Isaac Oseas, a member of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, has won the position of student senator for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University. Oseas won with 121 votes out of a total of 271 total votes for five candidates, or nearly 45 percent. He received nearly double the number of votes of the runner-up.
Oseas will represent the approximately 4,000 Masters and PhD students at GSAS on the Student Senators Council (SSC)—the highest body of student government—and the University Committee on Student Life (UCSL), which assists the SSC in issues related to extracurricular activities at NYU.
The election of Oseas comes after the Student Activities Board, the student government committee that reviews new club applications, twice rejected the IYSSE’s application for club status at NYU, even though the IYSSE submitted far more signatures than required. Among the various reasons given for this decision was the claim that the IYSSE did not demonstrate sufficient support and did not have staying power on campus.
Oseas’s election platform, which was distributed to all students who voted, included the IYSSE’s demand for an overhaul of the club application process, and that the university allocate proper resources for all groups to hold meetings and events on campus.
The platform stated that “war is the most important issue facing the entire world… A new anti-war movement must be built, connecting the fight against war with the fight against capitalism.” Noting the substantial funding for NYU from the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies, it calls for “a complete disclosure of all of NYU’s military connections” and the organization of a campus-wide teach-in against imperialist war.
The statement also pointed to the immense social inequality in New York City and throughout the US. “Unimaginable sums of wealth are accumulated by a tiny aristocracy, while workers face declining wages, cuts in health care and soaring tuition.” Students at NYU pay up to $70,000 a year in tuition and board, with graduate students often facing even higher costs.
“Both the Democrats and Republicans represent the interests of the corporations and the banks,” the statement concluded. “The IYSSE and the Socialist Equality Party are building an independent political movement of the working class to fight for socialism—that is, a society based on social need, not private profit.”
Following an article in the Intercept detailing the collaboration between NYU and the Department of Defense, Oseas issued another statement insisting that “universities must be centers of learning, not government propaganda and research in the service of war.” It called for severing all ties between NYU and the military and for the formation of a “student-led committee to evaluate the impact of the military and surveillance agencies on academic decisions made by the administration.”
During the IYSSE’s campaign for the election, many students responded strongly to the call for the building of a movement against war and were shocked to learn about NYU’s connections with the military.
“My election has real significance both at NYU and beyond the campus,” Oseas said. “Young people are being politicized and looking for a way to fight against war and inequality. A lot of students voted for me because they have become deeply concerned about these issues, and are disgusted with university’s close connection with Wall Street and the Pentagon.
“Now we really have to build on what the IYSSE has been doing at NYU. I will fight in the student senate for the realization of my platform. I encourage students to contact and join the IYSSE to take part in the enormous work that lies ahead.”
To join the IYSSE, visit iysse.com/join