Johns Hopkins University Disorientation Guide Fall 2014

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Johns Hopkins University Disorientation Guide Fall 2014

Date

2014

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Baltimore, Maryland

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DISORIENTATION
GUIDE

Fall 2014

Ta ble

of

C o n te n ts

Introduction
Powermapping and Hierarchy
Food at Hopkins
Sexual Assualt
Race and the Student Body
Labor at JHU
Student Debt
Drone Research at Hopkins
Israel/Palestine at JHU
Fossil Fuel Divestment
You and Charles Village
Exploring Baltimore
Scene From an Activist History
To Conclude...
Resources

[2]

Th e My th of the A pathe tic Hopk ins St ude n t
Getting oriented involves more than finding the gym and learning how to
hide weed from the RAs. It also means understanding our surroundings and
the ways we relate to them. Often, we are encouraged to see the university
as a neutral space of social and intellectual progress; we are told to think
of ourselves as more-or-less passive consumers, stopping through just long
enough to win our credentials, have some college-type experiences, and
develop fond feelings toward our Alma Mater. The reality of the university is
something else entirely. This guide exists to help orient ourselves to the ways
a place like Hopkins fits us into broader landscapes of inequality, oppression,
and crisis. By understanding the university and the disempowered position of
students within it, we hope to reveal the ways we can—and must—exercise our
power to produce meaningful change.
Like most myths, the one we’re told about the apolitical and aloof culture at
our school contains a small measure of
truth. Hopkins isn’t famous for its culture
But the idea that students
of student activism. But the idea that
here are disposed to be
students here are disposed to be politically
politically apathetic becomes apathetic becomes a myth when it is used
a myth when it is used to
to rationalize our inaction and isolation.
Such myths discourage us from using
rationalize our inaction
our college experience as a platform for
and isolation. Such myths
developing political consciousness and
discourage us from using
seeking allies for progressive causes.
our college experience as
Ultimately, these myths have a way of
a platform for developing
self-fulfilling themselves, telling us that
political consciousness and
it’s not worth it to try to do anything
seeking allies for progressive
more at Hopkins than make friends and
causes.”
make the grade. Many students may even
actively volunteer, but this is often done
without critical reflection on the motivation behind their involvement, or the
relationship between the organization and the community with which it is
involved.



The fact that our school does not bank on a legacy of political activism; that it
offers few established venues for political engagement; that you don’t know exactly
who to get with or what to do—these facts only mean that if we want such things,
we have to make them for ourselves. It’s up to us to find our crews and constantly
push action past the boundaries of what we’re told is possible.

[3]

Power m a ppin g

&

the

Hier ar ch y

Board of Trustees
President
School of Arts and Sciences
Administrators,
Special Committees,
and the Hierarchy
of Deans*

Other Schools &
University Functions
It’s Complicated
see http://webapps.jhu.
edu/jhuniverse/
administration/

*Deans & Leadership: http://krieger.jhu.edu/about/leadership/
Administrative Contacts: http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/administration/Homewood_Campus_
Administrative_Directory/

A few people you should know about:
Board of Trustees: The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the
entire University. Their decisions are made behind closed doors, without the
direct influence of faculty or students. This group is supposed “to guard the
University’s integrity [aka maintain a good image for Hopkins], to ensure
that it fulfills the purposes for which it was established, and to preserve and
augment its physical and financial assets [make $$$].” Johns Hopkins’ 40odd trustees are drawn from the ultra-wealthy top brass of private investment
firms and banking (23), the biomedical/pharmaceutical industry (7), real
estate and development (3), and corporate law (3). Their ranks include a leader
in for-profit education ventures (*cough*conflict of interest), the head of a
wealth management firm for “high-net-worth families” (whose horse won
the Kentucky Derby last year—Go Orb!), Boy Scout officer who helps build
shopping centers, a Citi head who has partnered with Johns Hopkins to draw
its talent to finance (*cough*), and a third-generation philanthropist who
“says she has none of the guilt some wealthy women admit to.” Why does the
great-great-great-niece of the Johns Hopkins have such an enormous say in our
institution? Not because she maintains a special beyond-the-grave connection
with Our Founder. That voice she’s hearing is money.

[4]

President Daniels: University President Ron Daniels answers to the
trustees, overseeing university initiatives, allocating resources, and posing
for friendly-looking photographs. He comes to Hopkins from a tenure as
Dean at University of Toronto Law, where he is remembered as “the man
largely responsible for our high tuition.” His plan for raising the profile
of U of T involved tripling yearly tuition, then doubling it again, without
providing anywhere near commensurate increases in financial aid. Upon his
arrival at Hopkins, Daniels launched
another massive restructuring project,
Student government - meetings
which, particular in the School of
open to students. Tuesdays @ 7:30
Arts & Sciences, has been designed
PM in Mason Hall.
by administrators and consultants
and guided by superficial standards of
SGA Executive Board (4 members
marketability, cost-effectiveness, and
elected by student body at large)
the ability to secure grants. Last year, in
response to faculty and student resistance Student Senate (28 members: 6
to one part of his project — the KSAS
members elected from each class
Dean’s Strategic Plan — President Daniels plus one class president)SGA
charters most student groups on
tried to win graduate student support
campus (determines how much
with a bribe, offering them stipend
increases that had previously been denied $ each group gets), although the
Center for Social Concern also hosts
to them on the grounds that they school
some groups (only service-oriented
couldn’t afford them.
ones)

Dean of Krieger A&S:
In recent years, much student and faculty
discontent has been focused on former
Dean Katherine Newman, who became
notorious for forcing faculty through
administrative hoops and spending
money on pointless showy projects.
Last spring, we watched her leave with a
mixture of horror and relief, witnessing
how condescension and bulldozing
incompetence can carry a university
administrator one step closer to a sevenfigure salary (she’s now Provost at UMass
Amherst). But Dean Newman did not
take Johns Hopkins’ culture of secrecy,
micro-management, and petty jockeying
for ranks with her. Nor did she haul away

Graduate Representative
Organization: made up of
representatives from each
department and an “executive
board,” the GRO organizes social
events, funds student groups, and
advocates for student interests.
Although it represents student
workers, the GRO does not have
collective bargaining power. Meets
every other Monday.
*Note: It’s important to know that
many of these outlets for student
power exist for a tokenized purpose.
Even if that’s the case, it’s helpful to
know they exist so you can know
how to circumnavigate the system.

