Vanderbilt University (Revealed): A Dis-Orientation Guide for First Years and Socially Conscious Students

Item

Current View

Title

Vanderbilt University (Revealed): A Dis-Orientation Guide for First Years and Socially Conscious Students

Date

2017

Place

Nashville, Tennessee

Source

https://issuu.com/socialjusticeshawn/docs/final_dis_guide

extracted text

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<REVEALED)
ADis-Orientation
Guidefor FirstYearsand Socially
ConsciousStudents.

THANK
YOUTOOURCONTRIBUTORS
:
RooGeorge-Warren
Maddison Hattaway
AzeemHernandez
HiddenDores
HamzahRaza
Meredith Vitale

COVER
ILLUSTRATION
:
Holly Glass, hollynglass@gmail.
com

GRAPHIC
DESIGN
BY:
Shawn
Reilly, socialjusticeshawn@gmail.
com

HELLO!
Thanksfor pickingup this dis-orientationguide!Whatexactlyis
l·t,.
Well,it's a lot of things, as I 'msureyou' 11find.
So, you've madeit to Vanderbilt,surviveda wholesemester,
finallysettled in, and probablythinkingaboutwhatthe next
four yearswilllook like. Wehopethat this guidewillhelpyou
identifysomewaysto get involvedon campusand in Nashville!
Thisguidewascreatedbya groupof students fromacrosscampus, whoafter a fewmonthsof comingto Vanderbilt,felt that
someof the realitiesthey face hereon campuswere
disorienting!
Wewantedto helpalleviatethis feelingfor incoming
students and
generationsof students to come!Wecreatedthis handy
Dis-orientationguideto helpyoubecomefamiliarwithsomeof
the ongoingsof Vanderbilt.Thisguideis full of informationthat
the "powersthat be" don't wantyouto know.
Wehopethat this guidewillhelpyougaina real understandingof
what's goingon at Vanderbilt,and hopefullygivesyou a better
senseof your homefor the next four years. Wehopeyoutake
this informationand use it to makeyour timeheremorefruitful
and meaningful
to you, and the community
youwill leavebehind
after graduation.
Well,that's all wegot. Socheckout the followingpages, find
something
you' re passionateabout, and get involved!

,:ASI: STlJllY:,, ANlll:1~311_
T l=ll:Sl>C)NSl3I_I:
l:NllC)
'""''11:NT
c;A",11>
AIGN
IN 2012,a coalitionof students demandedthat VanderbiltUniversity

divestfromEmvest
, in the wordsof the demandletter,
" ... Thesecondinvestment,EMVest
, hasbeena matterof ongoingcontroversy on campus.TheOaklandInstitute, CaliforniaandUNAC,Mozambique
are two
groupswhichconductedon-the-ground research.Theyhaveallegedthe companyacquiredits land by coercion, lied in public documents,and mistreats
workers. Studentshavedoneextensiveresearchstarting in Juneandprepared
evidencebriefs that further support the allegationsput forward by these
organizations.Wehavemetwith both the Provostand Mr. Wright, whohave
addressedour concerns.Wecommend
Mr. Wright especiallyon feeling comfortable sharingso muchdetailed informationwith us about the investment.
However,we recognizethat this is a uniqueexamplein Vanderbilt's history
of communication
about investments,and it wasa meetingthat took over six
monthsof campaigning
to secure.Wemusthavea policyof greatertransparency; this is unacceptable.
"

THESTUDENTS
DEMANDED
CHANGE
and accountabilityfromVanderbilt

administration!
"Wefind these two investmentshighlyobjectionable,and demandthe
appropriateactionas immediately
as possible. Wesee these investment
as a resultof a lack of accountability
and transparencyin the investmentsystemat Vanderbilt.Weare awarethat the Officeof Investment
has no writtenethicalguidelines,unlikethose that exist at manypeer
institutions.Thisis unacceptable
. Wehavealreadystated our surprise
at the lack of transparencywhenadministration
refusesto acknowledgeor discussinvestmentsthat havealreadybeen confirmed
and have
beencriticizedin nationalpress, suchas HEI.Wehavemadeit clearto
the Boardof TrustandMr.Wrightthat weare opento workingwithyou
in reformingthe systemin fairlyconservativewayssuch as instituting
an ethical recommendations
boardsimilarto ones existingat Ivy and
other peer institutions."

WHAT
DOES
ALLTHISMEAN?!
Vanderbilt,alongwithsomeother higher educationinstitutions, wereworkingthroughBritishhedgefunds
(basically,a groupof investorsthat take moneyfroma bunchof different placesand invests it in one place) to buyand/or lease land
in Africa,potentiallyforcingthousandsof farmersand peopleout of
their homes.TheGuardianexplainedthe moralproblem
withthis type
of foreignaid and investment,
"Researchers
say foreigninvestorsare profitingfrom"land grabs"that often fail to deliverthe promisedbenefitsof jobs and economic
development
,
and can lead to environmental
and socialproblemsin the poorestcountries
in the world."

