Disorientation Guide: $tanford University 1997-98

Item

Current View

Title

Disorientation Guide: $tanford University 1997-98

Date

1997

Place

Stanford, California

extracted text

G-ROu> CoPy

$TANFORD UNIVERSITY
1997-98

Get Disoriented!
Stanford University: birthplace of Silicon Valley, land of palm trees and red tile roofs
home of world renowned professors and incredible research opportunities, haven for America’s
best and bnghtest minds...and a place that fires workers who try to organize themselves, that tolerates
inadequate living conditions on the Webb Ranch property it owns, and which invests millions
in multi-national corporations that violate environmental and human rights on a daily basis.
Stan lord is more than just the palm trees and blue skies; it’s more than what they show
us in the glossy pamphlets and magazines. And its role in society— in our local and global economy,
our politics, and our culture— runs far deeper than accepted notions of “apolitical” education might
suggest. We do not exist in a bubble of isolation, no matter what the mile-long driveway or country
club atmosphere might suggest. From the railroad money that funded the construction o f the first
buddings to the workers who serve us in Dining Service or Tresidder, from the struggle forethmc theme houses to the major in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, from our investments in Texaco to the salaries of our investment managers, Stanford’s history is one ofam azing wealth, amazing opportunity...at incredible expense, through unbearable exploitation.
In the classroom, we are taught about the importance of critical thinking, o f the need
to develop powerful analytic tools. But as students, we are not encouraged to apply these skills
to our own surroundings, to the reality that this University is complicit in. There is no structure
no formal mechanism for that sort of discourse. This separation between our academic studies
and the conditions within which it exists stifles and silences us. It contributes to the silent ac­
ceptai
o\of
: the systems of wealth and privilege that enabled the voy creation of this oasis ofintellectualism.
It adds to the isolation felt by many who fight the power structure. But we are not alone. The
disorientation guide is essentially the only document that tells this side of the story. But it is only
that— a document: a prelude to conversation. These histories bind us together, and the currents
of thought, questions, and resources presented here have the potential to lead to future change,
provided they are brought to life through argument, discussion, confrontation, cooperation and
action.
Whether you ve been here for a few years and remember the fights against Proposition 187 or 209, or you’ve just recently arrived and are still trying to navigate around the 8,000
some-odd acres, we are here to challenge the “orientation” you were given on arrival, and the
socialization that accompanies being a student here. This guide exists as a form ofDjs-Orientation; an effort to cut through the glossy advertisements that got you here. But it also begins a
process of Re-Onentation towards the history of this institution. We want to give you a sense
of the current structure, so that you understand the challenges that still await us, as we come to
terms with the struggles between opportunity and disadvantage opulence and oppression that students
here have fought, are fighting now, and— with you— will continue to fight.
This university, and the notions of access, wealth, and elitism that accompany it all
of these are social constructions. They were created by people and, therefore, people have the
power to transform them. They are larger than any individual, but not so large as to be insur­
mountable, if confronted by an articulate, committed core.
Read this guide as it was written: with an ear to the past, but a heart and mind firmly
committed to the future— and the power o f revolution !

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Call To Action

I

Social Responsibility, Student Representation
Million Woman March
SWOPSI
SHAC

4

5
6
8
9
12
15
17
18
20
22
23
25
27
29
3j

Takeover ‘89
Proposition 209
No Grapes
Stanford, Inc. Quiz
Tenure Reform
Woman with a Mission
FUNC
Queerland
A Letter to Shoven
YUCA
Western CIV
Funding for the Women ’s Center
Poverty and Perspective
What is SSpARC?
Who Are Our Faculty?
“Indian” Mascot
LGBCC Assessment Report
What’s a Burma?
Surviving Stanford
CSRE
Greek Housing

33
34
35
36
38
39
41
42
44
45

The Birth of the Public Service Minor Initiative
ROTC

47
^

Open Letter to Casper
Cover:
toward

Stanford's
Rodney

response
King.

to

the

police

Call to ACTION
While

the
o f those

settlement
o f our
s
character
who
shall
become
consideration.
To my
mind,
it is clear
an
inferior
race
is to be discouraged,
with
her
numberless
millions,
sends
population.
Large
numbers
o f this
we do something
early
to check
their
o f the
two
tides
o f immigration,
meeting
shall
be turned
back,
will
be forced
more
difficult
than
now
o f disposal.
presence
o f numbers
among
us o f a
exercise
a deleterious
influence
upon
tain
extent,
repel
desirable
immigration.
sure
to concur
with
the
Legislature
ingfor
its object
the
repression
o f the
Iceland
Stanford,
founder o f Stanford
I Oth,
1862
in his inauguraladdressas

W elcome to Stanford. It is ironic how much things have
changed. Today Asian Pacific Islander A m ericans make up 24% of the
student population, have an Asian Am erican Activities Center, a them e
house (Okada), and over thirty student organizations.
You sort of w onder if Leland is rolling over in his grave.
So much has changed, and yet so much also hasn’t changed.
Perhaps many o f you are sitting here and feeling pretty happy at Stanford
and fairly com fortable. After all, w e’ve all been accepted. However,
sometimes we forget that we have not com e to Stanford of our own
accom plishm ents solely. I stand here on the backs of thousands who
came before us: who scrubbed, washed clothes, died building railroads,
worked 24 hour day shifts, sewed clothes, were lynched, cried, struggled
and fought for 150 years so that we, sitting here today, could be where
we are. I stand on the backs of my parents. These people are a part o f
our history, our present and are the foundation of our future.
It is for these reasons that I am here at Stanford to m ake som ething of
myself and continue the struggle that has brought us this far today.
Because we all know that the fight is not over. Racism is not over. Hate
-

1

-

is not over. Ignorance is rampant. “Chinks suck.” During my freshman
year, these two words were scrawled more than once in black permanent
marker on the Reflections* table and a computer screen in the Asian
American Activities Center (A3C). Later in the year, someone wrote
“Fuck yo chinks” in mustard inside the A3C refrigerator. I wasn’t
surprised to see blatant racist remarks scrawled at an educational institu­
tion as esteemed as Stanford, but I am still saddened.
Stereotypes and messages in this country still oppress Asian
Americans. You are passive and accepting. You are hardworking. You
are a math whiz-master violinist-black belt. Your women are sexual
conquests, and your men are sexually inadequate. You are weak, without
voice and therefore without power. That is the model minority. The
perfect minority. This is an idea that exists in the minds of all Americans
and Asian Americans. People of color are often dealt a card, an expecta­
tion of what they are to become. Categorization is a form of control
stemming from fear in this country. You fear what you don’t understand.
Chinks suck.
People often wonder why I am fighting for Asian American
Studies. I fight exactly because this hate and fear exists. Many Stanford
students graduate unaware of the sweat and blood of Asians running deep
in the building of America and even Stanford University. Shiploads of
Asian bodies were sent home in the 1800’s, killed while building our
railroads. Many others sweat over plantation fields, dirty clothes, and
menial work, barely making enough to eat. Asians were seen as expend­
able humans, as were many other people of color, made to do the dirty
work of making this country “great.” Asian Americans have a long and
valuable story that has been ignored and marginalized in our educational
system. Lack of understanding of our story and culture has forced
harmful stereotypes to exist as they do. Sentiments of wild eyed “Japs”
taking over the world, “yellow monkeys go home,” pretty China dolls
and “strangers from a different shore” must end. Our voice must be
expressed among others. Asian American Studies would not be neces­
sary if we were considered a valuable and integral part of the society at
large. Hate and fear stem from this ignorance and makes our struggle
even more pertinent.
I’m not saying you have to go out and protest and sign petitions
and yell at White Plaza (although you can and if you want, come talk to
me). It’s as simple as meeting different types of people and talking with
them about real issues, eradicating a stereotype that your roommate has,
sitting at a different table in the dining hall, going to another
community’s event, taking a different class and raising a good family.
-

2

-

It’s about expanding yourself and your com fort zone. C hanging the
world begins by changing yourself. It’s about contributing to the com ­
munity and raising your and other’s consciousness, raising hell loudly or
quietly.

Just because you are a doctor,
doesn’t mean you are selling out, as
long as you are contributing to and
continuing the struggle as well.
One of the things that I have learned in my 3 years at Stanford is
that, if we are truly to make a difference, we must change the world and
be activists on all different levels and im plem ent different and diverse
methodologies to be effective. This can be done in the non-profit/
com m unity sector, educational system, governm ental/political world, and
corporate world. Just because you are a doctor, doesn’t mean you are
selling out, as long as you are contributing to and continuing the struggle
as well. It is im portant to be aware o f our history and be thankful to
those who cam e and fought before by rem em bering them and continuing
their work. Not taking it for granted.
I’d like to end on two notes. The first is an idea quoted by
Cornel West. He once said that there are optim ists and prisoners of hope.
An optimist is som eone who looks at the world around her and thinks
“things are going to get better.” I am not an optimist. However, I am a
prisoner of hope. A prisoner of hope is som eone who looks at the world
around him and perceives that things are not going to get better. Instead,
he changes what is around him to make it better.
The second idea is a poster I saw once in M uwekm a-Tah-Ruk,
the Native Am erican them e house. It is a poster o f the Am erican flag.
Underneath the flag is the statem ent, “M ake som ething o f it.” O ur fight,
such as the one for Asian Am erican Studies, is not an attack on Stanford
or America, but an attem pt to m ake som ething more of it. A Stanford
and America that I, that we can be proud of. So, I am asking you to
make som ething o f it. M ake som ething of Stanford.
*
Reflections
is
Jane
Kim
welcomes
oasisjk
@ le land.

a

Korean
all

-

3

-

American
questions

J
and

Social Responsibility,
Student Representation
In January 1997, the Special Committee on Investment Respon­
sibility (SCIR) of Stanford’s Board of Trustees rejected a draft proposal
submitted by students seeking to include socially responsible investment
options in the university’s investment policy. The SCIR never allowed
the students to submit a final proposal, nor did it even meet with the
students to discuss the draft proposal. Letters and faxes to President
Casper and members of the SCIR received no response.
In reaction, a group of concerned students collected money for
an alternative, socially-responsible endowment fund outside of regular
university channels. Calling themselves SR-Squared, for Social Respon­
sibility / Student Representation, these students mobilized the student
body in support of the fund. The purpose of the campaign was, by
organizing students in large numbers, to make the administration see
both that the issue of socially responsible investment should be taken
seriously and that students will no longer be content to remain voiceless
in matters concerning university policies. The campaign aimed in one
stroke to make the university a more moral and ethical organization, to
move towards increased student involvement in university decision­
making, and to benefit the university’s fundraising efforts by reaching
many alumni that otherwise would never consider giving money to the
university.
After a week of campaigning in which students contributed
hundreds of dollars and signed hundreds of letters to President Casper in
support of the fund, campaigners negotiated with the university adminis­
tration and reached an agreement. The administration agreed to place the
chair of the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility, a panel made
up of students, faculty, and staff, on the SCIR. The SCIR agreed to allow
students to revise and resubmit the proposal for socially responsible
investment, with the assurance that the proposal would be given serious
consideration.
Students continue to work to further the goals of the campaign.
The proposal for socially responsible investment has been extensively
reworked and improved in order to respond to concerns raised by the
SCIR. In the fall of 1997, the Special Committee on Investment Respon­
sibility will have a chance to live up to its name: it can choose to adopt
the socially responsible investment proposal.

