Hey all. Div III’s finally over. Time to work on transitioning the Signboard into something more egalitarian, linked up with local indymedia efforts for next year…but in the meantime, I wanted to post this link for y’all.
It looks like Jonathan Lash is going to be our next president. Today, there was an open lunch with him, in which he answered questions from the assembled students. Definitely just a preliminary foray into Lash’s beliefs and values, but I think it’s good nonetheless to keep this practice of documenting his transition into being President. It’s a shame we didn’t have more of this for the whole Strategic Planning and Presidential Search process, but you have to start somewhere, don’t you?
Listen to the audio here! (thanks Will)
Additional Links: Here’s Lash talking about Copenhagen and here talking about sustainable development in Latin America.
Dear Friends, Will here.
This video I hope speaks for itself and does so beautifully.
But you might not watch the full hour so I’ll offer the following comments:
It was shot at the Accepted Students Day student-organized panel on Hampshire’s Activist past and present this Saturday, April 16th. For me at least it is really touching to see a lot (not all, but a lot) of our work presented in one space, really drawing connections and saying to the next generation of Hampshire students and families that “we see our work as important to the school and important to the world!” It also for me represents the administration of our institution becoming more comfortable letting students speak for ourselves and seeing us as the valuable resource that we are when it comes to representing and presenting the spirit and essences of Hampshire. Mmm. Hope you enjoy the video!
Tuesday, March29th, the CCDC held its first major event, a “panel”-like speak-out with student organisers with USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops) and a former Sodexo worker from the Dominican Republic (and Mixed Nuts catering!!). The full, 52-minute video of the event can be found below, as well as on archive.org as usual. Check it out!
I also got to sit down with the organisers beforehand and probe them about their work. The interview overlaps with the contents of the event, but also contains some interesting nuggets in its own right. Check it out below and be sure to watch the video for tons of facts and details about Sodexo’s record worldwide!
Will here, making my first post to the Signboard.
Last night (March 29th) Michael Drucker organized a screening of two home-grown documentaries about our very own Hampshire College. It was part of Hampshire Res-life’s Hampshire History Month (ongoing), advertised as the Hampshire Activist Film Series.
First on review was Nico Chavez-Courtright’s “Breaking Down Boxes”, a personal narrative about Hampshire’s history of political activism. From its earliest days Hampshire was the site of often jovial, but more often contentious political activity where students were trying to reform school policy and culture or use their power as students to influence the outside world. At 20 minutes, Breaking Down Boxes is a great primer for those who wish to learn about the roots of this school.
The other film up on the screen that evening was playfully titled “Stop The Plan Man” – a mash-up of youtube videos released during the ASH/Admissions movement of last spring. (I compiled that “film”).
The discussion that the dozen or so students held at the end of the two films seemed to hone in a room-wide consensus: first years do not know this history — (this ourstory). At this I suggested that it is all of our responsibility to educate one another about our school and those students who came before us and actively worked to make it is interesting and promising a place that it is today. I suggested the students show their friends these two movies and have formal/informal/or even heated discussions about the content. And so in that vien, I have chosen to break onto the Signboard and post them here. So for your viewing pleasure…
and because it is a lovely and caring and funny film too, a bonus movie: “Roberta’s Saga” by Marie Broadway
So I sat down with two members of Students for the Freedom to Unionize (SFU) the other day, Ari Cowan and Henry Sanford, to learn a little bit more about Marlene’s recent union neutrality statement, which I’ve uploaded here. You can find SFU’s official response to the statement here.
I figure it’s one thing to see the statement posted around campus, but another thing entirely to understand the context of the statement and what it might mean for this school in the future. Click below for the full transcript!
The Coalition for a Conscientious Dining Commons (CCDC) has been hard at work for awhile now and I have just gotten the go ahead to post their statement–a PDF version is available, but for those with PDF-phobia, the statement is reproduced on that page. There is little more I can say right now, other than encouraging you to read it and spread it around!
I have also made a dedicated page for CCDC-related updates, which you can see in the sidebar to the right now. Keep your eyes peeled for more news, with the CCDC and other stuff!–I’ve got some interviews and video-stuff in the works.
Hey everybody! It’s been awhile. I’ve decided to start aggregating some interesting links & whatnot on the Signboard again, since there’s so much rad stuff going on these days and I figure it’d be nice for folx to have a central place to find info. about stuff on & off campus. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts as developments come in!
To inaugurate this new season for the Signboard, I thought I’d just do a quick Hampshire activist-trip roundup. Three really cool and super important actions occurred on February 26th, February 27th, and March 2nd–and there just so happens to be video for all three of them! Thanks to Will Delphia for being the all-around media point person for this kind of thing :).
