Teach in to Act Out!

Friday, January 30 – Saturday, January 31
Community Folk Art Center
805 E Genesee St, Syracuse, New York 13210

CFAC is walking distance from campus, but you can also take the Connective Corridor Route 443 to the Syracuse Stage bus stop. See schedule here.


Join the Facebook event after you register
& tweet and follow along with #TGBteachin

Click here for more detailed information after you register!

THE General Body, a coalition of student organizations, faculty and staff at Syracuse University, is hosting a two-day event that will include panels, workshops, discussions, film screenings, and keynote speakers on the history of student movements, intersectional organizing, university corporatization, resistance skill-building, and art & activism.

Speakers include Margo Okazawa-Rey, Minnie Bruce Pratt, DarkMatter, and many more! (SEE FULL SCHEDULE BELOW)

  • Event is free and open.
  • The space is wheelchair accessible.
  • ASL Interpretive Services will be provided for Margo Okazawa-Rey’s Keynote (Friday, 6:15 to 7 pm), as well as DarkMatter’s performance (Saturday, 4:30 to 5:30 pm).
  • Contact THEgeneralbody@gmail.com with any questions.

Many thanks to our co-sponsors:
Democratizing Knowledge Project, Community Folk Art Center, Women’s and Gender Studies, Geography, Cold Case Justice Initiative, Labor Studies, Anthropology, Cultural Foundations of Education, English, History, Black Political Thought, LGBT Studies, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Latino, Latin American Studies, African American Studies, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Asian Students in America, Imagining America, and Active Minds.

Press coverage:



8-9:30 am: Registration and tea, coffee, and snacks

9:30-10:15 am: THE General Body Welcome & Overview

What We’ve Accomplished & What’s Left to Do

Presenters: Farrell Brenner, Colton Jones, Yanira Rodriguez

10:30am-12 pm: Student Activism Panel & Documentary Clips

Screening of historic documentary clips (curated by Kim Powell) and discussion with folks from historical and current movements.

Panelists: Agyei Tyehimba, Mali Golomb-Leavitt, Nick Holzthum, David L. Jackson

Moderators: Henry Nelson, Danielle Reed

12:15-1:15 pm: Lunch on your own

1:30-2:45 pm: The Corporate University

Panelists: Horace Campbell, Linda Carty, Matt Huber, Risa Lieberwitz, Yanira Rodriguez

Moderators: Jon Schmidt, Sherri Williams

3-4:30 pm: Intersectionality Discussion

Panelists: Lydia Brown, Koy Adams, Nikeeta Slade

Moderators: Keish Kim, Montinique McEachern

4:45-5:30 pm: Meditation with Dr. Marcelle Haddix

Dr. Marcelle Haddix will talk about the importance of breathing and meditation and take folks through visualization exercises and a writing exercise.

5:30 pm: Dinner from Sahota Palace (free!)

6:15 pm: Keynote Address & Discussion with Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey Keynote Speech: “In These Times: Creating a Beloved Community as a Radical Act”

Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey is a scholar in transnational anti-racist feminist praxis; armed conflicts, militarism and violence against women; theories and practices of social change.

Introduction to Keynote: Vani Kannan

Keynote address will have ASL interpreters.

7 pm: Black History Month Kickoff at Community Folk Art Center

Lydia Caeser and Brownskin Band, Brandyn Thomas

9-11:30pm: Informal conversation among activists

THE General Body wants to spend time talking across campuses and movements, sharing stories and tactics and inspiration. Regionally, we hope this discussion can be the seed for continued support between local campus movements.

We’ll start at 9PM (right after the CFAC Black History Month kick off) and go to around 11:30PM (we want to give time for people to rest before Saturday’s teach-in), although more quiet discussion could continue as long as folks want.

The Bread & Roses Collective is at 405 Westcott St. in Syracuse. There are five stairs into the house. If you have questions about accessibility, please speak with Ben Kuebrich.


9:30-10:15 am: Radical Readout

Chen Chen, Sherri Williams, Mali Golomb-Leavitt, Kim Powell, Tatiana Cadet, Ernest Daily, Nikeeta Slade, and open mic

10:30 am-12 pm: Community Activism Roundtable

Panelists: Walt Dixie (National Action Network), Lilith Siegel,

Rebecca Fuentes (Workers’ Center of CNY), Mallory Livingston (Transgender Alliance), Cara Liebowitz Moderators: Nick Holtzhum, Ben Kuebrich

12:15-1:45 pm: Lunch

Take lunch as an opportunity to spend time with the folks you’ve met and foster relationships.