_4_

note which program s the adm inistration deem ed “non-essential.”)
The need for SW OPSI still exists, and last year, a group of
students (the Progressive Student Network) attem pted to revive the
program. W hile we were unsuccessful, that first attem pt has left us with
more determ ination and a better idea of how to actually re-establish
SWOPSI. This year, Stanford's social change them e house, Colum bae, is
taking the SW OPSI torch. This is our university and our education —
we can claim it!

Progressive
Subscribe

Student
Network
to progress@lists.

no

rAo^vA
fceT -T g-p i..

-

7

-

longe

SHAC
On October 7th of this year, police from Menlo Park and Palo
Alto evicted twenty unhoused people from the makeshift homes they had
been using for years. Their homes were campsites under the El Camino
Real Bridge over San Francisquito Creek right next to the Stanford
Shopping Center. For months before the eviction, homeless people,
students, and other activists pleaded with government officials not to
make these unhoused people truly homeless. Yet still the eviction oc­
curred. No sufficient local housing options were offered to those who
were displaced.
In looking at the forces that led up to the eviction it is impossible
to ignore the role played by Stanford. The campsites were very close to
Stanford’s planned Sand Hill Road sprawl development site. As atten­
tion focused on the area, more and more people pushed for the removal
of “undesirable” homeless people. We know that pushing away the poor
is an unjust and inhumane response to poverty. The Stanford
Homelessness Action Coalition seeks creative and empowering solutions
to the difficulties facing the poor and unhoused in our area. It is our
belief that all individuals deserve justice and security in our society, and
it is our struggle to bring this vision into reality. Please contact us at our
desk on the 3rd floor of the Haas Center to learn more about our work.

Note:
The
Palo
spring
o f 1997.
University Avenue
to organize
the
dreds
o f individuals
walk,
consciously

For

more

Alto
City
It outlaws
between
protest
on
(many
disobeying

information,

Council
pas
sitting
or
the
hours
the
eve
o f it
o f them
S
the
ordin

subsc

Takeover ’89
Takeover '89 was the result of months and years of frustration
and anger at the slow pace of change and the low priority given to the
concerns of students of color. On May 15, 1989, that anger exploded.
At 7:40 a.m., more than sixty Black, Chicano, Asian-American,
Native American, and white students took over President Kennedy’s
office to demand action on a long-standing list of demands relating to
multi-cultural life at Stanford. After holding the office all day, fifty-four
students, including several members of the BSU, were arrested. Local
journalists and campus administrators commented that the protest was
unlike anything they had seen at Stanford since the 1971 Hospital sit-in.
The takeover created an extremely volatile and tense situation
that presented both great dangers and tremendous opportunities for
change. Its impact will be felt for years to come.
Background: The roots of the takeover stretch far back into
the history of students of color at Stanford. For all of the participants,
the decision to take the building stemmed from extreme frustration at
University intransigence and inaction on very key and important issues.
Asian American students had been working to create an Asian American
Studies Program at Stanford since 1972. They spent the entire 1988-89
school year circulating petitions, writing letters, meeting with administra­
tors and committees, and trying to affect the University bureaucracy.
One month shy of the end of the school year, all they had received for
their efforts were detailed explanations of budget restrictions and com­
ments such as “Asian Americans haven’t been in America long enough to
merit an academic discipline.”
Chicano students had been struggling since 1987 to have demo­
cratic decision-making and control over their center, El Centro Chicano.
What was supposed to be a center for the Chicano community where
students could come and hangout with their brothers and sister in a
comfortable and reinforcing environment had become just another
University building where white sorority meetings sometimes displaced
Chicano students. The University had promised to provide a full-time
assistant dead for the community, but had made no progress on the issue
after an entire year. MEChA determined that another year could not end
without a breakthrough in their efforts to give control of the center back
to the community.
Native American students had struggled for years as an “invis-

9

-

ible minority.” Only with the demonstrations during the Rainbow
Agenda did they achieve significant progress on staffing issues, but they
still lacked Native American Studies or even a Native American history
professor. The alienation of those students was compounded by the
annual indignation caused by the attempts of alumni to resurrect the
degrading American Indian mascot. For American Indians, the issue was
basic respect.

Takeover Demands
• Establish a Discrimination Grievance Board.
• Conduct a search for new Chair of Afro-American Studies.
• Include BSU in search for new admissions officer.
• Hire a tenure track Asian American History Professor.
• Create a full-time Dean for Chicano community; democratic
functioning of El Centro Chicano.
• Hire a Native American Studies Professor.
• Rescind the 8% tuition hike.
• Increase financial aid grants.
• Increase funding for TA's.
The Black students who participated in the protest had simply
had enough. As Fannie Lou Hamer used to say, they were “sick and tired
of being sick and tired.” Many were freshmen who had watched as racist
incidents occur and go unpunished while the University proclaimed its
commitment to protecting racist speech under the banner of the First
Amendment. The administration had taken no action on the Mandate for
Change. No Black faculty had been hired, valued Black faculty and staff
members were leaving, and Kennell Jackson, Chairman of Afro-Ameri­
can Studies, announced that he was stepping down because he could not
get adequate University support. The right of Black students to obtain an
education free from racist harassment seemed to have become a second­
ary concern, and the Black protesters were determined to put the struggle
against racism at the top of Stanford’s agenda.
Dozens of white students also risked their academic careers to
support the goals of democracy and multiculturalism. Supporting the
issues of the students of color, they also fought for more financial aid,
increased funding for teaching assistants, greater democracy indecision­
making, and more relevant classes.
By mid-May, the patience of Stanford’s students of color had run
out. A coalition, the Agenda for Action Coalition, was created, and
shortly thereafter, business as usual came to a halt at Stanford. The
-

10

-

takeover was tum ultuous, chaotic, and very, very powerful. Like any
risky venture, it was full of both danger and opportunity.
The action was dangerous because the potential consequences arrests and expulsion - were great. The U niversity response to Takeover
’89 was swift and severe. From the early hours o f the occupation, the
administration asked no questions about the dem ands and refused to
negotiate. Instead, they threatened the protesters with felony charges and
expulsion from the University, and called out the Santa Clara C ounty riot
police who proceeded to arrest dozens of Stanford students later that day.
After the protest, the hard line response continued into the early
stages of the disciplinary process. Adm inistrators from the Office o f
Vice-President and General Council openly talked about how the ex­
pected penalties to result from the process, and protesters were warned at
a dorm program that any com m ents made could be used against them.
After murky and questionable disciplinary proceedings, eight students
were singled out for “especially egregious” charges even though the
“egregious” offenses were never specified. In the ultim ate irony, all four
of the students from Ujam aa who were arrested in the protest were
charged with the “especially egregious” violations in their action to
protest racism while the perpetrators of racist acts in U jam aa in October
had not been charged under the sam e University code of conduct (the
“especially egregious” charges were eventually dropped and all the
students were treated equally in S tanford’s internal disciplinary process
receiving seventy-five hours of com m unity service.
Stanford’s history has shown that the greatest strides toward
change have come about as a result o f protests led by students o f color.
From the BSU taking the mike in 1968 to the Rainbow Agenda sit-in to
the CIV victory, Stanford has moved forward only at the insistent urging
o f students o f color. The takeover provided another such opportunity.
Since the nature o f the action was on a scale not witnessed in alm ost two
decades, there was excellent potential for making breakthroughs.
Traditionally, m om entum for change dissipates in the bureau­
cracy of endless com m ittees and a process that even President Kennedy
admitted works at a glacial speed. The attem pts to go through “normal
channels” had only delayed change and inhibited the most progressive
sectors of the cam pus from participating in the decision-m aking process.
By taking a bold and dram atic action and creating a new clim ate through
the use of what M artin Luther King, Jr called “creative tension,” the
inadequacy o f the old rules becam e apparent, and the doors were opened
to a new process and a new way of doing business.

0

1990,

Justice
-

11

-

and Hope.

An Update on Proposition 209
Since brother Clarence Thomas and his colleagues on the
Supreme Court saw fit yesterday to reject legal challenges to Proposition
209 (the “Civil W rongs” initiative), I believe an update on the issue is
timely.
I’d like to do two things in this update: (1) Share with you some
startling statistics from the Draft Report of the University of California
Outreach Task Force (June 23, 1997) which demonstrates the point that
when it comes to educational disadvantage - race trumps class. The data
are particularly telling because Brother Ward Connerly and the authors of
Prop 209 are, like most Californians and Americans, in favor of replacing
race as the basis of affirmative action with class. So it’s not special
consideration or affirmative action per se they have a problem with, it’s
race/ethnicity. But the need for special consideration, as the statistics
show, involves race, not class. (2) Make some suggestions for responding
to prop 209 and invite others.
STATISTICAL EVIDENCE THAT RACE TRUMPS CLASS,
CONTRA THE ARGUMENTS OF THOSE WHO AUTHORED AND
SUPPORTED PROP 209. As Table 1 shows, not only do African Ameri­
cans and Latinos score much lower than Whites and Asian Americans at
every income level, but the African Americans in the highest income
level score lower than the Whites at the lowest income level !
Table 1: Average SAT scores by parental income and race/ethnicity, for
all California high school graduates who took the SAT in 1995.
RACE/ETHNICITY
Below $20,000 $20-40,000 $40-60,000 Above $60,000
BLACK
LATINO
WHITE
ASIAN

666
711
899
818

737
781
933
925

778
853
949
972

810
904
995
1050

The authors of the report note these facts, and in their struggle for
explanation, propose several factors: Students’ lives outside of school,
their sense of the value of education, their self-confidence and esteem,

-

12

-

their willingness to spend large am ounts of time studying, family support
and involvement with students and their schools, and the role of peer
culture (which som etimes views academ ic achievem ent “as a liability
rather than an asset”). To these might be added the sense of “stereotype
vulnerability” which, added to experiences of racism and discrim ination,
often grips African Am erican students and other students of color, whose
fear that they will fail, in accordance with the stereotypes they encounter
in schools and society, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. C laude Steele
o f the Stanford Psychology Departm ent has written a lot about this.

