Empowerment & Education–Occupy University Meeting 1-7-2011 Minutes

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Re-Cap of E&E – Nomadic/Occupy University Meeting


Name: Occupy University, abbreviated as OccU

Launch Day: March 1

Next OccU meeting:

Sat. 1/14, 3-5:00 pm, 60 Wall St.

***All should come with a list of people, orgs, CBOs, etc. that we can use to start to publicize OccU

Also on Sat., 1/14:

12:30 E&E meeting (60
Wall St.)

2:00 Ingrid’s walking tour,
Meet at Liberty Park

5:00+ Drinks with our friends
planning OWS Forum on the Commons (Feb 16-18 at CUNY)

Course topics from 1-7-2011

collective property and housing
modes, alt currencies, capitalism, comp economies: production, consumption,
distribution, democracy, outreach and fieldwork, food systems and security,
health care systems, alternative pedagogy, open source and web systems, social
mvmts. and organizations, labor orgs/unions, social justice,


Debt (potentially book  by Graeber)

psycho-social group dynamics

critical media thinking

poetry/art and feeling
political–aesthetics and politics

commons (coll. property); how
to think and read, critical fiction

Skills based—apprenticeship
model; Critique

Exercises in thinking:
philosophy for children, teens, adults.
Aesthetic Education

pol philosophy of the US;
intro to workgroups

wilderness survival, walking
tours, geography of power

collaborative ethnography,
training in “Freire” education

Memory mapping method


Minutes (cryptic)

Nomadic/Occupy University

Sat., 1/7, 2-6:00 pm




Jason W

Jason C




Chris C




Matthew Bissen

Chris Leary

Randall Wiltz


DRAFT Agenda

_____  Check-in (5 mts.)

_____ Review/Revise Agenda (10 mts)

_____  What is our Name? (15 mts.)

_____  “Building
Our University: A Possible Medium Term Agenda”  REVISED and review last meeting (From Joe)

_____  Report backs for task forces: Outreach, Internet, Logistics, etc.
(From Chris)

_____  Report back from David re: other “Occupy University” (From Karen)

_____  Report back from Ingrid re: Connecting with other OWS groups &
Activities (From Karen)

_____  “How
do we plan on reaching out to folks that aren’t already involved in a
University and would maybe be interested in taking or teaching a course at our
University?” (from Jason W.)

_____  Discussing/Planning/Implementing Next Steps for Nomadic/Occupy


Joe presented proposal.  (Joe’s DOC is at end of minutes).  3/1 –day to launch-announce classes. PR, etc.


Miguel proposed idea of opening
up present Univ. courses to outside people.  Ex. Harvey’s Social Justice and the City
course.  Categorize classes: long-term or
one day workshop, etc.   Jason W reminded
us of our prior discussion on different pedagogy and teacher training for OccU.


Discussion of “accreditation”
ensued.  Most against and would put that
as a potential longer term issue.  We
might want to come up with a strong statement against accreditation.  Vision/Framing to be presented for 3/1 Launch:
don’t need a university to get an education!


Jason W-do we want to put
down what we want to offer.


1. Chris C-website-looked at
public school and looks good-can adapt.
Melanie, Cynthia, Chris Crews; Jason C. can also assist and may be able
to get OWS internet group to help us.
Chris says would cost a few thousand to get a website like Public school
website.   Chris may get in touch with
Public School to see if they can give us their code!


Want website up for March
1.  Need our vision clear for website.
Ingrid: aesthetics of website is crucial.


2. Wish list of
classes/teachers–Ingrid.  Had Google
sheet but many did not fill out.
Attended Last Tues’s Outreach cluster; attended cluster on  mobile occupations, mobile pop-ups.  Matthew: People’s Univ out of students at NYU
and use NYU assoc. spaces.  Noon Sat.–
All City wide meets.


Jason C. – is OWS a modern
day enlightenment?  Students look at
enlightenment work and see if relevant for today.


Ingrid walking tour – Jan. 13
and 14, first ones.


From last meeting, proposed
to have a ½ day or full day workshop.


David—Outreach subgroup.  David in touch with Hope Martin—created
“Occupy Univ.”  Only 2 people. Content is
online (like KAHN? Academy). Had software and code donated to them.  She has a site on NYCGA.net of Occupy Univ.  Matthew reported on student all city wide


Columbia anthro. prof is
offering a course on OWS. LISA Duggan, Nick Mirzoeff is offering courses on OWS
at NYU.  *Karen’s later addition: Nick
says he is offering a methods course and they will study OWS.


OWS Tech and Media are
developing a repeatable process to bring in new people.   Miguel: there are some OWS people training
about housing, foreclosures, etc. and we should connect.


Discussion about outreach to
people of color, etc. ensured.


Example of a text of a class
and vision statement on handout sheet.


Space for meetings—should
access public libraries, CBOs, orgs that have worked hard to get space, etc.


Name: most support Occupy
Univ. Have to discuss with Hope of OWS.

Occupy University.  David will speak with Hope about name


Jason W’s question. “How do
we plan on….”

