Looking for the latest updates on Willy E N-Word, Super Penis? EphBlog is your go-to source! Start with Andrew Goldston’s ’09 report on the meetings.

Of course there have been “incidents” before, and forums to discuss them, but never before have I seen the discussion turn truly productive. But that’s what happened here — a lot of people came together last night to talk about the problem and then figure out what to do about it. The meeting went for more than three hours before breaking, only to meet again tonight at 10 to get even more organizing done. I planned on being there tonight, but my schedule got complicated at the last second, and all I could do was drop in for a few minutes. There were even more folks there at 11-ish tonight than there were on Thursday night at 10, and several faculty were in attendance, as well as Mike Reed, VP for Strategic Planning and Diversity. People care and people are doing something about it. So, encouraging stuff.

Indeed. It is especially nice to see folks like Mike Reed ’75 involved. I still hope that someone is taking notes and will share those notes with the rest of us. Unfortunately, although we all agree on the sentiments here — vandalism, especially bigoted vandalism, is a bad thing — it is not clear what else we might agree on. Consider this WSO thread:

Julian Mesri: The meeting was an incredibly meaningful experience, not just because it managed to have a lot of different voices speak up on an issue that is not resolved on this campus, but because we resolved to make a change and came up with actual concrete ideas that we want to work on. The pact was a way of binding us to those goals, but keep in mind Nick we came up with 9 or so concrete goals that we will demand the administration take up, and the student body recognize. Rahul: If there were 9 concrete demands to the administration, post them here. Simple. Everyone wants to know what those were.

Indeed. With luck, the folks leading the efforts will tell us what those 9 demands are so that the rest of us might comment ahead of time. I suspect that many from the diverse tribe of Ephs will have some complaints. You can see hints of that in the WSO thread. Do any readers know what the demands might be, even in a rough draft form? Help us Will Slack!

UPDATE: I do not think that this is going to turn out well.

Rahul: Now hold on there. I smell bullshit. Fine, it’s not formal, but if there are ‘9 or so concrete demands’, let everyone know what they are. I get the feeling that nothing useful came about from all of this hoopla other than people generally agreeing that racism is bad and shouldn’t be tolerated. Good work. My 4 year old niece understands that.

Ellen Song: See, you assume that without any basis. You assume incorrectly, because we did come up with a lot of stuff. From the 9 goals that Julian mentioned, we narrowed it down to 3 things on our agenda at the second meeting yesterday. We split up into committees to delegate tasks. I’m not going to state those 3 things at the moment, because yesterday we agreed that we would be really sensitive about the message we send out to the campus, and be really organized in our methods. So I’d rather not haphazardly state those things here for people to misconstrue on WSO. If you don’t believe us, okay. That doesn’t hurt my feelings or anything.

No one wants hurt feelings, but I wonder if this is the best strategy. If you want the Administration to do X, then you need to unify the campus as best you can. The more open you are in the process of deciding on your goals (and I certainly agree that “goals” is a better word than “demands”), the more likely you are to succeed.

But, if your group decides on three items that large numbers of students disagree with, and then you put forward those goals as the only reasonable response to Willy E N-word, Super Penis, you are less likely to be successful. You want people like Rahul on your side, not fighting you.

Of course, if your goals are controversial enough (i.e., unlikely to command broad support), then perhaps keeping quiet about them at the start is a good idea. But that doesn’t prevent we kibitzers at EphBlog from playing a guessing game! What three items do you think are on the agenda? My guess: more faculty/staff diversity, more sensitivity training during First Days and more affirmative action in admissions. But, then again, perhaps the organizers are more original/sensible then I give them credit for . . .

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