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Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Student Protesting

So apparently, a group of unhappy undergrad trapped the college pres in his office today and demanded he meet with them tomorrow. this got media coverage good for them. I don't think they will get listened to any other way. Folks in power need to remember that people will find a way to be heard. If you brush them off, they will amp up their tactics.

anyway, so the "emergency meeting" tomorrow is going to be held in Crowell Hall. At the same time that mic checks are supposed to be happening for Braxton's small ensemble concert, which I'm playing in. the meeting is supposed to end at 6:00. There is no way that it will actually end at 6:00. why didn't they scedule it for the chapel? It holds more than 200 more people and Braxton doesn't need it.

why are they angry? glad you asked:

  • WESU/NPR deal: negotiations made behind closed doors
  • The RIDE
  • FUNDING for the QRC and the UOC (SBC)
  • Chalking
  • Gender neutral housing
  • Hostile Financial Aid Office
  • Where is my money going?/Transparency in spending/Trustees/Tution increase
  • Senior housing/off campus housing
  • Student voice outside of the WSA
  • X-house
  • Hate Crimes
  • Community Relations
  • Worker's Rights, Janitor's abusive & racist supervisor, upcoming strike
  • Veto power of administrative decisions
  • Voice in creation of classes and our majors
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Tenure (who gets it?)
  • SOC quotas, decrease in recruiting
  • harrassment from Public Safety/ usage of facilities
  • lack of transparency
  • General respect from the administration
  • Long Lane Prison and Wesleyan $ supports it
  • Spanish dept funding
  • Disassociation of Wes from Middletown and the harrassment of Middletown community members by Public safety

I dunno what all of this is about. SOC stands for students of color. They're pissed. I heard some of them at a speak out and they've got reason to be pissed. Chalking is some fake issue where students aren't allowed to chalk the sidewalks. they do anyway. Gender Neutral Housing refers to something where a bunch of people sat down and hammered out some compromise to allow co-ed dorm rooms for students who selected it or students who didn't want gender to be taken into account for dorm assignments. The folks on the comittee went to 21963918234674 meetings and made a million compromises and came out with a carefully worded policy, etc. the administration first accepted it and then tossed it with no comment, reassigning a bunch of dorm rooms just days before school started.

WSA is student government. X-House is a "program house" for african american students. I understand that a few white students live there too. I dunno anymore about that. It's constantly in peril, apparently. It used to be the only program house that first year students could occupy, but the rules were abruptly changed without student input. The WESU radio station becoming an NPR affiliate was also without student input. If you're starting to see a pattern here, you might be on to something.

Hate crimes: a few students get fag bashed every semester. It's scary. I don't know what they want the school to do about it. One time, they figured out who did it and the penalty was being banned from campus, according to public safety. Terrorize a community and you never get to hear Braxton play again! I think jail might have been more appropriate.

I dunno about community relations other than local residents kind of hate us. the school decided to fix that by building some sort of art center for children in the north end. They didn't ask anyone what they wanted first. So they have this center with a bunch of school people and volunteers and no kids. (patterns . . .)

Worker's rights. heard a rumor that monolingual spanish speaking employees are being called epithets by their bosses, who also serve as their translators when they talk to the school about stuff, so they can't complain. Don't know anything more about it. I am not a relaible source here.

Respect from the university, well, if I were smart, I would not make a comment. But I can't resist noting that it's very easy to dismiss the concerns of anyone you're actively calling "kids." That has got to stop.

This seems like a radnom laundry list of comaplaints, but they're unfied by a thread of feeling voiceless. They do all fit together.

This blog post will come back to haunt me when I try to apply for teaching positions. Look, students are what defines a university. No students. No university. Therefore, it's logical to assume that they must be an important part of the university and that their concerns matter. some students of color feel like they're being used as a prop to promote the diversity of wesleyan to it's "real" traget students (white) and are getting no instituional support. the stories they told back up that claim. that has to change. some of the changes the students are demaning are impossible. You can't compell a tenured professor to attend diversity training. Nobody has told them that. The administration just brush them off and say it's unnecessary.

I hope the students and the president can come to an agreement where the school agrees to not just roll over the students and make imperial descisions. I hope they come to that agreement quickly. By 5:00 pm would be nice.

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