Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Date: January 28, 2009 4:54:49 PM EST
To: SLC Community


It is very slippery outside and will get worse as the rain freezes tonight. We will continue to salt throughout the campus but you still need to be careful since there will be patches of ice. If your footwear allows you may wish to walk on the ground adjacent to paths. This is often safer since there is a level of snow under the ice that allows you to get a better footing. In additional the paths may have patches of black ice.

Also, please make sure all calls are removed from Meadway, North and Andrews parking lots tonight. Due to the timing of this storm we were not able to clear these lots today and they must be plowed this evening. The "snow parking regulations" are still in effect and you will be tickets if you vehicle is not removed.

Thank you in advance for taking extra care as you travel around campus and for moving your car.


Thanks, Operations. Wouldn't sidewalks be nice? Read on...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Hey folks--

this is the thread for patting ourselves on the back after a semester of hard fun.

what have our successes been, collectively & individually? you don't have to be a separatist to contribute. also, feel free to take personal credit: you worked hard, didn't you? if yre bashful, anonymity is welcome as always.

and yes, schoolwork totes counts. but be specific.

Dream big,
GS Read on...

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

The "general committee" just sent out an email to all of Lor with the dates and descriptions of the upcoming town hall meetings, presumably like the confab community conversation that went so fabulously a week ago in Reisinger. The trick last time for swinging the scales towards participatory democracy was simple: we snapped our fingers whenever we agreed with what was said. Amazing how much that tilts the conversation to filling the audience's needs.

The central question here is how we frame the problems of this school, and what methods we propose to use to resolve these problems. Over and over they say the problems are:
  • not enough money
  • student apathy
  • disorganization
  • inefficiency
  • etc
Here's a counter set of potential problems.
  • Not enough dialogue between students, faculty, workers, admin.
  • Students aren't encouraged to appreciate each other's work.
  • Rampant, rank, unquestioned individualism.
  • Solutions that don't cost much money or time aren't taken seriously or even suggested--hence everything costs a lot of money and time, both in short supply. Simple participatory solutions that really engage the community are seen as surprising, retro, or offbeat, hence Blum's comment about our snapping.
  • Horribly inefficient bureaucracy that's out of touch with the people
  • Creativity is channeled into "creative" coursework, kept within the associated departments, and spurned everywhere else by the admin.
  • No one knows what resources are available to them or even who to ask to find out.
Just some thoughts. Below's the letter they sent. And for each agenda listed, think up a counteragenda that engages more with your interests and thoughts of problems, processes, and solutions.

They set the times and places; we can set the tone.



December 19th, 2008

To The SLC Community,

We are writing to update you on current plans for community meetings during the Spring semester. We plan to hold a series of meetings to discuss the Strategic Plan, and also to discuss the College’s financial situation. We recognize that the timing of the first Strategic Planning forum was not optimal and want to address this by giving you advance notice of meetings currently being planned for next semester. All meetings will be held in the Tuesday 1:30-3:00 p.m. time slot, which is reserved on the calendar for community events. No meetings will be
planned for the Tuesdays already scheduled for faculty group meetings and full faculty meetings.

The planned schedule is:
  • February 3, 2009 – Joint faculty/staff meeting on the financial situation, Reisinger Auditorium.
  • February 10, 2009 - Regular faculty meeting, originally scheduled for February 3, will be held, Faculty Dining Room.
  • February 17, 2009 – Community Wide Strategic Planning Meeting: Working Together at SLC. Location TBA "In light of the expansion in College enrollment in recent years, we will discuss potential steps to improve the working environment and interactions among students, staff and faculty. Some possible topics for exploration include: improving and standardizing college policies, procedures and work processes; providing faculty and staff with greater support to seek funding for research, travel and professional development; optimizing the academic calendar to facilitate enhanced intellectual exchange, college – wide, and professional enrichment for staff and faculty; optimizing the academic calendar to facilitate consistently excellent donning."
  • March 10, 2009 – Community Wide Strategic Planning Meeting: Living & Learning at SLC. Location TBA. "An opportunity exists to promote greater collaboration, inclusivity and collegiality within the student community. These are qualities that will be essential to meaningful work and life both at SLC and beyond. Also, there is an apparent need to further enliven campus life and reduce student attrition. We need the community’s guidance on these matters. Within the constraints necessary to achieve financial equilibrium, Sarah Lawrence should explore significant ways to improve the working and living conditions—the physical plant—of the College. Environmental sustainability should inform our thinking in this regards."
  • April 14, 2009 – Community Wide Strategic Planning Meeting: Diversity and Inclusion at SLC. Location TBA. "Diversity in all its forms and among all campus constituencies is, and has long been, a strategic priority for SLC—a priority that touches on all of the strategic cornerstones in some way. As a progressive educational community, grounded in democratic ideals and a vision of learning that spans disciplines and world-views, there are (at least) two essential questions the campus community must address “how can we do more to enhance diversity and inclusiveness?” and “what should our goals be in this regard?”
We hope you will all be able to attend.


