My Solicited Inflammatory Opinions for the Howler

Shelley Rosen

Hampshire is institutionally racist, transphobic, ableist, etc. etc. etc. This is unremarkable for a college.

As an institution it exploits students for free labor, brags about them, and does nothing to actually change.

Let me make something clear. Shared campus governance isn’t real. It’s made up. Authority is not distributed, it is delegated. All authority is always still held by the Trustees and their delegates. Nothing stops anything you once did, no matter how “binding,” from being ignored. The administration can and will “forget” and pretend nothing ever happened. They are not bound, and will just do whatever they want. The campus is a sandbox. It is designed to let you feel like you’re making a difference, so you can learn from it, and when you leave it is reverted so another student can have the same experience. Hampshire is Zion in the Matrix Sequels. It is erased and reset the same ways over and over and nobody realizes that they are not the first Involved Students to tackle whatever issue they are the 6th the 10th the 15th iteration. They only find out right when they graduate and are forgotten.

This is all probably also unremarkable for a private liberal arts college. I think Hampshire cloaks it more than other colleges, and that Hampshire attracts students who get more passionate about it than other colleges. That doesn’t really matter in the end.

There is no institutional memory and that’s not an accident. See: the Disorientation Packet (oops, 90% of you don’t know what that is).

The Omen is the only archive of student activism and campus drama in the 21st century. I made an archive you can read at http://bork.hampshire.edu/~omen but we’ll see how long that stays up / keeps being updated after I graduate. I recommend Stephen Morton’s editorial from Volume 34. Issue 8. It’s very relevant.

In my opinion, you’re all better served spending your activist energy off-campus. If anyone from the administration asks you to help them make campus better in whatever capacity, ask them how much they’re paying you for this job they’re offering. See how their tune changes. They won’t even want to give you “credit” for it. They want you to do it for free as a “resumé builder” while managing a full course load. I wish I hadn’t bothered with campus politics and had just focused on my academics and engaged more off-campus. Hampshire actually does have a very good academic program.

So as a final goodbye before I leave, here is a string of statements: The Thriver’s admissions policy is racist and ableist. Social Entrepreneurship is just a regular Business program and why anyone would think a food truck is a “social cause” is beyond me. The student information management system (datatel/colleague) needs reforming and to be taken out of the hands of the current transphobe in charge of it. The very concept of student government is stupid on a campus this small since we can all just meet with deans ourselves anyway. HYPE is ableist. Direct Action is the only praxis worth trying on campus. Orientation Leaders and RAs deserve pay now and forever. The Homestuck ending was dissastisfying and anticlimactic. SAGA is never going to be something you’re excited to eat everyday, it’s just a cafeteria so give them some slack. Joining the Omen is your only hope.

So yeah, have fun kids. Don’t feel too bad about burning out in a couple years. Burning out was the best thing to happen to me.

One comment

  1. […] resources too. It’s not sustainable when Hampshire exploits students, faculty, and staff (see: this article). It’s not sustainable when Hampshire cuts funding to vital student programs like the Cultural […]

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