May Day demonstrations close Campus Road on Cornell campus Friday morning

May 1, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

Cornell University says Campus Road is closed this morning from College Avenue to Hoy Road as groups of students demonstrating for May Day block traffic.

Student demonstrations have forced Cornell to close Campus Road this morning. Photo courtesy of Alex Klein.Student demonstrations have forced Cornell to close Campus Road this morning. Photo courtesy of Alex Klein.Student groups are using the occasion of May Day, an international day to recognize workers' causes, to call attention to such issues as safety for minorities on campus, rising costs of education, conditions for Cornell University employees in Ithaca and in Qatar, and labor conditions for grad students at the university.

A group carrying a banner reading "Total Liberation from Domination" represents the CGSU, Cornell Graduate Students United, which bills itself as "an independent union of graduate students committed to improving conditions for work and labor at Cornell." Another group is sitting in the intersection of Campus Road and East Avenue, near the Johnson Graduate School of Management, School of Hotel Administration, and College of Engineering.

Near the Statler, another group is carrying a banner that reads "Solidarity with Baltimore," reflecting deep concerns over racial inequity. The growing movement was sparked again in recent days by the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police officers.

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) says bus routes are experiencing system-wide delays because their buses can't get through Campus Road and East Avenue.

Over the last few months, a number of Cornell students have protested a new health fee announced in early February by the University. About 100 students occupied President David J. Skorton's office and other Day Hall administrative offices in February, and protested at a Student Assembly meeting.

The observance of May 1st as International Workers' Day dates back to the aftermath of the Haymarket bombing in Chicago, at a rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour workday.

Cornell officials say Campus Road is closed until further notice, but declined to comment on the demonstrations. The road closure occurs as the University prepares for its "Bowties and Goodbyes" event at Barton Hall today, marking the departure of President Skorton, who's leaving at the end of June to become the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

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