Doesn’t everyone love digging into a freshly baked pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Well for my service project I worked with my old Girl Scout Troop to provide a local homeless shelter with 10 pies for their Thanksgiving feast. Read the full story here.
Student-Administration relations have been a hot topic for students who witnessed the chaos that ensued on campus Spring 2015. Throughout this paper I plan to use the Divest sit-in to discuss power relations on campus. I will also explore definitions of routine versus non-routine collective actions. This is a very important theme to convey because there have been many different narratives surrounding the sit-in.
It all began as a routine collective action tactic. I have come to this conclusion by drawing on information found in the USA Today article. It explains that Divest UMW had been involved with the decision making processes going on within a subcommittee created by the Board of Visitors. This was a planned and peaceful process that was rooted in solidarity and had unifying goals, a picture perfect routine collective action process. Though after plans had been proposed and declined the students took an alternative route to bring about change.
Drawing from the Useem reading, the argument that young people are more active in protests and committing crimes from these protests becomes more clearly represented. From an outside perspective there is evidence that the Divest students took a civilized process and created chaos due to the lack of instant gratification. This argument utilizes the Useem argument and ignores the outside forces at play. The students took further actions and put together a sit-in in the George Washington Building on campus, outside President Richard Hurley’s office. The action was peaceful and was non-violent, though through the eyes of the administration it was an issue of student health and safety.
On April 15th 2015 the administration, Doug Searcy and Richard Pearce, delivered a letter to the students explaining that if they didn’t vacate, they would be considered trespassers subject to police intervention. This is where non-routine tactics become more relevant. The students were being labeled as trespassers on their own college campus and would be removed by the police. This is where we see solidarity breakdown.
It is most interesting to me that the power to consider students trespassers on their own campus comes from the vice president of student affairs and the vice president for administration and finance. This speaks to the levels of power that the administration as a whole holds over the students. It would be more detrimental to the school’s reputation if Rick Hurley signed these documents, however his power would not be questioned.
For class, please read over the articles pertaining to divest that are posted under the student/administration relations section. Rabib and I aim to have a class discussion that will identify social justice issues on campus and power-map their existence in our political system.
Looking at Fredericksburg
In order to explain the Fredericksburg comprehensive plan we must first take a look at the key players involved with the plans creation. In the plan, it lists city council members, city administration and staff, the planning commission, and finally consultants. To me, consultants seemed vague so upon further Google searching of their names revealed that “Clarion Associates” was basically a collection of urban planners, real estate agents, lawyers, and environmental assessors. The kicker here is that their closest office is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (“Our Team”). Who are these people? What do they know about Fredericksburg?
This is an issue as it is relatable to Driven from New Orleans. It is plain to see that the city and mayoral office don’t always have an incentive to listen to residents. This often leads to the creation of a plan that ignores neighborhoods issues, rather than working to solve them. Another example of a city plan that ignored the residents was “Holding Ground” though this movie presented a very different approach. It is a video that follows the revitalization process of the Dudley Street neighborhood in Boston. The creation of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative or DSNI presented a plan by the residents for the residents. This board of elected city residents was able to change the city’s mind and implemented their “bottom up” plans.
I decided to explore the vision of Fredericksburg, moving past the lack of clarity in each member’s role in the Fredericksburg plan’s creation. To quote the comprehensive plan directly: “Since the City’s founding in 1728, the citizens of Fredericksburg have overcome many challenges, created the character of the City, and ensured its extraordinary role in our Nation’s history. During our stewardship of this great City, we resolve to build on this heritage and add our mark on the City’s history.” (“Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan”) This raises questions such as: what challenges have the citizens overcome? In what ways were the challenges combated? What is the character of the city? Who decided this definition? What is considered extraordinary? And how did we attain that? And who is adding their mark to the city? These questions are raised at first glance of the plan. The vision also includes specific goals of the city council. I am very happy to report that of the five goals listed, civic involvement was number four of five.
The remaining goals include an emphasis on history, beauty, safety, culture, and diversity. The plan to achieve the goals is more specifically outlined in the subsequent pages, though often does not mention resident participation. Looking to the examples discussed in class, it is a weakness of the Fredericksburg plan to ignore residents while looking to solve their problems and improve their city.
- Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan. (2007, September 25). Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- Our Team. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2015.
I had begun this exploration of song hoping to find that music is explaining the structural forces at play within the cycle of poverty and a growing homeless population though what I found was more emphasis on defining homelessness and how it affects different people on different levels. Throughout this paper I identify perspective, tempo, word choice (e.g. Hobo, Bum, Homeless), and the overall message in each of the songs. The songs I chose include: Even Flow by Pearl Jam, Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins, Hobo’s Lullaby by Arlo Guthrie, Homeless by Charlie Wilson, Homeless by Guy Clark, Man on the corner by Genesis, Living in New York City by Robin Thicke, Streets of London by Blackmore, Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne, and Underwear goes inside the pants by Lazyboy. My goal was to explore various genres through various years. Read the full text here.