Thisall seemsrather daunting.Butdon't worry!Following
student
activismand campaigning,
the Universitytook steps to divest from
EmVet.
VanderbiltStudentsof Nonviolence
pressreleaseon the victory is pretty badass, though, check it out:
"Vanderb
ilt University
has taken steps to withdrawits $26millioninvestmentin EMVest,
formerlyEmergent
AssetManagement
, an agriculturalcorporationwithfarmsin five sub-SaharanAfricancountries, includingMozambique, SouthAfrica,Swaziland,Zambia,and Zimbabwe
andwhoseinvestors
includedHarvardUniversity.EMVest
wasaccusedof ' land grabbing,' or
takingover agriculturalland usedby local communities
throughexploitative
practicesand usingit for large-scalecommercial
export farming,by the
OaklandInstitute, a policythink-tank basedin Oakland,California,in a
June2011report publicizedin the Guardian(UK).Thishistoricdivestment
marksthe first full divestmentmadebyVanderbiltin responseto student
pressure,a first in universityhistoryafter its refusalto fullydivest itself
of funds operatingin Apartheid-eraSouthAfrica.

WHAT'S
ALLTHAT
JUNK
TRYING
TOSAY?!
STUDENT
POWER
WAS
THEKEYTOMAKE
ENDURING
CHANGE
THAT
LITERALLY
HADAN
INTERNATIONAL
IMPACT!
JUSTA FEWYEARS
AGO!
WECANBUILD
THISPOWER
TOFIGHT
FORTHEISSUES
WEFACE
TODAY!

"TeachFor America(TFA)wasfoundedin 1989in responseto teacher shortages, with the missionto "eliminateeducationalinequityby
enlistinghigh-achievingrecent collegegraduatesand professionalsto
teach. " However,there is no longera teacher shortage- an estimated
500,000 teachers havebeen laid off frompublicschoolssince 2008.
TFArecruits recent collegegraduatesand signs themup for two-year
contracts. After five weeksof training, TFAcorp members
are thrown
into schoolsin low-incomecommunities
. Oncethe two-yearcontract is
up, mostcorpmembers
goon to graduateschool, lawschoolor jobs in
the privatesector insteadof continuingto be educators.
TFAis highlyselectivein choosingtheir members
, whichhas madeservicewiththe organizationan impressiveresumebuilder. Thisattracts
high-achieving,highlyinvolvedcollegestudents fromall majorsand
backgroundsto the program
. Althoughthese individualsmaybe committedto the program,five weeksof trainingis not enoughfor people
responsiblefor teachinga classroom
full of kids wholearn differently
andat differentrates. According
to the 2011annualreport releasedby
TFA,only7,000 of 24,000TFAalumnihad remainedin teachingjobs.
Likeany other professionals,teachers improvewithexperience.This
cannothappenwhenTFAcorpmembers
are beingcycledthroughschools
everytwoyears. Whileit is admirablethat TFAcorp members
are devotingtwoyearsof their life to volunteeringwithkids, the Teachfor
America
systemneeds to changeto one that gives its members
proper
trainingand is aimedat recruitingcareer-long teachers.
Teachfor America
possessessignificantpoliticalpowerin the private
andpublicsectors. Morethan 20percentof TFA
fundingcomesfromcorporatebacking,and ties withcompanies
likeGoldman
SachsGroupInc. ,
Wal-Mart
andExxonMobilCorp. haveled to opportunitiesin those companiesfor TFAalumni.TFAis also a player in publicstate education,
for manyTFAalumniare in positionsof powerin the educationfield.
Forexample,in 2013the Chicago
Boardof Educationfired teachersand
madebudgetcuts for publicschools. At the sametime, fundingfor TFA
increasedfrom$600,000to $1.6 millionand broughtan additional300
TFAcorpmembers
into Chicago
schools.

Thereis no reasonto believethat TFAcorpmembers
are better qualified
than career teachers, but TFA's politicalpowerhas securedits teachers' priorityover career teachers.. .
. . . VanderbiltfacilitatesTFArecruitmenteventson campus,whichallowsTFAto recruit the elite studentswhohelpbuild its reputation. In
turn, the Vanderbiltlawschool,medicalschool, andpolicyandeducation programsoffer graduatescholarshipsand deferralsto TFAalumni
.
TFAis dependenton this type of support to recruit studentswhoview
it as a resumebuilder. Withthis relationship, our schoolis explicitly
backingall of TFA's actions. Moreover,it encouragesstudents to use
TFAas a backdoor to a more"prestigious"career. Vanderbiltshouldbe
heldaccountablefor the integrityof all organizationswithwhichit is
associated, leadingby exampleand cuttingall ties withTFAuntil significantreformis undergoneand TFA
· s operationreflects its original
mission."
Originally
publishedin the VanderbiltHustler.AuthorMeredith
Vitale

TEACH FOR AMERICA



WHAT'S
THEDE

WHO
DOESN
'T LOVE
A GOOD
TRIPTOBARNES
ANDNOBLE
TOCHECK
OUTTHEIR
EXPANSIVE
SELECTION
OFCOMMODORE
GEAR
DURING
THEIR
FIRST
YEAR
AT
VANDERBILT?
IT'S SOCOOL
TOHAVE
SOMUCH
SCHOOL
PRIDE!
BUTMUCH
OF
THECLOTHING
ANDITEMS
THAT
BARNES
ANDNOBLE
SELLS
WITH
OURBLESSED
NAME
ISPRODUCED
IN SWEATSHOPS!
<REMEMBER
SWEATSHOPS?
THAT
THING
WELEARNED
ABOUT
HAPPENING
100 YEARS
AGO?
THEY
'RESTILL
A THING!>

Wecan, and haveheldour schoolaccountablefor providing us wit h ethicallymademerchandise! Checkout this awesome
campaign:
Back in 2013, students came togetherto demandthat Vanderbiltmerchandisebe producedin an ethical waythat respectedhuman rights.
Delivering letters to bothVanderbiltadministration and Barnesand Noble
manage
ment, the group, largelycomprised
of members
of Vanderb
ilt Students of Nonviolence,pointedout that Adidas, a company
whoseproducts weresold in our bookstore, hadnot conductedbusiness in a manner
that aligned with Vanderbilt's Codeof Conduct.The company
refusedto
compensate
over 2, 700workersafter closingtheir factory in Indonesia,
alongwith other labor rights violations.Thestudents pushedfor Vanderbilt to divestfromAdidas,as part of a national divestment movement
to pressureAdidas into treating their textile workerswithbasicrespect.

