Occupation of Cole Science Center
[This first occupation of a campus building by student activists is represented by two letters to the Hampshire community, the first from the Third World Organization, and the second from President Charles R. Longsworth.]
May 2, 1972
To: The Hampshire College Community
From: The Third World Organization
On the morning of May 1, 1972, The Third World Organization of Hampshire College, in response to the administration's failure to answer its imperatives, occupied the Science/Administration Building. Over the past two days and in response to that occupation negotiations have been going on between the administration and the Third World Organization. While those negotiations have not yet ended and while some of the issues raised by the occupation have not been entirely resolved, the administration, in the person of Charles Longsworth, has agreed:
1. Implicitly, that the Third World Organization be recognized as an official organization comprised of blacks, Latinos, and Asians, and be dealt with as an organizational entity representative of those groups.
2. That in response to the Third World Organization there would be forthcoming an Affirmative Action Plan which presumably would be a positive response to the various issues raised.
3. That there would be a Budget Priorities Committee which would include elected members of the Hampshire College Community with Third World students and other financial aid students participating.
4. That there would be recruitment at all levels and from among all populations of Third World peoples.
5. That a central Third World Candidates' File would be created in approximately one week and open for review.
6. That in recruitment of qualified Third World faculty and administrative personnel, the College would be exploring channels not normally used. This recruitment would take active as well as passive forms, i.e., the deans, when traveling, would check resources given to them by the Third World Organization.
7. That Third World members be consulted for summer interviewing of faculty and staff and be informed of summer hiring as in the academic year.
8. That among the college's priorities would be a significant increase in the Third World population.
9. That President Longsworth and a Third World representative would, in mutual consultation, draw up a statement concerning the Third World and the school's present priorities, for distribution for the college catalog and various other appropriate publications.
It was further agreed that President Longsworth would communicate the gist of these negotiations, indicating his support of the above, via a memo, to all those members of the faculty and administration with responsibilities for the school's programs and implementation.
The Third World Organization, in turn, has agreed:
1. That it will list people who can interview candidates in certain areas over the summer.
2. That it will provide a letter of information to be sent to active candidates as part of all introductory materials.
The Third World Organization felt that increasing the student population significantly, would require firm commitment and policy. The president felt unable to commit himself because of the financial aid situation. The Third World Organization felt the policy of the financial aid Board should be determined by an autonomous committee, the majority of which shall be comprised of faculty and students. No formulation of a financial aid policy should be made without consultation of the Third World and other financial aid students. Agreement by the President is pending clarification. These two issues, therefore, remain unresolved. There was agreement in principle to increased representation of the Third World perspective in the curriculum. Responsibility for the implementation of this, lies with the individual schools and with the Academic Council.
We consider that a beginning has been made in negotiations and are therefore leaving the building. We expect immediate implementation of those items upon which agreement has been reached. We look forward to further negotiations which will dictate our future actions.
We look forward to hearing your responses to this letter in a general community meeting, to be announced soon.
May 3, 1972
To: Members of Hampshire College
From: Charles R. Longsworth
The Third World Organization and I have reached agreement on a number of points and have agreed that there are a number of issues unresolved as a result of our discussions of the past two days.
The following represents the points of agreement as I understand and am prepared to support them:
1. The key to further representation of Third World persons lies in finding more eligible candidates. Hampshire College has focused attention on Black candidates to the disadvantage of Latino and Asian candidates. Henceforth, all units of the College searching for candidates for appointment to faculty, administrative or staff positions, shall seek candidates from all elements of the Third World community.
2. There shall be created for open access by Third World Organization members, a central Third World candidate's file to which each budget unit of the College with position openings shall submit information sufficient to enable an interested inquirer to learn of progress or lack of progress in appointing persons, and reasons for being not accepted or for turning down the position. The file is to be located in the office of the Dean, the Vice-President, or the President, and that information shall begin within about a week.
3. The Third World Organization has provided additional sources of candidates for Latinos and Blacks. I welcome the prospect of receiving also sources for Asian professionals. These sources are primarily passive and activation depends on personal contact with the organizations by the Hampshire faculty, students, and administrators. To that end, all persons traveling on behalf of the College will be instructed to try to include in their trips possible sources of Third World candidates and to inform in advance the Third World Organization (Box 879) when a trip is planned where such visitations may be feasible.