[5]

the crises, the buildings paid for with debt, the cuts, and the administrative
overstep that all played a far greater role in her policies than her disrespect for
students and her media-ready positivism. Newman is elsewhere, but the most
of the emergencies for which she became our shorthand remain.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs: Oversees everything including athletics,
mental health and wellness, student services, etc. Deans of Student Life;
Housing, Dining and Res Life; Student Programming (and the new Sexual
Misconduct position) – who students work with everyday on various matters –
all report to this person.
Vice President, Office of Communications; Executive Director, Media
Relations and Crisis Communications: Focused on marketing the school’s
“success” stories and putting out PR fires. Be extra vigilant if you agree to be
part of Hopkins’ PR to ensure that you’re represented as you want to be, and
when you read articles where Hopkins responds to criticism, look out for the
spin.
Vice President, Johns Hopkins Facilities and Real Estate: Ultimate decisionmaker when it comes to anything regarding buildings and Hopkins-owned
property. Oversees the Office of Sustainability (which actually has very little
power in doing anything progressive, unless it will save the University money
within seven years).
Michael Bloomberg and the donors: We can’t forget the role of outside
money in all of this. Former New York Mayor and past Chairman of the Board
of Trustees Michael Bloomberg has donated over $1.1 billion to Hopkins
— more than any other single donor at any school, ever. Like most large
donors, Bloomberg puts sharp restrictions on how his money can and cannot
be used. As the New York Times writes, “Mr. Bloomberg tends to finance
ideas that appeal to his contrarian style and corporate ethos.... His status as
the university’s top donor has given him mayor-like sway at Hopkins: deans
routinely travel to New York to pitch him new programs and research.” This
image of corporate lord and groveling vassal only crystalizes the way the
university is beholden, not just to big donors but also to the wealthy parents —
current and potential customers — whose tuition ultimately keeps it afloat.
What do I do with this info?
If you want to make a change on this campus, or at least understand your role
within the university, it’s helpful to place your self/group and your cause in
context with other stakeholders. Many activists use a powermapping strategy to

[6]

determine the target decision-makers in university and how they’re connected
to potential allies and opponents. Visualizing strategies like these can help you
engage people who have power and choose appropriate strategies to strengthen
your campaign.

These rich white men know how “to guard the University’s integrity, to ensure that it
fulfills the purposes for which it was established, and to preserve and augment its physical
and financial assets.”

Fo od

an d

Hopk ins

Who picked those berries atop your yogurt parfait and how were they treated
and paid for their efforts? Most farmworkers and other food-chain workers live
and work in dangerous conditions (both in the U.S. and abroad) while earning
sub-minimum and poverty-level wages.
Where was your grilled chicken breast or piece of bacon raised? Most likely in
a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) abusing animals, overusing
antibiotics, polluting waterways, and harming the health of workers, their
families, and nearby communities (and notably, disproportionately, lowincome/minority ones).
Which communities have the opportunity to eat better foods, and which
are forced (through economic or environmental factors) to rely on the most
harmful ones?
Such questions don’t usually come to mind when loading up one’s plate at
the FFC. Yet that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asked. Today’s industrial

[7]

food system model arose from the plantations that built our global economy.
The extractive and exploitive nature of the system has not served us well. Its
historical injustices have survived, and are continually perpetuated in the
racial, class, age, and gender disparities present in the growing, processing,
distribution, consumption, and disposal of our foods.
As young people, we are directly impacted by the industrial food system – from
being the first generation to have an life expectancy shorter than that of our
parents, to inheriting the consequences of climate change to which this food
system significantly contributes. Many other communities also experience
the harmful effects of this system, and often in more direct and contemporary
ways.
Because our university spends so much of our money on food – and we don’t
have a choice whether to contribute this money in the first place – students
must take responsibility for our influence on the food system. Recognizing
this, Hopkins students organized to demand that the university commit, as
part of a national campaign, to purchasing at least 20% “real” food (local/
community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound, and/or humanely raised)
by 2020. In November 2013, President Daniels signed the Real Food Campus
Commitment, adopting a 35% goal for us to achieve by 2020.
This is huge - one of the largest commitments in the country. Students,
supportive allies in the Housing and Dining administration, faculty, and other
community members helped achieve this victory. This institutional support is
necessary to building the millions of dollars of infrastructure that independent
local food producers need to continue producing good food in sustainable, fair,
and humane ways.
However, it’s essential that we uphold the standards that this commitment
represents. A profusion of companies has jumped on the bandwagon to
grab our desire for better food, but they may not have the same interests as
we do at heart. For instance, Hopkins outsources our dining services to a
company -- currently Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO). While
BAMCO prides itself on leading the food service industry in sustainable
food sourcing, its parent company, Compass Group, makes $28.6 billion – as
much as McDonald’s – in revenue each year. Students must ensure our dining
contractor doesn’t take shortcuts like mistreating workers or choosing foods
with meaningless certifications to maintain its bottom line. We should also
continually make sure that the university doesn’t use this commitment as a PR
opportunity without giving us an active role in campus food decision-making.

[8]

What should students work towards now?
• Maintaining transparency: It took students two years of activism
before we received permission to audit our food service invoices. Now that
students have earned paid internships to do so, we need to continually fill
these positions to ensure the strict standards we pushed for are upheld.
• Receiving credit: JHU’s recent rise from #42 to #2 in the (questionably
rated) “best colleges for food” list didn’t even mention Hopkins students’
role in organizing for better food for years.
• Educate ourselves: Students must continue learning and teaching each
other about why these issues are important. As individuals, let’s not waste
food, avoid stealing dishes, eat less meat/ animal products, and choose
foods labeled as fair/local/organic/humane when they’re offered.
• Become active: Join the Food Systems Working Group (learn more from
Real Food Hopkins) in its efforts to improve campus food sourcing, policy,
education/marketing, and accountability.
Se xu al

A ss ault

TRIGGER WARNING. This document references incidents that have occurred
at Johns Hopkins and discusses administrative failure to support survivors and
penalize assailants. For assistance, find University and community resources here.
Between 2007 and 2010, Johns Hopkins reported zero incidents of sexual
assault in its Annual Security Report, a document required of most colleges
and universities under the Clery Act. But about one in five women will
experience sexual assault during their undergraduate careers, and Johns
Hopkins is no exception to this rule. In response to the patently false statistic
touted by the University, the Feminist Alliance and the Sexual Assault Resource
Unit jointly created a now-defunct blog for survivors to break the silence and
share their stories. Within just a month, twenty accounts of sexual assault were
posted. The 2011 Annual Security Report then disclosed a single incident of
sexual assault, and, released in September 2013, the 2012 Annual Security
Report disclosed sixteen, including those that occurred off campus. (It should
be noted, however, that while this statistic is high, it represents a fraction of the
incidents that actually occurred. The Annual Security Report does not include
incidents reported to confidential resources such as the Counseling Center.
And nationwide, more than 90 percent of survivors on college campuses never
report the assault.)