Happily,17universitiesfromacrossthe countrydidend their
contractswithAdidas,creatingenoughpressureafter 2 years
of campaigning
that Adidasagreedto compensate
their 2, 700
workers.Sadly,VanderbiltAdministration
didnot take a stand
on this issue.
Althoughthere are still lots of issueswithinAdidas'supply
chain, this sets a precedentfor students holdingtheir universitiesaccountable.Moreimportantly,it showsthe magicof
cooperativeorganizingand collectivepower.

UNIVERSITIES
Corn~llUniversity;OberlinCollegethe
University
'
u . . of Washind'tonBrown
BRAVE niversity,RutgersUniversity
w~:~et:;1 University;the Colleg~of
ENOUGH
TO
ary; Santa ClaraUniversit
ou

,

P~nns_tateUniversity,NortheasternY,
Unive~sity,
the Universityof Mont
the Universityof Minnesota-TWin
c:a,
Cro~ksto~,and Morris,OregonStat:s,
Uruvers~ty;
TempleUniversity,and
WashingtonState University

TAKE
ASTAND

TITI_I:IX 'l()'I
WHAT
ISTITLE
IX?

TitleIX is a landmarkfederalcivil rights act that prohibitssex discrimination in education-it isn't just about sports! Sexdiscrimination/harassmen
includes, but is not limitedto the following:unwelcome
sexualadvances,
requests for sexual favors, verbal/nonverbalphysicalcontact of a sexual
nature, stalking, genderharassment,intimatepartner violence,sexualviolence( attemptedor completed
rape or sexualassault), voyeurism,exhibitionism.

r--------------

FUNFACT:
TITLE
IXPROTECTS
PEOPLE
OFAll GENDERS
, NOTJUSTFEMALES!

L-----

- - -

_____

.J

WHAT
DOES
THAT
MEAN?

Schoolsmusttake immediate
action to ensurea complainantvictimcan continue his, her, or their educationfree of ongoingsex discrimination,
sexual
harassment
, or sexualviolence. The universityis requiredto provideth~
followingfor the complainant-vi
otim:
· Issuea no contactdirectiveto the accused
· Ensureanyreasonablechangesin housing,calls/sports schedule,campus
job, and extracurricularactivitnes.
· Anyarrangements
madefor the ~jctimcanoccurBEFORE
a formalcomplaint,
investigation,hearing,or final decisionis maderegardinga complaint
Schoolsmaynot retaliateagainstsomeonefiling a complaintand mustkeepa
complainant-victim
safe fromother retaliatoryharassmentor behavior.
Schoolscan issuea nocontactdirectiveunderTitleIXto preventthe accused
student fromapproachingor interactingwithyou. This is not a court-issued retrainingorder, but the schoolshouldprovideyou with information
on howto obtainsuchan order and facilitate that processif you chooseto
pursueit.
In casesof sexualviolence,schoolsare prohibitedfromencouraging
or allowing mediation( rather than a formalhearing)of the complainant.
Schoolscannotdiscourageyoufromcontinuingyour education.

WHAT
ISTHEWORLD
ISTHECLERY
ACT?
TheCleryAct is a federal lawthat requirescollegesto report crimesthat
occur "on campus"and schoolsafety policies. TheCleryAct also protects
stt:Jdentsfromthe perpetuationof a "hostile" environment.
Requirements
:
1. Requiressct:loolsto have timelywarningwhenthere are knownrisks to
publicsafetyon campus
._. ,_
_
2. Containsthe Campus
SexualAssaultVictim'sBillof Rights, whichrequires
collegesto discloseeducationalprogramming
, campusdisciplinary process, and victimrights regardingsexualviolencecomplaints
.
3. Requiresschoolsto explaintheir policiesandprocedureson campusin the
wakeof sexualviolence. Thisincludeswhoyoumayreport suchan incident to andwhatpossiblesanctionsmaybe imposedas a result. It should
also list availableresourcesto victimson ORaroundcampus, as wellas
informyouof your right to request reasonableaccommodations.
4. The schoolhas an obligationto informyou about your rights regarding
to whomyou can formallyreport sexual violenceif you wisha criminal
prosecution,

~HOISCLERY?
In 1986, a woman
namedJeanneClerywassexuallyassaultedandthen murdered
rtn her dormat LehighUn.iversity, by anotherstudent. Theassailantwasable
tCD
enter the dorm,wherehe did not live, whenthe door wasproppedopen.
Alarmed
withthe lack of informationthat their (familyhadreceivedabout the
prior incidentsin the school, her familyworkedthroughher deathto
establishthe CleryAct, whichwasput into effect in 1991.

r---1

1

,,

-----,
AN 1:1:«~~ia:

I

1
A HISTORY
OFACTIVISM

L---------.J

0

1960:JamesLaws_o~
,. a

=-

studentat the o1v1n1ty
School, is expel~ed
for
his involvement
in the
Nashville sit-ins of the
civil rights movement.

__

:------........

