Archive for February, 2008

William and Mary Campus still in outrage

Posted in resistance, student power with tags , on February 15, 2008 by Jasper Conner

After the Board of Visitors at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Va forced President Nichol to resign, students and faculty decided to go on strike and have since been having rallies, vigils, and teach-ins. The chapter of sds at William and Mary called the student strike shortly after a section of the faculty called for a faculty strike. WM sds also put on a teach-in that saw over 400 students talking about the importance of reclaiming our education for ourselves.

Since the WM campus is still extremely upset and angry about the undemocratic decision of the Board of Visitors, students are putting on a forum about the role of the public university. Students are inviting anyone who can come to be a part of this very important discussion and are emphasizing that the current situation at WM isn’t unique. Secretive decisions are the norm for colleges and universities where those most involved in the educational process(students, faculty, and staff) have little to no input in how their campus runs, while absentee boards make the majority of steering decisions.

The event will be happening this Saturday, February 16th from 4pm-6pm in the University Center Atrium. Folks with questions should direct them to Sean Walsh of WM sds (spwals[AT]wm[DoT]edu).

I will do my best to keep this blog updated about all of the unfolding events going down at William and Mary.


Student and Faculty Strike at the College of William and Mary

Posted in resistance, student power with tags , on February 14, 2008 by Jasper Conner

On Tuesday morning, February 12th, the widely-popular and progressive Gene R. Nichol, President of the College, tendered his resignation, following a decision by the Board of Visitors to not renew his contract (set to expire at the end of the academic year). President Nichol bravely denounced the Board of Visitors and their attempt to purchase his silence as to the true reasons for which he was Fired – free speech and broad-minded Change to a traditionally conservative institution. The Board of Visitors, the governing body of the College, is composed of the political appointees of the Governor of Virginia. The majority is not otherwise active members of the William & Mary Community, and has in their decision-making process continuously silenced the Voices of students, staff, faculty, and alumni, who are overwhelming in support of President Nichol and the substantive, progressive Change he has made to this institution in three, short years.

In the wake of the shock of President Nichol’s sudden resignation, members of the Faculty of the College of Arts and Science issued a call for fellow faculty-members to join them in a “Strike”, refusing to hold regular classes on Wednesday (2/13) and Thursday (2/14), during a spontaneous rally of over 500 students, staff, and faculty in support of Our President. Following this announcement, members of the William & Mary Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) announced a student strike in Solidarity with their professors and, unequivocally, Comrades-in-arms. That night, over 1500 students expressed their grief for our community’s loss of a great man by congregating in front of the President’s House to intone to Gene Nichol the Alma Mater of Our College. Students – stunned, grieved, incensed – are experiencing ‘the fierce urgency of Now’.

On wednesday, February 13th, over 400 students and faculty occupied the lobby of the University Center in an informal sit-in to voice their opposition to the dismissal of President Nichol and to the blatant disenfranchisement of their voices at the highest administrative level of Our College. At a subsequent student- and faculty-organized Town Hall Meeting, over 700 members of the William & Mary community gathered to organize their Resistance to the Gross Injustices committed, adopting a list of five tentative demands, overarching points of unity to amalgamate the disparaged and channel their grief and anger toward Constructive ends. Those who are affected most by the decisions of the Board of Visitors now actively express their Opposition to the secrecy and egotism of this distant, aloof body.

On thursday February 14th, the day usually devoted to the capitalistic display of ‘love’, the William & Mary SDS put on a Teach-In, inviting Faculty and Students to join in the Sunken Gardens of Our Old Campus – an active reclamation of education, denying the legitimacy of any attempt to circumscribe the academic freedom of students everywhere – young and old. Over 400 people were in attendence.

As events continue to unfold over the following days, the members of the William & Mary SDS ask our comrades and compatriots throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the country to stand in solidarity and to support our struggle to regain control of Our College. Our message permeates well beyond the confines of our campus. It touches at the very Heart of what it means to be a student of life. Knowledge and the pursuit thereof should be in the hands of those who actively Engage it. Allowing our lives to be dictated by detached strangers amounts to a Denial of the Truth we seek – Freedom.

This was written by Sean Walsh of William and Mary sds, and editted slightly by me.

For interviews with Students, Faculty and Workers at William and Mary about the forced resignation of President Nichol, check out this amazing blog

The Students of William and Mary have issued the following set of demands:

Over the past three years, the College of William & Mary has blossomed with increasing civic involvement, expanding academic horizons, and deepening cultural breadth. As students, staff, faculty, and alumni, we are sincerely wed to the direction of this storied institution. A lack of transparency at the highest level regarding recent personnel decisions ignores our profound desire for engagement.


Our love of the College drives us to ask for answers, explanation, and course. The events of the previous days have illuminated that the majority of students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the College of William & Mary have been denied a voice.


We, William & Mary, demand:


  1. Full disclosure regarding the decision not to renew Nichol’s contract, including any vote that took place, and how that vote was influenced.

  2. A review of the process by which the decision was made, in secret, to dismiss Nichol and appoint an interim President.

  3. Rector Powell and the Board of Visitors to come to campus to explain their actions and answer student, staff, and faculty questions. We do not find Rector Powell’s explanation Tuesday morning to be sufficient.

  4. A strong public re-affirmation from the Board of Visitors that the process to choose our next President will fully incorporate student, staff, and faculty voices and concerns in a transparent fashion.

  5. That the staff of the College, like the students and faculty, have a permanent position on the Board of Visitors.

  6. A commitment to continuing the diversity initiatives and dedication to academic freedom and free speech championed by Gene Nichol.






          Baltimore Algebra Project Die-in at State Capitol

          Posted in Baltimore Algebra Project, resistance, student power with tags , , on February 8, 2008 by Jasper Conner
          The Baltimore Algebra Project, a student-led inter-school coalition of inner city youths, called for a die-in at the State House in Maryland’s state capital of Annapolis. Chanting “No Education, No Life!” 25 members of the Baltimore Algebra Project and their supporters were arrested for presenting a coffin to Governor O’Malley in absentia, representing the social death (and, chillingly pointed out by the picture on the coffin of Zachariah Hallback, a Baltimore Algebra project member who was recently shot to death in a robbery, actual deaths) of students who are denied a proper education. No charges were filed on any of the participants.The Baltimore Algebra Project has been organizing for years around the hundreds of millions of dollars denied to their public school system by current Governor O’Malley. This action was part of a Baltimore City Schools fieldtrip about the current state of affairs of public education in Maryland and on the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960’s. DC sds accounted for 7 of the 25 arrested on the steps of State House (myelf included). DC sds is very excited to support BAP in all of their amazing organizing efforts and we look forward to future action as a means to building student power in this country and as a way for us to learn from our comradicals to the north who have their shit together.(for expediancy’s sake, some of this text was taken from the DC sds reportback written by Daniel Meltzer, and some of it is mine)


 – DC sds website
          25 education protesters detained – Baltimore Sun
          Education and Life Celebrated in Streets of Annapolis – Baltimore Independent Media Center
          No Education, No Life goes to Annapolis – Epiphany in Baltimore
          About 24 youths detained in Md. State House protest – WTOP News (Kristen Wyatt, AP)

          24 Students Arrested in Maryland Protesting Funding Cuts (10:53-11:12) – Democracy Now

          Students Arrested During Protest in Annapolis – ABC 2 News Video

          Students stage protest in Annapolis – Baltimore Sun/AP