[9]

2014 saw an unprecedented rise in
dialogue around sexual assault at Johns
Hopkins. Earlier this April, two students
launched a petition to change the
Sexual Violence Policy, which received
more than one thousand signatures
in a matter of days and a unanimous
resolution from the Student Government
Association. Among the suggested
changes were recommendations to create
a comprehensive definition of sexual
assault, to include in the definition
nonphysical sexual acts, and to delineate
the range of sanctions warranted by
different violations. Later that month,
four student organizations jointly
launched another petition to encourage
the University to spread awareness
about resources and to better educate
the community about what constitutes
sexual assault. While the University
has yet to update its Sexual Violence
Policy, despite that administrators have
expressed their intent to do so, this
summer it launched a comprehensive
website with policies, protocols, and
resources for survivors, as requested in
the second petition.
In May, news broke that an anonymous
group of students had filed a joint Title
IX/Clery Act complaint against the
University. Their complaint claims that
administrators were aware of an alleged
gang rape that had occurred the previous
year at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity
house, but failed to notify the campus
community. Included in their complaint
is an email thread between Title IX
Coordinator Allison Boyle, Provost
Robert Lieberman, and other University

[10]

We live in a patriarchal society,
where a value-laden distinction
between two sexes is constantly
asserted and enforced. Under
patriarchy, femininity is made
to denote things like passivity,
dependence, superficiality,
irrationality, and maternal instinct.
Legal and moral institutions entrench
the subordination of female-assigned
people (a fact reflected in their lower
average pay) and wage war against
any deviation from gender and sexual
norms.
Rape culture is the collective
tendency to normalize, trivialize,
excuse, and ignore interpersonal
violence. Through an array of
everyday practices including slut
shaming, survivor blaming, joking
about rape, street harassment, and
the bullshit idea that “no” really mean
“yes,” rape culture tells women it’s
up to them to not get raped rather
than condemning the actual agents
of violence. By its lights, either
a woman modifies her behavior
in response to the threat of male
violence—never walking out alone
or getting too drunk or dressing too
slutty or flirting too much—or else
she is as good as “asking for it.” Rape
culture not only requires women
to constantly think of themselves
as potential victims; it maintains
conditions under which sexual
violence is possible and denies
survivors support, making them
much less likely to speak out against
perpetrators. This is one reason why
over 95% of rapists go completely
unpunished.

officials in which they debated and ultimately decided not to issue a public
statement about the incident, despite acknowledging their legal obligations to
do so. The complaint also includes multiple testimonies from students who
claim that former Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell and other administrators
dissuaded them from pressing charges against their assailants. As of August,
the University is now under investigation by the Department of Education due
to the allegations in the complaint.
A week before the public became aware that a federal complaint had been
filed against Johns Hopkins, Lieberman and Vice Provost Kevin Shollenberger
had announced their intention to form a University-wide committee to
address sexual assault. Two months later, Boyle was appointed co-chair of the
Sexual Violence Advisory Committee, despite being highly implicated in the
complaint. And Boswell, who is also named in the complaint, was appointed to
a new position in which she will deal exclusively with sexual assault and gender
inequity on campus.
Administrative failings have surely contributed to the problem of sexual
assault at Johns Hopkins, but solutions to address the issue in its entirety do
not lie in policy changes, high-profile media stories, and federal complaints.
Victim-blaming attitudes, stigma and silence around sexual assault, and hypermasculinity facilitate sexual assault on the Johns Hopkins campus. And while
sexual assault on universities nationwide has received unprecedented and
very much deserved attention in the past year, it is important to remember
that sexual assault occurs beyond the college campus. Incarcerated women,
the homeless, the mentally and physically disabled, children, transgender
folk, and sex workers are among the most vulnerable victims of sexual assault.
But they are denied a Clery Act and a Title IX, a White House task force, and
mainstream media attention.
R a ce

a n d

the

St u de n t

B od y

In a school-wide communication sent out on September 3rd, 2014, Interim
Dean Beverly Wendland brought up the question of diversity within the
incoming class and the university as a whole. Evoking various programs
on campus, notably the Diversity Leadership Council and the Office of
Multicultural Affairs, the Interim Dean painted the university as an active and
progressively oriented space.
If the university seems to promote an undefined notion of diversity, it does

[11]

so without addressing the foundational
issues of racism and discrimination, and
the ways in which these take form in
the everyday lives of minority students
that make up a part of the student body.
In fact, the model of council and office
formation in many ways isolates the
discussion outside of the larger social
forum: “people are afraid to talk about
race, so cultural groups get marginalized
off to the Office of Multicultural Affairs
and no one discusses it until a big
incident,” a recent graduate expressed.



Racial microaggressions
are brief and commonplace
daily verbal, behavioral, or
environmental indignities,
whether intentional or
unintentional, that communicate
hostile, derogatory, or negative
racial slights and insults toward
people of color.” – Racial
Microaggressions in Everyday Life

The framework is one in which grants, offices and councils are created in
the name of diversity, yet done so without the necessary push for interaction
between students, faculty and staff already in discussion on these topics with
the remaining population who can choose to ignore the work being done by
these specified institutional bodies. The repercussions of such a framework is
made evident by the experiences of students of color. The I Too Am Hopkins
campaign provided an outlet for students to openly express the microaggressions experienced while attending Hopkins.

[12]

In addition to this campaign, the Facebook page,“Off My Chest” was created
as another outlet for students to express their experiences and concerns with
racism and discrimination. Made in response to troubling situations on
campus that revealed racial tension on in Fall 2013,“Off My Chest” allows
students to anonymously submit their experiences on campus that reflect the
sometimes less than welcoming environment for students of color. In addition,
students are able to support one another by commenting their own experiences
or offering words of encouragement to the anonymous story. Below are a few
featured submissions that support the need for a more inclusive, culturally
competent environment at the university:
“So, like about 95% of freshmen, I went to Pike my freshman year. It
was okay for while until one Friday night a Caucasian male—a complete
stranger—came up to my friend and me (we’re both African American
females) and said: ‘I just wanted to say the both of you are so beautiful. I
really appreciate strong African American women and the struggle you
guys go through. I mean, my baby sitter was African American and so I just
grew up around so many of you. Do you want to come back to my room?
My girlfriend’s out of town and I could use a couple of strong women for
company...’ Later, upon leaving Pike 2 frat brothers came to the door and
said ‘Wait! Where are you guys going? We’re down with brown!!’”
“I was harassed by Hop Cops and Baltimore Police when my friend and I
stopped by the Wolman bike racks so he could have a smoke. They asked if I
was an illegal alien and, afterwards, they told us we were suspicious because
we were by the bike racks. Only problem is: there was a white gentleman
smoking on the opposite Wolman bike racks and he was never approached.”

