SMFA Disorientation 2012

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Current View

Title

SMFA Disorientation 2012

Date

2012

Place

Boston, Massachusetts

Source

https://issuu.com/smfaaction/docs/smfa-disorientation-web

extracted text

A

WARNING:

Hi, I wanted to respor td to your message to tl1.eSFAI commtinity, but didn 't want
to broadcast my response. Chris Bratton was the worst leader that I could have
ever imagu1.ed and it's actua lly amazing that SFAI survived tl1.e entire o rdea l. H e
never actually engaged with SFAI, came in an d fired a lo t of people so that 11.e
co uld bring in friends from his previous job at SAIC ...who he then also fired. H e
also brougl1.t in a bunch of high -level adm ini strators wl1.o never came to work
but als o seemed to wield a lot of power and all did work around p ostco lonia lism. I liked a lot of the "new regune 's" artwork and theor1es ... in
theory ... but as school leade rs, it was ex tremely divisive a11.d da m aging to the
psycl1.e and sp irit of the scl1.ool. If you 11.adany issue at work it was better to say
nothin& because if you spoke up about it, you would be fired Budgets we re
slas h ed to suppo rt 11.isa11.d11.isfrier1d' s luc rative pay while departments we re
giver t nothing leaving many of our facilit:J.esin disrepair (did I hear N ew Genres
black m old closu re ?!). He m anaged to aliena te our entire Board of Trustees, who
were supposed to be 11.i
s boss. Wl1.en things go t bad, tl-1eyquit (or maybe h e fired
them too).Tl1.ey left and let the staff and faculty suffer . He made so many egre gious mistakes, it was t ruly l1eartbreaking to m e tlut h e wasn't fired and was
allowed to acttially take another high -powered job at anotl1.er school. H e
dest royed a11.ya11.dall fair-practices, espec ially arotmd hir ing an d firing. N o more
pe rf ormance reviews, no more staf f parties. He started a tentire system, a11.dthen
illeg ally fir ed a bunc l1. of faculty. N o more annual repo rts, no more boa rd
m inutes available to the public. Ev en as a staf f member it was like ptilling teeth
to get access to our tax doctiments which are legally required to be made public.
Act fast. Act now. Rally your community. Do n 't wallow in victim status like tl1.e
SFAI commt 1nity did Work with tl1.eBoard. Alert them. H e is a tyrant what has
never bee n ptit in 11.isplace and doesn 't understand that tl1.em ore power that yot1
l-1ave, the less you should need to use it. I love you fo r reaching out!
love,

SMFA

COMMUNITY

GATHERING

SUMMARY

Towards the end of the spring semeste r in 2012, a stude nt emailed the entire SMFA com munity using the "allsmfastudents" account. The email was an open letter discussing some of the
recent changes to SMF A, but 1n par t icular, the changes to review boards. The stude nt was
upset about how many recent decisions at SMFA had been adopted without faculty or student
input. T!1e amount of responses to this letter was astound ing. Many staff, faculty, a.i1d
students shared the stud ent's concerns and were vety eager to help one another. Soon after
the responses flooded in, the "allsmfastudents" account was deactivated. We ca.11only assume
that th is was to silence the disconte nt of the stu den ts an d faculty, as no other reason was
given by admi11istrators or techniciru1s. T he deactivation on ly led to 1nore uproar agai n st the
admu1istrat ion. Even though tl1e account was ulti m ately react ivated, we were shocked by the
cen sorship. The public conversation th en refocused on the administration's lack of tra11sparency, irresponsibility, ai1d tota l control over the student body.
As the semes ter was quickly corning to a11end, many students a11d faculty felt it necessary to
meet together, as a community, to discuss these issues. On May 15, 2012, a community gather ing was held in the Remis Auditorium of the :tv1FA. Abou t 60 pe ople, h alf of whom were
students, came to the event, while ot hers t hat cou ld not attend watched v ia video stream.
Below is a brief summary of some talku1g points from students, faculty, and staff. A full video
of the event can be found at http://www.ustrea m. tv/recorded/22607542

DemocraticVali,es
Where 1s there room for student and facu lty voices?
People feel they are being censored
O n ly a handful of students had any input in the review board changes. One meeting wasn't
enough to make a big decision like this.
We are rus h ing thro ugh these decisions, losing the quality of the school along the way.
We might not need a president - it's just a h ierarchical stlucture that doesn't need to ex ist.
The stu dents are inc redible. They have de m ocratic value s, and we need to honor that
We need to have more community meetings like this.

