A student advocate is claiming Councilwomen Laurie Cumbo (D-Crown Heights) violated her free speech and got her suspended for asking questions.
Sakia Fletcher claims the councilwoman blocked her from exercising her constitutional right of free speech at a Community Board 9 meeting that took place at Medgar Evers College, where she attends, and which suspended her after the confrontation.
Fletcher takes her role as a student advocate at MEC seriously. She wants to address student grievances that she feels are ignored by the councilwoman, including the lack of necessary athletic facilities to accommodate the college’s sports teams and the portable trailers which were supposed to be temporary 15 years ago.
“Every time[,] she refused to answer these questions. She lied to my face[,]stating that Medgar Evers College [student-athletes] will have free unlimited access to the Bedford Armory recreational facilities for games and practice if paid for by CUNY, eventually putting the sole liability on Medgar Evers College’s president Dr. Rudolph Crew,” Fletcher wrote in a statement.
Well, things didn’t go as planned on April 30 as Fletcher and Cumbo were engaged in a shouting match.
Fletcher was escorted out of the college’s auditorium where the CB9 event was held, as seen in the video entitled “[sic] Council woman Laurie Cumbo, gets Student Arrested at Community Board.”
It’s important to note that Fletcher wasn’t arrested as suggested by community activist Alicia Boyd, founder of The Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP), who uploaded a series of videos claiming Fletcher was arrested.
Boyd continues to insinuate that Fletcher was arrested, even suggesting “a young black woman had been arrested for trying to hold Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Majority Leader of the City Council accountable” in a recent video.
Nu Origins’ sources said the videos uploaded by Boyd are deliberately deceptive and the actual video shows Fletcher confronting Cumbo in an impatient manner that questions the legitimacy of her constitutional right to free speech.
Although she wasn’t arrested, Fletcher was allegedly suspended and she’s convinced Dr. Crew and Cumbo’s donor relationship is a logical explanation of how it happened.
Nu Origins has reached out to MEC for confirmation.
Boyd and Fletcher told Nu Origins that they are unaffiliated. But anonymous sources told Nu Origins, they suspect the two protesters coordinate their efforts to gain attention through publicity stunts.
Fletcher felt scorned after repeatedly getting ignored by the councilwoman at CB9 meetings. The student kept continuously asking the same questions, and Cumbo was fed up her meetings kept “getting hijacked by people.”
“Laurie Cumbo became upset because [sic] I have been asking her the same questions for over a year now,” Fletcher wrote in a statement. “She felt that I didn’t have the right to ask her the same questions anymore.”
Previously reported on Nu Origins, the publication stated Fletcher was too aggressive and deemed hostile. Contrary to what the videos present, Fletcher said in a written statement on MTOPP that Cumbo was the aggressor.
“She proceeded to react in an aggressive and outrageous manner, yelling out that I’m ignorant, pointing her finger at me, and that it was people like me who [were] preventing our community from progressing and we are [the] reason she is unable to pass legislation on our behalf,” Fletcher wrote in a statement.
The Cumbo administration told Nu Origins that Cumbo is a big supporter of higher education and parenting initiatives.
Cumbo said she secured funding for the Peter Vallone Scholarship, which grants nearly $15 million to B-average City University of New York (CUNY) and Fashion Institute Tech (FIT) students, as well as funding remodeling and reopening day care facilities throughout the CUNY public school system.
“In the very auditorium that the meeting was held in, I fought to obtain $2,250,000 for the remodeling of the new Founder’s Auditorium in last year’s budget,” Cumbo said. “I have secured $7,250,000 in capital dollars for the college and have allocated over $927,000 dollars towards the pipeline program for the college that prepares students from [K] – 12 to make sure our students are prepared for college. Moreover, I have consistently provided resources for the Center for Black Literature, The Center for Law and Social Justice and the Caribbean Women’s Program.”
In addition to being a single, African-American mother with dyslexia, she’s also the MEC Student Government Association president-elect who takes a 2-hour metro ride from the Bronx to Brooklyn where MEC is located.
She has a paid internship for student affairs at MEC, reporting directly to the dean who suspended her.
On May 10, Fletcher is expected to protest “Lyin’ Laurie” Cumbo at 55 Hanson Place at 1 p.m. where the councilwoman will be holding a Mother Day’s luncheon with Assemblyman Walter Mosley, a Democrat representing the 57th district in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York’s 8th Congressional District, and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery of New York State’s 25th District.
Fletcher’s protest is being promoted by MTOPP with a petition to support Fletcher’s free speech, get her reinstated immediately back to school before finals week, and seek a retraction of Cumbo statements.