- On the 26th, Hampshire students turned out in droves to support Planned Parenthood against massive budget cuts being pushed through the House from the right wing. In response to this threat to Planned Parenthood’s continued ability to provide reproductive health services from abortions, to STI prevention, breast exams, and education, they called on supporters to mobilize in support of women’s health and publicly available family planning. Students managed to organize two buses and mobilized over 90 students to the march in New York City (not to mention the amount of “Div 4s” I saw when I got there!). Video embedded below:
- On the 27th, Hampshire students as well as others from the Pioneer Valley turned out to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in their fight against Stop & Shop in Boston for what they’re calling the “Do the Right Thing Tour”. The CIW is an amazing, wonderful group that has been consistently winning its demands and building its power for about 15 years now. Nowadays they’ve got their hands in a whole lot of things, including the Excluded Workers Congress formed at the US Social Forum this past summer, but they’ve still got enough steam to shame Publix & Ahold on a regular basis! You’ve got to admire that tenacity. Video below!
- Finally, on March 2nd, a big rally was held at the UMass Student Union in solidarity with striking workers in Wisconsin. Check out the Facebook page for a list of sponsoring groups & unions–this kind of stuff is really invigorating! And the video…
I will note one thing that sticks out to me when we put all these videos side-by-side: we need to make the connections between our movements. I know this can kind of sound like a truism, what with “intersectionality” being so important to radical/left discourse in this country for the last few decades, but I can’t emphasise enough how much we need to show up at each other’s meetings, rallies, etc. Let me explain.
The most salient example of this, for me, was going to the Planned Parenthood rally in NYC. I happened to arrive early enough to attend a huge Wisconsin solidarity rally just before. What was really great was how much gushy solidarity was being passed around–the organisers made it clear multiple times that everyone should march from the Wisconsin rally to the Planned Parenthood rally when it was over. Really invigorating stuff all around–with a healthy dose of American nationalism–but after arriving at the PP rally, one thing really, really stuck out.
An organiser thanked Mayor Bloomberg for his stance on reproductive rights in no uncertain terms. The rally in general had a strong focus on elected officials which always unsettles me, but this in particular seemed like the biggest slap in the face to folks who had just come from the Wisconsin rally. Why?
Because when speakers were relating the struggle for workers’ rights back home, they went on at length about Bloomberg’s escalations against workers in New York City. Bloomberg is not a friend. He is a bureaucrat who makes calculated choices. And to come from a rousing rally where much verbiage was devoted to specifically outlining what the stakes were in NYC and the state in general for workers, to go to this next rally and hear the very same politicians being upheld & lauded on the basis of their support for another issue is mind-boggling to me.
Of course, it is better than Bloomberg being a rabidly anti-abortion freak. But this is precisely how movements are divided–giving hand-outs to one at the expense of the other. I think it calls for more caution and never letting the pressure off of talking heads like Bloomberg–pat him on the head for being sensible and supporting reproductive rights, but by god don’t give him a medal while he’s putting workers in danger.
So, that’s all for now–like I said, expect more from the Signboard in the coming weeks! Thanks for reading.
A final note: The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP) offered invaluable logistics support to the effort and the CLPP student group used the rally as an opportunity to get the word out about the annual on-campus reproductive justice conference, this year April 8-10. Please consider coming to this wonderful conference and making precisely some of these linkages and connections I’ve been talking about with activists around the country!
Lani Blechman of CLPP has passed along an announcement for the 12th Annual Activist BBQ to me, which she suggested I post to the Signboard. You can find it on the Hampshire Intranet here. I’ll quote:
Community Partnerships for Social Change (CPSC), Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP), and Population and Development (PopDev) are excited to announce the 12th Annual Activist BBQ!
Save the Date! Thursday, September 16, 2010, 4:00-5:30pm.
As in the past, CPSC, CLPP, and PopDev will provide all of the necessary BBQ fixings, music, and tables for activist groups to do outreach. BBQ goers are encouraged to come, eat, drink, network, and learn about opportunities for activism on campus and beyond.
If your group is interested in doing outreach at the BBQ: we can provide the table, if you come with materials and people to network with Hampshire community members.
To reserve a spot, please send me an email at email@example.com.
This could be a great opportunity to regroup and talk honestly with each other at the beginning of this semester. In her message to me, Lani said, “As always, CLPP and CPSC strive to make this event a space for students to talk about activism going on and ways of getting involved.” Let’s bring our hunger — for change and for delicious treats — to this shindig, eh?
I also just wanted to give ya’ll a heads up — Marlene Fried responded to my request for an interview and we’re in the process of figuring out a date to set for it. Stay tuned!
Hope your summer’s been as ridiculous as mine has,
ps – the above picture of an overly-excited hipster hot dog is the very non-vegan/vegetarian-friendly image i found in a google image search for “bbq”. i hope with this disclaimer none of you are particularly offended; we can always, of course, assume it is a veggie dog to err on the side of caution.
I was contacted by someone in admissions who wished to share some info with us on condition of anonymity. They also requested that I not quote them directly, so the following is a ‘retooling’ of sorts.
Hopefully, in its own, small way, this can begin to shed some light for folks who haven’t been around as to the state of things @ admissions these days.