2-3 pm: Creative nonfiction workshop led by Minnie Bruce Pratt “And What If You Had to Speak from the Back of a Pickup Truck to 5000 People?”

We know that people love stories, that people learn from stories, that stories are a powerful tool used both by powers-over and by liberation struggles. In this workshop you’ll work with one or two of your stories and hone those for use in different organizing situations. Bring something to write in, on or with, and come ready to share with others. No limit on number of participants.

3:15-4:30 pm: DarkMatter workshop:  the revolution will not have a bibliography: student activism in the corporate university

DarkMatter is a trans south asian art and activist collaboration comprised of janani and alok. using poetry & polemic, tweet & tirade DM is committed to an art practice of gender self(ie) determination, racial justice, and movement building.

Join us for a workshop at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality that explores how the academic industrial-complex keeps us reading rather than revolting. We will discuss how the university generates apathy and inaction, and how we can use the university and its capital to our advantage to be in solidarity with social movements happening within and without. Social justice is not an extracurricular activity or registered student organization. This workshop is focused on practical steps around organizing and changemaking strategies.

4:30-5:30 pm: DarkMatter performance: #ItGetsBitter

#TBT back to when we were told as queer youth that it was supposed to “get better.” What they forgot to tell us is that gay rights are often only for gay whites! With an increase in racist and queerphobic violence and a state that uses our bodies to advance its imperialist agenda at home and abroad, what’s become apparent is that LGBT rights have become co-opted. JOIN DarkMatter for a night of poetry, polemic, and healing as we not only critique — but also imagine new queer futures. Show followed by Q&A.

Performance will include ASL interpreters.

5:45 pm: Closing remarks

Spread the word and share the flier below!


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Letter of Support from SU in Florence Faculty

Dear Chancellor Syverud,

We write to add our voices to the majority of the Syracuse University Senate voting in favor of THE General Body’s efforts. The students’ engagement in trying to shape their university environment evinces the sort of civil engagement we, as faculty of Syracuse University’s Florence campus, teach. From the Gracchi through Dante, Machiavelli, and Gramsci, Italy provides countless examples of politically engaged thinkers who have risked their comfort, even their lives, to speak out. Two such Italians even made it to Syracuse, visualized in Ben Shawn’s mosaic on the east wall of Syracuse’s Huntington Beard Cruise Hall, “The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti.” The rich history of linking culture to politics made Florence the natural choice when professors from Syracuse’s Maxwell School established our center at the dawn of the cold war, with a vision of creating global citizens.

Citizenship anywhere calls for us to speak out, as students of THE General Body have been doing courageously. Their concerns parallel those our own Florence students have voiced in a recent round table regarding the Ferguson shooting. Our shared students, on either side of the Atlantic, perceive perhaps correctly that there is a “system” that could be more responsive to rights and concerns. Students’ insistence to discuss this constitutes a breaking of silence, a defiance of apathy, that constitutes the first step for their generation to initiate change—change that our generation has been unable, or perhaps too busy or afraid, fully to realize.

We feel it is important to remove, rather than build, barriers to students’ free movement and expression, to encourage rather than to threaten, so we may follow their lead in changing what they perceive as the “system,” rather than becoming that system ourselves. In doing so we will be supporting students who restore Syracuse’s academic reputation from the number one party school, to the number one school of engaged—and compassionate—leadership.


Alessandra Adriani, Simone Anselmi, Francesca Bea, Molly Bourne, Jennifer Cook, Luisa Demuru, Matteo Duni, Charles Ewell, Carlotta Fonzi Kliemann, Antonella Francini, Francesco Guazzelli, Amy Kleine, Nick Kraczyna, Richard Ingersoll,  Elena Lucchetti, Sara Matthews-Grieco, Alick McLean, Eric Nicholson, Natalia Piombino, Isabella Pistolozzi, Ken Resnick, Todd Rutherford, Debora Spini, Kirsten Stromberg, Stefania Talini, Loredana Tarini, Jane Zaloga

Syracuse University in Florence
Piazza Savonarola 15
50132 Florence ITALY

Published on the D.O. [http://dailyorange.com/2014/12/su-in-florence-faculty-supports-student-engagement/]

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Stay Tuned for January 2015 Open General Body Meeting

THE General Body has rescheduled its open meeting until early in the Spring semester.
Students are busy this week, and we want to make sure that the meeting is accessible to as much of the student body as possible. Stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, if you want to get involved, e-mail TheGeneralBody@gmail.com — there is a lot of work to be done!