[13]

“First semester my freshman year a police officer stopped me when I was
leaving my dorm and ordered me to put my hands on my head. He then
stated I matched the description of someone who committed a robbery in
the area and ran a background check on me after I identified myself, but
admitted the only information he had was that the suspect was a black male.
He then went on his way saying he had my information on him. The worst
part about all of this was that people I knew were standing outside of the
dorm while this happened. One person asked if it was me that the officer
stopped and after I said yes they immediately whispered to me ‘...so what did
you do?’”
Many students move through their time here without inwardly reflecting on
their own discriminatory patterns and biases, especially since we have no core
curriculum or mandatory classes that would require people to critically reflect
on these issues. This leads to incidents such as these:
So, what are the “new innovative ways to increase diversity” that the Interim
Dean calls for? Though the student body may be diverse in percentage, the
overall campus culture remains problematic. Diversity is not question of
statistics; it is one of cultural fabric. If the university seeks diversity, it begins
with a frank discussion about ourselves as people and as a student body, which
includes a willingness to point out aggressions at work by our peers, and by the
university. In a city with 65% African-Americans, perhaps we can get to a point
where a mandatory cultural competence course isn’t such a “reach.”
L ab or

at

JHU

It’s unfortunately all too easy to go your four years at Hopkins oblivious to
the precarious labor conditions of Hopkins workers. We’re talking about the
janitorial employees, the maintenance and security crews, the food service
staff—all the people, save for administrators and professors, who truly make
Hopkins function on a day-to-day basis.
Hopkins, more often than not, will try its very best to make the workers
on campus invisible to you, the student. Their problems, their lives, their
struggles—Hopkins does not want you to think about them or feel connected
to them while you’re here.
But you’re a member of the Hopkins community now. What you choose to

[14]

do with that information is up to you, but the one thing to really understand
about labor struggles in Baltimore, and at Hopkins specifically, is that students
have a significant amount of power over what the administration ultimately
does with regards to its employees. A disproportionate amount of power, even.
Moreover, the press pays attention to what students are doing and advocating
for, and Hopkins is very sensitive to news reports. This is all to say that not only
should you respect and be kind to the workers at Hopkins, but also recognize
that your choice to actively support them in times of need, can literally be the
precipitating factor to help them achieve their goals. This is not something to
be dismissed lightly; you, as a temporary resident on the Homewood campus,
hold real power and influence in
the labor struggles that impact
their lives and families.
Most recently in 2014,
maintenance workers at Hopkins
Hospital went on strike to
demand higher wages, saying
that too many of them were
living in poverty, unable to
support themselves and their
families despite working full time
hours for many, many years. Students wrote articles about the labor disputes,
students went to stand in solidarity at marches the workers and local unions
organized, and students gave speeches saying that Hopkins, as powerful leaders
in public health, should be supporting the health of their own employees,
right here in Baltimore. After months of back and forth, the workers finally
emerged victorious in the contract negotiations and Hopkins agreed to phase
in substantial wage increases. This outcome was anything but guaranteed, and
students played a real role in the organizing efforts.
In 2011, students organized rallies in support of the Hopkins food service
workers, who were fighting for a new and fair contract with their former
contractor—Aramark. Aramark’s proposed offer sought to deny workers
things that they previously had been given, like dental, optical and short-term
disability benefits. Not only did students organize public displays of support,
but they also facilitated meetings between student organizations and the
director of Dining Programs and the Vice Provost in order to help push for
official backing for the workers’ efforts and livelihoods.
College is an amazing opportunity for you to grow, learn, and explore

[15]

your individual interests. But while you’re here, don’t forget or ignore the
community you’re part of beyond just your fellow students on campus. Pay
attention, listen, and consider supporting the hardworking employees around
you, many of whom who have far less power and opportunities than you do.
St u de n t

Debt

So, here you are: A Hopkins student; a hard-working, lacrosse-loving, orgotextbook-toting blue jay. Welcome to the world of higher education.
Four years of knowledge acquisition lay ahead. You can choose your major.
You can try to be pre-med. You can subsequently decide not to be pre-med.
You can take some English literature courses. You can dream about becoming a
philosopher.
Or maybe not.
If you are like most university students, these scholastic pursuits will likely be
thwarted by thousands of dollars of debt. According to statistics compiled by
Peterson’s Undergraduate Financial Aid and Undergraduate Databases using
the Common Data Set, students who graduated in 2012 from four-year public
and private institutions in Maryland had an average debt of $25,591. Hopkins
students, riding on the endowment that comes with international renown,
fielded a tab slightly below the state average: in 2012, blue jays grabbed their
degrees with $23,092 in debt.
But what does that mean? You can still cultivate your intellectual garden as
student loans pile up in your ISIS account, right?
Absolutely. These will be your options upon graduation:
1. Go forth to grad school, med school, or law school.
2. Get a job.
If you choose the first option, you will merely delay the loan repayment
process. Furthermore, unless you find a fully-funded program, it is likely that
you will add to the slumbering sum.
If you choose the second option, you have one more decision to make. Will you
find a job that defers or mitigates your loan payments or will you find a job that
provides enough money for you to payback your loans on your own?
The first kind of job may seem preferable: you can develop working experience

[16]

while keeping the loan monster at bay. However, such jobs tend to be
structurally problematic. AmeriCorps, one program that facilitates loan
forbearance, provides temporary workers for far-from-temporary problems.
The high worker turnover, a side effect of the one-year contract agreement,
causes nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faithbased groups to lose valuable hours on employee training. Moreover, the
high turnover rates retard the development of strong relationships between
AmeriCorp businesses and the groups they are trying to serve.
Securing the second kind of job is problematic. For one, high paying jobs are
not equally distributed amongst graduates of all majors. A survey conducted
by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that, in 2013,
graduates of who majored in humanities secured an average starting salary of
$37,058. Their engineering classmates, on the other hand, were starting jobs
with an average salary of $62,535.
How’s that philosophy dream looking now?
This unequal distribution is precisely why student loans are problematic. The
debt game pushes bright-eyed intellectuals into specific majors and then into
specific jobs. This has two disturbing consequences. First, the intellectual haven
of higher education becomes infiltrated with the question of practicality. In
other words, loan-ridden students begin choosing classes and majors based on
future economic payoffs rather than on intellectual passions. Second, the less
economically viable majors lose valuable diversity. As the students with heavier
debt migrate to the lucrative majors, the humanities are left with young adults
from affluent backgrounds.
Ah, so here we are, still living in a world where unbounded intellectual pursuits
are class determined.
Dr o ne

Rese ar ch

at

Hopk ins

In 1964 Science News-Letter reported that researchers at the Johns Hopkins
Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) had created a machine able to “think” for
itself. Beast, as the robot was called affectionately by its creators, was designed
to operate without human assistance. Researchers described Beast through a
number of anthropomorphisms. The automaton could “feel,” “play,” “sleep,”
“panic,” and would even search the walls of the laboratory for a power outlet
in order to “eat.” Beast seemed harmless enough. Photos of the machine show
what looks like a cross between R2-D2 and a Roomba. However, this project

