Empowerment & Education–Occupy University Meeting 1-14-2012 Minutes

Posted by & filed under .


Occupy University, subgroup of Empowerment and Education (OWS)



Present: Pam, Natasha, Maria, Cheryl, Bob, Jason W, Reka, Karen, Katja, Miguel, David, Joe, Ingrid, Ben, Chris Cas, Zane, Darragh, Michael.

Facilitator: Karen; Stack: Zane; Minutes: Darragh.

Consensus: For March launch to have some event on Thurs March 1st to coincide with student actions, possible social event on Fri March 2nd, weekend workshops/classes to start Sat Mar 3rd & Sun March 4th.

Website discussion:

–          Jason C has basic website up and running on nyga site – going ahead working on it this week. Ingrid will work on visuals.

–          Discussion of visuals/what we might want a ‘logo’ to be

–          Something simple, like black stencil on yellow (as per shirt at meeting, Chris)

–          We could come up with an Occupy take on standard university logo/twist the design of uni logos to DIY aesthetic (David)

–          We shouldn’t build off uni aesthetic as we are trying to make something new (Miguel)

–          Agree, we should not replicate existing model but set up a model where anybody can create their own OccU. (Natasha)

–          When do we need the logo part? Ingrid & Miguel will work on it. (Karen)

–          Understand brand anxiety, trying as much as possible to come up with identity that is not a brand. (Ingrid)

–          While we should oppress the logo, it is hard to escape branding. (Zane)

–          The issue is the process, how we come to the logo – we should have more input from other people, put it online for suggestions etc. (Natasha)

–          We should have a vision/goals type meeting to discuss logo. (Ingrid)

Launch Event: Thursday

–          Some members of OccU met with Brian Holmes that morning – he can come on the 1st, give a short presentation on student debt, he wants to keep it horizontal. (Chris)

–          Can we get consensus on Brian Holmes as speaker for Thurs event (mixed)

–          Okay with him coming once he is not a ‘star attraction’ & other people, including non academics speak. (Jason W)

–          Strongly opposed to giving pedestal to Brian. He should come to these meetings & participate like Andrew Ross. (Miguel)

–          I admire Brian but feel we should build on resources in our own community rather than going for big outside name. (Maria)

–          Agree with concerns but think he will be good to work with as Brian is committed to group & horizontal process. He is on student debt listserv and there is the opportunity to continue a class on student debt from his first workshop. (Pam)

–          OWS uses progressive stack, brings voices who haven’t been heard to the fore. While press was for the big names, Open Forum had a variety of speakers & multiple voices represented -we should also! (Natasha)

–          Brian Holmes seems like a good guy, not too much of a star that we couldn’t work with him/that he would attract too much attention. (Joe)

–          Can he be part of weekend workshops instead?  (no, can’t come) Think it’s okay to have Brian speak once we have other voices represented. (Darragh)

–          Idea is that he would give half hour presentation of research on debt & then open that into a conversation/workshop – can be horizontal process rather than star lecture (Chris)

–          How does this fit into overall programming? (Natasha)

–          We should plan our launch event first & then if Brian fits, great, but we shouldn’t organize whole event around one person (Jason)

–          Was never planned as launch of Brian – he approached student debt group & then as some of us involved in both groups, we thought he could help with this. (Pam)

–          Thurs event is part of bigger weekend launch (social event, workshops) – I think it’s okay to have a big name on March 1st as we want to use the event as advertisement for OccU. (Karen)

–          Brian can be part of big event once we figure out who else we have speaking for other events. (Katja)

–          We should use Open Forum contacts to get speakers/people to give classes. (Ingrid)

–          We should make sure to have events/workshops in other boroughs for the launch weekend, eg class on foreclosure in Queens. Important to get a multi-racial group of instructors/speakers for the launch. (Pam)




Whole Launch Weekend

–          It would be helpful to think about what a university should be. A uni guarantees a certain kind of culture – what kind of culture do we want to guarantee? (David)

–          I can co-ordinate with Sunset Park GA to see if we can have launch event there. (Miguel)

–          I live close & can help with logistics of that – opportunity to work on local issues such as environment, traffic for classes. (Pam)

–          Liked Joe’s idea of having something like registration – perhaps we can have an event/discussion on ‘what is education?’ for the launch.

–          Agree – would be great to continue discussions like that at E&E meeting today about education, to have an ongoing conversation about what education means (Ingrid)

–          60 Wall St seems to be a good space to have some of launch as it roots us in OWS. We could have some sort of orientation week style stuff – we could wear t-shirts with what classes are already set up as info. (Joe)

–          We are meeting with different to see what kinds of classes they would be interested in taking – next one on Tuesday night at 86 st. (Jason)


–          Discussion of what we need to do in next 6 weeks to get ready for launch!

–          Miguel set out some tasks that we should divide up/continue or start working on – people in brackets are those who have been working on/can work on certain things. Other tasks/names can be added to the list – lots of people have been doing lots of stuff, so these names are just those who volunteered yesterday!:


–          Areas to be worked on for launch:

–          1)  Website, incl what kind of coding we can use. (Jason C, David)

–          2) Twitter/Social Media.

–          3) Outreach – Groups going to speak to GAS.

–          4) Mission Statement (Joe/Karen to present text next week)

–          5) Graphic Identity (Ingrid)

–          6) Launch logistics (Pam, Chris Cas, Joe, Jason W, Karen, Michael)

–          7) Fundraising (Zane)

–          8)  Organising Courses & Workshops. (David)

–          9) Press (Pam, Darragh).

–          Discussion around these tasks etc – sorry, missed some discussion here so pls add if it is important!

–          Especially worried about website & fundraising – we need to figure out this week how much setting up functional website will cost/whether or not we can get coding. (Pam)

–          We should have 4hour meetings leading up to launch as we need to accomplish a lot in each meeting. (Karen)

–          We should not have task force groups, but keep working in big group so everybody is in loop. (Ingrid)

–          Many things in works – teacher training classes continue at Trump Tower on Thurs nights; hopefully organizing some classes or event at Purchase & Montclair for launch; corresponding with Think Tank. (David)

–          Can set up spreadsheet to manage who goes to GAS/speaks to other groups. We should have as many OWS groups as possible involved & giving classes for launch. (Darragh)

–          Really like how Think Tank operates & want to use that pedagogy for OccU launch. (Michael)

–          Have a friend who can hopefully help with social media. (Zane)

–          Launch can also be work in progress in some ways – we should make sure to leave space in what we’re presenting for ideas of people who come on board at/after launch. (Darragh)

–          We should ask Spokes Council for funds for launch as it’s a good way of getting word out about our event, getting other OWS groups to debate its merit, as well as getting necessary funds! (David)

–          OWS press prefers 6 weeks notice for events etc – this is where we are now! (Pam)

–          Need to set deadlines. (Miguel)

–          Should send an email to larger OccU group to solicit more ideas for launch event. (Pam)

–          We should make sure the first day of launch is not centered on one individual.  (Miguel)

–          Next Meeting: Sat Jan 21st, 2-6pm at the New School, Room TBC.





Comments are closed.