How can you find
any satisfaction...

...in the success
you achieve...

- i f it was due to
your race orgender_

4 0 MM0WC
ACVOM

Why don’t
you tell me...

...and not your
qualifications orability?

SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION IN THE WAKE O F PRO P 209
We need to get involved in schools, as tutors, consultants, fund­
raisers, doing everything we can to help students of color before the
educational system fails them. As Steele and others have noted, African
American students perform worse and worse, relative to W hite and
mainstream norms, with each year they remain in school. Perhaps this is
the reason why they also drop out at such alarm ing rates. Visit the
average classroom in East Palo Alto and com pare it with the average
classroom in Palo Alto and the differences will be obvious.
We need to form alliances with other groups, returning to the
People of Color and Third World coalitions which we forged in the 1960s
instead of com peting with each other and against each other for the title

-

13

-

of Top Minority. I know this is not a popular position in the community,
but in the wake of the massive regression in educational, occupational
and every other kind of opportunity which Prop 209 is about to visit on
us, we need to pool our numbers and resources.
We need to spread the word to our White colleagues. Let us pass
on any statistics and information we have that might help to educate
people to the situation which they have voted into effect without being
aware of the real facts and the dire consequences. Let’s call talk shows,
write letters to our newspapers and congressional representatives as well.
We need to consider launching a new ballot initiative ourselves,
perhaps in time for the 1998 election, one which could essentially reverse
the effects of Prop 209 and one which would be likely to elicit support
from a broad spectrum of Californians. Since propositions like Prop 209
are now spreading to other states and moves are afoot to have federal
legislation drive the final nails into affirmative action’s coffin. Failure to
launch a countermove to Prop 209 will essentially mean failure to help
every student of color nationwide who, already bludgeoned by poor
schools and a host of other non-equalizing factors, needs the helping
hand which affirmative action provides.

Editor’s
Note:
Last
November,
California
209,
the
“California
CivilRightsInita by
Despite
its egalitarian
title,
Prop.
209
using
race
or gender
as criteria
in hiri
o f students
to state
schools,
essentially
criteria,
such
as religion
or alumni
rel
sition
209
was
recently
upheld
by the


No Grapes!
In a self-sacrificing act of protest,4 2 hunger strikers began
dem onstrating in the M ain Quad on the morning of M ay 4, 1994, some
camping out under tents and banners for three days, to voice their
demands and gather support.
The H unger Strike was rooted in frustration over the treatm ent of
people of color in the US in general, and S tanford’s consistent refusal to
acknowledge the concerns and dem ands of its students of color. The
event was sparked specifically by the layoff o f C ecilia Burciaga, one of
the few high level Chicana adm inistrators and a m entor for many, and by
an incident which occurred at Flicks. During an inform ational film on
the conditions o f m igrant farm workers Stanford students yelled racial
slurs and generally belittled human suffering.
The protesters, mostly m em bers of the C hicano/a student organi­
zation M EChA, listed four dem ands on the adm inistration. Four of the
protesters refused to eat until these dem ands were met. The strikers
asked for the reinstatem ent o f Burciaga at a high level position, U niver­
sity support in organizing a com m unity center in East Palo Alto, the
creation of a C hicano/a/Latino/a studies program with more financial
support for C hicano organizations on campus, and a University wide
boycott on grapes to protest the treatm ent of grape workers, who are
often forced to work in pesticide-soaked fields and who must live under
wretched housing conditions.
After three days of fasting, during which more than 100 other
students also fasted at least one day in solidarity, the protesters decided to
eat again, following long negotiations with President C asper and U niver­
sity Provost C ondoleezza Rice.
The adm inistration agreed to allow U niversity resources to go
into the planning o f an EPA com m unity center, although it felt the
demand still too vague to endorse absolutely. C asper also appointed
people to examine the viability of a Chicano studies program , and
created a ten m em ber com m ittee to investigate the need for a grape
boycott. The adm inistration, however, did nothing about Burciaga,
hardly even acknow ledging her im portance to students and her efforts to
recruit people of color.
The Grape Policy Com m ittee, headed by Political Science professor
and Castaño RF Luis Fraga, consisted of four faculty mem bers, two
-

15

-

senior staff members, two graduate students, and two undergraduates.
The committee examined scientific and social literature on the topic, in
an effort to understand the extent of toxic pesticide use in the field, and
the effects it has on workers and consumers. It heard from representa­
tives from United Farm Workers and the Grape Workers and Farmers
Coalition, and from experts from the California Environmental Protec­
tion Agency and the Stanford Medical School. In order to understand the
sentiments of the Stanford community, the Grape Policy Committee also
held a public hearing, where everyone was welcome to present personal
viewpoints to the committee. The general feeling of this hearing was one
of solidarity for the workers, and many students told stories of their days
in the grape fields and the horrors of pesticide use.
On February 6, 1995, the group finally felt it had heard enough
evidence to formulate a policy, and reported its findings to President
Casper. The report stated that while there was little scientific evidence
directly implicating pesticide-use with the physical condition of grape
workers, there was a consensus that the treatment of workers was unfair
and that residences and administrative units should be allowed to vote
individually whether or not to serve grapes in their dining halls.
Casper, however, disregarded this report and on April 12 released
his decision to preserve the same policy President Kennedy created in
1989 in the face of similar dissatisfaction. He would not support a
University-wide boycott, and would only give student residence halls the
power to vote on whether to serve grapes. Administrative units would not
have that right.
Not only did Casper ignore the findings of the Grape Policy
Committee, he also didn’t announce the policy until the day before the
special-fee campaign began, when student activists were already working
24 hours/day to get funding.
Students from MEChA and elsewhere across campus were
disappointed with the president’s decision, but the hunger strike remains
a symbol of students united in fighting injustice. Keep this history in
mind when the vote comes up in your residence this Fall, and get in
touch with MEChA if you want to get more involved.

For more

-

16

-

information,

Stanford, Inc. Quiz
1) The University with a major shopping mall on its premises:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Berkeley
c) Cañada
d) Yale
2) The University which leases land to a farm with a history of labor
abuses:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Harvard
c) Chico State
d) Deep Springs College
3) The University that pays its CEO 4 times more than its President:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) University of Wisconsin
c) Rice
d) UC Davis
Extra Credit: How much does CEO Lawrence Hoagland make?
Ans. $806,806 (1995-96 Fiscal Year)
4) The University that sold all of its student-athletes to Nike, a corpora­
tion with a long history or labor and human rights abuses:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Fresno State
c) Brown
d) Foothill Community College
5) The University which provides capital to illegitimate military dictator­
ships, endorses child sweatshop labor, and condones clearcutting in
Canadian rainforests:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Mills College
c) Howard Community College d) Tufts
6) The University with a trustee who also sits on the Board for FreeportMcMoRan, a purveyor of environmental destruction and cultural devas­
tation in Indonesia:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Columbia
c) College of the Sequoias
d) Oxford
7) The University founded when a robber-baron family invested its entire
fortune into an academic institution and rose to be a world class institu­
tion as a result of its marriage to the emerging industries and wealth of
the Silicon Valley:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) de Anza College
c) UC San Francisco
d) San Jose State
-

17

-

Stanford, Inc. Quiz
1) The University with a major shopping mall on its premises:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Berkeley
c) Cañada
d) Yale
2) The University which leases land to a farm with a history of labor
abuses:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Harvard
c) Chico State
d) Deep Springs College
3) The University that pays its CEO 4 times more than its President:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) University of Wisconsin
c) Rice
d) UC Davis
Extra Credit: How much does CEO Lawrence Hoagland make?
Ans. $806,806 (1995-96 Fiscal Year)
4) The University that sold all of its student-athletes to Nike, a corpora­
tion with a long history or labor and human rights abuses:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Fresno State
c) Brown
d) Foothill Community College
5) The University which provides capital to illegitimate military dictator­
ships, endorses child sweatshop labor, and condones clearcutting in
Canadian rainforests:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Mills College
c) Howard Community College d) Tufts
6) The University with a trustee who also sits on the Board for FreeportMcMoRan, a purveyor of environmental destruction and cultural devas­
tation in Indonesia:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) Columbia
c) College of the Sequoias
d) Oxford
7) The University founded when a robber-baron family invested its entire
fortune into an academic institution and rose to be a world class institu­
tion as a result of its marriage to the emerging industries and wealth of
the Silicon Valley:
a) Stanford, Inc.
b) de Anza College
c) UC San Francisco
d) San Jose State
-

17

-

Tenure Reform
Last year, the Dean of Humanities and Sciences’ denial of tenure
for Professors Karen Sawislak and Akhil Gupta galvanized protests from
students and faculty which were widely covered in both campus and
local newspapers. Akhil Gupta eventually won redress from the adminis­
tration and was tenured over the summer. History Prof. Sawislak, how­
ever, is still deeply involved in a struggle with the administration over
the Dean’s denial of tenure after a nearly unanimous vote of confidence
by her department (one abstention) and a positive recommendation from
the Dean’s own Appointments and Promotions Committee.
I have been involved in the student movement which formed
behind the issue of Karen Sawislak’s tenure since last spring. As a third
year graduate student and Karen’s advisee, I have had the privilege of
working with her as student and a teaching assistant. As such, I have
found both her advising / mentoring skills and teaching skills to be
without peer. Dean Shoven has conceded her teaching excellence, but has
chosen to override the judgment of her department and his own advisory
committee on the issues of scholarly productivity and questions of
whether or not her published and unpublished work live up to this
University’s standards of excellence. He has freely admitted this last
issue to be a close call, but even in his ambivalence, he stands virtually
alone in thinking Karen Sawislak might not quite be “Stanford material.”
President of the Organization of American Historians, George
Fredrickson, couldn’t disagree more. Last spring he stated that Karen
would be at the top of her field in the next five years. Her letters of
assessment from outside the department were overwhelmingly positive
as well.
Despite the University’s admirable policies of promoting diver­
sity in faculty and student recruitment, a “class picture” of tenured
faculty would reveal a veritable sea of white male faces. We know that
only 13% of tenured faculty are women; figures on minority representa­
tion are sketchy, but appear to be just as dismal. The administration
insists that advancement to tenure is a purely meritocratic decision, but
how then do you explain the overwhelmingly slant toward white males in
tenure decisions? Over the past 17 years in the History Department, 18
of 19 men reviewed for tenure by the H & S Dean have been approved
with no interference; the remaining case, though initially postponed, was
-

