As student-workers at the University of California, we are outraged at the violent and unprovoked actions by the NYPD against CUNY students peacefully protesting the appointment of war criminal David Petraeus as a lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College on September 18. We stand in solidarity with our fellow students and workers from CUNY who, like us, are fighting to keep our public universities accessible under increasingly militarized conditions in which war criminals like David Petraeus or former deportation czar and current UC President Janet Napolitano are welcomed with open arms by university administrators.
In a time when our public universities are becoming increasingly inaccessible to working-class people and students of color, we note with concern that nearly all of the CUNY students facing charges are students of color. The de facto criminalization of peaceful protest evidenced by the experiences of students and workers at CUNY and UC, and the disproportionate impact of this on people of color and working-class people, demands that we redouble our efforts in the fight against classism and racism at our universities and in the broader society, including the racist and classist policies promoted by former General Petraeus and former DHS Secretary Napolitano.
Petraeus is responsible for countless deaths and innumerable destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war commander and chief of the CIA. Although he resigned from his position as CIA director in November, Petraeus has continued his involvement in U.S. foreign policy. Most recently, Petraeus has called on Congress to back a military strike on Syria. His current role as adjunct lecturer at CUNY, like that of Janet Napolitano at UC, speaks to the increasing enmeshment of the U.S. military and state security apparatus within higher education. We call on CUNY to terminate Petraeus’ appointment effective immediately and demand that all charges be dropped against the CUNY 6.