A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: Class at Brown and Beyond

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This Saturday at 2:00 p.m.., several students will crowd the Crystal Room at Alumnae Hall to voice their opinions on class at Brown. The event — what Brown Political Forum founder Ben Resnik ’15 deems less coat-and-tie, more town hall — is the first of a new Community Forum series.

The event adopts the term “community forum” from the open discussion President Paxson hosted at Alumnae Hall following New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly’s canceled lecture last fall. Viveka Hulyalkar ’15, a chair of the Community Forum, said “the magnitude of the dissonance [on campus] was underestimated. There’s a huge demand for an opportunity to bring these pockets of consensus together and get in each other’s faces about the stuff that really tears us apart.”

The Community Forum will start with class, as the chairs feel that class on college campuses has become not only a hot-button issue at Brown but also a once-hushed subject that is now considered nationally. The event will feature several student speakers who Resnik said are known and respected figures on campus. But, the audience truly makes up the core of the forum.

“We’re symbolically not having a stage,” Hulyalkar said. “People are going to stand in the middle of the room. If you want to speak and contribute, then you go and take the mic.”

Some may think the selected students presenting their opinions on class may come from specific backgrounds, but Hulyalkar stressed that the students are in no way representatives of certain socioeconomic classes.

According to the event’s Facebook page, some of the questions students will discuss include: How do race, nationality, immigration status, gender, language(s) spoken, geography, and education influence class status? What does it mean to be middle class? What does class privilege look like and what should you do if you have it? How does your class status influence your experience at Brown and in the world?

Resnik said he wants the event “to be as populist as possible,” so if you have something to say, now is the time.

Update: Below is a list of the names of the student “conversation starters” for Saturday’s event:

Floripa Olguin ’16
Fiora MacPherson ’16
Alex Drechsler ’15
Lorin Smith ’15
Zach Ingber ’15
Gwendolyn Rogers ’14
Oliver Hudson ’14
Khalil Fuller ’14

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