4. A list of Third World persons on campus or in the area, as well as the proposed list of persons available to do interviewing in other parts of the country this summer is most welcome and the persons so listed will be invited to conduct or participate in interviews as appropriate.
5. A letter from the Third World community to prospective employees or appointees at the time of their initial contact with the College would be helpful and welcome.
6. I agree that person to person contact is of great importance. I hope that person to person contact between Third World persons and myself will increase and that we all can have greater personal contact with applicants.
7. It is my plan to forward immediately to the offices involved a copy of this memorandum with instructions to all budget managers to implement and observe these procedures.
8. A statement of the College's intentions with regard to increasing the representation of Third World persons and of building a curriculum with relevance to Third World interests will be drafted for discussion with me. Such a statement will be included in the next catalog of the College.
9. I confirm my commitment to work to have instituted at Hampshire College an Affirmative Action Plan. My definition of an Affirmative Action Plan includes a statement of ideals, the establishment of specific goals with regard to the composition of the various constituencies of the College as determined by race, sex, and other factors of importance to the people of the College, and the establishment of policies and procedures to implement the plan and evaluate its progress. An initial discussion of the plan will be held on Tuesday, May 2, at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Academic Council. The Third World Organization will participate in the origin and review of the proposal and in its acceptance by the College.
10. The Alternate Means Committee will be asked to complete its proposal now in draft form and to justify the tentative financial conclusions reached with regard to fiscal year 1975.
11. The Alternate Means Committee will be asked to analyze and report on the "Proposal for Increased Diversity in the Hampshire Community and for Increased Financial Aid" as part of the May 1, Third World Organization memorandum.
12. The duties of the Personnel Officer are to be defined. Suggestions of candidates from Third World Organization will be sought and participation by Third World Organization members in candidate reviews is expected
13. Candidates will be sought from Third World Organization members for the yet unfilled Assistant master and Resident Associate positions in Houses III and IV, and for available positions, if any, in Merrill House and Dakin House.
14. The composition, status, and membership of the College Priorities and Resources Committee, as proposed in my state of the College address, will be defined and the Committee formed.
15. I will consider a proposal for the administration of financial aid when forwarded by student representatives.
My own commitment is to work to achieve a significant increase in the proportion of Third World persons in the faculty, student body and staff of Hampshire College. I regard an increase in Third World representatives and an increase in financial aid funds as high priorities of the College.
As a result of these agreements, the Third World Organization ended its closing of the Science Building on Tuesday evening.
Liberal Corporation or Radical Collective: Two Models for a College
by Robert Rardin. 1973
[Robert Rardin was a faculty member in the School of Language and Communication. This document is one of the most controversial in the history of the College, and has been often cited and reprinted by student activists over the years.]
This essay presents an analysis of the political structure of Hampshire College. The essay seeks to describe the distribution of power within the college and the framework of power which relates the college to the society which surrounds and supports it.
The analysis is predicated upon the radical assumption that fundamental structural patterns exert decisive influence upon the ultimate character of institutions, quite apart from the particular personalities of the persons who happen to occupy positions within those structures. It is quite important to keep in mind, then, that this is a formal, not a personal, critique. The paper is not intended as an attack upon any individual or group of individuals at Hampshire, although it does present a strong indictment of a particular mode of institutional organization. The paper may at times assail the office of the President, for example, but this is not necessarily to attack the President himself. The destinction is delicate, but crucial.
The analysis proceeds from another important assumption: that a college is simultaneously a thing and an idea, a place and a way of life, a community and a consciousness. A college is presumed, in other words, to have both physical and psychological reality, both objective and subjective existence. Political structure, the subject of this essay, is an essentially psychological reality--a collective consciousness (or unconsciousness) which either stimulates or inhibits the actions of individuals. This is so because people are objectively free to act only when they feel subjectively free, objectively responsible only when they feel genuinely responsible, and so on.
Not suprisingly, one of the activities affected by political consciousness is the process of education. The essay argues that the type of political structure which the College exhibits, the type of personal freedom and personal responsibility which the prevailing ideology encourages, will have a direct and demonstrable bearing upon the quality of education which the college can provide. An authoritarian structure will provide one sort of education, a liberal structure another, and a radical anarchist structure a third.