[17]

was supported by the Navy Bureau of Weapons making it a precursor to the
automation of weapon systems and what would become America’s drone war.
Fast-forward forty years and one finds that Hopkins APL has played an
extensive role in the design and development of drones. APL has worked on
a number of systems used on these Predator and Reaper drones, the large
armed drones built by General Atomics and notorious for terrorizing entire
populations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq. APL worked on a
radar system for Predator drones and did research for a program allowing
drones to be controlled from submarines. Additionally, APL briefly held a
contract with the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems program making it
a central part of new drone design and development for the Navy and the
Airforce. This contract was terminated in 2005, but much of the research has
continued through other avenues of support. Recently, APL’s focus has turned
to “swarming” drones, coordinating the movements of multiple drones through
automation. Drone research has also extended beyond the APL campus. New
non-classified contracts for work on lightweight materials to be used on drones
fund research on the Hopkins Homewood campus.
Drone research at Hopkins poses a number of ethical problems. The first has to
do with classified research. Much of military research at universities remains
restricted from open exchange and in opposition to the university as a space
of free, transparent knowledge production. Hopkins designates APL a “nonacademic campus” thereby making it exempt from practices guiding the ethics
of research elsewhere at the institution. However, joint programs between APL
and the school of engineering at Homewood threaten to erode this policy.
This article draws only on the unclassified sources that provide a glimpse of
the military research at Hopkins. As long as large amounts of research are
concealed behind the wall of security clearances, the full extent of Hopkins’s
connections to the military industrial complex will remain unknown.
Second, drone research is part of a larger network of connections between
research universities and American empire. Military research at APL includes
war planning under anodyne names like “precision engagement” and
“command, control, and communication” (C3). Knowledge production within
the social sciences, particularly international relations and anthropology, has
longstanding connections with the management of empire. However, dissident
voices in these fields have pushed back against militarizing tendencies. The
task for the future is one of making the institution of the university a place
for voices of dissent to speak out in opposition to injustice and brutality.
The university can work productively with community organizations, peace

[18]

activists, and faith communities to further social justice causes rather than
stifle democracy with layers of secrecy. The geographic and institutional
proximity of Hopkins students to the development of weaponized drones
provides us with important opportunities to speak out against the research and
production of new weapons of war.
Isr a el/ Palestin e

at

JHU

Across American universities Israel/Palestine is a key battleground of campus
organizing and action, and JHU is no different. Palestine solidarity work in
particular intersects with a number of related struggles around with militarism,
academic freedom, and racism that our university is deeply implicated in.
Militarism - financially and ideologically - structures our university. The
Advanced Physics Laboratory is integral for military research; graduate
students on Homewood have been solicited (and in a few instances hired)
by the US military program which embeds social scientists with units in Iraq
and Afghanistan; and the School of International Studies in DC prepares the
future security experts and international policy makers for the US government.
Across the Atlantic, Israel has become the global leader in the development
and sale of homeland security technology (one company is contracted to build
the US-Mexico wall) and military drones, which it touts as ‘battle-tested’ in the
occupied Palestinian territories. Unsurprisingly, students campaigning against
JHU’s ties with defense contractors and involvement in military research have
found common cause with Palestine solidarity activists.
The growing Palestine solidarity movement in the United States, which has
seen professors fired and students disciplined at other universities, has brought
renewed debates around academic freedom to campus. When the American
Studies Association voted to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) call in 2014, JHU’s president and provost sent out a letter to
students and faculty condemning the decision for the effect it might have on
Israeli academics. JHU’s Students for Justice in Palestine wrote an open letter
attacking the administration pointing out that it has failed to speak out for
Palestinian academics and students, for whom military occupation destroys the
very foundations of academic study and research. The issue extends far beyond
JHU, and we should be very suspicious when abstract notions of ‘academic
freedom’ and ‘civility’ are mobilized to protect the powerful.
In July 2014, radical black leaders and activists joined Baltimore
demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza. Shared struggles against displacement

[19]

and state violence have lead to alliances between Palestine solidarity activists
on and off the JHU campus and those fighting to transform Baltimore. The
situation in Baltimore is detailed elsewhere in this guide. In Israel, Palestinians
who were able to remain after 1948 face systematic discrimination. Those
living under direct military rule in the West Bank face an apartheid system
designed separate Palestinians from Jewish settlers, maintaining the privilege
and expanding the control of the latter at the expense of the former. Gaza is
the endgame of separation: sealed off from the world, it is under the control of
Israel who both drops the bombs and controls the movement of the supplies
required for reconstruction. It is far more generous with the bombs.
For the most part, Israel/Palestine activism has played out relatively calmly at
JHU, staying within the limits of opposing lectures, discussions and films. But
Israel’s attacks on Gaza this summer pushed JHU students into participating in
direct actions and organizing protests in Baltimore, and may portend a more
radical campus activism in the years to come.
Fossil

F u el

Div estm e n t

It doesn’t take long to notice the constant barrage of posters, Hub articles, email
footers, and stickers teaching us about all the ways the university cares about
the Earth. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Johns Hopkins was
single-handedly saving the planet with its cage free eggs and water bottle filling
stations. Unfortunately, this is the environmental equivalent of the wealthy
CEO that calls himself an environmentalist, but doesn’t own a recycle bin. To
that person and the university, the appropriate response is, “put your money
where your mouth is.”
To give a little background, the total pool of money that the university
collects from students, donors, and other sources is called its endowment. It
goes without saying that the larger the endowment, the higher the quality of
education the university can provide for its students. As a result, the university
will invest a large portion of the endowment in different stocks, some directly
overseen by an in-house finance guru and others sent to investment firms
that will make investment decisions for us. The hope is that these investments
yield significant returns to help grow the endowment and better the university.
The issue with these investments is that they can often include relatively
immoral companies and industries: for example, racially-unfair South African
companies during the apartheid, weapons manufacturers, and cigarette
companies. Since the goal of an investment is to continue to grow, when the

[20]

university decides to invest in these groups, they are implicitly saying that they
hope these industries continue to grow.
At least twice in the past, students have spoken out and asked Hopkins to
divest (opposite of invest) its endowment of immoral industries with modest
success: the 1980’s with South African apartheid and the 90’s with cigarette
companies. In the case of apartheid divestment, students linked arms around
Garland to prevent the Board of Trustees
from leaving a meeting in order to make
...the Board of Trustees
a statement; a scene that would have
exercises fiduciary
been very out of place in the Hopkins of
responsibility for advancing
today. The best part is that the result of
Johns Hopkins’ mission and
apartheid divestment movements from
goals in a sustainable manner, universities around the nation was a US
embargo on South Africa that inflated
through wise stewardship
the South African currency (rand)
of all of its resources for
by 16%. Combined with many other
the common good and for
generations to come” — Board factors, the apartheid ended in 1994
with free democratic elections for all
of Trustees Mission Statement
South Africans. What this shows is that
divestment movements like this one have
the potential to spur on legitimate consequences for immoral industries and
states, and legitimate benefits towards building a more just society.