Transpare1191
anti Commlinication
Stude n t Alliance was made to be a liaison between ad min istr ation and students. SA wasn't
really doing its job efficiently. It seemed they sided towards the admin istrat ion, rather than the
students.
Chris's "dialogue" is a monologue. The re needs to be a be t ter for1nat. A for 1nat where a11
actual free and open discussion and dialogue can take place.
Short- notice co mm unicatio n is a big problem. It harms tra nsparency and democ racy.
Claudia's email response was ve1.-yoffensive. Losing confidence 111Claudia as Dean of
Stl.1den ts.
All admin committees need to be public.
Let's be waty of "this is a tra nsitional period, and it will be ok."

!dearonMovi11.g
Fon,,ard
We need the power for students to m ake decisions. We need a democ ratic body.
Use the new student-run wiki ! SMFA.WIKISPOT.ORG
We need students in all the admin closed -door meetings.
The Faculty Senate has been crea ted (how can we add in student collaboration? ) .
We need to take act ion! Withholding tuition, contracting trustees, striking, 1nter1.upting
meetings, etc. making a list of de mands.

CHRIS

BRATTON

- OUR

On J uly 1, 2010, Ch ri s Bratton
Before

PRESIDENT

became SMFA's preside11t.

Chr is's employme nt here at tl1e Museum

Schoo l, he was

the president of tl1e San Fr anc isco Art Institute. In March o f
2009, the administratio n at SFAI - wit l1 Cl1ris at the top - pla11n ed
to fire 11ear ly 25°/o of th eir te r1ured
semester.

faculty

Tl1e r easo 11s given we r e budget

by tl1e end o f the
p ro bl em s, but

after

invest1gat1on by a thud-party
accoun tant , ''financia l ex igency''
was debunked . T l1e excuse of ''f inanc ial exigency'' was later
disp r oved aga in when,
condition

i11June, SFA I r eported

hea lt hy financial

to tl1e city of San Fr a11cisco just before

tl1e plar 1ned

layoffs . Mt1ch o f the faculty that were t argeted were either most
active i11 the union or represented
art pract ices tl1at the new
administration
w anted to do away witl1. L aying of f tenured fulltime faculty
part-time

also allowed

adju nct positions,

SFAI to employ

more professo r s i11t o

wl1ich pay less and have fewer o r no

be11efits.
Tl1ese decisions
students.
students

were

111 reaction

m ade wi thout

an y ir1put

by faculty

to the news o f the upcoming

cr eated an organization

or

layof fs, the

ca ll ed SFAI Student

Action

to

battle Cl1ris's and his colleagues'
decision . They u sed di r ect
action like barricading the schoo l' s en trance with their bod ies and
crea t ed mura ls on tl1e oute r school wa ll s to express

their solidar -

ity with tl1e faculty and tl1eir out r age at the president
administration's
ac tions. Despite
the stude11t 's actions,
targeted

professors

T he decisions
as undemocratic

and
tl1e

were sti ll fired.

tl1at we r e made regarding

the fac u lty at SFAI were

and top -dow11 as possible.

N ow that Cl1ris has

come to our school, we've begun to see similar patterns forming ,
and we want to stop this be fo r e irr eversible cl1anges take p lace .

SOME MAJOR CHANGES

befor·e
attendance policy varies class to class
pass/ fail credit awarded th rough review boards

1.5 hour review boards over a 3 wk period
independent study (one on one meet ir1gs with a prof for course credit )
MFA tl1ird year (dedicated to thesis work) for free!
easy to register for classes of high level
senior thesis and core (art school bas ics class for first years and transfers ) are optional
more studio space available, early u1career
classes get cut in the beginning of the semester for low enrollment

MONEY

, MONEY

, MONEYI

I know you are concerned about money. Even 1f your parents foot most bills, life's expensive, especially if you don't have muc h income (workstudy isn't really income, you're basically
just getting a measly return on your tuit ion bill for your labor).
Here are some ways to get fund ing from the school, from a few coo l local inst itutions, and
how to get free resources.