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Faculty Propose University Senate Resolution to Amend New Mission & Vision Statements in an Open Letter to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees

More than one hundred faculty have published an open letter to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees in today’s Daily Orange. The letter supports a University Senate resolution to revise the new mission and vision statement in order to better reflect the values of the University community.

A reductive mission statement was nearly passed by the Board of Trustees early in November, stripping notions of the university as a public good, reference to students of diverse backgrounds, and values of democracy and community engagement.

THE General Body’s sit-in temporarily stopped its passage and won a brief comment period. We support faculty of THE General Body in their effort to add specific language into the mission and vision statement.

Without explanation, the Chancellor has already changed some of the language in the mission and vision statement to reflect THE General Body’s concerns, but there is still no reference to the university as a public good, democracy, or specific support for students from diverse backgrounds.

Visit this website to add your comments about the proposed mission and vision statement. [use below link]


Open Letter to Chancellor Syverud and Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees In response to Chancellor Syverud’s recent agreement to extend the period for comment on the university’s new vision and mission statements, we, faculty in support of THE General Body, wish to express a different shared vision for Syracuse University, as embodied by the Centennial Declaration of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (see below). We wish to draw attention to the fact that the Chancellor’s new mission statement is inconsistent with many of the principles in this declaration. Notably, it fails to emphasize the university as a public good, and omits important language about Syracuse University’s commitment to uphold the values of democracy, shared governance, transparency, access to opportunity, creativity, and community engagement. We are concerned that the new mission statement omits a specific and strong commitment to programs and goals that ensure full access, support, and open participation of faculty, students, and staff with disabilities, historically underrepresented races and ethnicities, and non-hegemonic genders and sexualities. In addition, whereas the new mission statement encourages “global study,” we agree that encouraging “studies of global justice” would more aptly represent the shared values of our university community. We would prefer that the university commit to building a community established on the principles reflected in the AAUP’s Centennial Declaration, rather than adopting any mission statement at all. However, in lieu of such a compromise, we ask that any forthcoming mission statement be revised to incorporate the feedback noted above. We encourage our colleagues in the University Senate to pass the following resolution on December 3, 2014, and urge the Chancellor and Board of Trustees to respect the consensus of the University Senate as a representative body on this campus. Resolved: The Syracuse University Senate affirms and adopts the Centennial Declaration of the American Association of University Professors as part of Syracuse University’s guiding principles. WHY: At a time in which there is concern among faculty nationwide that Academic Freedom and Shared Governance are under threat, it is important to reflect on our shared principles and what they mean. We hope and expect all Syracuse University community members will be mindful of these principles in deliberations and decision making at all levels of governance so that we can become, as the declaration’s provisions state, an institution that is “built on the full and open participation of diverse faculty and students.” We urge all faculty, students, administrators, staff and the Board of Trustees to recognize in their actions that the university is a “public good” and that meaningful “shared governance is a cornerstone” of ensuring that we live up to that high and demanding charge. We draw particular attention to #10, since the Trustees appear to misunderstand shared governance and faculty prerogatives. AAUP Centennial Declaration Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. -1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

  1. The university is a public good, not a private profit-making institution, and corporations or business interests should not dictate teaching or research agendas.
  2. The life of a university should reflect all dimensions of human endeavor and be built on the full and open participation of diverse faculty and students.
  3. The main aims of teaching are the dissemination of knowledge and the fostering of creativity; learning is not just about developing “job skills.”
  4. The main aim of research is to create new knowledge, and academic freedom is essential for the free search for truth and its free expression. Research is not just about enhancing the profit margins of corporations.
  5. After teaching and research, the third mission of universities is about engaging communities and addressing social disadvantage, and not just about “enterprise engagement” or “economic development.”
  6. All who work at universities are entitled to a dignified and collegial workplace free of surveillance and authoritarian dictates and to resist the degradation of their working conditions.
  7. Students are the next generation of enlightened and humane citizens, not just revenue streams or the bearers of collateral for unsustainable debt loads.
  8. Information and communications technologies are welcome tools for teaching and research but should not be used to impoverish the quality of education or reduce faculty-student contact time.
  9. University management should resist public education cutbacks and reverse the multiplying of senior management posts, many of which are unnecessary.
  10. Faculty shared governance is the cornerstone of any university that values teaching and research. The authority of faculty in hiring decisions, promotions, and curricular matters should not be compromised by donors, trustees, or administrators. Similarly, the faculty voice in budgeting, institutional planning, and other internal operations should not be marginalized.