18

-

later approved. O f the 9 women reviewed by the Dean over this same
period, only four were approved without intervention. One case was
postponed, another ended in the dem otion of the hiring rank, and three
women were denied tenure. The record is rather shocking: more than
twice as many men have been reviewed by the deans, but the only
denials of tenure have fallen upon women.
One explanation put forth by the student coalition is that the
fields of interest and academ ic approaches of women and minority
professors are devalued by the deans; they just d o n ’t com prehend the
“new history,” which is a logical outgrowth of diversity - gender and
family history, ethnic history, labor history, and cultural history.
There is som ething fundam entally wrong with a system which
claims to em brace diversity but produces a rem arkable homogeneity. We
believe that a larger discussion of the process and outcom e of the tenure
system is long overdue, and that such a discussion should lead to funda­
mental reform in at least the three following areas.
1) Teaching and m entoring need to brought m ore into balance with
the assessm ent o f research and publishing skills.
2) Who decides who is qualified for tenure, the departm ent or the
dean’s office? We are disturbed by the usurpation of departm en
tal perogative by the dean. The adm inistration, from the dean to
the president, should confine its role to oversight - particu
larly in cases o f unanim ous departm ental assent.
3) We need a new grievance procedure. The process is too
long, too rem iniscent of the death penalty appeals process.
These are a few of the key areas which the student coalition has
identified as in need o f serious reform. We stand fully behind Karen
Sawislak’s talents as a scholar and teacher; those of us fam iliar with the
field of labor history and her published and unpublished work share
George Fredrickson’s assessm ent of her as a rising star. We do, however,
feel that the current system and process of tenure at Stanford has failed
her in all the ways described above. We also feel that it will continue to
ill serve innovative young scholars of every race and gender because it is
a conservative system which leans towards preservation of the status
quo. For this reason, we also believe it is discrim inatory, in that the status
quo is particularly white, and particularly male. We believe that the
faculty is increasingly being characterized by a sexual and racial division
of labor between tenured and junior faculty. It’s tim e to take a hard look
at these issues. It’s also well past time to tenure Karen Sawislak regard­
less of these issues. She simply deserves it.

For more

subscribe

information,
-

19-

tenure-

Woman with a Mission
When I first came to Stanford as a pro-fro in the spring of 1992,
I was a woman with a mission. I wanted to find out if I could really live
here. “Really live here”, for me, is a category with some very specific
requirements. So I made the rounds: I talked to academic departments, I
toured dorms thinking as I saw each space about things like turning
radius, power doors, the height of toilets, the wheelchair accessibility of
laundry rooms. I went to the Disability Resource Center to see what
services Stanford provided for disabled students and with what kind of
attitude. I was traveling with a couple of friends from my high school
and one or the other of them went with me to each of these places.
The last stop I made on my own because my friends didn’t want
to come. I had been very excited to see that Stanford had a Lesbian, Gay,
and Bisexual Community Center when I’d read all the stuff they send
you, so I was on my way to ask what it’s like to be gay around here.
When I got outside of the building, the first thing that struck me was the
sign. The LGBCC has a sign out in front with its name on it. I had never
before seen the words Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual written in a public space
when it wasn’t locker graffiti. I sat for a while and touched the letters
with a sense of power and connection to other people. I thought to
myself: this is my tribe, and not only is there a place for us here, we can
make ourselves visible in the world. This community of people is not
invisible here. I had a new sense of possibilities for myself and connec­
tions with others from seeing that sign.
So you can imagine how I felt when I went inside the women’s
center and realized that the LGBCC was upstairs and has no ramp or
elevator. I can’t walk. I sat at the bottom of the stairs for a while, and
finally yelled, “Hey, gay people! Come down and talk to me.” I can’t
remember if they heard me then or if I sent someone up to get the
students who were staffing the center, but at any rate a few people came
down and talked to me. They were nice as well as encouraging about the
atmosphere on campus.
Still, I went away thinking, does this campus have room for me?
It seemed that there was probably room for people in wheelchairs on
campus and also gay people, but it wasn’t so clear that one could be both.
In the four years I’ve been here— this is the beginning of my
fifth year— I’ve learned that this campus does have space for me, but not
in the way I once thought it might. I still can’t get to that center, and I
-

20

-

know that I— and others— have missed out. I can ’t get to most o f the
other ethnic and cultural centers either and my life here is less rich for
that, too. It makes me really mad. After all, I pay the same tuition as
everyone else does. I ’m not any less in need of access to student life and
the chance to congregate with other people who can help me think
through my own experience. Access is my civil right and it’s denied at
this university on an ongoing basis.
But the space I do live in on this cam pus is a rich one. I have
friends from all kinds o f backgrounds and with all kinds of identities. I
work, I study, I play, and I fight for change in this Stanford com m unity
without leaving behind any of the com plexity o f w ho I am. I m yself am
visible as a person w ho belongs to many com m unities.
These days, I walk by that sign a lot because it’s on the flattest
and smoothest way between me and the Earth System s Program office,
where I work and like to hang out som etimes. I ’m used to the sign now,
so I don’t think hard about it every time I go by or anything. But som e­
times as I push m yself past it, I will reach out my arm and trail my
fingers across it or give it a friendly little whack. I ca n ’t get to m eetings
at the LGBCC but declare m yself to be part o f the com m unity anyway.
The sign reminds me o f that as well as of my anger. M ore than that,
though, I feel friendly tow ards it because it and I have som ething in
common: we are both visible to the Stanford com m unity. I am a person
as well as a symbol, but I do stand for something: the ability of a person
to negotiate multiple and com plex identities in this place even in the face
of discrimination.

Excerpted
Note:
House,
a long
rights

from
In

Faces

in

the

Community,

the
summer
o f 1997,
Stanford
installing
a elevator
to the
seco
overdue
process
to bring
Stanford
legislation
passed
in the
1972.

Colleges Flunk the Trendy
Ratings Game
U.S. News and World Report’s special issue “America’s Best
Colleges” is a subjective guide to choosing colleges which includes a
number of useful articles as well as the famous ranking of colleges.
Unfortunately, contrary to the stated goals of the magazine (the obvious
goal of the magazine is to make money), these rankings have had an
enormous negative impact both on prospective college applicants and on
the colleges themselves. Many impressionable young students choose
colleges based on the rankings of US News, not based on what is best for
themselves and their individual needs. Not surprisingly, the administra­
tions at these schools push not for what is best for their unique education,
but for what is best for the US News Rankings.
Consider Stanford, ranked the sixth best in the country. In the
past few years a cynical new grading policy has been implemented, nontraditional departments have been cut and a new early admissions
program has been created, partly in an attempt to subtly improve our
“academic reputation.” Most blatantly, hundreds of thousands of dollars
have been put into The Stanford Fund, a new program aimed at increas­
ing the percentage of alumni who give (not the total amount of money
that is given). The purpose of The Stanford Fund, as explained to me by
the Student Coordinator when I went to work a shift, is simply to im­
prove our US News ranking by bumping our data in our worst category.
It would be easy for US News to provide the same information to
prospective college applicants without inflicting the side-effects. They
would only need to eliminate the overall serial rankings and, instead,
simply order schools alphabetically, providing all of the current informa­
tion: alumni satisfaction, faculty resources etc. This would change
nothing except for US News’ subjective bias. It might also help schools
avoid behaving, as Reed College has put it, “as if hostage to the ratings.”
As a result of the student-led campaign,“Forget U.S. News,”
President Casper and Provost Rice refused in 1997 to submit subjective
data sought by U.S. News for their college ranking formula. Stanford
further declined a request for objective data from the magazine. Instead
it established a web page making all objective data available to the public
and providing links to other schools which have done the same.

For more

information,

- 22

Queerland: a little history
Q U EE RLA N D was a concept, an idea around which certain
students rallied. It was mistaken to be a group, but it was in fact ju st a
banner. It rem ained in the abstract, which is what gave it its strength. In
battle, guerrilla tactics are som etimes necessary in our fights, a student
could claim the anonym ity and ideological stridency of Q U EERLA ND.
Things are so much better for LGBQT students now because of the fights
of students a few years ago.
Queer is perhaps a historically dated term. Q ueer was about reappropriating a violent hateful term. Not everyone agreed with it, and in
that, it was explicitly political. To me it is an expression o f unity, but in
that it is dangerous and already misleading. M isleading because it is a
unity which is tenuous and under a
term which is still too hateful for
some people to use positively.
Dangerous because it expresses a
unity which would erase the
different com m unities which make
up the false m onolith “the queer
community.”
These are my opinions.
You probably w ouldn’t find
anyone, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender, Questioning or
Straight who would agree with me
exactly. And that is my point.
Queer is a political term o f unity
which cannot remain in the
abstract. It must be dealt with in
the realities o f our lives. It is a
term which does not persist, but
rather happens at times, like the
following episode.
There was a rally last
spring to protest the m ounting
succession of hate crim es. It was
an expression o f rage, solidarity
-

23

Just
•follow
the
m anual

and you'll be rewarded!
{so m e restriction s apply).

-

and hope. Over three hundred people formed a large circle around White
Plaza, forcing foot and bicycle traffic to deal with, even if for only an
hour, a defiantly queer-positive space. I was holding a banner and
blocking off people from the Braun side, near the post office. Someone
on a bicycle asked if I could move so they could get through. I said,
well, no, actually that’s the point. This person made a frustrated, hateful
expression and said sarcastically, great way to make me support your
cause, and went around me.
I don’t know if that was necessarily the best way to get this
person to not be homophobic. But then again, what would? Sorry to get
too political or in your face, but I felt the need, for less than an hour, to
express a bit of frustration. I am very comfortably out, and I have been
for a while now. When I’m active, it’s not for my own sake. It’s for
everyone that feels constrained by what society expects people to do,
whether you’re straight, gay, bi, boy, girl, whatever. It is these definitions
and prescriptions for behavior that keep people from being happy. It
really would be so much simpler if there were not any labels, if it did not
really matter who goes to bed with whom, if love really did not know
any boundaries. But we don’t live in a world like that, and this campus is
not any different. I don’t really mind most of the time, but I feel that this
is something people should think about a little more.