In the present, the world is reaching the precipice of a global crisis spurred on
by another immoral industry that Hopkins currently invests its money in: the
fossil fuel industry. Studies by climate scientists indicate that if we don’t cut
greenhouse gas emissions in half within 6 years, we will have emitted enough
to ensure that the next few centuries of humankind will live in a drastically
different world, riddled with food/water insecurities, global conflicts,
temperature extremes, intense natural disasters, and deaths from new climaterelated disease vectors. In fact, even today, a thinktank by Kofi Annan estimates
that over 300,000 people die each year as a result of climate change.
So what can you do? There is a group called Refuel our Future, comprised of
committed students at Johns Hopkins, that is working to get the university to
divest from fossil fuels. For two years, this groups petitioned students, attended
protests, debated professors, trained professionally, and polled Homewood
in hopes of raising awareness for the issue and convincing university
administration to get rid of its investments in fossil fuels. If you are interested
in getting involved, like them on Facebook, join their newsletter, get their email

[21]

from the back of the book, or flag them down at one of their events to learn
what you can do.
You don’t need to be a political expert to know that legitimate national
legislation to address climate change isn’t happening. If you want this change to
happen, you need to help make it. While you’re at Hopkins, the best thing you
can do to abate climate change is make the most highly ranked university in
Baltimore, largest employer in Maryland, and biggest hospital in the USA tell
the world that we can no longer invest in companies whose success is linked to
a bleak future. It’s time to refuel our future.
Yo u

an d

Charles

Vill a g e

By now you have been exposed to Hopkins’ recruiting and orientation
materials, and have read that Charles Village is a great place to live (and it is!).
After you complete the mandatory safety tour and hear about the “eclectic”
offerings beyond Barnes & Noble, we invite you to critically consider some
other aspects of your relationship with your new neighborhood. Once you
move out of the dorms, you will likely live in an apartment or rowhouse in
Charles Village; 4000-5000 of the ~8000 residents living in Charles Village are
associated with Hopkins. This has several implications for possible injustice
and unequal access to neighborhood decision-making.
For example, access to public transportation in Charles Village is unequal.
While students and other members of the JHU community can use the JHMI
shuttle to access downtown areas and East Baltimore, other residents of
Charles Village must use the unreliable MTA buses that serve the edges of the
neighborhood. Access to the JHMI route is restricted by identification, and
racial profiling has been known to occur in association with bus access.
The focus on security in Charles Village, while important for student safety, can
be harmful in creating fear of the community. While its always important to be
cautious and conscious of your own safety in a city environment, it is equally
important to be conscious of the community around you and the conditions
that lead to crime and conflict on our streets.
Furthermore, development and plans for Charles Village have almost always
been dominated by the university’s agenda. JHU has already carried out much
of its recent development strategy, including building the high-rise “Charles
Commons” dormitories (a swipe-access building for JHU use, not actually

[22]

common to the community) and the redesign of Charles St. According to the
campus plan update of 2008, JHU intends to “apply the University’s energy
and resources to improve the vitality and character of Charles Village as a
college town within the city,” a goal which
includes plans to “strengthen the campus’s
D O
physical relationship with Charles Village,
· Say hi to people on the
expand and diversify the programmatic use of
sidewalk who are not
university properties in Charles Village, and
students that you know
engage in the Charles Street redesign effort
· Go to the farmers’ market,
to promote university and neighborhood
neighborhood meetings,
concerns.” We invite you to question whether
block parties, and hang out
all residents of Charles Village desire to live
in Wyman Park with all the
in “college town within a city,” meaning a
cute dogs
bubble of wealthy JHU affiliates within an
· Venture outside of your
impoverished urban area. Who was invited
comfort zone, safely, in
to voice “neighborhood concerns” and how
finding new places to go offare those concerns translated into tangible
campus
action on the part of the university? Was
· Try taking the MTA and
anyone outside of the community consulted
Charm Circulator instead
at all? Do all residents want increased retail
of the JHMI to new areas of
on 33rd St. and on St. Paul? As a student,
Baltimore
you can raise these questions in your classes;
invite your peers to think about gentrification
D ON ’ T
outside of the immediate area of Charles
· Perpetuate this aspect of
Village, and converse with residents outside
student culture (FYI if you’re
of the Hopkins community, asking for their
white, you’re not a minority
opinions on the role of the university in
in Baltimore)
the neighborhood. The important thing
to remember is that you likely came from
somewhere else, and that you have the
resources to choose where you would like to
live as opposed to long-term residents.
from https://www.facebook.com/
jhusnaps/photos

E x plorin g
Baltim ore

Baltimore is a wonderful city, and I mean that without a hint of sarcasm. To
quote the ‘Hopkins confidential’-type review my Dad sent to me when he was
convincing me to accept the Baltimore Scholars’ offer: “Baltimore is a great
place to be young and strange.” I knew that, but I didn’t know that any of the

[23]

kids at Hopkins had the guts to figure that out. So here’s some advice from a
Baltimore native for all of you that want to be young and strange.
Find the Baltimore kids. There are a few of us in every lecture class. We’ll be
the ones rolling our eyes when you say, well, ignorant things about our city.
With a bit of luck you’ll find one in your dorm, or your discussion section, or
your new favorite student group. Try to make friends with them, or at the least
an acquaintance. Ask them where they go, what they like to do around town.
They are truly the best source for Baltimore knowledge that you have access to,
and hopefully you’ll make friends too.
Go to everything. The nice thing about Baltimore is that although we do have
a pretty big arts scene, that art scene is still relatively cheap. You’ll be able to
find at least one truly fascinating event each week for less than ten dollars.
Bookmark showspace.tumblr.com right now; thoroughly investigate every
café wall, streetlamp and local paper. If you go see a band one week, see a play
the next, go to a talk, or attend one of the many tiny festivals in the city. Don’t
worry too much about quality -- the point is not the shows and the events
themselves, but the knowledge about the city they facilitate.
Use public transport. Not just because it’s cheaper than having a car and easier
than walking or biking everywhere, but because it will force you into areas you
didn’t even know about in ways that other forms of transport won’t. Taking
the bus (any public transport, but particularly the bus) around Baltimore is
a great way to see new neighborhoods, and it’ll also give you sympathy for
all the Baltimoreans that have to use this rather unreliable, and occasionally
convoluted, system every day.
Trust your instincts, but investigate the difference between ‘instinct’
and prejudice. Every day, I hear Hopkins students talking about how they
feel scared or insecure in Baltimore. I would never encourage anyone to
stay somewhere where they feel like they’re in danger, but please try to
investigate why you feel threatened in this city. I have had some legitimately
uncomfortable and frightening incidents here, but a lot of people’s discomfort
with Baltimore is based in racism and classism. Stay safe, but keep an eye out
for your own prejudices.
Stop giving Hopkins such a bad reputation; step outside and get to know the
amazing place that you live in.

[24]

Sce nes

fr o m

an

A c tiv ist

History

Institutional memory tends to be selective and short, especially when it
involves events the institution might rather forget. This makes it especially
important to recall the long history of protests, strikes, occupations, and other
forms of direct action and resistance at Johns Hopkins. The following offers a
fragmentary look at this history, which could, in fact, be traced through almost
every year of the school’s existence—from the civil rights demonstrations and
sit-ins of the 1950s and 60s, to the protests against military recruitment and
research in the 1970s and 80s, to this month’s protest of racism and police
violence in response to the murder of Michael Brown.
As far back as the 1910s and 1930s, the university has been host to a number of
strikes, including a junior faculty strike in 1913 that won them unprecedented
influence in the academic council. In 1970, the strike tactic was used twice: a
two-day strike of classes by both students and faculty forced the administration
to remove military recruiters from campus, while a strike over contracts
for service workers was carried out with the support of Coretta Scott King.
Ongoing strikes in the mid-1970s won Hopkins hospital workers better
pensions and the right to union recognition, and a 16-day strike in 1981 won
these workers higher wages. Just last spring and summer, yet another strike
resulted in significant increases for over 2,000 hospital workers who Hopkins
has been paying nearly unlivable wages.
One of Hopkins’s most storied student actions took place in 1986, when
300 students came out to demand that the university divest from banks
and companies whose money was being used to fund apartheid in South
Africa. Plywood shanties were erected on the quad, and many students slept
there for over two months—until one of the shanties was firebombed by a
band of fraternity brothers. When the shanties went back up the following
year, Hopkins brought in the police, having 14 of its own students arrested.
Eventually, the university agreed to “selectively” withdraw some $75 million
in apartheid-supporting investments, but refused to completely divest or to
address its gentrification of East Baltimore—an issue the activists built into
their apartheid protests. (This issue has remained the subject of student and
community protest in recent years, as over 700 families have been displaced
and more than 50 acres of housing have been demolished as the result of
Hopkins’s latest development project.) In response, students occupied Garland
Hall for nine days.
At the turn of this century, a forceful three-year living wage campaign headed