  Signed,   Kishi Animashaun Ducre, Department of African American Studies Barbara Applebaum, Cultural Foundations of Education Philip P. Arnold, Department of Religion Carol Babiracki, Art and Music Histories Crystal Bartolovich, Department of English Himika Bhattacharya, Women’s & Gender Studies Anne C. Bellows, Food Studies Jacob Bendix, Department of Geography Robert Bogdan, Maxwell School and School of Education Zachary Braiterman, Department of Religion Harriet Brown, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Lori Brown, School of Architecture Joan Bryant, Department of African American Studies John Burdick, Anthropology Dympna Callaghan, Department of English Horace G Campbell, African American Studies and Political Science Linda Carty, Department of African American Studies Melissa Chessher, Magazine Department, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Stephanie Clare, Humanities Faculty Fellow Steven Cohan, Department of English John Colasacco, Writing Andrea Constable, Writing Pedro J DiPietro, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Emily Dressing, Writing Richard Dubin, Television, Radio and Film, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Emily Duke, Transmedia Studies Susan Edmunds, Department of English Cathy Engstrom, Department of Higher Education Scott Erdman, Department of Biology Carol Fadda-Conrey, Department of English Ellen Fallon, Writing Beth Ferri, School of Education Maureen Fitzsimmons, Writing Alan Foley, School of Education Chris Forster, Department of English Myrna García-Calderón, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Horace G Campbell, African American Studies and Political Science Jules Gibbs, Department of English Tula Goenka, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Ann Grodzins Gold, Departments of Religion and Anthropology Mike Goode, Department of English Cecilia A. Green, Department of Sociology Diane Grimes, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies Marcelle Haddix, School of Education Roger Hallas, Department of English/LGBT Studies Gail Hamner, Religion Department Laura Heyman, Transmedia Gail Hoffman, Departments of Foundation & Transmedia, CVPA Matt Huber, Department of Geography Sydney Hutchinson, Department of Art and Music Histories Dawnelle Jager, Writing Dawn Johnson, School of Education Paula Johnson, Law Amy Kallander, History Claudia Klaver, Department of English Ivy Kleinbart, Writing Prema Kurien, Department of Sociology Jude Lewis, School of Art, VPA Katharine Lewis, Department of Biology Carol M. Liebler, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Christina M. Limpert, Department of Design Vincent Lloyd, Department of Religion Amy Lutz, Sociology Erin Mackie, Department of English Eleanor Maine, Department of Biology Laurie Marhoefer, History Donna Marsh, Writing Vivian M. May, Women’s & Gender Studies Janis A. Mayes, Department of African American Studies Ryan McClure, Writing Janis McDonald, College of Law Rae Ann Meriwether, Writing Susan W. S. Millar, Department of Geography Don Mitchell, Department of Geography Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Women’s and Gender Studies Mark Monmonier, Department of Geography Don Morton, Department of English Laurel Morton, School of Design, CVPA Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, Department of African American Studies Erin Murphy, Foundations, CVPA Dawit Negussey, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dana M. Olwan, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies Jackie Orr, Department of Sociology Anne C. Osborne, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Arthur E. Paris, Department of Sociology Stephen Parks, Writing Deborah Pellow, Anthropology Mario Rios Perez, Cultural Foundations of Education Tom Perreault, Department of Geography Spencer Piston, Department of Political Science Jessica Posner, Transmedia, VPA Sarah Pralle, Department of Political Science Minnie Bruce Pratt, Women’s & Gender Studies and Writing & Rhetoric Beth Prieve, Communication Sciences and Disorders Gretchen Purser, Department of Sociology Erin J. Rand, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, LGBT Studies Romita Ray, Department of Art and Music Histories Lani Diane Rich, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication Robin Riley, Women’s and Gender Studies Alicia Ríos, Languages, Literatures & Linguistics Dalia Rodriguez, Cultural Foundations of Education Patricia Roylance, English Department Herbert Ruffin, Department of African American Studies Mark Rupert, Department of Political Science Tod Rutherford, Department of Geography Mara Sapon-Shevin, School of Education Eileen Schell, Writing Rebecca Schewe, Department of Sociology Amy Schrager Lang, English and Humanities Kicia Sears, Writing Rachael Shapiro, Writing Tom Sherman, Department of Transmedia, CVPA Stephanie Shirilan, Department of English Bruce Smith, Department of English Dana Spiotta, Department of English Joanna Spitzner, Department of Art/Foundation Jennifer Stromer-Galley, School of Information Studies Mišo Suchý, Department of Transmedia Diane Swords, Intergroup Dialogue Program Harvey Teres, Department of English George Theoharis, School of Education Silvio A Torres-Saillant, Department of English Dale Tussing, Economics Margaret Susan Thompson, History Susan S. Wadley, Anthropology, Maxwell Joanne Punzo Waghorne, Department of Religion Sally Roesch Wagner, Renée Crown University Honors Program Ernest Wallwork, Department of Religion Jim Watts, Department of Religion Vanessa Watts, Writing Jason R. Wiles, Department of Biology James M. Williams, College of Law Bob Wilson, Department of Geography Marion Wilson, Teaching and Leadership, School of Education