~ '1987:TheBlack\iudent Associ
-

ationenactsyearlongprotest
~ enteredaroundissuesdiscussed
in the BlackManifesto.
Among
~ other things. studentswished
to increasethe numbers
of Black
faculty.staff, andstudents.

.-------,,~
L™· w=o

_____
,

2007:Morethan200
studentsprotestedon
WestEndin solidarity
::==.
with the Louisiana
Jena6.

C

compiledby members
of HiddenDares
andVanderbiltStudentsof Nonviolence,2015

r

a
201~·· studentslead
· and

successful
camp~1gn
d that
-= occupationof K1r1<lan
.
forcedVanderbiltto divest
hedgefundsthat were
.:::::-,from. g farmersoff of their·forc1n
land.

~ 201,:Minority
sg ents inspired
bythe "I, TOO
, AmHarvard"
~ ampaign
beganthe HiddenDores
movement.
Theyseek to address
~ the marginalization
of all racial
andethnicminoritiesonVanderbilt's campus
.

201S:Over200s&dentsparticipated in a walkout anddelivereda list
~ of demands
to Chancellor
Zeppos.
Inspiredbyactionsat the University
of Missouri.the studentspromised
::::::::.==-that theywouldno longerbe silent
about the systemicinequityinside
their university.

Whetheror not you·re a vegetarian,it's kindof difficultto condonethe use
of animalsin testing and trainingpractices. Withnewtechnologies,alternatives are nowavailablethat haveeliminated
the need to use animalsin cruel
practices.
AfterVanderbiltwasfinedover $8,000for animalnegligence(senselessmurder and negligenceof test subjects), and muchcontroversyarounda piglet
founddead in Vanderbiltresearchlabs in 2012,Vanderbiltcontinuesto use
unethicalanimalpracticeson campus.NashvilleAnimal
Advocacy
has beenorganizingaroundthis issue for sometime, and explainstoday's issues on
their website:

'~T VANDERBILT
UNIVERSITY,
EMERGENCY
MEDICINE
RESIDENTS
ARETAUGHT
PROCEDURAL
SKILLS
USING
LIVEANIMALS
, DESPITE
THEWIDESPREAD
AVAILABILITY
ANDIMPLEMENTATION
Of NONANIMAL
METHODS
. THEPROCEDURES
PERFORMED
BYEMERGENCY
MEDICINE
RESIDENTS
INVOLVE
MAKING
AN INCISION
INTOA PIG'S
ORGOAT
'S CHEST
TOINSERT
A TUBE
, PLACING
A GATHETER
IN A
LARGE
VEIN
, ANDINSERTING
A NEEDLE
BELOW
THEBREASTBONE
TOREMOVE
FLUID
FROM
THESACSURROUNDING
THEHEART.
ATTHEENDOf EACH
SESSION
THEANIMALS
AREKILLE!j'

· Vanderbiltcan replacethe use of animalsin the Vanderbiltemergency
medicineresidencyprogramwith simulatorsand other human-relevant
trainingmethods.
· Currently,89 percentof surveyedemergency
medicineresidencyprograms
in the UnitedStatesteachthe sameproceduresusingnon-animalmethods.
· Vanderbilthas a state-of-the- art simulationcenter that, if fullyutilized, couldreplacethe use of animalsimmediately.
· Vanderbilt's AdvancedTraumaLifeSupport programteaches the same
emergency
proceduresusingsimulation,so the schoolis alreadyexperiencedin usingnon-animalmethodsfor this type of training.

'"/1-IAT'S c;C)INC;
C)NIN '"/IDl:I~ t~ASl-1\fll_l_
l:l

GENTRlf
ICATION!
WHAT
IS GENTRIF
ICATION?

Gentrificationis definedas a markedchangein the characterof a neighborhood,due to an
influxof white, affluent residents, and the displacement
of preexistingresidents, mostly poor, elderly,and/or peopleof color. Neighborhoods
susceptibleto gentrificationare
attractive due to lowpropertyvaluesand amenitiessuch as walkableneighborhoodsand
proximity
to "downtown"
areas. Thedisplacement
of incumbentresidentstypicallyoccursin
twosteps: first, renters are pushedout as landlordsseek morewealthyresidents, then,
homeowners
are forcedto leaveas the cost of livingin the arearises to a levelbeyondtheir
means.Yogastudios, hipcoffeeshops, boutiquesand other businessescateringto the newcomersspringup, replacingthe corner stores, day cares, and other businessesthat once
servedlongtimeresidentsof theneighborhood
. Notonlyis Nashville
experiencingrapidgentrification, but it is severelylackingaffordablehousingavailablefor displacedcitizens.
WHAT
ISANfXAMPtfOFA GENTRIF
IEDAREA
INNASHVlltf?

Notfar fromVanderbilt,the 12th Southneighborhood
hasundergonea great dealof change
in recent years. According
to the EquitableHousingReport, from2000to 2010,the 12 th
Southneighborhood
experienceda 269%increasein averagehousingcosts, and a 58%decreasein the blackpopulation.12th South, the neighborhood
withclass-codedbusinesses
such as a cupcakeATM
and ReeceWitherspoon·
s store. Acrossthe river, EastNashvilleis
knownfor its quirkycharmsand hip coffeeshops, as wellas its rapidgentrification
. One
example
of the mechanism
of gentrificationoccurredin 2004,whenthe MetroDevelopment
and
Housing
Agencyinvokedeminentdomainto seizea cornerstore at 11th and Fatherland.This
corner store had been a hubfor residentsof nearbyJamesA. CayceHomes
, a publichousing complex
that is hometo a primarilylow-income.non-whitepopulation.Onthe adjacent
cornersto the propertythere nowstand salons, boutiques, and a juicebar. As is the case
in gentrifyingcities across the country, incumbentresidentsare givenlittle voicewhenit
comesto the changesoccurringin their communities.
WHAT
CANBEDONE
TOSTOP
THEADVANCE
OFGEN
TRIFICATION?