For more

information,

W e h a v e n o t s u c c e e d e d in a n ­
s w e r in g a ll y o u r p r o b le m s.
The a n s w e r s w e h a v e fo u n d o n ly
se r v e to r a ise a w h o le n e w set o f
q u e s tio n s .
In so m e w a y s , w e fe e l w e are as
c o n f u s e d as e v e r , but w e b e lie v e
w e are c o n f u s e d on a h ig h e r le v e l
a n d a b o u t m o re im p o r ta n t th in g s .
-P h y s ic s A ss o c ia tio n t - s h ir t
-

24

-

A letter to Dean Shoven
by
I am writing to urge you to consider Asst. Anthropology Prof.
Akhil G upta’s appeal for tenure. I am neither Prof. G upta’s colleague nor
his student, but I am a participant in the field of cultural studies. Engag­
ing in a discipline with some of the most daring and brilliant scholars in
the world is dizzying and terrifying and exalting. It is exactly what you
advertised in the brochure that came to my mailbox four years ago.
I came here because of “Courses and D egrees,” because of the
infinite prom ise contained in its pages. A lot of people I know came for
the same reason; we liked the excellent sportsteam s, the light on M em o­
rial Church at sunset, the idea of bare legs in February, but we were sold
on the prom ise o f developing our minds to extents previously unrealized.
And what should we say to the incom ing class? Jim M ontoya,
the dean o f undergraduate adm issions, sent an e-mail m essage to all
members o f the senior class asking us if we wanted to share our Stanford
experiences with prospective students. Should I tell them that I was good
enough to get in as a student but that with the education I received, I will
never be good enough to get in as a professor? Should I tell them that
serious scholarship does not include gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality,
class or culture?
I don’t need to tell them. You are telling all o f us that. You
are telling those of us who study or belong to groups traditionally
excluded from academ ia that we are not good enough, that we will never
be good enough. Last year, five women went up for tenure. Five women
went away em pty-handed. Stanford has one of the w orst rates of reten­
tion of faculty o f color and female faculty. I know each case is indi­
vidual. But these cases give us insight into what kind o f individual you
are looking for.
Given the passage of C alifornia’s Proposition 209 and a time
when education threatens to become more exclusive than ever, this
tenure business sends a dangerous m essage o f complicity. For you are
limiting the kind o f people who will com e here as surely as ending
outreach and equal opportunity would. By dism issing those who dare to
question and those who take risks, you are developing a very narrow
profile of what it means to be a m em ber of the Stanford community. And
this kind o f narrowness and pedagogical inflexibility is not the kind of
profile that you can advertise in an adm issions booklet, simply because
it’s nothing to be proud of.
-

25

-

What power you have, Dean Shoven. What possibilities. Schol­
arship has always been about cultural studies, but the culture has always
been monolithic. In the breakdown and rebuilding of our understanding
of culture and how it operates is the possibility of coalition-building,
consensus and recognition of difference. We are learning a language with
which to speak to and about each other. It comes haltingly, painfully, like
any newly acquired tongue. As an educator, you have the chance to help
the discussion flourish and expand.
There is much talk that Prof. Gupta’s appeal will be delayed until
summer, when his students and his colleagues are not here to protest. I
am asking you to be courageous enough to talk to us now. Prof. Gupta
deserves that much respect. Everyone on campus deserves an honest look
at Stanford’s pedagogical goals to see if they are worthy or if they need
to be fought in order to preserve the kind of exemplary scholarship and
research opportunities that should exist at this university.

If you’re not
outraged, you’re not
paying attention!
I want to know why people like Akhil Gupta do not have a place here. His
colleagues deem him an international expert. His students say he is a
generous, gifted instructor and human being. His department recom­
mended unanimously that he receive tenure. As someone who came here
for the quality of the professors, that’s enough for me. What exactly
would be good enough for you?
Very truly yours, Teri M. Stein
(c )

The

Stanford

Daily,

March

Editor's
note:
After
he
was
denied
Shoven
in May
1997,
Provost
Rice
tenure
in August
1997.
President
tion
the
next
day.
-

26

-

3,

1

ten
rec
Caspe

East Palo Alto: En La
Luchaïüü
by

Maria R
osale, ian de lia

Hey, wassuper YUCA! Everything is running great over in East
Palo Alto. Even though there had been a lot of stressful days, we are
making it through. Not only that, but were PROUD to represent who we
are, where we live, and what we do to make it where we are right now!
First of all, w e’ve got some new people in addition to our usual
crew of Maria, Baudelia, Natina, and Lourdes!!! We’ve got Nicole
Haggins, a junior at Carlmont High School; Shari Gurley, a junior at
Menlo Atherton High School; and Martin Williams, a junior at Commu­
nity School South. All of them are super smart and hella down with
community change.
So, we ve been up to a lot of things. We’ve been spreading the
word about environmental justice. We went to the CCAT Conference
(California Communities Against Toxics) and we were asked to speak
and the people were really impressed with us. We were one of the only
few teenagers present and represented for all youth of color. We also
went to the Students for Environmental Action at Stanford meeting.
SEAS is a group of Stanford students working for environmental justice.
We also did two toxic tours which identifies different hazardous waste
sites in East Palo Alto. One of the tours was with America Reads Pro­
gram where Chelsea Clinton went. The other was with Nadinne Cruz
and Public Service Scholars program, a group of Stanford seniors who
are writing their theses as a service to communities.
We also have been organizing around environmental justice issues.
We stopped one cement plant from coming to our community! Yeah!
Although we weren’t able to stop the other cement plant from coming,
we re going to fight it until they go. We got a lot of community members
both young and old alike — to voice their concerns to City Council.
We presented a lot of the research we did over the summer on the nega­
tive effects of concrete batch plants in communities of color, and a lot of
the research we did added to the research the City Staff did.
We also sat down to take time to reflect on what we were doing and
to plan for the future. In a three hour session, we discussed the vision,
goals, and a timeline for the next year. After that, we went bowling and
watched videos. See, we also have fun in what we do!
-

27

-

)
!

Most recently, some of our high school students have been the
target of racism and racial hate crimes at Carlmont High School. We
were
greetedone morning with the sign “Welcome to the Zoo, EPA!
not feed the immigrants, the monkeys, and the pigs!” Before we left
school one day, a group of white students stood by the bus exit and
yelled, “Go back home to East Palo Alto! You don’t belong in Belmont!”
Our administrators only swept a lot of this under the rug. So, we orga­
nized! We called a press conference and hella media showed up — ABC,
CBS, BAY TV, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Chronicle, San Mateo
County Times, and Uni vision 14. We sent a shout out to the EPA Com­
munity to support us, and we got it!
So, that’s what we’re up to. Til the next YUCA update!!!! Hasta
la victoria siempre!

The world will break your
heart occasionally, but it
doesn't have to break your

spirit.
-Lorileigh Kelly!

-

28

-

Western CIV
Multiculturalism is a word so overused and misused that no one
is sure exactly what it means. Multiculturalism is therefore easy to
defend and, of course, easy to oppose and destroy through misrepresenta­
tion. However, multiculturalism remains a pressing issue in regards to
our education. In 1987, the monocultural nature of the year-long re­
quired freshman course, Western Culture, spurred a debate on campus
that culminated in a national controversy.
Western Culture was re-established in 1980 for all incoming
freshmen, a decade after it had been abolished. The course involved indepth study of fifteen “great” works or writers of the West, to provide a
common foundation of “shared, intellectual experience” for all Stanford
students.
Opposition to the Western Culture course was strong from the
very beginning. Due to considerable student and faculty concern, the
Provost set up a Task Force in September 1986 to investigate the inclu­
sion of women and people of color in the course material. In March
1988, after heated debates and spirited rallies that spread beyond the
Stanford campus and received national coverage, the Faculty Senate, by
a 39-4 vote, adopted legislation for Cultures, Ideas and Values to replace
Western Culture courses. As stated in its legislation, the purpose of CIV
was to “broaden... understanding of ideas and values drawn from differ­
ent strands of our own culture, and to increase... understanding of
cultural diversity and the process of cultural interaction....” An attempt
to recognize the many cultures which make up our society, CIV officially
began in the 1989-90 academic year.
A multicultural curriculum recognizes that our world is made up
of many groups— ethnic, cultural, racial and social— each of which has
contributed to our society in valuable ways. These groups are not only
related to one another but also depend on one another. As people, we
have similar and different perspectives, some of which clash violently.
The purpose of education should be to reflect the society that we live in
and foster understanding and communication to create a community
among all peoples. Respecting individuals and experiences of all cul­
tures and developing positive and productive interaction among people
of diverse cultural groups is key. Whether CIV is successful or fulfills its
purpose to expand students’ minds is another issue. The issue is the
responsibility of an educational institution to educate and not to exclude,
-29-

providing equal educational opportunities to all students. When a
university excludes a culture from its core curriculum, it makes statement
that that culture is not valuable and is not worth learning about. The
Western Culture course was an example of exclusion.
The Western Culture requirement debate was fought fiercely on
both sides. Supporters of Western Culture argued that the West is the
foundation of our culture and country. One historian said, “There is no
direct connection between the dominant ideas and institutions in Ameri­
can culture and the cultures of Africa and Eastern Asia. [The roots of
American culture]..., ideas and institution, are derived overwhelmingly
from Europe.” Some went as far as to say that to learn about Western
Culture is to learn about all the cultures, for many cultures were greatly
influenced by the West, mainly due to imperialism.
In response to the anti-multicultural backlash, Jesse Jackson said,
“The majority of the world are yellow, brown, red, black, poor, nonChristian, and do not speak English. We must join the human race.” Our
education should represent the society we live in, and not ignore seg­
ments of our society in the stubborn belief in the sole greatness of the
West. All cultures contribute to the world and we have the choice either
to acknowledge that or to perpetuate the lie that only the West did
anything worth learning about.
Education must show us the web connecting us together by
teaching us about all people, while fostering an understanding of the self.
One’s understanding of the self can be illuminated in its relation to
others, relieving the anxiety and insecurity one has about one’s own
identity. Unfortunately, due to exclusionary education, many of those
insecure about their identity find false relief in self-proclaimed superior­
ity. This leads to institutions such as racism.
Learning to live together as a real community is a more impor­
tant part of education than a degree leading to a high salary. Without a
multicultural curriculum, educational institutions and their students come
out an academic wasteland, learning nothing about how to live and
interact with each other.

Funding for the
Women’s Center
In the spring of 1996, the W omen’s Collective (now the
Women s Coalition), MEChA, SAIO, and other non-identity groups lost
their primary source of funding for the following year: Special Fee
elections. Despite the fact that over 60% of those voting voted “Yes” for
each of these groups, less than 15% of the student population voted on
these particular groups, meaning an automatic loss of special fee funding.
While all three of these groups won the campaign for Special Fee
funding in the spring of 1997, the loss in 1996 meant a year of low
spending for each of these groups. For the W omen’s Collective, it also
meant no money for phones and supplies in the W omen’s Center.