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December 1, 2014. Today, Syracuse University students and faculty will join a national walk-out in solidarity with the Ferguson Action Team’s national call. The walk-out will take place at 1:01 p.m. EST, the same time when Mike Brown was fatally shot by former Officer Darren Wilson at 12:01 p.m. CST on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, MO. This protest will be held a week after a grand jury failed to indict Wilson and on the first day of school after the Thanksgiving break.


Students will convene in front of Hendricks Chapel at 12:45 p.m. to give their opening remarks. At 1:01 p.m. students will march from Hendricks Chapel, down the stairs in front of the Hall of Languages and down to Marshall Street. Students will continue along the strip marching back to Hendricks Chapel [map attached below]. This march and walk-out will conclude at 2 p.m. after students and faculty make connections to the events in Ferguson to issues in Syracuse. At the conclusion of the event marchers will stand silent for 4.5 minutes to symbolize the 4.5  hours Mike Brown’s body was in the street after he was fatally shot.


This walk-out occurs five days following a press-conference and rally in downtown Syracuse, which was held the day after the announcement that Wilson would not face indictment for Brown’s fatal shooting. In the week since this announcement was made, countless communities across the nation have rallied together in effort to stand in alliance with the protesters of Ferguson. This is the second protest against Mike Brown’s death to be held at Syracuse University this semester. Another walk-out was held on the first day of the school year, the same day Mike Brown was expected to continue his education beyond high school.


For more information contact:

Kimberly E. Powell (954) 394-4923 kimepow@gmail.com

Alejandra Aviña (773) 931-2211 alejandra.avinaa@gmail.com



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Letter of Gratitude from Parents to Syracuse Faculty Supporting THE General Body


Dear Faculty,

As parents of students involved with THE General Body, we would like to extend our gratitude to the Syracuse University faculty who supported our students. You were there for them as advisors and advocates. You made sure our students had food for their bodies as well as their minds and souls. You taught them at Crouse-Hinds and invited them to your classrooms to teach others. You boldly stood up for them in the face of adversity and even protested on their behalf. Not only were you committed to the students during their 18-day sit-in, you have committed to continue standing by them – to work to ensure there is no retaliation and to stand side by side with the students to continue demanding that the university address the rest of the grievances.

Our students gave a wonderful gift to Syracuse University by breaking down the barrier of complacency and ignorance about issues of diversity and transparency, sexual abuse, mental health, and more. You gave the students the gift of strength and support. With both groups as allies, positive change will be made at Syracuse University. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Thank you again for the gifts you bring to Syracuse University.

Parents of THE General Body

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THE General Body Stands in Solidarity With National Protests Proclaiming that #BlackLivesMatter

a student's sign protesting campus police discrimination, from the sit-in in Crouse-Hinds Hall

a student’s sign protesting campus police discrimination, from the sit-in in Crouse-Hinds Hall

THE General Body stands in solidarity with the thousands of outraged individuals who have taken to the streets in the last 24 hours to peacefully protest the lack of a grand jury indictment for Darren Wilson, the St. Louis police officer who murdered teenager Michael Brown.

