Social Justice Committee – December 2016 Updates

Curious about what the university-wide Social Justice Committee is up to? Check out the minutes below from their December 2016 meeting. Or better yet, sit in on an upcoming meeting!

 

Social Justice Committee Meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016
Draft Minutes

The meeting is called to order at 3:10 pm in the Orozco Room.  Randy Mulder, Carmela Wilkins, and David Howe are co-facilitators.

Present:
Students: Jermaine Daniels, David Howe, Ollin Rodriguez-Lopez, Jennifer Weinraub-Yao, Carmela Wilkins
Faculty:  Onno DeJong, George Fisher, Paul Marcus, Susan Mayer, Randolph Mulder, Gigi Polo (co-chair)
Staff:  Nicholas Allanach, Susan Austin (co-co-chair), Rita Breidenbach, Gail Drakes (Director of Social Justice Initiatives), Cynthia Lawson, Chastity Wilson
Guests:  Bruce Smith, Doris Wallace, Keisha Davenport, Shannon Logan, Samantha Ramos

— We begin with introductions of all the co-chairs, and then introductions around the room.

— After approving the agenda with minor adjustments, we hear the handout on Community Agreements that was drawn up after an earlier meeting this fall.

— We hear that the minutes from the last meeting were posted online earlier today and we are requested to review and submit comments before Dec 22.

— We hear a presentation from Anne-Louise Shapiro, the Faculty and Staff Ombuds person at TNS.  She describes her job and the way she operates and invites all interested faculty and staff to meet with her as needed.  She then responds to several questions from the committee about her work.  She can be reached at ombuds@newschool.edu or shapiroa@newschool.edu.  One of our members reminds us that the SJC was strongly in favor of creating this position.  The student ombuds person is Keisha Davenport.

— Co-chair reports on the Leadership Meeting held on Dec. 7th.  Topics included the petition for a sanctuary campus, our recent meeting with the broader community, and strategies for moving forward.

— We hear from Bruce Smith and Doris Wallace, who are members of the IRP (Institute for Retired Professionals).  They acknowledge with thanks the interest of Paul and Jermaine in bringing them to meet with us.  We consider ways in which intergenerational work with their assistance might strengthen our community.  These might include teach-ins, organizing for demonstrations, and support for some of our own initiatives.  Further discussion follows.
— Facilitator identifies the six working groups and we get brief updates from those present.

— Member offers a proposal about having continuous, consistent student support for the purpose of better communicating our work to the community.  He envisions two or three graduate students paid for their work for the committee.  We discuss further, raising questions and making suggestions   These include the idea that it may be better to start with one assistant instead of two or three; the question about the relation between our mission priorities and the best use of our budgeted funds; and the suggestion that we use work-study funds for this. One member expressed concern about the proposal, wondering if we cannot be productive as 27 members, then how would the addition of one person help?

— The next meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 18th.  Chastity will co-facilitate, and Jennifer will be note-taker.  Randy volunteers to assist with advance preparations for the next meeting.

— At 4:25 we welcome additional guests from Student Success– Keisha Davenport, Samantha Ramos, and Shannon Logan.  Co-chair introduces the general topic of concerns and activities since the election and we hear updates from around the room.  The question comes up about a bus to Washington D.C. for the inauguration.  Doris, from IRP, offers to inform us about any new developments or initiatives that she learns about.  She is advised to contact the co-chairs with such information.

— Closing discussion is wide ranging, addressing issues such as workload, the difficulty for the committee to accomplish its work, the pros and cons of introducing paid staff, the size of the committee, etc.

The meeting ends at 5:00 pm. Submitted by George Fisher