A bit of herstory:
The Women s Collective was founded in 1972 by a group of
activist women. It eventually got space in Toyon Eating Clubs that
became the W omen’s Center and later moved to its present location in the
Firetruck House. The Collective remained the governing body of the
W omen’s Center and an umbrella group for the numerous women’s
groups on campus, meanwhile sponsoring its own projects and Herstory,
the annual celebration of women in the spring. A few years ago, a halftime graduate student coordinator became the first staff of the Women’s
Center, and the Center received about a thousand dollars a year for
“upkeep.”
By 1996, there were nearly 50 women’s groups on campus, from the
Collective to Sororities to Mujeres at Stanford to Medical Students for
Choice, although not all of these were housed in the Women’s Center.
Given the large population of women on campus (53% of undergradu­
ates, 33% of graduate students), it seemed ludicrous that the Women’s
Center be funded primarily through the Special Fee process for student
groups.
Realizing this, the Women’s Center community came together after
the Special Fee election to campaign for a University funded Women’s
Center. The tactics: thousands of flyers with basic statistics about
women at Stanford taped to the ground in converging paths to the
Women’s Center. Some paths began at President Casper’s office,
-31

-

Escondido Road, Mayfield, and the Physics tank.
Although the fliers were all gone the next morning(the facilities
people removed our fliers, but they left those advertising a frat party), we
attended Casper’s Tea and Cookies the following afternoon decked out in
“I support the Women’s Center” pins, armed with a few hundred signa­
tures and many questions, and taping a new path of flyers right up to
Casper’s podium.
Amazingly, Casper asked us to write a proposal for funding that
afternoon. The rest of the spring was spent writing the proposal, in
which we requested a full time director, student interns, programming
and administrative funds. We presented the proposal to then-Vice
Provost for Student Affairs Mary Edmonds, in the presence of Marc Wais
and Nanci Howe, and crossed our fingers.

The result:
A half-time, non-student director in addition to the graduate
coordinator position, 5 paid student interns, and enough programming
and administrative money to keep the Center alive and well, leaving the
Women’s Collective to spend its time and money on other projects.
Other issues:
There was great concern during the proposal-writing that the
Administration would choose to give the Women’s Center funding by
reducing the funding at the ethnic centers. While this did not happen
here, it is easy for the Administration to pit one “identity-group” against
another, particularly on funding issues. Furthermore, inequities in
funding of Centers abounds: the LGBCC has woefully few resources and
must be supported in its campaign for staff and programming funds from
the university.
Lesson 1: Taping flyers to the ground is against the rules...unless you’re
advertising a frat party. (The university will pick them up and
charge you for it.)
Lesson 2: Decisions will not be made public until after Convocation,
even if they are positive (e.g., Women’s Center funding and
Gupta tenure decision.)
Lesson 3: If you want something, ask for it. Find the right people in
"the Administration” and work with them— they just might
surprise you!
For more

information,
-32-

subscribe

Poverty at Stanford
Audre Lorde once said “survival is not an academic skill.”
Nobody ever told me that I would feel incredibly isolated. Nobody ever
warned me that being different would thrust me to the outer margins
away from humanity — detached from the world. I tried to hide my
poverty when I came to Stanford. It was easy in high school: I avoided
the truth and pretended as though everything was just snazzy. I played
the role. I constructed the person I wanted to be and fought hard to keep
that he secure. That’s changed now. I can’t run here, I’d only be running
from myself. I can’t ignore the fact that there are real walls of distinction
at this institution and those walls force me to face the skeletons I summoned to my closet years ago.
Being poor is an inescapable, psychological reality. It pervades
the consciousness and remains there indefinitely. You never forget about
sitting in a welfare office for hours on end only to talk to someone from
behind a glass window as if you were contagious. You never forget
about the surge of anxiety and fear that rushed through you whenever
you had to use food stamps at the grocery store and maybe someone
trom school would see you: vulnerable, embarrassed, cut wide open for
others to ostracize. Those realities stick. Everyday that I wake up, get
dressed and shuffle off to class I’m reminded of the fact that the more
things change the more they stay the same. Here I stand fighting to get
my share, yet always locked in the past and constrained by the ignorance
that refuses to recognize my experience as valid. No one is an island, but
sometimes I think they wished we all were.

-

33

-

What is SSpARC?
SSpARC began in the late 1980s at Stanford when discussions
about diversity issues were heated. A group of students saw a need to
facilitate discussions to maximize learning and to preserve community
bonds. Over the years SSpARC has held retreats, created campus
programs and residence discussions, and led support groups.
Today, we believe Students Speaking About Race and Culture is
more necessary than ever. We sponsor discussions and workshops in
which participants can explore their own feelings regarding intergroup
relationships in a non-threatening environment. SSpARC recognizes that
many discussions and learning opportunities do not occur because of
student apprehensions about peer judgments and reactions. We strive to
provide an environment in which students can explore and acknowledge
the diverse perspectives and feelings that exist so that discussions about
important issues will grow. We value communication and wish to make
it happen by facilitating dialogue.
We use race and culture as terms in the broadest sense. Race and
culture refer to all identities and experiences because we wish to be
completely inclusive in our efforts to engage students in discussions.
However, we are cognizant that certain group identities have histories
and consequences that need to be highlighted in our discussions.
We see a need to strengthen human relationships, communica­
tion, personal growth and transformation, and cross-cultural unity and
alliance as vital events in our education and in building community
outside the classroom. We work to bring these opportunities to the entire
student body of Stanford.

For

more

-

34

information,

-

subs

Who Are Our Faculty?
(a.k.a., Wow, look at all those white men!)
Of Stanford’s 1,487 faculty members
264 are women (18%)
37 are Black (2.5%)
123 are Asian (8%)
3 are Native American (0.2%)
41 are Hispanic (3%)
have an average salary of
$ Full professors
$104,000 if they are men

/+,
q)

$96,400 if they are women.

Who Are We?
Of Stanford’s 6,550 undergraduates,







50% are women
510 are African-American/Black (8%)
99 are American Indian or Alaska Native (2%)
1,567 are Asian-American or Pacific Islander (24%)
736 are Hispanic/Latino (11%)
3,326 are Caucasian(51%)

Editor's
not
ours.
Sources:
Mercury

note:

Stanford
News,

These

ethnic

Facts,
11/12/96
-

35

-

and

“Stanford

racia

When the “Indian”
Was Mascot
Every year at the time of the Big Game you are very likely to
hear some of Stanford’s older alumni reminiscing about the bygone days
when the mascot was an “Indian.” They reminisce about an Indian
mascot that they were forced to give up-the Stanford mascot they wish
they could have kept. Folks might even look at you expecting you to
understand the mascot’s history, maybe even feel guilty that it was taken
from them, and perhaps promise to change your mind and give it back.
(On one occasion a group of enthusiastic marketing types thought it
might be clever to provide Stanford football fans with foam rubber
“axes” so they could do their own version of the “tomahawk chop” !) So
just what is the story about the Indian mascot at Stanford anyway?
The “Indian” became the mascot for Stanford’s athletic teams in
1930 and continued as such through 1970, its most common representa­
tion a caricature of a small Indian with a big nose. In November 1970 a
group of Native Americans including Dean Chavers, Chris McNeil, and
Rick West presented to the acting Dean of Students a petition objecting
to another incarnation of the Indian mascot, the live performances over
19 years at athletic events by Timm Williams, or Prince Lightfoot. The
students believed the performances to be a mockery of Indian religious
practices. In January 1971, the Native American students met with
University President Richard Lyman to discuss the end of the mascot
performances. The first collective action established the Stanford Ameri­
can Indian Organization.
In February of 1972, 55 Native American students and staff at
Stanford presented a petition to the University Ombudsperson who, in
turn, presented it to President Lyman. The 1972 petition urged that “the
use of the Indian symbol be permanently discontinued” - and further
urged that the University “fulfill its promise to the students of its Native
American Program by improving and supporting the program and
thereby making its promise to improve Native American education a
reality.” The petition further stated that the Stanford community was not
sensitive to the humanity of Native Americans, that the use of a race’s
name on entertainment displayed a lack of understanding, and that a race
of humans cannot be entertainment. The mascot in all its manifestations
-

36

-

was, the Indian group maintained, stereotypical, offensive, and a mock­
ery of Indian cultures. The group suggested that the “University would
be renouncing a grotesque ignorance that it has previously condoned” by
removing the Indian as Stanford’s symbol, and by “retracting its misuse
of the Indian symbol” Stanford would be displaying a “readily progres­
sive concern for the American Indians of the United States.”
When Ombudsperson Lois Amsterdam presented the petition to
President Lyman in February of 1972, she added her own understanding
of the issue. “Stanford’s continued use of the Indian symbol in the 1970s
brings up to visibility a painful lack of sensitivity and awareness on the
part of the University. All of us have in some way, by action or inaction,
accepted and supported the use of the Indian symbol on campus. We did
not do so with malice, or with intent to defile a racial group. Rather, it
was a reflection of our society’s retarded understanding, dulled percep­
tion and clouded vision. Sensitivity and awareness do not come easily
when childish misrepresentations in games, history books, and motion
pictures make up a large part of our experience.”
President Lyman then made the official decision to remove
forever the Indian as Stanford’s mascot. Over the years there have been
unsuccessful campaigns to reinstate the Indian as mascot, or to replace
the big-nosed caricature with a more “noble” image of an Indian in 1975.
In a show of support for the decision made by the University administra­
tion, the ASSU voted in December of 1975 not to reinstate the first
Indian mascot, nor to replace it with another more noble Indian. Almost
every year, particularly around the time of the Big Game, folks will start
up again, campaigning to bring back into fashion their Indian sweaters,
headbands, and Halloween war paint, saying all the while that being
chosen as the symbol of a great university is an honor. The University
decided in 1972 that “any and all Stanford University use of the Indian
Symbol should be immediately disavowed and permanently stopped,”
and every year since then, the administration has reaffirmed its commit­
ment by saying, simply, the mascot issue is not up for a vote!