We anticipate two criticisms to this stance: first, that we should stay focused on the struggle at Syracuse University, a position articulated to us this morning; second, perhaps that it is an insult to Michael Brown and the other murdered victims of police violence to compare a campus struggle with the struggle for life itself in the face of police brutality and state violence.

To both these claims we can only say that the fights for justice on city streets and on campus walkways is not only symbolically but actually the same fight.

Our fight at SU and the nationwide fight of last night’s protesters are fights against racist profiling, institutional and structural racism, surveillance, and overpolicing; the insidious narratives of biased media; the refusal to see systemic crimes of poverty, gun violence, sexual violence, and mental illness as public health issues deserving of serious medical response; and the deferral by power brokers to broken legal channels. Active protest for social justice displays the will of community members to risk their personal well-being for collective health, safety, and change.

Universities are microcosms of the world, and student activist movements respond to the same systemic inequalities, manifested on campuses, that appear the world over. As a coalition of students, faculty, staff, and community members committed to social justice and policy change, it is consistent within our mission as THE General Body to raise our voices and join in physical protests for the life of Michael Brown.

Ultimately, our fight is the fight of protesters across the country because, here at Syracuse, we also are raising our voices to proclaim that Black Lives Matter. Students of color arrive at Syracuse having already experienced police discrimination and violence in their home communities, violence that is replicated in the city of Syracuse and implicated on our campus. We see that police violence is sexual violence; that police and war violence create disability; and that obfuscated financial transactions underlie the systemic inequalities that make such unequal power relations possible.

Today, we stand in mourning with the family of Michael Brown and in solidarity with those acting on the occasion of his unjust death for a better world. As the Brown family says, “Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

* * *

Members of THE General Body will be present at multiple events in the Syracuse area and on the Syracuse campus to protest and process these recent events.

This afternoon, SU’s Hendricks Chapel will host an interfaith prayer service from 12:30 – 12:45 PM. The Chapel will remain open for silent prayer and reflection from 12:30 – 4:00 PM, at which time the Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup will sponsor a structured conversation on the events in Ferguson, moderated by Kim Williams. The dialogue will end at 5:00 PM.

And the Syracuse community will hold a peaceful protest at noon Tuesday (today) outside the Syracuse Federal Building, 100 S. Clinton St. The National Action Network will hold a town hall meeting at 10 AM Saturday at Fountain of Life Church, 700 South Ave., to discuss the Ferguson announcement and police policy issues on topics including tasers and chokeholds. See the Post-Standard for more on community events.

Please join us at these events, and visit our Facebook page and group to coordinate with other members who will be in attendance.

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Cooperative Federal Expresses Solidarity with THE General Body


On November 19, 2014, the Board of Directors of Cooperative Federal, a committee of volunteers elected by their fellow members to govern Cooperative Federal’s credit union, unanimously passed this resolution:

Statement of Solidarity with THE General Body at Syracuse University

Cooperative Federal expresses solidarity with THE General Body and their movement for structural changes to the administration of Syracuse University related to transparency, diversity, and safety.

Our Credit Union Aligns with the 11 Grievance and Need Points of THE General Body:

TRANSPARENCY: As a cooperative entity we uphold transparency in our operations through governance by a Board elected democratically by our shareholding members on the basis of one member, one vote. Institutions should exist to serve people, not the other way around. Our investment in Syracuse to date is over $110 million. All of our members’ money is put to work in and for the local community.

We oppose the corporatization of education and exclusion of the students (stakeholders, if not technically shareholders) and the campus community from access to budgetary information, and the blocking of the inclusion of wording that supports diversity, citizenship, accessibility, democracy, and community engagement in any mission statement. Budgetary decisions should also respect and respond to requests for an increase in library and graduate student employee funding, as well as divestment from fossil fuels.

DIVERSITY: As a financing entity, Cooperative Federal takes great pride in re-investing all of our member’s savings into the community of those we represent – highlighting a culture of mutual aid and service across the diverse membership we are dedicated to cultivating. More than any other financial institution in Syracuse, we provide services to those underserved by conventional for-profit banks – including a growing number of recent immigrants and refugees, from every corner of the globe. Most of our members live on low incomes and a majority of our members are people of color.