Someneighborhoods
try to staveoff gentrificationthroughneighborhood
conservation
overlay districts, whichare specializedzoningdistricts that regulatefeaturessuchas lot size
and buildingheight. Thesecan preventthe proliferationof the infamous"tall-and- skinnies": housesthat mustbe built taller becausethey cannotbe built wider.Tomitigatethe
harmfuleffects that gentrificationhas on displacedresidents, Nashvilleneeds to create
moreaffordablehousing.If youare interestedin gettinginvolved,NashvilleOrganized
for
Actionand Hope(find themat noahtn. org ! ) focuseson affordablehousing,as wellas criminal justiceandeconomic
equity. Beon the lookoutfor publicmeetingsthat they hold. Facultyof Vanderbilt's Community
ResearchandActiongraduateprogramhavespokenout about
the issue of gentrificationand maybe a valuableresourcefor students lookingto learn
more. Residentsof the JamesA. CayceHomes
expressthat whatthe needmostis morejobs
and better schools.Considervolunteeringwithan organizationsuchas VSVS
or BigBrothers
BigSisters,to investsomeof your timeand love in the childrenof these communities.

1S1-AMAPI-IC):IIA:
PI-AC;lJINC;
Mlllllll: Tti
Vanderbiltis located in MiddleTennessee,an area designatedby both the
Centerfor American
Progressandthe CouncilonAmericanIslamicRelationsas
the mostIslamophobic
area in the country.In Murfreesboro,
Tennessee,just
25milesfromVanderbilt'scampus,the IslamicCenterof Murfreesboro'
s constructionsite wasset ablazewitha signdeclaringthe phrase,"NotWelcome
."
Twoyears before that, a mosquein Columbus,
Tennesseewasalso torched
withmolotovcocktailsand vandalizedwitha swastikaand the phrase,"White
Power."

VanderbiltUniversityis no exceptionto the plagueof Islamophobia
prevalent
in Middle
Tennessee.In the springof 2015,CarolSwain,a tenuredVanderbilt
professor, stated that, "ISlAM
HASA PROBlfM
WITH
THE
WEST.
ISlAMWill
NEVER
UNDERSTAND
THEFREEDOMS
THAT
WEllVEANODIETOPRESERVE
IF
AMERICA
IS TOBESAFE,
ITMUST
REMOVE
THE
FOXES
FROM
THE
HENHOUS
ANOINSTITUTE
SERIOUS
MONITORING
OFISlAMIC
ORGANIZATIONS."
In responseto Swain'sstatements,Vanderbilt'sProvostrespondedwitha
statementsaying:

"Wein nowaycondoneor support the viewsstated in the [op-ed]andweunderstandthey are deeplyoffensiveto manymembers
of our community,
Muslim
and non-Muslim
alike. Weare fullycommitted
to ensuringour campusis safe
andwelcoming
to all. "
The statementlacks any formof oppositionto Islamophobia,simplysaying
that Vanderbiltdoes not support it, or oppose it. The statement"Deeply
offensiveto manymembers
of our community"
is also deeplytroubling.Are
there members
of the Vanderbiltcommunity
to whichsuchrhetoric is not offensive?If so, that is a causeof muchworry.
But evenworse,the statementreflects the University
administration·
s lack
of abilityto take an active stanceagainstIslamophobia.
Everyone
willagree
that it is not Swain's free speech right for Vanderbilt'sadministration
to
dancearoundcallingher wordshatefulandbigoted.Thefact that the University has neverexplicitlycalledher statementswhatthey are- racist
exemplifies
Vanderbilt·s administration·
s morallybankruptinabilityto take
an activestance againstIslamophobia.

WhileIslamophobia
is somethingthe Universityrefusesto take a stance on,
the University
willtake stanceson issuesthat are morepoliticallyexpedient.
In responseto variousprofessorsat Vanderbiltjoiningtheir colleaguesin
advocatingfor a boycottof Israel, an apartheidstate whichleaves 5 million Palestinianswithoutcitizenship, ChancellorZepposreleaseda statement
wherehe said:

'!VANDERBILT
UNIVERSITY
STANDS
WITHITSASSOCIATION
OFAMERICAN
UNIVERSITIES
COLLEAGUES
IN OPPOSING
A BOYCOTT
OFISRAELI
ACADEMIC
INSTITUTIONS
ASPROPOSED
BYTHEAMERICAN
STUDIES
ASSOCIATION.
THERE
ARE
FEWPRINCIPLES
MORE
CENTRAL
TOOURMISSION
ASA UNIVERSITY
THANAN
UNWAVERING
COMMITMENT
TOACADEMIC
FREEDOM
ANDTHEOPEN
EXCHANG
OFIDEAS
ACROSS
THEGLOBE.
WEBELIEVE
THISBOYCOTT,
BYITSVERY
NATURE
, IS
INCOMPATIBLE
WITHTHISPRINCIPLE.
VANDERBILT
FACULTY
CANANDHAVE
TAKEN
THEIR
OWNPOSITIONS
ONTHISISSUE,
WHICH
ISTHEIR
RIGHT
ANDINDEED
THEIR
RESPONSIBILITY
ASSCHOLARS
, JUSTASIT IS OURDUTYTOPROTECT
THEIR
FREEDOM
TODOS0
11

