As we bid adieu to 2015, we can’t help but reflect on what has happened this year on campus. We have said goodbye to Abyssinia, examined the history of Thayer street, and we have even provided some solid recommendations for how Brown can thrive in the 21st century. We helped you write a resume and gave you a crash-course on female anatomy.
Our video team dramatically read Spring Weekend lyrics, interviewed our favorite Uncle Teddy, gave your Ratty life-hacks, and continued to produce our Brunonia series.
But perhaps most importantly, over the past year, important conversations transpired regarding systemic issues impacting our campus and beyond. We’ve seen students participate in #MoneyTalksatBrown protests. We’ve seen massive student support for the University to change Fall Weekened to Indigenous People’s Day. We’ve seen Brown students gather to stand in solidarity with the larger #BlackLivesMatter movement and attended a teach-in organized by Brown graduate students of color, who later proposed a list of demands to the University. And after a student reported assault by a DPS officer at the Latinx Ivy League Conference at Brown, we saw an overwhelming community response.
We certainly expect the upcoming year to have just as much in store as 2015 and we’re honored to continue serving up your campus news and happenings in 2016. Here’s to a full month of messing up the date and writing 2015 instead of 2016!
Without further ado, here are our top 10 posts from 2015:
10. Does money talk @ Brown?
“A Gawker exposé published Tuesday [April 21st] quoted leaked emails with offers of preferential admissions treatment from Brown administrators, including President Christina Paxson, for the children of potential donors. The story has drawn rapid response from both administrators, who claim the messages were cherry-picked and taken out of context, and student protesters from the #MoneyTalksAtBrown movement, who argue that they further validate the group’s concerns about undue financial influence on university policy.”
9. Vote for your next Lecture Board speaker
We had the honor of working with Brown Lecture Board to announce the potential Lecture Board speaker candidates and administer the Lecture Board poll to the student body. Lecture Board will announce the Spring speaker next semester!
On Tuesday, February 10, students gathered in the Leung Gallery to learn about and discuss the topic “Why #BlackLivesMatter,” in a workshop conducted by the Minority Peer Counselors. While explaining various injustices black lives have faced both in the past and today, the workshop also asked attendants to think about how they could contribute to the movement moving forward.
The workshop was structured around a historical timeline, looking at three key eras of social control of people of color, beginning with slavery, then moving to Jim Crow, and finally ending with the current state of mass incarceration. Addressing the first two eras, the facilitators drew parallels between the practices and rhetoric of pre-emancipation slave owners, Jim Crow white supremacists, and current policing procedures, in order to historicize and contextualize events occurring today.
One particularly resonant connection was between a statement made in Look magazine by the notorious murderers of Emmett Till–a fourteen year old boy killed for supposedly flirting with a white woman in 1955–and that of Darren Wilson, with regard to the murder of Michael Brown. The audience was to listen to the statements and determine if any similarities could be found. Many determined that both perpetrators expressed a lack of guilt as well as rhetoric which suggested ideological backing by higher institutions, institutions that tacitly or explicitly supported their lack of guilt at taking a Black life.
In the third and current era, three foundational policies of mass incarceration were discussed: the War on Drugs, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Stop and Frisk. 500% increase in prison rates since the 1980’s. Most of these inmates are Black or Latino, though these citizens make up a proportionately smaller percentage of the population than their white counterparts. The effects of incarceration are not only detrimental for the duration of the sentencing, but also following the sentence. Former inmates are subject to intense discrimination including lack of employment and, in some states, disenfranchisement, not unlike the policies that permeated the Jim Crow era.