You wi ll find that while there's not a lot of money getting doled

out to help you rnake work, you can adopt the attitude of staying out of extra debt anywhere
possible and end up doing O K
Grants and Scholarshipsfrom SMFA

President's Research Grant - open to all students, funding from $100-$1,000. h int: they see1n
to fund more collaborative or group projects and certainly won't just buy your art supplies.
devise something big and you'll probably get half wha t you ask for.
Mon tague Travel Gra nt - ope n to grad u ate students, fundi ng for transportatio n and accommodations. beware, you have to have the money up-front because you get reimbursed later,
sometimes much later.
Joru1 Mitchell Foundation

Grant - graduating MF.Ns. 115,000 to pursue drawing, painting,

scu lpture at a professio n al level.
Eugene Ward Me m orial Scholars hip - open to all. $1,000 tuit ion abatement.
Karsh Prize ir1 Photography

- awarded to three photographers

in the winter.

Zinc Grant - open to all. get $$ on a copy card for your zinc production on the photocopier.
There are other pr izes and they wi ll be announced throughout the year via email. Or visit
ht tp://www.smfa.edu/awards-grants-

fellowships for a full list.

Local Grants

The Awesome Founda tion - open to anyone.

$1,000 for pre t ty muc h ai1y projec t that the

Boston chapte r of the founda tion feels like supporting,

write a good app !

Feast Mass - open to all. a dinner party where cai1didates prese n t proposals to the party
attendees and then a vote decides which projects to fund, entirely from the event ticket sales.

IN THE PAST YEAR

+

afte1'
two unexc u sed absences and you fail
pass/ fail cred it essentailly awarded by atte n dance in class
sh orter rev iew boards over a 2 wk pe riod
directed study (group crits and stu d io hours w ith a prof for course credit)
MFA third year costs 16,000 per semester
more prerequisites for high level classes
senior thes is and core are required
hard to get stud io space before 4th year
classes get cut durtng pre -registration for low eru:ollment

Seil Yo11rWork
To collectors at the w inter sale, at graduate Medici d in ners, in th e spring sidewal k sale, during
grad open stu dios, with SMF A kickstarter campaign.

Ho1vto Get Your Refundfrom Tt(ts (fargrads)
1. Log in to "tufts webcente r for studen ts" (you ca n type it in to goog le)
2. Click o n the drop down menu "refund request "
3. Click "check my refund eligibility"
4. If funds are available, it will tell you ! And you can fill in appropriate information to either
have the check mailed to you, or prepared to pic k up at Tufts.
5. If fun ds are no t availab le, a common prob lem is not be ing registered at Tufts for FAMB
04 02 (the class that alerts Tufts you are a full ti,ne grad at SMFA).
6. Our fina ncial aid advisor at Tufts is Sheila Hofstedt. The stu dent employment Tufts rep (re:
work stu dy qt1estions, pay roll, paperwork) is Joa n n Grande.
Side note: Sh eila Hofstedt is aweso m e, and extre m ely he lpful and accessib le. Joann Grande is
tlakey and if you don't press and remind her about your paperwork, you can go unpaid from
work study for up to 2 months.

Get FreeSt,dfl
Dumpster dive. Whole Foods in JP is pretty good for food, espec ially baked goods and greens
an d City Feed puts their bread outside their dumpste rs. Panera th rows out so much bread.
Ho m e Depot, Walmar t, etc . for scrap woo d and boxes. Th e g rapevine says that the M FA has
a sweet dumpster wi th art supplies that we' re probab ly no t su p posed to jump in. Craigslist in
the free category for all kinds of crazy stuff

Pick things up from street corne rs- it's probably

not dirty (but watch out for bed bugs ), just unwanted. Buy things from big box stores and
the n return them after your performance or installatio n is over.
You can eat for free a lo t at SMFA and Tufts if you to llow which mee tings offer pizza or other
snacks. Look for flyers around th e camp u ses. Also, if you are not a dep end ent (you file taxes
separate ly from your parents) you can apply for food stamps. I f you have no income or a very
low income from workstudy or a part ti,ne job, don't be ashamed to assert your needs!

RESOURCES
Bookstores
Lucy Parso ns Ce nter
Jamaica Plain
Radical bookstore and community space,
movie nights on Wed at 7.
Pape[cut Zi ne Library@Lorem
Ipsum Books
Inma11 Square
A fully-function ing lending lib[ary, with a focus o n hand-made and independently produced
materia ls. Everything from p hotocop ied punk rock zines from the 80's to hand-crafted
personal zi11es bound together with yarn. Run by a collective of volunteer librar ians, who also
host a number o f events including zine ma king workshops ai1d zine release parties.