Welcome
to Vanderbilt.OpposingIsrael' s imperialism,
illegal militaryoccupationof Palestinians
, and apartheidpoliciesby engagingin the sametactics that broughtdownapartheidin SouthAfricawillhaveyoucondemned
by
the Chancellor.But makingpropositiontsthat the USgovernment
engagein
unconstitutional
, discriminatory
targetingof a minoritygroupwill give you
tenure and a statementof "Wedon' t support you. Andyou offendedmany
people. Butdon't worry,wewon't opposeyoueither. "

Canweunderstandthe experiencesof indigenousstudentsat VanderbiltUniversitywithoutunderstandingthe historyof the institution?As a member
of the CatawbaIndianNationand an alumnusof Vanderbilt,it's abundantly
clearto methat a discussionof indigenousstudentsat Vanderbiltwillalways
missthe point if it is not centeredin the stories of the land uponwhich
Vanderbiltis built.

Just off of campusis CentennialPark, notablefor its life-sizereplicaof the
Parthenonwhichwasbuilt for the TennesseeCentennialExpositionin 1897.
The event commemorated
the 100-yearanniversaryof Tennesseejoiningthe
US.For indigenousfolks, it is rather a commemoration
of the colonization
of the lands of the Cherokee,Shawnee,Chicamauga,
and other indigenous
peoples. The Park itself sits atop land whichwasgivento AnneRobertson
JohnsonCockrillfor "heroically"leadinga groupof women
in pouringboiling
waterover the sidesof FortWautaga
ontoa groupof Cherokee,Chickamauga,
and othersdefendingtheir lands frominvasion
. Cockrilland the other settlers werebrieflysojourningin the fort for the winterbeforeJohnDonelson,
Andrew
Jackson's father- in-law, couldlead themto the new, illegalsettlementof Nashborough
(later renamedNashville).
12 mileseast of Vanderbilt's campusis The Hermitage,the plantationAndrewJacksonbuilt usingslavelabor and resourcesstolen fromindigenous
peoples. AndrewJackson, whowasborn on occupiedCatawbaland, epitomizesthe wantonkilling, removal,and neglect of indigenousmen,women,
two-spirits (LGBTQIA+),
children, and elders. For manyindigenouspeoples
on TurtleIsland[Earth], he epitomizesthe violenttheft of nativeland, life,
and culture.
Today,AndrewJackson's homefunctionsas a tourist attraction withaspirations towardseducatingthe public: "Themissionof the AndrewJackson
Foundationis to preservethe homeof AndrewJackson, create educational
opportunities, and inspirecitizenshipthroughlearningabout his life and
uniqueimpacton American
history." For indigenouspeoples, the idea that
Andrew
Jackson's legacymightinspirecitizenshipis terrifying.Thisrefusal
to grapplewithAndrewJackson's legacyis culturallyrampant- take a look
at any $20bill - but it manifestsin specific wayson Vanderbilt·s campus.
Duringthe 2013-2014Vanderbiltschoolyear, oneof the student performance
groupsstagedBloody,BloodyAndrewJackson.Althoughthe musicalis a hilarious satire whichdoesn't shyawayfromJackson's bloodylegacy,

ts underlyingprincipleis that "Jacksonwascomplicated"
- a viewthat American's wouldfind ludicrousif appliedto any of a numberof foreigngenociders, war-mongers,or tyrants.
Vanderbilt'sspecifichistorywithIndigenouspeoplesis shroudedin mystery
sincethe universityhas not foundit worthwhile
to track such things. Even
accomplishments
whichcouldbe leveragedin recruitmentand advertisingsuch
as "the first nativestudent to graduatefromVanderbilt"are lost to history.
Whereis our historyat this institution?
Thecurrentexperiencefor indigenouspeoplesat Vanderbiltis not conducive
to the successof nativestudents. WhenI graduatedfromVanderbiltin 2014
I hadonlyknownof 3 classesthat specificallyaddressedindigenouspeoples
as subjectmatter. Noclassesused indigenousknowledge
as an investigative
technique. Furthermore,the Officeof Admissions
did not and, to the best
of myknowledge,continuesto not haveanyrecruitmentprogramsfocusedon
indigenousyouth. Until the graduationof 2016,NativeAmerican
students
weren't evenallowedto adornthemselves
witheaglefeathersat graduationa sacredandcivil traditionamongstmanytribes. Whenconfrontedabout this
violationof indigenouspeoples' religiousrights, a University
officialreplied
that indigenousstudents were"welcome
to displaytheir heritageas soon as

Mygrandfather, Buck
George,first Catawba
to attend college( Clemson). Manythings havenot
changedfor indigenous
peoplesin higher education
sincehe graduatedin 1955.

