Last Thursday, while I was doing a presentation on Academic Capitalism
in class, 600 students, mostly Black, conducted a march protesting
the firing of the associate provost of equity and diversity, Dr. Cordell Black.
In addition to this, not only are the departments and offices serving
marginalized folks facing merger, but The Classics and The Chemical
and Life Sciences andComputer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
are as well.
The question for me is who is cutting, what is the unstated
and stated rationale behind it and to what extent is this process
It was only slightly ironic that this erupted on the day in which
I did this presentation.
I have found myself in the middle of struggle and in creating a democratic
process. There appears to be a desire on behalf of my campuses
administration to scalpel out the Negros and the "low earning" programs.
I suspect that there is a desire to raise the profile of the school, by
reducing the number of Black students enrolled in the University. There
is a connection between US News and world report ranking and SAT and
GPA's of students.
Been there, done that, seen it coming a mile away. This process is both
scary and liberating.
Scary because a friend saw a facebook comment about academic
capitalism and sent me a message saying that I may want to reword
my comment because employers lurk on face book. Its liberating
because I feel that I am an active participant in changing the world in real time.
The way that I keep my mind right, if I have to go to zero, again, and I am forced
to leave school I will move back upstate and waitress or move to Vegas and waitress.
It is hard to keep the fear of repercussions in check.
But my only option is to walk timidly, and I didn't survive the crack epidemic,
law school and now grad school to walk timid. I am a child of God.
This process is forcing me to respect people who have done this work before.
I was hella smug about the pride march in DC because I didn't see
sufficient evidence that the white gay movement did substantial base
building with the LGBTQ movement of color in California and nationally,
to be having ANOTHER march.
Now that I am in the middle of doing base building, I am far more
humbled. If I am learning anything about basebuilding, it is that you never
know what you will learn, who will be useful. I am learning that I just have to
be honest, let people know what I am doing, and that folks will either join or
I am learning to start small. Small is good, because small is how everything
starts. It's hard. It continually means meeting people where they are. I have to
meet with people, send emails to folks I don't know and do know
check my ego at the door, listen, wait for emails, disagree with folks. Stay
continually TRYING to meet with people, ask questions and continually check
the desire to be bossy.
I am an old head. I sent and email to a professor saying that "I don't march"
but I want to be useful, not just complaining on the sidelines waiting for someone
to advocate for me. However, it seems like young folks seem to want to march
and meet with the administration.
She responded saying,
What does a march achieve and are those necessary goals at this point? For example, media attention, shame as a persuasive line of argumentation, personal release of anger etc. Is a march an effective strategy in relation to the nature of the administration? Is the march the beginning and the end of political activity? What other types of activity should immediately be on the table to supplement the march.I was relieved when I read her words, because she articulated my
In other words I think that this is important because it politicizes the
student population, it shows the admin. that students are alert, it can
potentially build alliances through media attention. If it fizzles out without
any additional work e.g. teach in, petitions etc. then it becomes easy for the administration to wait it out. So it's not everything but its also not nothing.
I am more interested in seeing how power is laid out how, how has this process
has worked in the past, who has resisted this kind of thing successfully, and what
are peoples frame of reference?
We all have a stake in how this plays out. The University is a microcosm
Thoughts? You been apart of a struggle before? Any suggestions or kind words will be appreciated.