Go to:

Labor unions (Chris)

Think tank (Ingrid, TT is
great at reaching out to people)

People bring to the next
meeting—a list of orgs they have connections with




1. Website with some basic
info quickly, Twitter


Email: Jason C will send

Website: potentially

Goal: Public School like website





Parking lot (to add to Joe’s

Reaching out to communities/people
of color and non-Manhattanites



Next meeting:

Aesthetics of websites

People bring list of
“connections” CBOs


Planning: Courses

1. Create a form that will be
on website where people can put in what to learn and what to teach


Lists of other profs and
students who have supported OWS.  Hard to
get those email lists. Probably better to go to our contacts in each group


(CRM is the database of all
of the email lists)


Courses should be categorized:
workshop, lectures, long-term classes



Miguel: Meta topics:
collective property and housing modes, alt currencies, capitalism, comp
economies: production, consumption, distribution, democracy, outreach and
fieldwork, food systems and security, health care systems, alternative
pedagogy, open source and web systems, social mvmts. and organizations, labor
orgs/unions, social justice, Environmental


Matthew: Debt (potentially by


Chris: psycho-social group


Pam: critical media thinking


Joe: poetry/art and feeling
political–aesthetics and politics


Yukiko: commons (coll.
property); how to think and read, critical fiction


Dave:  Skills based—apprenticeship model—(Pam say be
cautious, free labor); Critique


Jason W: exercises in
thinking: philosophies for children, teens, adults.  Aesthetic Education


Jason C: pol philosophy of
the US; intro to workgroups


Karen: Social Justice, Social


Ingrid: wilderness survival,
walking tours, geography of power


Chris: collaborative
ethnography, training in “Freire” education


Matthew: Memory mapping
method—don’t want anything listed


Perhaps need to categorize by
2 things:  how long, and what larger
topic does it fall under.



Next Sat. 1/14:

3-5 OccU Meeting, 60 Wall St.

Also on Sat., 1/14:

2:00 Ingrid’s walking tour,
Meet at Liberty Park

12:30 E&E meeting  (60 Wall St.)

Joe’s Doc
handed out at 1-7-2011 Meeting

our University: a Possible Medium-Term Agenda (Version 3.0)

University Launch Date: March 1st

Step 1) Preliminary

This is really a few different tasks, performed

(a) We build the website so that people have a way to
arrange/propose/sign up for classes after hearing about the University through
Step 2

people: Chris, _____________ , ______________

(b) We start
arranging a wish-list of classes/teachers on topics we like, to get going on
Miguel’s idea of a core syllabus.

people: Ingrid, _____________ , ______________

(c) We brainstorm methods for getting other people to be
aware of and involved in the University. (Especially important: methods for
contacting people who may not previously have been able to participate in
Universities of any kind).  (See ‘Step 2’
for our progress so far!)

people: so far, everyone.

(d) We come up with a list of good spaces for classes
(public/private spaces, etc…)

people: Zane, _____________ , ______________

(e) We come up with some text that describes the University
generally, our mission, the process/content we encourage etc., for use when
contacting people about it, and for the website.  (Actually,
thanks to the great efforts of some of our hard-working members, we already
have a pretty great start on this

people:  Joe, _____________ ,

(f) We locate groups for discussion experiments / pedagogy

people: David, _____________ , ______________






Step 2) Week of Inquiry

Here we reach out to as many people as we can to see what
sort of teaching/learning/collaborative learning they’d be interested in
embarking on.  We get them to suggest
classes they’d like to take/teach, and ask them where and when they’d be
available to teach/take classes, and so on.
We use the website to collect their ideas.   A few tasks here:

(a) Go to GAs in person

(b) Approach specific working groups by attending their

(c) Email teachers/professors who’ve already signed letters
of support for OWS

(d) Contact affiliated activist

(e) Contact student organizations
at existing institutions

(f) Contact other alternative
education organizations (free Schools, the Public School, etc etc)

(g) Conduct ‘discussion experiments’ to generate
ideas/support for classes.  The facilitators
of those discussion groups would then return to the same place at the same time
in the following weeks, as the courses proceeded, in order to facilitate
ongoing ‘teacher training’ /radical pedagogy workshops.



Step 3) Logistics

The fun part!  A few

(a) Go through the website submissions, and match up the
people who want to teach classes with the people who want to take them.

(b) We contact institutions who might volunteer spaces and
figure out what they are willing to give, and for how long.

(c) We arrange for space in places that don’t need
institutional permission, like the public/private spaces that we’ve used for
other meetings around the city.  (By now
we also have to have solved the question (suggested by Chris Crews) of whether
we want to have a central public/private space, like 60 Wall or similar, where
a bunch of our classes run simultaneously, just for the buzz of it…)




Step 4) Course
Preparation and Teacher Training

Using our new mailing list of participants, we
arrange a series of teacher-training workshops, to work on developing and
sharing less hierarchical pedagogical methods.
We would encourage everyone to come, especially those who are just about
to teach in the first round of classes; but it wouldn’t be required.  The teacher training workshop would hopefully
keep running on an ongoing basis, so that even if people missed the first one,
they might come to the second or third, etc…, in preparation for later round of


Step 5) Classes – and

Our first (pilot) season of classes commences.  We try to make them as visible as possible,
get the media interested, etc… We try to evaluate what’s working and what needs
to be changed.

Timeline:  Classes Commence March 1st

Step 6) Long-term

In the long term, there are many other issues we might want
to debate about, think through, and possibly adopt as projects, in one form or
another.  We haven’t really debated any
other these in any depth yet, but they’ve all been raised as possibilities at
various stages:

(a) Connecting the
university up with networks of alternative labour / alternative markets /
alternative exchange ?

(b) Thinking about ‘provisioning’  – food and shelter for participants in the
university, possibly through alternative exchange networks ?

(c) Acquiring, adopting, or occupying a permanent space ?

(d) Accreditation ?

(e) Fundraising ?





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