The observation that political organization and educational ends are related is hardly a novel one, but it must be emphasized nonetheless. Discussion of educational innovation often takes place within a governance framework, a hierarchical structure, which is held to be neutral. The basic claim of this paper directly contradicts the liberal view that reform and innovation are possible without changing the "system". Hierarchical political structures are oppressive within, as well as outside, the classroom. Significant educational reform will be possible at Hampshire, and elswhere, only to the extent that a radical democratization of governance is simultaneously undertaken.
A statement in the Hampshire catalog can be taken as accurately descriptive of the college's present political structure:
"The Hampshire governance arrangements will not be egalitarian: they will be hierarchical. To be involved, informed, and participating will be the responsibility and right of every member of the community; but experience, past performance, and a definition of role will determine the decision-making arrangements."
At the moment, then, Hampshire sees itself as a hierarchical, non-egalitarian community. It expects everyone to be "involved, informed, and participating", although clearly some people are intended to be more "participating" than others. This self-image is essentially schizophrenic, since "hierarchy" and "community" are fundamentally incompatible values in a college for the same reasons that class structure and democracy are incompatible in wider society.
This paper argues that at the present time Hampshire College is in most respects a liberal corporation, but with elements of consciousness which are characteristic of a radical collective. The present situation is a political melange, a sort of institutional double-exposure. At the moment the college is masking its real hierarchy, while advertising an empty, rhetorical community. The desire for genuine community is so strong within the college that it is often exploited by the hierarchy for directly opposite goals, just as the advertiser exploits the need for love to sell products which only increase alienation.
At the moment, the danger of increasing transition to competitive liberal corporation and the promise of increasing transition to cooperative radical collective combine to make Hampshire College a frustrating and exciting place. Unfortunately, the tension between these two tendencies becomes creative only when we clearly comprehend it and begin to see our way clear toward its resolution. "Reform" without analysis is virtually certain to be self-defeating. I have written this paper in the hope that it will help us to better understand what we are--and what we may yet become. (p. 1-3)
The College as Liberal Corporation
Although such a model is never explicit in either the external or the internal propaganda of the institution, there is an unmistakable formal correspondence between the structure of Hampshire College and the structure of modern liberal corporations (e.g. Xerox, IBM). This is actually hardly surprising, given the influence which business and businessmen have exerted during the last century upon higher education in America (as documented by Veblen, Connery, and Horowitz, among others)...
To understand the college as corporation, it is necessary to understand the roles played by the classes which constitute it: trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students.
The stockholders of the college as corporation are the trustees. The stockholder/trustees are the major source of capital, and legal responsibility and "ownership" accordingly accrue to this body...Their actual power is strictly limited by practical considerations of distance, expertise, and access to information. The stockholder/trustees do not, in general, live near the organization which they allegedly "direct~ and "own", they lack professional skills necessary for decision-making, and they are unable to gather information independently of management/administration, which is their only link to the life of the organization and the other constituencies within it...
With rare exceptions, then, it is management/administration which runs the organization. This is not, however, to say that the stockholder/trustee body has no function, or that its composition is irrelevant. The trustees, as titular owners, have no short-run control, but they do have certain long-run class interests, and the college as corporation must never contravene those class interests. In Hampshire's case, the trustees' class interests at the moment are those of the upper-class male white liberal Eastern Establishment. The most cursory sociological analysis of the Board of Trustees or the National Advisory Council is sufficient to demonstrate the predominance of wealthy industrialists and prominent Establishment figures. Token blacks, women, and less well-to-do are the exceptions which prove the rule. The recent inclusion of one student and one faculty-member on the Board of Trustees is a co-optative measure with similarly token effect.
Now the class interests of the stockholders of an industrial corporation are easily identified: profit and stability. But what are the class interests of the trustees of a college? What do they have to gain from their contribution of time and capital to the college? Does the analogy between corporation and college break down at this point, since the trustees receive no direct monetary return for their investment?