For

more

information,

subscribe

to

s

The LGBCC: Fighting for a
Full-Time Director
On October 10, 1997, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgendered (LGBT) community—including faculty, staff, alumni,
and students—submitted a proposal for a full-time director for the
Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Center (LGBCC) as a formal
request to the Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. The first formal
written request for a director was submitted to Stanford University in
December of 1989. In 1991, the Dean of Students office commissioned a
“working group” on lesbian, gay, and bisexual student needs. The group
spent three and one-half years “...collecting information to help us
evaluate the general quality of life for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students
on the Stanford campus...” The report made 94 recommendations
ranging from institutional policy suggestions to specific staff training
requests. One of the central recommendations was for professional
staffing of the LGBCC.
The LGBCC is the onlycommunity center on campus that lacks
a permanent director. The student staff at the LGBCC currently attempts
to provide all possible support services for students who consider them­
selves gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer friendly, or who are
questioning their sexual/affectional orientation. Furthermore, the
LGBCC staff is burdened with the responsibility of educating the general
Stanford community, including the administrative branches, about queer
issues ranging from identity to hate violence. An LGBCC Director is
necessary to professionalize the services as well as be the University
point-person in times of crisis.
During a rally held at White Plaza in the spring of 1997 to
educate about and protest the numerous incidents of hate violence which
had occurred over the school year, over 300 people signed a petition for
an LGBCC Director in a period of 2 hours.
The
fu ll
text
o f the
proposal
and
its
includes
a list
o f further
references,
www-leland.stanford.edu/group/QR/director.proposal/proposal.html

-

38

-

a

What’s a Burma?
Burma is a small country in Southeast Asia that has been ruled
by a brutal military regime since 1962. In 1988, widespread protests by
students, Buddhist monks and others prompted the massacres of thou­
sands by the military, who then renamed themselves the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In 1989, Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate and leader of the democratically elected opposition party, Aung
San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the SLORC and has since
become the international symbol of the struggle for liberty within Burma.
Now, you might ask, what does this have to do with Stanford or
the United States in general? The answer, aside from the need to oppose
oppression and support democracy and human rights everywhere, is that
the SLORC maintains control of the country largely through the support
and funding of large multinational corporations operating in Burma,
though based in the U.S. and elsewhere. The people of Burma are
desperately poor, thanks to the policies of the government, but the
SLORC is rich and powerful thanks to the monetary support of the
transnationals. Levi Strauss, a corporation that used to base most of its
operations in Burma, pulled out of the country saying that it was impos­
sible to do business there without explicitly supporting the SLORC and
the its oppressive tactics.

I sit on a man's back, choking him and
making him carry me, and yet I assure
myself and others that I am sorry for
him and which to lighten his load by
all possible means... except by getting
off his back.
_______________
- Leo Tolstoy

Recent actions and pressure from the Free Burma Coalition and
human rights groups worldwide have forced two of the largest investors
in SLORC, PepsiCo and Texaco, to withdraw their operations from
Burma, but the problem is far from remedied. UNOCAL and the French
oil company, Total, are in the process of building a natural gas pipeline
through Burma to Thailand. The progress of this pipeline is indirectly
aided by the SLORC’s forced labor policy of the local Karen ethnic
minority (read: slavery). Other corporations that are invested in Burma
include ARCO, Mitsubishi and Ericsson (a maker of cell phones).
In short, the astounding profits of corporations like Unocal (and
therefore the profits of organizations who invest in these corporations)
are based in large part by their support of governments, like SLORC,
who have no respect for democracy or for the people they rule. It is
therefore our responsibility as privileged members of a Western democ­
racy to see that our collective actions do not hinder the struggle of other
peoples toward the democratic goal that we value so highly.
For

more

information,

-

40

-

subscribe

Surviving Stanford
There were many circumstances which led to my stopping out
four years ago. With the recent passing away of Lora Romero (Resident
fellow at Casa Zapata for two years, from 1995-1997 and Assistant
Professor in the English Department), I am reminded of the deep effects
Stanford - academia and its expectations - has on an individual. One
begins to doubt one’s own academic abilities and this frustration is
complexed more by the the notion of having failed someone along the
way. This has a direct impact on how you survive emotionally.
Lora chose to take her life - like a lot of us while at Stanford
attempted to but were not successful. This article is a plea to the reader
to take a moment, step back, and appreciate life, and if that means
stopping out and taking care of you, that should be your priority: taking
care of you.
It is very easy to finish this university and get that diploma and
at the same time be fucked up inside. Be aware the expectations put on
you by so many people have a toll on you. Do not be afraid of getting in
touch with these feelings. In a sense, it’s all about survival.
Why did I choose to be back? It’s because it was time to come
back, get a little of this trauma called Stanford and move on. I am lucky
because when I go home at night, I go home. My soul and my spirit does
not remain here. It would die here. Please do not be afraid to talk to
someone, go seek counseling, hold on to something or someone, when
you re at that breaking point. Lora should be a prime example of what
could and what did go wrong with this place we call The Farm.

A Brief Review: Comparitive
Studies in Race and Ethnicity
at Stanford
April 1968 - Four days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.,
70 members of the Black Student Union walked onto the stage of
Memorial Auditorium, interrupting an address by University
Provost Richard Lyman called “Stanford’s Response to White
Racism.” The students took over the podium and issued a set of
ten demands challenging Stanford to prove its commitment to
fighting racism. After issuing the final demand (“that the Univer­
sity ‘pull itself up by its bootstraps’” and submit a plan for imple­
mentation of the first nine demands the very next day), the BSU
students walked out to a standing ovation. Within two days, the
university agreed “in substance” to nine of the ten demands.
1969 - Stanford established a program in African and Afro-American
Studies.
For the next twenty years, students argued passionately and compellingly
for Chicano/Latino Studies, Asian American Studies, and Native Ameri­
can Studies, but the university contained student momentum in an
endless cycle of proposals, petitions, committees and meetings.
May 1987 - After a backlash against the student-led movement to replace
the freshman “Western Culture” requirement with "Cultures, Ideas,
and Values,” several student organizations formed The Rainbow
Agenda, which issued seven demands requiring the university to
meet commitments to “ethnic minority life at Stanford.” and
launched a major demonstration at the university’s Centennial
ceremony. In March 1988, the Faculty Senate voted in favor of the
new CIV program.
May 1989 - Takeover ’89 (see pg. 9) Demands included profes-sorships
for Asian American Studies and Native American Studies.

-

42

-

1994 - Asian Pacific Islander students disrupted a faculty senate meeting
demanding Asian American Studies, and in May, Chicano/Latino
students went on a hunger strike for, among other demands,
Chicano/Latino Studies.
Nov. 1996 - After three decades of student struggle, resistance, and
action, the Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve a new
program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
1997 - Stanford students could finally declare a major in Asian American
Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, or Native American Studies.
Sources:

JusticeandHone

by

Steven

Major Thoughts
From the time I established my identity, I have not been able to dis­
tance myself from the issue of race and ethnicity. As a woman of color, I
am not just a scholar interested in the systems of hierarchy in our soci­
ety—I live race day in and day out. With this perspective, I look toward
a lifetime dedicated to changing the status quo and the way race is used
as a destructive tool rather than one that unites and celebrates people.
Knowing for years that I wanted to go into a career centered around
the rights of people of color in the United States, I needed to choose a
college carefully. I not only needed an environment that had the re­
sources to support the research I wanted to begin, but a place where the
study of race and ethnicity had been incorporated into academic life as a
legitimate and necessary option for undergraduates. Stanford’s Center
for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) is unique in
fulfilling both of these goals.
Although I was not here during the struggle to create CSRE, I can
ensure that the battle was not fought in vain. I am able to, because of this
program, gain a foundation to become a civil rights attorney. I can
concentrate on learning about how race and public policy intersect in the
United States, instead of waiting until after I have completed my under­
graduate years. Because of CSRE, I have already established a long­
term relationship with the leading voting rights attorney in the country. I
have also been able to learn from other students who have chosen to
immerse themselves in the continuing struggle for race equality, race
inclusion, and race recognition. My hope for CSRE is that it trains an
army of well-educated, energetic individuals to dismantle injustice.
-43-

Greek Housing
by

B

Greek organizations have been part of Stanford University since
its founding in 1891 and have witnessed cycles of growth and reduction
through more than a century. There have been up to 34 Greek organiza­
tions on campus at one time. Stanford is currently home to 26 Greek
organizations.
Initially, women’s enrollment at Stanford was limited to 500 and
the demand for sororities was small. When the ban was lifted in 1933,
however, intense competition arose for spots in sorority houses, the most
desirable houses on campus. In response to the dramatic divisions that
existed between women in residence halls and in sororities, the Board of
Trustees banned sororities from the University in 1944. This ban was
lifted in 1977, but sororities were not permitted to apply for housing.
In 1988, a task force recommended the abolition of fraternity
housing at Stanford. The Dean of Student Affairs declined to accept the
recommendation, but placed a moratorium on fraternity housing. This
moratorium became known as “the grandfather clause,” and specified
that only the 12 fraternities that were housed at the time the clause was
enacted could occupy University housing.
In 1997, the Greek Task Force, a committee comprised of
faculty, students, and administrators, formally examined the issues
surrounding Greek life. The Greek Task Force reaffirmed the value of
Greek life at Stanford, recognizing that Greek organizations embody
Stanford’s founding principles of academic support and personal and
interpersonal growth and development. One recommendation of the
Greek Task Force was that all Greek organizations be given the opportu­
nity to apply for housing. As a result of these recommendations, we
expect housed sororities starting in the fall of 1998, returning to campus
after a 54-year absence.
Former Vice Provost of Student Affairs Mary Edmonds formed a
Greek Housing Subcommittee,” a group of students and administrators,
and charged it with establishing the criteria that will be used to select
Greek organizations for housing and setting the standards that groups
must meet to retain their housing. The final recommendations of that
committee will be released in late November. The opportunity for
sorority housing and the entrance of new housed fraternities promise to
significantly and positively change the Greek system at Stanford.
For more
information,
contact
pragle
-

44

-

The Birth of the Public Service
Minor Initiative
Stanford academics can be more alienating than adolescence.
Too many quarters of absorbing (and not absorbing) material that made
“good sense” but lacked any emotional, personal, or spiritual relevance
brought me repeatedly to the brink of stopping out. What the hell really
matters? And why does it feel like that whatever the answer is, it’s not in
the classroom?
This is my own personal reflection on how I got involved with
the Public Service Minor initiative last year. The group consisted of some
ASSU folks and some random folks who were interested in seeing
Stanford education more relevant to our lives and the lives of the world
outside the ivory tower. I had just come back from a summer in D.C. re­
engaged in political activism, with a new fervor for learning and combat­
ing neoclassical economics and desperately needing to make my academ-