General Committee:

Bella Brodzki
Brian Castriota
Allen J. Green
Susan Guma
Karen Lawrence
Elissa Leichter
Heather McDonnell
Maria Negroni (Fall semester)
Cat Nelson
Barbara Schecter
Kanwal Singh
Fred Smoler
Pauline Watts
Komozi Woodard

Read on...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Karen Lawrence re: SLCAnon

1 Mead Way • Bronxville, NY 10708 • (914) 395-2201 / p • (914) 395-2668 / f •

December 16, 2008

Dear Students,

It was with great concern that we learned last week that SLCanon on LiveJournal had again become an issue, this time with threats that constitute not only serious campus conduct infractions but also possible criminal actions. The College reported these threats to the Yonkers Police Department. The LiveJournal management itself decided that its own standards were being violated and removed the site.

Sarah Lawrence is a community that places a high value on freedom of speech. However, with this freedom comes great responsibility.

Many of these anonymous posts were offensive, degrading, slanderous, and extremely harmful to the individuals who were the subjects. We are saddened that some members of the Sarah Lawrence community tolerate and perpetuate this kind of language. We urge you to think about how your words affect other people--in this case, in destructive and painful ways.

There are two courses of action should such anonymous posts resurface elsewhere. We encourage any one who feels threatened to come forward and report it. Please call or email
Larry Hoffman, Director of Public Safety, 914-395-2575 /
Secondly, the awful invective on any anonymous postings is combated by the Community’s refusal to read it or contribute. We urge you not to spread rumors and misinformation that are posted. Should the identity of the perpetrators involved in illegal or otherwise threatening communications become known, they will be subject, at a minimum, to disciplinary proceedings as set forth in the College’s Community standards.

We are joined by the Office of Student Affairs, General Committee, and the Student Senate in sharing these concerns.


Karen Lawrence

Pauline Watts
Dean of the College

Al Green
Dean of Studies and Student Life

cc: Faculty


A few thoughts:

  • Karen Lawrence knows about Loranon. I mentioned it to her personally.
  • Has she bothered to look it up?
  • Isn't the entire point of this site to show that not all anonymity is "offensive, degrading, slanderous"?
  • Is the attempt to attach all communication to a name a way to make us accountable as individuals, and not as a community?
  • What of the culture of a place that would allow or disallow hate speech? Isn't it our duty to make hate speech socially inacceptable in any forum rather than outlawing the forum?
  • Is the "great responsibility" of free speech individual or collective?
  • I am disappointed in Karen for her lack of subtlety here. These questions are grave, but so is our self-expression--and it is our own job to police ourselves.
  • What do y'all think?
Read on...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This Thread in Community

Hey guys! Publicize your events here! Let us know what's going on.
Read on...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book Swap

Informal End-of-Year funtimesinthevillage Book Swap

(back to mama)

Naomi Kaye made a Facebook event for a book swap and I thought I'd crosspost it here so these readers can offer their books too. Coordinating the two pages will be a bit of a challenge but pretty worth it, I think.

Here's what she wrote:

"hello all!
i was thinking to myself, i am going to def want some quality lit to read on my plane ride home for break. or even just over break, period.
Therefore i propose an informal book swap. You can swap novels, books you read for class, whatever. Here's how I see this working: on this event's wall, post your books up for swap. If you see a book up for swap that looks interesting, just contact the person directly! this way, we can exchange books we won't necessarily read or need anymore for books we would like. enjoy!"

So you can either post your books here or there--we'll crosspost all the offerings either way.

Happy reading.

(mama / sex / rides / books / events / names / suggestions ) Read on...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Community Conversation - Strategic Plan

The following are unedited notes taken by Walker of the Community Conversation - Strategic Plan.  For those who weren't there, read up on student concerns and admin responses.  Also e-mail with your own concerns (top 3 preferably). 

Community Conversation – Strategic Plan

Microphones available in audience.

Panel: Mary Porter, Kristen Sands, Leah Olsen, Vera Kelsey Watts, Al Green, Daniel Licht, Tom Blume



Past Tuesday: document (explaining cornerstones)


Why are we here?: College last created a long-term strategic plan more than ten years ago.  Environment changed an awful lot since 1996-97.  Reassessing priorities, setting out goals to carry for the next few years.  Last large fundraising campaign was 04-05.


Objectives: inviting audience reflections, recommendations, sense of priorities


Three general areas: Building of a coherent course of study, priorities for development of curriculum going forward, ways to assist students who are graduating/career/etc.


What are our wants?  What are our needs?