In fact, the analogy still holds. The trustees do benefit as a class from their control of the college, since they are able to see to it that the college produces both the type of manpower and the type of ideology which are required by their corporation interests...(p.4-6)
The trustees are the ultimate source of the elitist character of Hampshire College. They see to it that the college is an exclusive institution with a largely upper-class student body and a distinctively upper-class ideology. This ideology, crudely expressed, is that the beautiful people have a right to rule society. As the Hampshire Catalog states, the ideology of the college is that "the new society we have is in many ways vital and rich, and every part of the world is reaching for the kinds of benefits it can confer. The technological society is shaped increasingly by scientists, engineers, economists, and other professionals--a large range of related elites open to anyone able and educated enough to quality." Hampshire College itself, however, is a conduit to the elite professions which is manifestly closed to most students who are "able and educated enough to qualify" but who lack wealth sufficient to pay tuition. Elitist ideology promotes contempt for the working class and respect for the "professionals." It is fundamentally anti-democratic and patronizing, a highly self-centered view of the world. For this the trustees are responsible. (p.7)
Although faculty and students often suffer from its bureaucratic, crackpot realism, administration sees itself as the "responsible," "efficient," "rational," "fair" organizing force in a community which would presumable be irresponsible, wasteful, irrational, unjust and chaotic without it. Since administration has at its disposal by far the greatest share of power within the institution, it naturally requires such an ideology to rationalize its position, to itself and to the community which it controls.
Thus, administration tells the college that it has been around the longest, that it has the blueprint for development, that it and it alone has the expertise to look far into the future, watching out for the "long-range interests of the institution." Administration claims to plan for the good of all. Administration asserts that it is the only element of the college with a sufficiently long view to transcend the petty interests of the moment. This rationale is effective, of course, only with those who are inclined to believe that bureaucrats can or ever will attain such transcendence. (p.8-9)
As was noted above, administration must rationalize its great power by employing the ostensibly legitimating ideology of "efficiency-expertise". This legitimating ideology is sometimes not sufficient to protect the administration from challenge, however. When challenge arises, administration employs at least four distinct tactics. They might be called (1) repressive tolerance, (2) divide-and-conquer, (3) come-advise-us, and (4) co-optation...
To sum up, administration's role in the hierarchy is that of capitalist entrepreneur. It massages, cajoles, exhorts, encourages, intimidates, coerces, and flatters the trustees, faculty, staff, students, parents, and the public at large. It does not so much administer as manipulate. (p. 11-13)
3. Faculty and Staff
The teaching faculty and administrative staff (secretaries, main-tenance employees, technicians) are the employees of the college as corporation. They are the work force which is to be exploited in producing the product. As in the liberal corporation, there is a strict line between the two classes of workers. Faculty are white-collar employees on salary, and staff are blue-collar workers on hourly wage.
Faculty as white-collar workers are better paid that staff, they have more vacations and more control over working conditions, and they have greater job security. The faculty's preferential status requires an ideological rationalization (in much the same way that the administration power advantage does). Faculty are held to have "credentials and qualifications," they are allegedly entitled to higher salaries because they have already "invested" (note the capitalist term) time and money in their graduate educations, and they play the "key role" in production and must be rewarded accordingly. The administration, will, in general, be solicitous to maintain this class division. Faculty will be coddled, flattered, and wooed. Faculty members are quite jealous of their "professional expertise", and administration will exploit this vanity.
Staff as blue-collar workers are miserable paid and rottenly treated. It is probably more personally degrading for a secretary to work at a college than in a company, for example, since faculty are such thoroughly condescending bosses. Staff are given little or no job security. They are looked down upon by administration, students, and faculty alike as temporary tools, as nearly sub-human hacks. They are ranked and classified according to the amount of "contact time" they have with students, i.e., the degree to which they are accorded human social skills. Staff are, in general, asked only to "do their jobs." They are asked to do nothing but type or rake leaves. They are never asked to innovate or create, to contribute from non-machinelike parts of their personalities. They are seen as one-dimensional devices which can always be replaced, given the job market.
Faculty are also tools, of course, but they are invited to think of themselves in other terms. They are encouraged, like the engineers at IBM or Xerox, to innovate in the production of a superior product. They are urged, even required, to be creative. What is more, they are given the important illusion that they have some genuine control over the institution. This is, however, strictly illusion...