Just to be clear, this is in no way a definitive ‘statement’ from admissions staff. This is a personal communication with everything that entails.
I’m not really comfortable with sharing a lot, but there are some things I think I can say.
We have been working all summer in a climate of fear & repression. Several staff members have been chastised for consulting with faculty about ongoing structural problems at admissions.
Meanwhile, Karen has left and Barbara has replaced her as Dean of Admissions, which you know. But this is not all: we only have 3 experienced counselors ready to travel for the fall, another counselor on reduced time (maternity leave), and a few new hires which will be joining us soon. We are very, very excited about our two new hires, but it is not ideal to have them starting one month (or less!) before our recruitment season. We also recently lost a member of our support staff who won’t be replaced for a month, at least.
If it isn’t clear by reading that, the point is this: we are now severely strapped for resources & staff, and we’re scrambling to hire new counselors (no alums this time, it looks like) through a long and absurd hiring process. But what’s important to understand is that we’re hiring now because so many staff members left. We’ve had a MASSIVE turnover since last semester of people who hadn’t had plans before this year to leave Hampshire anytime soon.
I have some grave concerns about our ability to function as an office. That said, we are all incredibly dedicated to Hampshire. We will be trying our best to pull together and get through this year, but it is going to be difficult.”
The interim president has been announced, in a very short Intranet posting, as Marlene Gerber Fried! Marlene is a professor of philosophy at Hampshire and director of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) program.
What are your reactions to the announcement? Let us know and post your thoughts on the Signboard; maybe we can get a similar kind of discussion going like when Hexter’s transition was first announced.
I have never taken a class with Marlene and do not know that much about her, but I’ve spoken to several people already about the announcement who have shared their thoughts with me. I am sure there are others out there who also do not know exactly how to respond to this decision, so please enlighten us, those of you who’ve worked with Marlene in the past!
I will say that I have a deep and abiding love for CLPP. This is the best I can do personally :).
Also, I will be contacting Marlene for comment, as I did with the previous announcement, and hopefully we can get more of a sense of her thoughts on the role/responsibility of an interim president. Again, any perspectives you offer will help make the questions more pointed and more relevant, since I don’t know jack and am just trying to facilitate information sharing in general.
In other news, an anonymous member of Students for the Freedom to Unionize has posted a short discussion on the facebook group about recent staff firings. They said:
!!!!!!!Hi, so in other news, firings have been happening at the Physical Plant. This includes Kevin Schmitt, who’s been targeted a lot this year for speaking openly about bringing a union to Hampshire. Fortunately, he was rehired a few days after he lost his job. The whole situation is kind of complicated, but basically he got hurt in Feb. and on commencement weekend on the job so he was out sick, then phys plant told him he was out too long to come back, though he’d been asking to come back sooner and his nurse had been trying to get in touch with Eric Laizer in management to make that happen but he had not been responding to her messages.
But he’d still like everyone to be emailing human resources and people in the administration on his behalf. so: firstname.lastname@example.org please take a few minutes to do this! do it do it doit !
I worked at phys. plant for 2 months this summer and from what I picked up and was told, people are understaffed and overworked…there’s a general lack of respect, and I think Kevin’s experience is making it extremely clear that anyone who advocates for labor rights faces extreme repercussions including the potential loss of their livelihood. Anyhow, besides this short term emailing of hr, which Kevin really wants to happen, what other strategies can yall think of regarding supporting staff, including but not limited to physical plant workers?
I will be contacting them for more info shortly. One thing I’d like to know is what exactly Kevin/SFU would like us to say in the e-mail? If we have a basic “form letter” that we can modify with our thoughts, that would be great.
Meanwhile, RJ Sakai (of rehamping fame) has posted a link to a new facebook group called Helping Hands for Hampshire. There is an open letter up on hampedia outlining the purpose of the group, which calls for more active involvement in the Hampshire community from Alumni as well as current students. There are numerous ways to help listed in the letter which I will not copy here, but one that piqued my interest was an “Education Conference” to be held at Hampshire in the Spring of 2011. They ask that any questions, comments, or ideas be sent to email@example.com.
Finally, Ilana Rossof pointed out that Barbara L. Maryak has been appointed new Dean of Admissions, which was enacted on August 1st. The intranet post contains an extensive bio which I don’t think necessarily makes sense to post here. There is some confusion over what this means exactly, and where it is coming from–and what it might have to do with Steve Weisler.
I will ask again those folks @ admissions I’ve been speaking to this summer who know all of the stuff that went down in the past few months–if you are willing to make a statement, please do so; I think it would clear up a lot of the mythology around Hexter’s “transition” and the lasting effects of the ASH campaign. There will, to be sure, be things you can and cannot say. But what little knowledge you think you can safely and confidently impart on us would do a tremendous amount of good. Just think of the children!
More info will be posted as it comes. Here’s to another raucous and ridiculous year at Hampshire.