New School Protesters Neglect St. Vincent's
On April 6, St. Vincent's hospital board announced it would close the Greenwich Village facility, after a long battle to stay afloat with a $700 million budget gap. On April 12, 3,500 of the hospital's employees received pink slips. The Department of Health ordered that surgeries could not be performed after April 14, and, on April 15, the last baby was delivered at the hospital.
Greenwich Village residents gathered in front of the hospital with local congresspeople on April 7, 8, and 13 to rally against its closing. But New School students, long known for their protests on other matters, continued to direct their disdain at The New School administration over the costs of attending school and getting a new president.
Shame on them.
What is the goal of their civic engagement? For two years, The New School has had to deal with disruptive occupations and demonstrations. The protesters claimed they were trying to improve the quality of student life for their colleagues. Right now, protesting the closing of the hospital would be more helpful than lashing out at authority.
Protesting the closure of the only medical center in the West Village would serve the greater good of The New School community. If New School students are injured or ill, having a hospital nearby is essential. With St. Vincent's gone, they would be transported to Beth Israel Medical Center on East 16th Street or to NYU Downtown Hospital at William Street.
St. Vincent's has served the neighborhood for 160 years. That means they were probably serving the community in which the original exiles—of the University in Exile—attended The New School.
The New School in Exile, formed by today's would-be radicals mulling social change, has yet to voice their concern for the hospital's closing. It is important to protest, or at least to join the efforts to fundraise for the hospital.
Not everyone in our community cares to put as much time or energy into demonstrations as those who have occupied buildings and held press conferences. It would be ideal if more New School students could join local residents in the campaign to bring back top-quality medical care to the neighborhood.
But I expect a little more from people who claim to care so much about improving our collective quality of life.