Thus, the faculty is endlessly bamboozled because its vanity and love of talk are extravagantly catered to by the administration. The faculty is able to innovate to some degree, it is true, but it is never allowed control over the budget, the crucial mechanism which either permits or proscribes all innovations...(p. 13-16)
In a sense, students and parents occupy the same position with respect to the college as corporation. Both groups are consumers, buyers, customers, the market. A large portion of the college's advertising effort is directed toward building a corporate image for the college in its market...
Because students are taught to see themselves primarily as consumers, they tend to make certain demands of the college, particularly of the faculty (whom they may view--at least in some respects--as their employees or servants), to which they feel entitled because they are paying for it. Many faculty pander to the student as consumer, falling into a personally and intellectually degrading race for popularity. Faculty find themselves increasingly catering to student's whims, tolerating sloppy work and haphazard participation.
On the other hand, the college as corporation tends not to make any major non-financial demands upon tuition-paying students. Students are not urged to contribute physical labor, they are not asked to become genuinely responsible...
In the college as corporation, students have no reason to see themselves as having any particular obligations to faculty, staff, or other students. Like all consumers, the student must fend for himself: live in his individual room, tailor the best possible individual course of study, pass individual exams. There is no sense of collective identity, of shared purpose. The result is loneliness, anomie, apathy, meaninglessness. (p. 17-18)
5. Education as a Productbr> The college as corporation has the same basic purpose as the industrial corporation. It tries to turn out a competitive product at the lowest possible cost. The college as corporation will claim that its educational product is better, more innovative, more stimulating, etc. In producing this better education, the college can claim, like General Electric, that "Progress is our most important product." But what progress? And what is education?...
The college a corporation cannot command the loyalty of any of its constituencies, because ultimately it has no purpose, in the dynamic sense of the word. The college as corporation does not seek to change society or to fundamentally alter the lives of its members. The college as corporation does not meet the need for collective spirit or personal fulfillment. It is an emotionally empty institution.
The college as corporation is organized into hierarchical, basically antagonistic classes. Its dominant ethic is competitive and individualistic. Its only purpose is the maintenance of the status quo, producing ruling elites for the future. It does not seek to make the lives of its faculty, staff, or students meaningful. It does not seek to revolutionize society or critically examine culture. It serves as a man-power pipeline, a conveyor belt of facts and prejudices. It is spiritually empty, joyless, hectic, dehumanizing, alienating. (p.19-20)
The College as Radical Collective
An alternative model to the college as liberal corporation, the college as a radical collective, is implicit in two fundamental ideas which, although never fully elaborated or seriously implemented at Hampshire, were clearly present in Patterson and Longsworth's The Making of a College.
First, Hampshire was intended to be an instrument of change (see Chapter II)...Second, Hampshire was to be a community (see Chapter VII)...These two ideas plant a radical collective soul within Hampshire's corporate liberal body. The college is radical because it is devoted to change, rather than being merely permissive of it. And it is collective because it sets out, in Patterson's words, to be "a genuine community." (p. 29)
1. Education as a way of life
We have observed that the college as liberal corporation views education as an economic package to be assembled and retailed on the market. The college as radical collective views its functioning quite differently. The labor of the collective is not directed toward the production of what Veblen called "merchantable knowledge." The college as collective educates whole human beings, not dehumanized student/ consumers. The collective sees education as a way of life, a long-term process of personal liberation, a "drawing out" of individuals (cf. Latin educere)...
2. The College as a living-loving-learning community
...The college as collective will replace elitist ideology with a genuinely democratic ideology that opposes imperialism, class oppression, political repression, and militarism. The college as a collective, living body will seek for itself new patterns of social interaction, alternative life styles which do not end in racism, sexism, or alienation. And the college as collective will develop a pattern of institutional organization that minimizes materialism, pollution, and economic exploitation. The collective will experiment on itself in its search for solutions to the problems of the world at large...(p. 22)
3. Living and working in the collective
In the college as collective, faculty, students, and staff will not be hired or admitted. They will join. The change from a passive to an active relationship is significant. They will agree to devote themselves as fully as they can toward the collective effort, and the collective will respond by doing all it can to meet their needs--as people, not as employees or consumers.