[25]

by the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) appeared to have won its fight
with the university when Hopkins agreed to follow an example already set
by city government and guarantee a living wage for all of its employees. But
this promise was soon discovered
to exclude workers not directly
Wh y M a k e N oise ?
employed by the university: in other
words, many of those who provided A: Because the 21st-century university
security, cleaning, food, and building acts like a corporation, pursuing
services. The irony here was that
goals that promise to raise its actual
two of the for-profit companies that and perceived value and answering
the university contracted with to
to whomever holds the money:
provide such services were in fact
the board of trustees, alumni, and
owned by the university. In response potential sources of grant funding
to Hopkins’s failure to adopt a real
and tuition. Internally, power is
living wage policy, students from
distributed along a rigid hierarchy,
SLAC occupied Garland Hall for
with countless administrators whose
17 days in February and March of
primary charge is to boost or maintain
2000. When the university finally
the university’s image while drawing
capitulated to student demands,
down its bottom line. Positioned
it became the first private-sector
within this machinery, students are
entity to adopt a living wage, and
systematically disempowered. Their
Johns Hopkins’s example set off a
interests and commitments lack any
wave of similar campaigns across
institutionally effective representation
the nation. But the university
and are generally subordinated to the
refused to meet one of the occupiers’ financial imperatives of the school.
biggest demands. Their agreement
Student government acts, at best, as
to provide employees with a living
a suggestions box for administrators
wage, which at the time was set at
and a moderate gatekeeper of student
$7.75, did not guarantee that this
opinions and demands.
wage would be indexed to inflation
in the future. (Today, there is no
For students, whose power has been
guarantee that the University has or
institutionally limited and denied,
will be keeping up with that rate.)
efforts to affect change often require
the exercise of power outside or
In the same year, in May, student
against the standard rules and means
organizers joined employees of
of representation. While official
Up-To-Date Laundry services, a
channels prove useful in many
subcontractor with Johns Hopkins
instances, especially in the early stages
and other area hospitals, to protest
of a campaign, the history of the
meager wages and unhealthy
university proves time and again
working conditions. During the
that strikes, sit-ins, teach-ins, walk-

[26]

outs, occupations, blockades, popular
petitions, investigation, awareness/
defamation campaigns, and protests
are by far the most effective ways to
compel change from the bottom.
Such actions can involve some risks.
This might seem especially true
at Hopkins, where a deliberately
murky civility policy states that
the university may punish students
for anything it deems “rude,
disrespectful behavior” or contrary
to “common standards of decorum.”
Such policies need to be changed,
but in the meantime, it’s worth
remembering that, because they fly
in the face of core liberal values like
free speech and protest, the University
enforces them at their own risk. It
wouldn’t look good in the brochure.

protests, a number of employees
were arrested for leafletting the
hospital, and six student activists
were taken into custody after an
action where students occupied the
space around the Hospital Executive
Offices, sitting back to back with U
Locks around their necks. A series
of direct actions and rallies followed,
drawing hundreds of supporters.
For one march, Hopkins students
enlisted the support of almost 100
anarchists from the nearby MidAtlantic Anarchist Book Fair. After
two months, Up-To-Date settled a
new contract.

From recent years, one could point
to countless protests and student
actions, including organizing that
helped win better contracts for foodservice workers, loud campaigns
against student debt, mobilizations
Direct action is not only effective; it
brings friends and like-minded people against talks by Karl Rove and
General Stanley McChrystal,
together, gives us a feeling for our
a successful push against the
agency, and is way fun. Not everyone
university’s plan to charge for
has to be out in front of the blockade.
intersession sessions courses, and a
Even a handful of people, playing
protest movement that helped stop
diverse roles, can shake things up.
Think about your role; find your crew; an administrative plan to alter the
character of graduate education. We
and make it happen.
have discovered and leaked secret
documents, speedily organized protests and petitions, assembled teach-ins,
and joined forces with
community organizers,
all to hold the
university in check and
reclaim some control
of the spaces where we
live and work.

[27]

To

c o n clu de ...

Johns Hopkins is Maryland’s largest employer. Just last summer, it found itself
on the losing end of a massive struggle with service workers over unlivable
wages, and it continues to provide minimal pay for many employed through
subcontractors.
As one of Baltimore’s largest developers, it has engaged in a racist project of socioeconomic cleansing, displacing poorer residents in East Baltimore and around
Homewood to make way for new facilities and for affluent homeowners who serve
as a buffer between its campuses and the realities of a city scarred by racism and
economic collapse.
Watching over the pristine views at Homewood are 55 full-time cops and a cadre
of off-duty and subcontracted officers, all working under the direction of a former
secret service special agent; more than 300 reported on- and off-campus CCTV
cameras scan the area for anything abnormal, assisted by paranoiac “analytical
behavioral recognition” systems. Law enforcement at Hopkins have been accused
of racial profiling and excessive violence and have been subject to investigation for
spying on campus activists.
What they guard is the marketable image of a world-class university—the special
ingredient for maintaining a constant flow of tuition, donations, and students. We
all know what this image looks like: a majority-white student population (and 3/4
white faculty) in a city that’s 60% black; a school where fewer than a tenth of all
undergraduates come from families making less than $60,000, situated in a city
where the median income is only $30,000. It is an image to match the promise
that a Hopkins education will be the gateway to more lucrative, satisfying, and
secure employment than could ever be hoped for by most Americans. Or, facing
an endless horizon of high unemployment and falling profits, it is an image that
shamelessly banks on the truism that having a degree means you are less likely be
the one to bear the brunt of economic misery.
While Hopkins obsesses over threats from outside its gates, it actively hides sexual
violence on campus and sells out survivors to protect its valuable image. The
school is currently under federal investigation for concealing a reported gang rape
at the PIKE fraternity and discouraging students from formally reporting their
rapes. Now, with PIKE on temporary suspension, it’s left to Alpha Delt (WaWa)
and SAE to vie for distinction as “rapiest” frat.