SecondhandStores
Boomerangs
Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Central Square, South End
A fa,n ily of non-profit thrift sto res. A ll proceeds fro1n Boo1nera11gs support AIDS Action's
work to prevent new infections, support those affected, and tackle the root causes of
HIV/AIDS.
Garment Dis tr ict
Cam bridge
Thrift sto re with huge $1/lb clothing section

Save rs
West Roxbury (mo re online)
Cheap thrift stores allied to local charities

Oceai1 Sta te Job Lot
Dedha1n (closest locat ion to Boston, mo re onl ine)
Chain of discount superstores, closeout prices

Colle.tii·eHoJJtts
The Bu rrow
Allston
A co llective house where housernates work
ind ividu ally and as a group to m ake positive
change in th e world around them. They make
their house available for benefits, perfor mances, rneetings and events, ai1d engage
wholeheartedly in activism arid the arts.

Circle Amory
J arnaica Pla in
Collective house w ith an all volunteer
bike co-op tha t operates a free bike
shop o n Tuesdays 6-9. Third Monday=
Women and Trans Night.

Whitehaus
Ja m aica Plain
"In March 2007, the Whitehaus opened its doors as a place for traveling and local artists to
exchange ideas, sound , ai1d vision. We host informal gatheri ngs ex hibiting music, poetry,
theater, performance, lecture, film etc. We also cura te events all ove r the City of Boston, and
love to organ ize tight shows showcasing epic numbers of bands email
whitehausfamilyrecord@gmail.com
or ask around for add ress."
Gay Gardens Q1ouse shows)
Allston

Butcher Sh oppe Q1ouse shows)
Allston

Perwdical.r+ For11ms
Boston Collect ive Housing Assembly
https :/ / groups.goog le.com/ forum/#!fo[um/bch-assembly
Open Google Group. A forum to help find and post about [oomrnates, collective housing,
and local unde[g[ound events and p[og[a1ns.
Boston Co u n te[ Cu ltural Compass
http://www.bostoncccompass.com/
Monthly newslette[ listing unde[ground

shows and awesome happen ings.

High Five
Arts and culture zine fi.1llo f things to do eve1y n ight withou t spending much money.
Boston Occupie[

S11pporfGro1p.r+ Comn111nity
Services
Boston A[ea Rape Crisis Cente r
24 -hour hotline: 800.841.8371
Corvid Co llege
Pay-wha t-you-can educatio n and skill-share, whe[e students and teache [s with simiifil
inte[ests fo[m classes togetheL http://corvidcollege.wikidot.com/
Encuent[o 5 (ES)
Just moved nea[ Park St. Stat ion
P[ov1ding meeting and office space fo[ activists fo[ social just ice.
Sponta neo u s Ce leb [ations
Jamaica Pla in
Cente [ fo[ p[og[a mming th at unites and empowe[s people fo[ positive change th[oug h the
a[ts; p[oduces seasonal celeb[ations in the Jamaica P lain and Roxbury ne1ghbo[hoods.
Sp[OUt
Davis Squa [e
Fo[ inventive minds who wa n t to lea[n manual

Q11eerDame Space.r
Don't Ask Dont Tell @ Great Scott
Allston
21+

O[

elect[onic skills

O[

love science.

Quee[aoke + Ladies Night @ lV[idway Cafe
Jamaica Pla in

Ga!!elJ' SpacesSMFA St11dentsHave Exhibited At
Howa[d Art P[o ject
Dorchester
Proof Gallery
South Boston

Fou[th Wall Projects
Fenway

A11thony G reat1ey
South End

Ho rticultural Hall
MFA Main Lib[ary

T his guide was made by Ch ase, B, and Sebastian . It s aim is to in form students about information that is not readily availab le during orientation. The adm inistration often deliberate ly
w ithholds cru cial detai ls about the wo rkings of ou r sch ool from the stu den ts. We want you to
have access to some knowledge that you r orientatio n d id not inc lude. Knowledge is power,
take some back.

Please joi11tis this San1rday, September 8 for a city-wide Tuition Resistance
Meet:i.r
1g. Ce11tered around the n ational prob lem of unaf fordable college
tuition, this meeting hopes to kick of-f a broad student moveme 11t in Bos ton.
https://www:faceboo k.com/events/213989488723847 /
And on Thursday, September 27, tl1e first SMFA community gatl1ermg of
the new scl1ool year will be held. Please be there. It is impo rtan t that everyone's
voice is heard as we organize a democratic student body for this coming year.
Tufts Disorientation

Guide:

http:/ /tuftsaac.files.wo rdpress.com/2011/12/

clisorientation -guide.pdf

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