The college as collective will do much more for faculty and staff than meet payrolls. It will work to meet the collective needs for food, housing, entertainment, social interaction, health care, day care, recreation, etc. (The exact details of this broader relationship will have to be worked out experimentally by the collective over time...)
As a matter of principle, all members of the collective will work. Everyone will have responsibilities for the physical, as well as the intellectual, work of the collective. Everyone--including the President (if that office is retained)--will spend time raking leaves or washing dishes or running a duplicating machine. The college as collective will systematically eliminate or re-organize jobs which are inherently tedious, alienating, unfulfilling. No one person will be asked to spend an entire day collecting garbage, washing pots, cleaning toilets, sanding walks, typing memos, or answering the telephone. This "shit work" will be shared by the collective, including the presently high and mighty.
Such a policy of collective work has a number of important consequences for the life of the collective:
1. Faculty, student, and administrative members of the collective will develop a greater awareness of, and appreciation for, the work of the staff. By sharing their labor, non-staff members will better understand the importance of the staff's contribution to the collective. Some very important changes might result: if students realized how hard it is to clean up suite living rooms, they might be more responsible; if administrators realized how boring it is to type the pomposity they pump into dictaphones, they might write fewer meaningless memoranda; and if the faculty realized how boring it is to xerox, they might waste less paper.
2. If they are asked to contribute manual labor to the college students will feel a greater involvement in its fate. Besides, physical labor helps to balance intellectual work, and when it is well-organized, it gives a feeling of collective particpating and personal worth which is not available in other ways.
3. Breaking down the hierarchy by sharing the manual labor allows for a greater degree of mutual criticism within the college. In the corporate structure, "superiors" freely criticize "inferiors," but the reverse relationship is virtually never permitted. In the college as collective, secretaries will criticize their "bosses", workers will criticize their superiors, and students will criticize their teachers. The importance of thorough, constructive criticism to the life of a collective cannot be over-emphasized. The false tolerance found in the liberal corporation will be replaced by an attitude which simultaneously requires more real affection and more meaningful criticism...(p.23-24)
In the college as collective, people will take each other seriously. They will both support and criticize each other (often in public) to a degree impossible within the college as corporation. The distant and superficial liberal "civility" and "courtesy" will be replaced by an ethic of radical colleagueship.
4. Playing and loving in the collective
The collective should be fun! As it works to integrate the lives of its members, it increasingly recognizes and responds to their needs for play and for love. It will go beyond the Catalog's observation that the College must set about "finding ways to overcome unnecessary barriers that commonly lie between students and faculty in arrangements for study and teaching, in living accommodations and dining, in lack of privacy and time for counseling, in lack of opportunity for informal contact and discussion, and the like." In the college as collective, a pervasive concern for others will generate a growing network of friendship and love within the community...
5. Learning in the collective
In the college as collective, the student is not the only learner, and the professor is not the only teacher. Everyone learns and everyone teaches. The full range of learning experiences becomes the curriculum. Besides classes of the traditional sort, the college as collective will generate a lively combination of faculty seminars, student- and staff-run house courses, programs for the public at large, activities for community children (such as the Early Identification Program), and so on. The college as collective will make full use of the genuine expertise of the faculty, without catering to faculty vanity. The collective will recognize other "credentials" besides graduate degrees, seeking out teaching resources wherever it can...
The college as collective should not grant credentials or degrees, although it may make public what has transpired during the course of a student's belonging to the collective. The college does not sell degrees or certification. Knowledge and experience cannot, and should not, be viewed as economic commodities. The credential-granting operation can only be defended within the corporate framework. (p.26-27)
6. Governance in the collective
The governance of the college as collective will be both democratic and participatory...In the college as collective, administration will administer, rather than manage or manipulate. It will only implement policy decisions reached by the democratic bodies. Its present powers, particularly over budget decisions and institutional planning, will be drastically curtailed.
The office of the president may be retained for the purposes of fund-raising, but the policy-making powers which now belong to it will be substantially reduced. The trustees will be radically democratized, with Establishment representatives being replaced by more authentic representatives of the public interest or the college community...
