Social Justice Committee – November 2016 Updates

Curious what the university-wide Social Justice Committee is up to? Check out the minutes from their November 2016 meeting below…


Social Justice Committee
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Draft Minutes

Meeting began at 3:05pm in the Orozco Room, W. 12th St. Susan and Ono were co-facilitators.

Present: Members of SJC and broader New School community

Distribution of Agenda (circulated earlier through email)

Minutes from last meeting (need to be posted)

Report back from SJC co-chairs Senior Leadership Mtg. with President and Provost
Co-chairs met with leadership (*before the election) and shared goals and areas of focus for the Social Justice Committee (SJC).
The co-chairs and the President discussed some of the SJC’s outstanding questions re: the tasks force around various SJ issues.
Discussed the Black Lives Matter email from 2014 that was sent out by the President’s Office. What has been, or will be the follow-up on the points presented in President Van Zandt’s email? Group discussed food pantry and progress that has been made.
Finishing the climate assessment? (Might not be the best use of our resources.)
Funding source for the SJ Hub (a dedicated student organizing space that needs “love and care.”) What role will the SJI office have? No resolution; however the topic was discussed. There was also a conversation about gaps.
*Circulate the email from the SJC re: climate assessment etc.
Tasks force (reports are in the SJC working folder)

Maya Wiley wants to sponsor a university-wide Town Hall in the spring re: SJ.
Last year, the President’s Office established 4 tasks force (sexual violence, cost of education, food and housing security, and cost of materials/supplies.)

SJ Packet to review
Was distributed (a history of SJC, community agreements, SJC Goals, Bylaws draft), these are living documents to edit and amend. Please continue to add to and make suggestions.
We will table most of this business because of the recent developments from the election and hate speech on campus.

Working Groups
Please add yourself to the working groups. Anyone in the community can be members of the working groups. And you can sign up for more than one working group.

Petition Proposal
“Sanctuary Campus” Colleges who are in support of undocumented students. Supporting faculty, students, staff who are undocumented.
What would it take for The New School to be a sanctuary campus?
This would mean that The New School would not allow ICE on-campus.
The president is already considering this?
Could the incoming federal govt. take funding, etc. from universities who are sanctuary campuses? We are in a sanctuary city and so why not make this a sanctuary university?

*Co-chair explains the blank posters on the walls and what they will be used for (i.e. currently happening and what we would like to see happen.) How do we coordinate? And how do we want to organize and move forward? Let us make an ideal list.

Open Dialogue Re: new political landscape / SJ organizing
Allocate funds for trans / low-income students / undocumented /
Take a moment to define short, medium, and long-term goals. Are there current gaps? What can the SJC do to elevate any next steps?

What is happening?
donations to food pantry.
Emergency housing for students.
Staff informal meet-ups (continue to have events where we can talk and process. Folks who don’t feel like they have a voice.) Bias attacks against anyone, re: unions.
We have strength in this community.
Resource on site for reporting.
Student of Color weekly meet-up
Lang weekly processing (wed. 12:30-1:30)
New Black School (event re: employment and jobs for people of color.) possible SJC co-sponsorship?
DVZ visited all student dorms to have conversation (Weekly residence hall meet-ups.)
Tishman Center is having a talk on Dec. 1st (broader speaker sessions.)
Counseling services.
Weekly meet-ups.
Empowered bystander workshops.
Drama post-election conversations.
Gender Studies event / blog re: misogyny.
Convening a post-election Post-Election Faculty Development Advisory Group. Re: mediation.
Staff Group on Race (hosting a screening) on Fri. at 4 p.m. in the Hirshon Suite.
Maya Wiley is hosting a brown bag.
NS Dream Team hosting an event on Dec. 9th.

What could happen?
-IRP / NS Women to co-sponsor buses to DC.
– central space and resource to access info.
-lack of training within our institution.
– ongoing recurring conversations (great events are happening at the SJ Hub.)
– permanently have a circle of chairs on the SJ Hub? (Using the screen in the Hub to compile a list of events / resources?) Constantly have a list of events and resources.
– #walkwithme (for safety and walking)
– Maya Wiley – since there is a lot of expertise and voices here at the NS, we can really ask ourselves “what can we do?” (Social Justice salons?) There will be no shortage of issues to advocate for and to fight for. Create a substantive space. Events and teach-ins will happen organically, but there should be a university-wide space to connect this?
– can we have legal counsel as well.
– how can people learn about ways to organize? Short courses that are message neutral, but discuss ways to organize and enact positive social change.
– Direct Action resources.
-what are the tangible, next steps to take, and what practical skills can we bring to this?
– self-defense courses? (Empowered bystanders workshops.) What are our rights.
-knowing your rights workshops.
– knowing the difference between “hate crime” “hate speech” “bullying” “intolerance” categories. Definition compendium and how to report.
– Diane Yee has held self-defense courses to co-sponsor?
– Recommendation to have a #NewSchoolSJ hashtag on social media.
– how can we better organize politically?
-create spaces for students to be able to more effectively express your views and politics to others? (Maya’s workshop series.)
– How can we listen to our student organizers? How can we support our students and their organizing?
– examining policies for staff, faculty, students. Is the person who is meant to receive these complaints trained?
– Tech workshops? (Capacity building) / perhaps some external partnerships? Hive collective?
– Following holidays that are not historically acknowledged at the NS? (re: education about these.)
– recovering what has been lost. How to use our resources strategically.
– how can we connect with alumni so that this does not feel like short-term work?

Making connections to the work we have already done, but to target more effectively.

Action items:
*Review notes from posters.

Note: Supreme Court nominations could be an effective place to organize and collectively have lasting impact. Because we care about these things, is there a way to model what we work on together? Where is the locus of resistance?

The SJC would like to find a way to centralize this info. (perhaps onto pre-existing platforms?)

Recorded by Nicholas Allanach