam, she said. But many of her co-workers were upset about it, and they were especially upset by the unsavory words that had been sprayed all over the walls of Kellen.
"We put hard work into keeping this place clean, and it was destroyed in 48 hours," said Adam Rodriguez, a senior at Parsons who has worked at Kellen for two and a half years. "Where was the common sense in the decision to move the occupation here? If they trashed the other place, it was also going to happen here."
But many people, though upset about the damage done to Kellen, hoped that the space would be used for students to have discussions, engage, and organize.
"I'd love to see a real, safe political space here, where we can plan actions and talk," said Michael, a student at Milano who didn't give his last name. "I'd like to see this as a hub of political organizing."
As students and Kellen staff scrubbed graffiti off of the walls and then proceeded to paint over the marks left behind, they hoped that, if the school does let occupiers return to Kellen, they won't damage the gallery again.
"You have the right to voice your opinions, but be considerate," said Jacqueline Hon, a graduate of Parsons who has worked at the gallery for almost three years. "Keep the walls white next time."
Filed by Kimberly Lightbody. Reporting by Andrea Vocos.