Our own beginnings are in line with many campus movements of the last thirty years. Cooperative Federal was organized by a group of local activists seeking a viable and radical alternative to global corporate banks, specifically at that time, divestment from the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. We continue to uphold a mission of fair services for people of color, single women, the LGBT community, activists and other low-income or nontraditional workers; through special loan terms, Servicios Bilingues, and a “commitment to serve all members fully”.

SAFETY: As an entity of the people, we fully respect and encourage the right to a peaceable, public redress of grievances as enshrined in our Constitution and traditions. This includes full inclusion of provision for mental health and sexual assault services, accessibility for those with disabilities, and preventative measures for those identifying as marginalized, as put forth within THE General Body’s list of needs.

Each member of a community should not only have the same rights as others whom share the same equity of being a functioning and contributing person within an institution, but also the same expectations towards a system and community of services that evolves with THE General Body and the needs they identify.

Prefiguring Society with Our Own Lives and Institutions

Each member, regardless of their wealth or ability, has an equal vote and an equal share in our success at Cooperative Federal, a model which we believe is key to a system that works for people, not for profit. Private educational organizations can take steps within their investments, campus services, and charter to ensure that they include such values as well.

Based on this belief and our record of engagement and service, Cooperative Federal proudly expresses our support for THE General Body at Syracuse University, and student movements everywhere against discrimination, unequal privilege, and lack of student community access to administrative redress. We honor the students fighting to demonstrate another way is possible within our current society, and stand with you throughout this work in progress.

In cooperation and solidarity,

Frank Raymond Cetera, President
Cooperative Federal
Syracuse’s Community Development Credit Union

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Letter of Solidarity from Colgate University Students


To THE General Body and students of Syracuse University,

As you enter the next stage of your protest after spending 18 consecutive days in Crouse-Hinds Hall, we salute your resolve, and we, at Colgate University, stand in solidarity with you and your movement for change on your campus. We wholeheartedly support your ongoing battle and we are outraged at the complete lack of respect and dignity the Syracuse University administration has shown THE General Body. We are disheartened by the University’s lack of response to your reasonable and necessary demands. You are fighting for the safety, health, inclusion, and security of all Syracuse students and your fight has not gone unnoticed. Your struggle is our struggle.

Our admiration for your dedication runs deep. We too are strongly against the changes made in the Fast Forward platform, and agree with you that Syracuse University needs to re-wind and focus on creating an open environment for students of all backgrounds. We support your fight for campus accessibility, divestment from fossil fuels, a positive and safe sexual climate, inclusivity and transparency, attention to mental health services, the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day and an overall environment that benefits students of all backgrounds.

We stand firmly against the actions of the Syracuse University administration, which has locked students in over the weekend, put in barriers to block student visibility, stationed security guards at the space, and taken other steps to block justice and the right to freedom of assembly. At our own sit-in, we first-hand experienced the importance of this right and are appalled at what has been happening during THE General Body’s movement. As we are still in the process of an ongoing and long struggle to transform the climate of Colgate University, it should be noted that our struggles are part of a general struggle to transform education from its corporate model to a democratic and equal one.

Individuals must work together to combat systemic and cultural oppression and marginalization. We are inspired by your efforts and send you solidarity and support as your movement continues.

In solidarity,

Association of Critical Collegians
Black Student Union
Clean Water Coalition
Hamilton Center for the Arts
International Socialist Organization
Oxfam America at Colgate University
Students for Justice in Palestine

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Letter of Solidarity to the University of California Community


To the University of California community,

Today, we write to you in solidarity. As we left the Syracuse University administrative offices and our 18-day sit-in ended, yours began. We echo your cries for justice — they ring in our ears.

Your struggle did not begin today; it is laden with histories of silence and violence. Ours did not end today; as we move into our next phase of activism, we are cognizant of the mountain before us. There will always be more work to do.

Your bodies are your weapons and your shields. As you use them to fight for your education, please remember to love them. They will not be loved, respected, or regarded by those who try to speak over your voices. You must be louder than them. You may walk away with new scars, but do not forget that your bodies are already the sites of violence and oppression. Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

Be strong, and know that we sit with you.

In solidarity,

THE General Body
Syracuse University


Filed under In Solidarity