Althoughit mightnot be common
knowledge,eaglefeathersbear immense,sacredsignificancefor Nativepeople. Mygrandfatherreceivedhis eaglefeather after graduatingcollege- the first Catawbato do so. Mymotherreceived
her feather whenshe graduatedlaw school and becamethe first Catawba
lawyer. After mygraduationceremony,whenI foundmyfamilyon the lawn
eatingstrawberriesand drinkingchampagne,mymotherpresentedmewithmy
eaglefeather. Althoughmytribe doesn't considerit a culturalnecessityto
adornourselveswithfeathersfor graduationceremonies
manycommunities
do.
ForNativeAmericans
- the onlydemographic
in the usto see decreasinghigh
schoolgraduationrates in the 21stcenturyand abysmalcollegematriculation
rates - it is a necessityto celebrateeducationalachievements
in culturally
andspirituallyappropriateways. In 2016the banon eaglefeather adornments
wasrescindedthanks to the tireless workof NativeAmericans
of Tennessee
Interactingat Vanderbilt(NATIVe)
and indigenousstudents past and present.
Vanderbiltprides itself on beinga community
and developinga balancedapproachto student life but outsidethe classroom
andgraduationstage indigenousstudentsare confrontedby socialbarriersthat neverburdentheir white
classmates.In Spring2014,a fraternityon campusdecidedit wasa goodidea
to host a partytitled "Lastof the Brohicans." Arifle anda bow,withthe arrownotchedand drawn,wereprominently
displayedon the banner. Theparty
wasa clear referenceto JamesFenimore
Cooper's Lastof the Mahicans
which
is, simplyput, a genocidefantasy. The"Mohicans"
that Cooperwroteabout
never existed as a people; Coopercombined
two historicaltribes together
to better fulfill the purposesof his fiction. This immensely
popularbook,
whichstrengthenedthe incorrectbut popular19thCenturyWhitenotionthat
indigenouspeopleweredisappearing,has remainedpopularthroughits multiplemediaadaptationsincludingthe well-received1992filmfeaturingDaniel
Day-Lewis.
WhenI confrontedthe leadersof the fraternitydemanding
a changein theme,
they retorted that their fraternityhadmany"NativeAmerican
members"
who
wereexcitedto "sharetheir culture"throughthis party. It wasnot madeclear
howmanymembers
werenative, whichtribes these brotherswerefrom,andhow
the brothersplannedto sharetheir culturesin the venueof a frat party.
After threateningto involvethe Officeof GreekLife, the party themewas
changed.Butlikeother universitiesand institutionsVanderbiltis a minefield
of redface and genocideplay. This is particularlytrue at Halloween
when
racist "nativeamerican"costumesare common
and big sportingevents when
students feel it is importantto weargeardepictingracist mascots
.

Vanderbiltas a community
and as an institutionmustreflect on the violent
and genocidalhistoryof the usand whatthat historymeansfor indigenous
students. In turn, Vanderbiltmustconsiderhowtheir policies,traditions,
and inertia presentan activebarriersto the successof indigenousstudents
andcommunities.

DeLesslfn"Roo George-Warrents a proud memberof the CatawbaIndian Nation, an alumnusof Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music
and the 2014 "OutstandingSenior. Todayhe works in his tribe, the US,
and internationallyon issues important to indigenouspeoples. @delesslfn
II

11

'IC)TI-IINC;sTC)l<t~C)"1f
3El=C)l~E
GC)INGGl~l:1:1(
Sonowthat you've arrivedon campus,you' re readyto beginyour
longand healthycareeras a FratStar. Hereare the top ten thingsyou
shouldknowas youembarkon this wonderfuljourney.But, beforeyou
thinkthat I amsomebitter wannabeFratStar that wascut too soon, let me
clarify. I did rush, pledge,and initiate into an IFCFraternityon campus.I
did, at one point, genuinelybelievethat I founda welcoming
community
and
a placeto belong.Or, rather I wantedso badlyto belongthat i blindedmyself fromrealityfor far too long. Theseare myexperiencesandmystories
- this is the realityof IFC.
'I. l:VEN TI-U:IFC FRATS Tl-IAT AREN1T Tl-IAT :IAD,ARE REALLYTHAT
:IAD.

Themoderndayfraternityhas a terriblestigmaattachedto it. While
the officeof GreekLifeand someadministrators
willarguethat beinga member of a Greekorganizationoffers community
and brotherhood,that isn't
the full truth. GreekLifeis a business- and likeanybusinessthey have
to sell their productto youusingall the halftruths they can find. The
status quo, whichis wellmaintained
by the actionsof fraternities, is that
Fratsare breedinggroundsof oppression,xenophobia,homophobia,
heteronormativity,racismand sexismamongother things. TheGreekhouseson
campushavedoneeverythingin their powerto hidethat imageand reverse
that stigmaexceptactuallydealingwiththe causesof these feelings.These
organizationsweara maskof toleranceand inclusivitybecausethat's the
policythey wereforcedto adopt by administration.Eventhe chaptersthat
claimto be inclusivereallyaren't. Here's the thing. Thereare barriersto
inclusivitythat fraternities just can't seemto fix. Alargepart of this list
is dedicatedto those barriers. Butdon't be fooled, eventhe Frats

that claimto be tolerant and acceptingare not. Just becausethey havea
Black,Gay,or Muslim
brotherdoesn't meanthey are pioneeringa newwave
of inclusivity.I can almostguaranteethat brother is not truly includedin
the fraternity- evenif they think (for the moment)that they are. Evenif
I, for the moment,thought I was. Besides,don't we, as people, deserve
morethan just tolerance?Sure, your brotherswillpose in a "weare the
world"phototo showtheir support (it's great PR), but whenthe troops
are liningup to march- they won't be standingnext to you.
Z.t=RATERNITES
I-IAVE SOMI: VERYTROU3LED1-IISTC>RIES
Tl·IAT TI-IEY
ARl:N'TOUITI:Rl:ADYTO DEAL '"IITl-1