The public-relations campaigning of the college as corporation will be largely curtailed by the collective. The collective will count on the best kind of free publicity--that of an organization in which people are happy and working hard. it will not trumpet its wares with records or sell itself with glossy pix.
In the admissions process, joining students will be impressed with their responsibilities to the collective. To the greatest extent possible, alternatives to the present tuition structure will be explored. The collective will make a maximum amount of scholarship aid available, by economizing wherever possible and by actively seeking scholarship funds. A student body representative of the broad diversity of Amherican society will be a major goal of the collective.
The college as collective will be a largely anarchic, autonomous, socially responsible institution. It will function to criticize society and generate a new, viable culture. It will work to create an affective environment in which individuals find a rewarding place, emphasizing the fact that acceptance and respect are fundamental human needs. (p.27-28)
Student Work Program Proposal, 1975
The proposal contained herein is a plan to redistribute all the student work responsibilities for the maintenance of Hampshire College. Outlined on the following pages are: 1) a general outlook on the social and political aspects and implications of a Hampshire College educational experience 2) the rationale behind an all student work program and specific aims of such a proposal 3) our specific plan, with reasons why we have rejected alternative plans and 4) a concluding statement about the work program and its relationship to Hampshire Student Collective goals and perspectives. This proposal raises some deeply rooted philosophical questions that go far beyond the projected five hour work commitment that is asked of everyone. It is, in essence, a political statement, and therefore it really demands that each of us take a stand on it. A work program of the nature we propose can only work properly if a large majority of the community is committed in practice as well as in theory, to the maintenance and preservation of that community and accepts that commitment wholeheartedly and willingly. It is the hope of the collective that the student community will understand the viewpoint presented herein, will internalize and support the philosophies and aims of this proposal and will accept, at least in theory, the idea of a community work program, per se, so that we may then work together towards establishing a better system with which to govern our lives. (p.1)
Hampshire College was set up by a group of professional administrators and faculty, many from the four colleges. They were interested in creating an educationally innovative college. They were also interested in the financial survival of that college. To them, the most logical way to ensure this survival was to model Hampshire's governance after the decision-making process of established American institutions.
The decision-making structures within this society and its institutions are based on a premium of efficiency. Efficiency in decision-making is often thought to be concurrent with financial survival--the old "time is money" theory. Therefore, policy issues tend to be decided hierarchically, with a minimum of persons taking part in the decisions that may affect many. Very often, ultimate authority rests in the hands of one person...The people in this community are not given power within the governance structure because it is thought that our priorities and concerns might not be in line with the budgetary priorities of the administration or with the financial survival of this institution...We obviously cannot expect the administration to change this system of their own volition. Unless we take power it will remain the same, reflecting the efficient hierarchical decision-making process of American government and business. It will also reflect the alienation of the majority from the decisions that are made for them by others and from the institutions that are supposed to serve their needs. (p.3-4)
Since the decision as to who will work to service the community is based on a student's family financial status and not on a concept of responsibility towards the community, a class distinction is created. A dichotomy has to evolve in a community where the responsibilities for the maintenance of the community are assumed only by a part and not the whole. Despite the fact we all benefit from the existence of this community, the majority of us are not responsible for the mechanics of operating this college. We pay our tuition and expect certain services to be provided (postal, library, dorm cleaning) without ever asking ourselves who provides the labor and why. There are class differences on this campus that are aggravated by the financial aid policy. These differences prevent us from knowing each other and from understanding each other's situations. (p.5-6)
Why should we have a work program? As members of a "community", we should all be more in touch with the actions and decisions that affect our lives. Additionally and importantly, we should be more in touch with and take responsibility for the consequences of our own actions and lifestyles.
By working together on the work program, we will come to understand just what it means to work for one another and not only for ourselves. Yes, we will meet new people and learn new skills, but although these are truly benefits of the work program, they are not, however, fundamental reasons for having one. The work program will increase communication among ourselves. We'll be less alienated from each other and the college and students will have a base for their perspectives and opinions. The proposed work program will make us all more responsible for the maintenance of the college. It will help bring us closer both physically, in our common work place, and spiritually, with a common purpose. For all of us, the work program means a change in our individual lives. While all of us will be working the same amount of hours, some of us will be working for "free" while others will receive financial grants for their work. (p.9)
It is with this perspective that we present some aims of the work program to be followed by an explanation of the specific program we are suggesting. Broadly speaking our aims are:
1. To help reduce class distinctions caused by the present work policy, between staff, working students and non-working students.