[28]

One of the top recipients of US defense contracts, Hopkins develops software
and guidance systems for drones used to terrorize people in the Middle East and
Africa. It maintains investments in the settler-colonial State of Israel and has
preemptively resisted academic boycotts in response to apartheid practices against
Palestinians. Last year, a Hopkins cryptography professor was censored by his
dean just for questioning the legality of NSA spying.
At the medical campus, government-funded research is regularly put to work for
the creation of profit-making private spin-offs as well as to patents on medical
discoveries, inventions, and other faculty/student output, which contribute to the
immense cost of healthcare in the US and the inaccessibility of vital drugs in other
parts of the world. Our undergraduate research is also monetized, a practice
Hopkins has defended in court by describing its students as “workers.”
For such privileges, we pay over $63,500 in tuition and fees each year. Nationally,
tuition costs have grown 4 times faster than inflation since the 1970s. In light of
the stagnation of real wages over the same period, it’s no surprise that student
debt has grown 5-fold over just the past decade. A typical undergraduate now
leaves Hopkins almost $26,000 in debt.
This figure is only the most immediate and most private manifestation of a
crisis that marks everything this guide touches upon. It is ulimately a crisis of
unrelenting unemployment, of sovereign debt, of food, of housing, of energy… a
crisis that rests on an unprecedented gap between rich and poor… a crisis that
renders empire frantic and volatile, that is used to legitimate the criminalization
and incarceration of the poor and people of color…
How do we act in a state of crisis? How to understand it? Just as we can’t pretend
that Hopkins is the seat of social ills, we must refuse to see the university through
its own image—as a bastion of disinterested humanism, insulated from the
influences of capital and power. Those of us who have been around know how
flimsy that image of the ivory tower really is. When we begin to see the university
for what it is, both our agency and its urgency come into view. A lot can happen
in four years, one year, a semester...

[29]

JHU

Clu bs

an d

Or g an iz ations

Black Student Union (BSU): BSU is an undergraduate group aimed at
improving the quality of Black and minority student life. It achieves this
through events, such the annual BSU formal, and activist functions such as the
“I too am Hopkins” and the silent protest for Mike Brown. BSU works with a
number of other cultural groups on campus to provide and maintain a sense
of unity among minority students. Check out their website @ http://web1.
johnshopkins.edu/bsu/
Diverse Sexuality And Gender Alliance (DSAGA): DSAGA is an
undergraduate organization serving the needs of the LGBTQ community
on campus and throughout Baltimore. DSAGA regularly meets once a week
and holds campus events throughout the year. It also provides education,
counseling, and social opportunities. If you’re interested in joining or
supporting, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/dsagagroup/
Hopkins Feminists: Hopkins Feminists is both an online forum an inperson discussion group created to promote gender equality, awareness, and
empowerment throughout and beyond the Homewood campus. It holds a
number of events throughout the school year, including the popular “love
your body” day campaign, and meets once a week to discuss feminism in the
news and a range of feminist issues. Be sure to check out the FB group, https://
www.facebook.com/groups/156669121019460/?fref=nf , where you can access
student posts and important meeting information!
Hopkins For Social Justice: Not quite an officially recognized club, Hopkins
for Social Justice is a relentlessly active Facebook group that provides space for
students to share informative articles and advocate for a broad range of social
issues. Students here are encouraged to share their stories and opinions, and
respectfully engage in thoughtful conversation. While we work to make it a
campus group, be sure to checkout the page @ https://www.facebook.com/
groups/760244757325878/
Human Rights Working Group: An undergraduate and graduate student
organization at the Homewood campus, recognized by the GRO and the SGA.
The group focuses on the US government-funded militarized drone research
conducted here at JHU. It has organized and sponsored speakers and movies
screenings on campus relating to this topic, as well as other human rights issues
in Baltimore. Check them out on facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/
hrwgjhu

[30]

Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine: The purpose of Students for
Justice in Palestine is to draw awareness to the plight of the Palestinian people
under Israeli occupation. We encourage students that want to learn about and
understand Palestinian people’s rights to advocate for the Palestinian voice.
Our dedication to the human rights of the Palestinian people is rooted in a
fundamental respect for the human rights of all people. These include the
right of all civilians, including Palestinians and Israelis, not to be the targets of
violence. Check out the group blog @ http://hopkinssjp.wordpress.com
Real Food Hopkins: This is a student-run chapter of the national Real Food
Challenge movement committed to bringing local/community-based, fair
trade, ecologically grown, and humanely raised food to the JHU campus
and surrounding Baltimore area. In addition to getting the university to sign
the Real Food Campus Commitment at 35%, they organize food advocacy
and awareness events (including an annual 100 Mile Meal), and started/
help maintain the Blue Jay’s Perch community garden at Johns Hopkins
Eastern. They meet Tuesdays from 8-9 PM in Levering Conference Room A.
For more info, visit www.facebook.com/groups/150501264993488/ or email
realfoodhopkins@gmail.com.
Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU): The sexual assault resource unit is
a student run group designed to increase awareness of sexual violence and
preventative education as well as to provide peer support and advocacy. It runs
a 24/7 telephone hotline for anyone affected by sexual violence and holds many
events throughout the school year. For information on how you can support
the event, visit their FB page @ https://www.facebook.com/SARUatHopkins
Students for Environmental Action (SEA): SEA is a group dedicated to
environmental advocacy and change in and around the Johns Hopkins campus.
This group helped increase recycling/composting around campus. It meets
once a week and holds several campaigns throughout the academic year. If
you’re interested in joining or taking part in any of their activities, look for
contact information on their webpage (https://johnshopkins.collegiatelink.
net/organization/studentsforenvironmentalaction). Refuel Our Future (www.
facebook.com/RefuelOurFuture) and JHU Take Back the Tap (www.facebook.
com/jhutakebackthetap) are also active environmental campaigns to join.
Student goups won’t always the answer when you want to organize for
change; they provide access to funds, SGA/GRO recognition, and established
memberships, but they can also introduce unwanted red tape. But check these
groups out! And see a complete list at https://johnshopkins.collegiatelink.net/
Organizations

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Balti m ore

Gr o ups / Or g an iz ations:

Baltimore Art + Justice Project
Baltimore Racial Justice Action
Food Not Bombs (food redistribution movement)
Force Baltimore (upsetting rape culture)
Free Your Voice Group (environmental justice group)
Gather Baltimore (food recovery organization)
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (youth-led policy think tank)
Red Emma’s (radical bookstore and coffee shop with Free School)
Right to Housing Alliance
Urban Agriculture around Baltimore (don’t forget the Blue Jay’s Perch at JHU
Eastern either!): Boone St. Farm, Community Greening Resource Network,
Free Farm, Open Plough, Real Food Farm, Whitelock Community Farm, and
more.
N ews

So ur ces

Baltimore Brew
City Paper
CityLab
Color Lines
Common Dreams
Democracy Now!
Everyday Feminism
Feministing
Grist

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to

Ch e ck

In These Times
Jacobin
Jezebel
Mother Jones
Naked Capitalism

O u t :

New Inquiry
Racialicious
Real News Network
Truth-Out
YES! Magazine

Item sets