MostIFCFratswerefoundedduringa veryracist timein American
history. Somehavehistoricalties to Confederatesoldiersand generalsor
the KKK. Likewise,nearlyeveryorganizationhas a historyof homophobia
and
hypermasculinity
hiddenbehinda religiousfounding.Thosehistoricalties
wouldbe fine in modernday, if they wereaddressedand activelychanged.
However,that's not the case. Instead, manyfraternitieson this campusattemptto hidethese historicalaffiliationswhilecontinuingto perpetuatethe
culturecreatedbythem. Someof these hardcoreracist brothersare actually
idolizedfor being"greatbrothers"and pioneeringthe moderncultureof the
chapterand institutionalizing
these hazardouspractices. Myex-frat, for
example,started everychaptermeetingby readingdirectlyfromthe Bible- a
tradition rootingbackto the foundingof myfraternity. Notthat reading
fromthe Bibleshouldn't be allowed- but thinkabout howalienatedcertain
passagescanmakemembers
feel. Or, howexclusively
readingfromthe Bible
mightsuggestthat anyother religion(or lack thereof) is less deservingof
validation.I recallone instancewheremyex-brotherreada passagecondemningsame-sex relationships
. Howcouldthat possiblycreatea positive
spacefor brothersstrugglingwiththeir sexuality?It doesn't, insteadit
buildsa barrier to acceptance.
3. IF YOU'RENOT A CISGENDl:I~
WI-IITEMAI_E(OR EVENF YOUARE
3UT YOUUNDERSTAND
EOlJAI_ITY),
YOU'I_I_
I-IA,fE A HARDTME

Thepointof joininga fraternityis to be includedand find your
community.
Brothersare supposedto support youand genuinelycarefor
you. Or, at least that· s the story they sell youwhileyou' re rushing.If
yousomehow
don't fit the moldof ultimateprivilege- and it 's extremely
visualthat youdon't - prepareto be the voicefor your entire community. You·11be the punchline of a borderlineracist joke. Butdon't worry
because"you're not likethem"- you' re different. Youmightbe occasionally
"reminded"that yougot into this schoolbecauseof some"qoutasystem"
hat f ors m·n ri ies

and holdsseats openfor marganlized
groups.Andthat's 100%
true because
your frat brotherknowsthis oneWhiteguywhohad a 2400SATscoreand got
denied, but yougot in on your 2350.Everynowand then they mayalso feel
the need to remindyouthat your violentreligion( evenif youdon' t fully
identifywithit) is inadequatecompared
to historicallypeacefulchristianity.
4. RUSI-IINGANDPLl:DGINGARE ENTll~ELYDIFFERl:NT3EASTS

Rushingand Pledgingreallyare twoverydifferentthings.Theexperience is likebuyinga usedcar or fixer upperhouse.
Rushingis the part whereyousalespersonshowsyouall these beautiful shinycars and the amazingfeatures. Thenyouget in your lovelycar
and take it for a ride ( rushevents). It ' s a great car and youcan' t believe
yougot so luckyto find it . Soyoudecideto buy it (pledging). Nowafter
a weekor so you realizethe backwindows
don't roll down.Butehh...you
candeal turn on the AC.Ohbut nowthat · s no longerworking- eventhough
youswearit wason the test drive. Toughluck...maybeyoucandealwiththe
heat - right? Nope,nowits just gettingunbearablyuncomfortable
. Soyou
call the salesperson. Guesswhat- the warrantyis up andhe couldcare less
about your car now.Youtake it into the shopand still nothing.Noone can
fix your car. Thesooner youacceptthat, the easier it willbe for you.
5. YOUREXPl:Rll:NCI:AS A l\'1EM31:R
C)FA MARGINAI_IZED
COl\'1MUNITY
~/Ill_ 31:INVAI-IDATEDAND ATTACKl:DON Tl-IEREGUI_AR

Haveyoubeen insultedfor your background?Haveyoubeen followed
aroundstores becauseof yourmelanin?Haveyoubeen treated differently
becauseof the wayyoulook?Dopeopleassumeyouare violentand uneducated? Canyounot wearcertainclothingbecauseit mightattract unwanted
policeattention?Haveyoubeen deniedessentialhumanrights for decades
and are continually
treated as a secondclasscitizen?Wellcongratulations,
it all ends todaybecauseyour fraternitybrothersays so. He' s not a racist
or a homophobe
so thereforethe wholeworldcan't be likethat - problem
solved. He' s nevertreated anyonedifferentlyso thereforethe problem
doesn't exist. Plushis Italianancestorswereoncemarginalized
too so he
gets it. Peoplestill followhimaroundstores too whenhe shops. Pluswhy
wouldyouwantto weara hoodieanyways?
Rights?Whatrights?Youhavethe
14thamendment
and the supremecourt youguyshaveequaltreatment- if
anythingWhiteheterosexualmalesare the ones gettingthe heat nowanyways-so whyare youcomplaining?

THANK
YOU
FOR
READING!
Nowthat you·ve been awakenedto some(not evenall! ) of the
realitiesof Vanderbilt, wehopethat youwillcommit
yourself
to the strugglefor justice. Allof these thingsmayseeminsurmountable,but wehavea deep and rich historyof students
activists makingchangeson and aroundcampus.Wehopethat
you'll considerjoiningthe following
organizationsto helpmake
a difference:

,1ANlll:R3II_
T FC)ODJlJSTICI:
SARl~ATT'1'12.
TUESIJAYS.
8:3()PM.

Andsomeothers:
Daresin SolidaritywithPalestine
HiddenDares
VanderbiltLambda
Association
Muslim
StudentAssociation
NATIVe
-

"Lookingat the past mustonlybe a meansof understanding
more
clearlywhatandwhotheyare so that they canmorewiselybuild
the future. "
-PauloFreire

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