2. To stress the notion that work towards the maintenance of the community and academic pursuits are interrelated parts of a total education.
3. To restructure the financial aid policy in an effort to reduce the economic burden placed upon financial aid students.
4. That the role of the student as a worker not be determined by his/her family financial situation.
5. That a work structure and hopefully a governance structure will be created that involve students by drawing us together as members of a political and social community.
6. That policy decisions here be made by all persons which they affect. (p.10-11)
Organization of the Work Program.
In arriving at this model, we had some basic ideas in mind: that the work should be divided equally and equitably, and yet allow the work program to be flexible in regard to individual scheduling or other problems. With these ideas in mind, we came up with the organization given below, based on the following criteria:
1. As little competition as possible over jobs.
2. A regular system of rotation.
3. Provisions for skilled jobs.
4. A student-run program.
5. Flexibility in working out individual problems.
2. Work Requirements
Every student will work a maximum of five hours a week. Five hours was decided upon as the period of time necessary to complete a job without taking too much of a student's time. It corresponds to the number of student hours needed, as well. Each student will be assigned to a variety of jobs.
At the beginning and the middle of each semester half of the students will move to a different job. This method of rotation allows for a reserve of students acquainted with the job to be on hand to orient and train new members, effecting a more efficient and less disruptive transition. With jobs assigned randomly, resentment over competition is removed. (p.12)
4. Types of jobs
Work Program jobs are of two types, skilled and general. Skilled jobs require a specialized training or sensitivity, such as needed for typing, lifeguarding, or birth control counselling. General jobs can be learned quickly, at least in their basics, by all students, with sufficient orientation.
The students eligible for a particular skilled job will be called the skilled pool. There will be a skill pool for each job that requires special training or interest. Each skilled pool will have certain criteria for eligibility, usually a test. (p.13)
5. The Substitute Group
The substitute group is composed of students not in other pools. It serves three functions: 1. It acts as a "cushion" of student labor to fill positions vacated by withdrawals, illness or whatever reason. 2. It provides a temporary labor force for such one shot jobs as cleaning up after a dance, helping with snow removal, a mass mailing, etc. 3. It serves as the work group for the surplus of labor not scheduled for other jobs. The substitute group should never become a particularly large segment of the work program jobs although it does serve an essential role.
Ideally, no student should be a member of substitute group for more than one semester while enrolled at Hampshire. Scheduling of work program hours to keep the substitute group smaller than 1/8 of the student population should effect this. (p.16-17)
8. Work Program Committee
The Work Program Committee will be the central coordinating body of the Work Program. Its major function will be: organizing the rotation process and assigning jobs; reviewing and revising student job hours; creating and considering new jobs; reviewing health and other special exemptions; handling personal difficulties that might arise; and, overall, seeing to it that all is running smoothly.
The Work Program Committee is of course, to be TOTALLY COMPOSED OF STUDENTS. No other group is eligible for committee membership.
Working as a member of the Work Program Committee will be considered to be the student's Work Program commitment for the term, subject to the regular rotation system. However, since the committee will almost assuredly occupy more than five hours per week of time, the committee will be a voluntary job within the Skill Pool--it is the kind of task one should assume only if very committed. (p.18-19)
Ideas That We Decided Not to Use
1. Students spending one semester at Hampshire working full time...
2. Students being able to teach courses, edit Climax, or choose other "academic" projects for work program jobs...
3. Students working as "volunteers", i.e., no requirement...
4. Replacing current staff with student volunteers...
5. Administration-run work program...
6. Organizing the work program by Houses...
7. Organizing the work crews that stay together and get rotated from job to job...
8. Selecting jobs by choice; a list of jobs would be posted, followed by a rush for desirable jobs...
9. Making administering the college part of the student work program. We could theorectically put the administrative positions into the category of skilled jobs, and so rotate them, but we feel that this would be a premature step, and not to be undertaken without some study. (p.21-23)
The Hampshire Student Collective