-

45

-

ics meaningful. I had seen some of my previous years’ courses come
alive that summer. My internship made my coursework on international
development, indigenous rights and economic exploitation real. My
direct experience instilled personal motivation, greater sensitivity and the
ability to ask what the more pressing issues were to the people involved.
Why couldn’t Stanford feel like that?
The Public Service Minor initiative aimed to bridge the gap
between classroom and community. It is premised on the idea of “service
learning,” where students combine classroom learning with community
service, simultaneously. The synthesis can be powerful. What could be a
better “test” of our education? What could be a better bridge between
theory and practice?
Another premise of the Minor is our work here in the University
as “intellectual labor.” While the oil industry can profit from the Geo­
logical Sciences and pharmaceutics continue to skyrocket with the latest
discoveries in Chemistry, non-profit community groups lack any access
to the intellectual labor of our university. It is our goal to make academic
work meet the needs of the community.
Our group spent most of fall quarter pounding out the philo­
sophical vision of the Minor. In winter quarter, we developed an “ideal
model” of the Minor — a synthesis of classes, internships (with commu­
nity groups), a group of fellow Minor students to discuss and reflect
with, advising and a capstone project.
Since spring, the project has shifted hands. Our original group
has been disbanded because a few folks graduated while a few of us have
changed our approach to creating service learning at Stanford. Neverthe­
less, the genesis of the Public Service Minor has had a monumental
effect on how I perceive a Stanford education. To all those disgruntled
people, this place can be okay. But you’ve really got to make it happen
because this place is a fairly conservative institution and not really keen
on young people and our radical politics. But they can’t stop us. Stanford
has a hell of a lot of resources... and paying some $30,000 makes it just
as much ours. The question is how do we mold those resources in a
socially responsible, politically-minded way. How do we channel the
intellectual labor to help the world rather than assist the processes of
exploitation and inequity? I say the answer is in service learning, in
bridging books and people. By placing our education in a community
setting, we are removing the stale sterility that comes with academia
alone and ultimately, helping our own education feel meaningful.
For
more
information,
contact

-

46

-

University’s ROTC policy is
morally reprehensible
I MET RECENTLY with Assoc. Provost Ann Fletcher and
University Registrar Roger Printup about the Reserve Officers’ Training
Corps program at Stanford. Fletcher assured me that Stanford is firmly
committed to continuing its discriminatory involvement in disbursing
scholarships and academic credit for the ROTC. The administration has
three arguments for continuing this practice, none of which is persuasive.
First, the administration argues that Stanford’s involvement in
this program is so insignificant as to absolve the University of any
responsibility for discrimination. The facts don’t agree. Stanford has
entered into contracts with three ROTC units at nearby universities.
Without the provost’s signature on those contracts, Stanford students
would not face discrimination. The University, not the military, is
awarding academic credit. Stanford is the one providing its facilities to
the military free of charge and advertising for ROTC in The Stanford
Bulletin. If Stanford’s actions are so insignificant, we can stop them
without any ill effect. The argument that Stanford is uninvolved and thus
not culpable in ROTC discrimination is patently false.
Second, the administration argues that it would be too burden­
some to determine which universities follow our nondiscrimination
policy before granting transfer credit. This problem is easy to solve. The
University should only withhold academic credit for programs which
have an explicit written policy of discriminating against a class of
students that is protected by Stanford’s nondiscrimination policy. The
University should only institute or remove such a ban when it receives
notice of changes in the other institution’s policy. This regime would
require almost no administrative effort. Bans on transferring credit
would be rare, reserved for the most extreme cases of discrimination.
Third, the administration argues that ROTC scholarships are
necessary to meet the financial aid needs of low-income students. The
implications of this argument are extremely troubling and only serve to
weaken the administration’s position on ROTC. Stanford has a policy of
meeting all demonstrated need in undergraduate financial aid. Either
-

47

-

Stanford’s aid practices are sufficient to meet actual need or they aren’t.
If the aid is sufficient, then ROTC funding can be slowly phased out
without hardship to students. But if, as the administration suggests,
Stanford’s financial aid practices are not sufficient to meet actual need,
then this university has three serious problems.
First, we are denying access to a Stanford education on the basis
of wealth, violating the spirit of Stanford’s guarantee to meet all demon­
strated need. Second, the administration is allowing students to be
coerced into joining the ROTC as their only means of attending Stanford.
Students should join ROTC and enter into the resulting service commit­
ment because they want to, not because they have to. Third, Stanford’s
agreement with ROTC is providing critical funding for low-income
heterosexual students without equivalent funding for low-income gay
students. If aid is insufficient and ROTC is the only means of bridging
the gap, Stanford is not only discriminating, but that discrimination is
placing a significant and disproportionate financial burden on gay
students. If Stanford’s financial aid system is broken, let’s fix it - not slap
on a discriminatory funding regime as a Band-Aid.
Gay and lesbian students are a disadvantaged group. A 1992
Hetrick-Martin Institute study found that one in four gay and lesbian
youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts over sexual orienta­
tion. Studies at Oberlin College, Rutgers University, Yale University and
Penn State found that 16 to 26 percent of gay and lesbian respondents
had been threatened with physical violence at college because of their
sexual orientations. A 1989 Department of Health and Human Services
study found that lesbian and gay youths constitute 30 percent of all
completed suicides and are two to three times more likely to attempt
suicide than heterosexual youths.
Despite the problems faced by gay and lesbian students, Stanford
has rejected donations on at least four separate occasions from 1976 to
1996 for scholarship funds to help them. Gay and lesbian students
represent the only disadvantaged group that the University simulta­
neously discriminates against in awarding scholarships and academic
credit, refuses to accept scholarship donates to aid and promises to
protect in its nondiscrimination policy. The administration’s position is
morally and logically indefensible.

This

letter

reprinted

from

The

S

An open letter to Pres. Casper
DEAR PRESIDENT CASPER,
Whether you know it or not, you’ve got a problem. You are the
chief executive of our University - you answer to the faculty, alumni,
Board of Trustees and media. Whenever the Band does something
unfunny, or the townies start yelping about Stanford’s development
plans, or the Navy starts wondering about its money, the buck stops with
you. I wouldn’t want your job.
But you’re making it harder than it needs to be. The one group
you apparently haven’t mastered on this campus is the student body.
Perhaps it s because we re young and inexperienced. Perhaps it’s because
most of the time we’re clueless. Perhaps it’s because you just don’t
understand us. But we’re your problem.
As Dean Montoya can attest to, we’re not dumb. We read. We
learn. We adapt. And we’ve got you figured out. In a nutshell, you and
the rest of the administration and faculty are sending us the wrong
message. If we want to change something around here, we have two
choices: act responsibly within the system or throw a temper tantrum. We
know which you prefer. We also know which one works. Let me elabo­
rate.
1. For five years, a majority of students opposed the "Grey
Interpretation” of the Fundamental Standard - the notorious speech code
you inherited. Your response was to do nothing, until students took the
University to court - and won.
2. Two years ago, when the Faculty Senate voted to change
Stanford’s grading policy, student input was largely ignored. As a result,
the drop deadline was moved up, discouraging students from taking
academic risks. Honors research appears to be dropping in some depart­
ments, but when The Daily criticized Senate Chair Gail Mahood, several
of the faculty, including yourself, blasted student reaction as childish.
3. For more than 20 years, students passionately argued for
further ethnic studies resources. They wrote letters, signed petitions, sat
on committees and were buried. Finally, they got sick of it all, and
students launched a hunger strike. Now we have the new Program for
Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity.
-

49

-

When students try to work with administrators to solve prob­
lems, we get ignored. Sororities want housing? Create a Greek Task
Force! Students want a socially responsible endowment fund? Quick, get
the Board of Trustees to vote the idea down before they present a pro­
posal! Delay, stall, ignore. This seems to be your motto. Unless we’re
discussing public universities in California, most students are gone in
four years. Institutional memory weakens with the high turnover. But
we’ve discovered your weakness: public relations. It’s a sign of the
times. The president of the United States can govern by media poll, so
why can’t the president of Stanford University?
President Casper, you are a great teacher. You have taught us that
PR often means damage control. Hunger strikes, sit-ins, protests, boy­
cotts and lawsuits . . . sounds like the recipe for change on the Farm.
In the next several months, the students will be watching. Many
of us have important issues to be resolved. The Greek task force should
release its report on sorority housing soon, and Stanford seems to be
breaking the law. Likewise, students who support a socially responsible
endowment fund will not go quietly into the night. Perhaps we shouldn’t
put all of our stock in Ben and Jerry’s, but should Stanford really be
supporting child labor?
Give us a sign that you’re listening. Prevent a lawsuit by being
pro-active. Don’t ignore students who attempt to improve the University
by working in the system. Ypu encourage us to pursue what are otherwise
considered “desperation” tactics.
Now that we know what it takes to get your attention, your
problems may just be beginning.

© The

Stanford

Daily,
-

50

-

January

22,

I
©
S

n

©



£



waiting for?!?

3
©

CONTACT LIST:
Please

take

advantage

(more on outside back cover!)
Buildings and Centers to Visit:
Asian American Activities Center (A3C)
3-3681
Disability Resource Center
3-1066,3-1067 TDD

Warning:
These lists are by no
means complete lists
o f all the great
groups on campus!!!

Black Community Services Center (BCSC)
3-1587, email hf.bcs@forsythe to be added to the list
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Community Center (LGBCC)
5-4222 (L-GBCC)
Native American Cultural Center
3-4078
El Centro Chicano
3-2089
Women’s Center
3-0545

I HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO A LIST: |
I 1) email to: majordomo@lists
_
’ 2) in body of message write:
®
subscribe [name of list]
&

Haas Center for Public Service
3-0992, haasnews@ lists
Bechtel International Center
3-1831
The Bridge
3-3392
“Dis-Oriented” Publications
Summit
bodnar@leland, kalli@leland
The Thinker thinker@Iists
So Dis-Oriented that they don’t have meetings but still have lists:
progress@Iists Progressive Student Network
ragetg'lists
RAGE (Resistance Action Grassroots Education)
std@lists
Start the Dialogue

CONTACT LIST:
Please take advantage o f these resources!
(more on inside back cover!)
U m brella Groups:
AASA (Asian American Students Association)
aasa© lists
BSU (Black Student Union)
bsu-1997__l998©lists

Warning:
These lists are by no
means complete lists
o f all the great
groups on campus! ! !

Disabled Students of Stanford
dss© lists
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community
qnet@lists
MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan)
mecha © lists
SAIO (Stanford American Indian Organization)
saio@lists
Women’s Coalition
womens-coalition ©lists
SEAS (Students for Environmental Action at Stanford)
seas-members ©lists
SSpARC (Students Speaking About Race and Culture)
ssparc ©lists
SHAC (Stanford Homeless Action Coalition)
shac© lists
Tenure for Karen Sawislak
tenure-karen© lists
Stanford Dialogue on Race
stewbear@leland

I

Campus Calendar
http://campuscalendar.stanford.edii

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO A LIST:
g
1) email to: majordomo@lists
■2) in body of message write: subscribe [name of list] ®

Item sets