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A sit-in and protest over the City College of New York's closure of a 25-year-old community center turned into a confrontation with police on Thursday, resulting in the arrest of two protesters. Students, alumni and community groups gathered at several locations on CCNY's campus to protest the college's abrupt closure earlier this week of the Morales-Shakur Community Center, a hub of student political and issue-advocacy organizing. CCNY shuttered the Morales-Shakur center and turned it into a career center, with no advance warning to the student body.
The Morales-Shakur center has been a source of tension between CCNY students and administration since its founding in 1989. Students were given the center in a deal struck to end protests over tuition hikes. The center is named for former students Guillermo Morales, a leader of a Puerto Rican independence group, and Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Panthers. In the 1970s, Morales' group claimed responsibility for a Manhattan bombing and Shakur was involved in a shootout between Black Liberation Army members and police. The activities and affiliations of Morales and Shakur have led some to accuse the college of "honoring terrorists." The college has tried in the past to both shut down the center and force it to change its name. In a 1998 lawsuit, students alleged that the college authorized video surveillance of the center after a camera was found in a fake smoke detector.
Student protesters used the hashtags "#savemscc" and "#CCNYshutdown" to organize and share updates during the protests.