Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Let the students be heard: Dining Society protest and the ResEd machine

Monday, February 25th, 2013

ResEd Associate Dean Nate Boswell speaks to the demonstrators.

 

Bureaucracy is a tool that can empower the collective to accomplish what uncoordinated individuals cannot. In a functional system, the bureaucrats serve their constituents as their rightful duty. Mistakes are inevitable in the pursue of this ultimate goal, for those in office are humans as flawed as you and me. A healthy bureaucracy is one that can justify itself to others when challenged and avoid the messy self-destructive inefficiencies that comes with cover-ups, hypocrisy, and cognitive dissonance. If we think of the relationship between the bureaucracy and the people as symbiotic, then actions that prioritize the interest of the bureaucrats ahead of the people produce short-term gains at the cost of the long-term vibrancy, and perhaps even viability, of the entire community.

Stanford University is a bureaucracy and that is not necessarily a bad thing. By most measures, it is an extremely successful one that has done an excellent job of providing a conducive environment for talented individuals to share their ideas and do great things. However, like all bureaucracy, it is not perfect.

This afternoon, a crowd of Stanford students gathered at the White Plaza to protest the university’s decision not to renew the contract of the student-run Dining Societies that have served the residents of Governor’s Corner for the past 30 years, with a record that by all accounts is (at the very least) above average for an organization of its nature. The details of this on-going dispute are covered in great details in Miles Unterreiner’s multi-part Daily article. Students who live in the suites are overwhelming opposed to the loss of this unique part of their house identity and many are upset that the decision by Residential Education was only communicated after the fact, leaving no room for students to voice their clear opposition to the change.

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This Week In Stanford 5/15/12 – 5/21/12

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

This past week has been eventful! From talks with Tony Blair and Tom Brokaw to performances by E-40 and Modest Mouse, this has been a star studded week. Here’s this week’s news from the Farm.

  • Tony Blair recently paid a visit to our lovely campus. Despite a bit of protest, he was able to have a highly praised conversation about the African Governance Initiative with GSB Dean Garth Saloner.
  • The Frost Amphitheater has been revived. This past Saturday students sunbathed and waited to “Float On” with Modest Mouse.
  • Alumnus Konstantin Guericke wants to support the missing link in medicine. This co-founder of LinkedIn has just joined the board of the social network Doximity, which has a special focus on doctors.
  • Speaking of protests, 70 residents of XOX demonstrated in front of the Office of the Vice Provost of Student Affairs in order to make another effort to make a change in the decision to revoke the house’s lease.
  • The campaign for a new hospital is on! The Campaign for Stanford Medicine, which aims to raise $1 billion dollars in order to rebuild the hospital so that it reflects the future of patient care and medicine.
  • According to Professor Steve Blank, Facebook isn’t just taking over the Silicon Valley – it’s choking the region. Social media platforms like Facebook are preventing venture capitalists from investing in long term projects, like life sciences or hardware. What do you think?

More to the Story: why Chi Theta Chi is losing its lease

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

“Theta Chi House is a fine example of the Spanish Eclectic style of architecture and the work of a master architect, Will G. Corlett” reads the history of Chi Theta Chi (XOX) conducted last year. XOX is more than fifty years old, and is thus considered a an historic property. This fact has played very little into the recent events surrounding the decision by Stanford to not renew XOX’s lease. The University cited health and safety code violations and a lapse in corporate status as reasons for not renewing the lease, while XOX countered with protests about community and independence. However, the House itself is key to the debate, superseding more philosophical questions. (more…)

Before Traveling, Check for Manifestação

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

This quarter, I am studying abroad in Madrid.  We only have class Mon-Thurs, so the majority of us use our time over the weekends to travel, myself included.  This past weekend, I decided to travel to Lisbon with some friends.  It is a beautiful city with great food (I highly recommend it), and its friendly people and low prices, at least in comparison to Madrid, quickly won our group over.  We had a jam-packed schedule, as we were only in Lisbon from Thursday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.  As Saturday winded to a close and we were walking to our hostel to get our bags and head to the airport, our group gave ourselves a solid pat on the back.  In a mere 3 days, we had seen all that we set out to see, ate some fantastic food, and met some incredible people.  We had planned so well…. or so we thought.

As we were walking to our hostel, we noticed a fair amount of people in the streets, a pleasant contrast to the relative emptiness of Madrid’s streets on the weekend, and in particular, a small group of protesters in Terreiro do Paço square.  We figured this was normal, especially since the Portuguese economy is not doing any better than the Spanish economy (to learn about that, go read some of George’s old posts).  In fact, Lisbon’s walls and streets are filled with graffiti and posters, proclaiming things like, “Money is taken from the poor and given to the bankers.  More hours.  Less pay.  Less life!”

As we exited the hostel and got ready to head to Terreiro do Paço square, a hub for buses and the nearest bus stop for the bus to the airport, we realized that there were an increasing number of people in the street…and an increased police presence.  In fact, Terreiro do Paço square had been blocked off by the police and streets were being closed for the incoming masses of protesters.

What we expected to see (image from Wikipedia)

What we actually saw (image from Reuters)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were in the middle of a manifestação, or protest. Not prepared for the chaos about to ensue, we figured we would head to the closest square, where we hopefully could catch a bus or take the train or metro to the airport.

Image from the International Business Times

Rolling suitcases in hand, we ran through the crowded streets in the opposite direction of the march of protesters that was headed from the outskirts to Terreiro do Paço square.  All ages of people were in the streets, shouting, holding signs.  Some wore masks, impersonating Guy Fawkes, who has become a symbol of anti-greed.

The manifestação had been called by the CGPT, or Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses, to protest the austerity measures that had been taken on by the Portuguese government last May in exchange for a 78 billion dollar loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.  These austerity measures included an increase in sales taxes and increase in public transportation fares, and salary reductions.  More controversially, the government has lengthened workday hours without additional compensation, cut holidays,  and reduced compensations for fired workers.  Since these measures, the economy has only worsened, with employment hitting around 13%.  (more…)

Why Should We Occupy Stanford?

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Protesters are not only Occupying Wall Street, they’re occupying Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Boston, and more college campuses than I can even list.  Citizens of the United States have finally reached a breaking point and are finally pouring out their frustrations with our financial industry on a steadily growing national stage. I think this is a brilliant moment for the 99%.

But I think it’s a hypocritical one for Stanford. Our students are currently in the works of creating Stanford’s own Occupy demonstration.

I think Teryn Norris and Eli Pollack stated the student body’s best way to support the movement when they said “Stop the Wall Street Recruitment.” If we are truly angry with our financial institutions, then we need to boycott their recruitment. We need to show that they are uninvited on our campus. But we’re smart people – we know that dismissing the financial sector entirely would be ridiculous. A good way to make change in these corporations is internally. Waving around signs isn’t going to do much unless we use leverage the ideals Stanford imbued in us to make a change in the way that these corporations are run.

Besides, I do think it’s a bit contrived to jump on a national bandwagon. If job security and the wealth disparitywere a large concern here, I think our outspoken students would have spoken up already. Why Occupy Stanford when we can bolster the more sustained protests happening right next door in Palo Alto? Why should we Occupy Stanford itself? I know that this is in support of of the other movements but we need to acknowledge basic facts about ourselves before we form a picket line.

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