Strategic coordinating committee has responsibility for day-to-day action.


Conducted series of surveys dating back to Spring ’08.  Amassed a lot of data, some quantitative, some qualitative.


Cornerstones: things that absolutely have to be addressed for the college



Size of college

Financial equilibrium (one thing can be said absolutely not achieved since ’96)

Working at SLC (faculty, staffed)

Living/learning at SLC

Marketing, visibility






MARY: "We all love this institution, it is important to recognize what we have and move forward."


Notes are being taken.  Video being made.  Information from this meeting being taken into constructive meetings.  Welcome input.


-Building program of study with don (30 min).  What do you like?  What's working?  What would you like to see?  What things do you think you need to have that happen (skills, money, organization)?


-Content of Curriculum (15 min).


-Being prepared for life beyond SLC (15 min).





Alexis Gordon: dealing with requirements, especially lecture requirements.  Upper-class keep getting bumped from lectures, while we have requirements.  What works?  Don is always pushing in direction of things you wouldn't necessarily think of, stepping outside of comfort zone, and often fits perfectly.  Want to see happen?  Even just being clearer about lecture requirements as first year.  


Elizabeth [Row] (senior): Does not agree with Alexis, feels all that was clear.  Her issue: what about students that have gone over requirements and fulfilled, then get to their senior year and have a course they've been waiting to take and are bumped.  Seems to be a disconnect between don-student and registrar office.  How do you form a relationship so that doesn't happen.


(Resp:) Important that have open curriculum.  Many were talking about priority of seniors and juniors, question is how does that mesh with open curriculum.  


Hana Denson (senior): Love curriculum!  Happy with transfer.  Issue: been very frustrating to come as a junior and not feel that have any priority.  Don't think that priority would be against "egalitarian concept that's going on."  Could be things in place like having juniors/seniors register first.  Giving priority list more weight.  


Daniel Licht (response): Don't hear much from lower class about whether upper class should get priority.  Open curriculum is not predictable.  "Last chance class" could happen in sophomore year, not just in senior year.  So not as cut and dry.  Also: if more traditionally oriented to giving priority, what does composition of classes become.  Are we comfortable with classes that are exclusively or primarily seniors?  Is that in keeping with history of college?  These questions ought to be considered.


Al Green (response): Question: does priority take out faculty flexible in terms of the way they think about teaching and how they want to build the class.


Danny Young (senior): Interviews work very well.  Encourage dons to speak with students about how to maximize that.  Critique/question: how do we go about labeling what counts as intermediate, advanced, etc.  Often presumed knowledge in open classes, or "easy" intermediate classes.


Eliza Snelling (senior): props to doc about how registration works.


Joe [Lizowskis]: Good experience with don.  Process of selecting don.  When here, suggested to take first year studies in something you haven't taken yet.  What does that imply for your college life.  Priority list vague.  


Leah: over priorities: how many seniors actually get bumped?  need more data [ed: prolonging when you already hear students have problem?].  trying to move to two-year design of courses.  flexibility is at risk if they must plan too far in advance.  always trade-offs.


Kristen: labeling courses a simple problem--go back to facutly, compare syllabi, educate on how to clarify what constitutes int. adv., etc.


Leah: disagree a little, some diff. between what they think., sometimes it's not knowledge you need, but a certain way of learning and being able to approach studies.


Mary: Often not possible to know what people will want later; don can often help figure things out outside of focus area


Angelina (senior): re: adv. etc., advantages to crystallization--in advanced it's mostly seniors, first years intimidated.  often first years can do fine.  sometimes just scare tactics.  also: don is head of dance, Ang. does Theology.  Is there a way (workshop?) to better explain what things like conference work are?


Lucy (senior): Different experiences in terms of don advising.  Great disparity between different proffessors and donning philosophies.  Some just want to sign forms.  A lot of dons also have many seniors, this is unacceptable.


Jesse (sophomore): thing that works: diversity and dynamism of faculty.  science faculty so enthusiastic about area of study.  classes that are very base level and needed as prerequisites: very easy to be bumped, in event that higher level classes aren't offered.  Bio huge field, but general bio can only have 15.  Don single most important faculty member.  WRONG THAT THAT'S THE ONE PERSON YOU NEVER INTERVIEW.  FYS needs polishing.


Tate (senior): awesome students, faculty, staff.  discrepancy when it comes to people knowing what they want to study and those that don't.  desire for people to come and do what they want to do--get to point where they've taken same teacher for many semesters, gets problematic because they can't take any more credits in that field.


Lindsey (first year): process of registering very difficult, had FYS, wanted to be theatre third, got bumped twice from third class.  if seniors and juniors have priority, getting bumped early on is better because you can look forward to seniority


Andy [Drachenburg]: All elements of theatre (e.g.) is not the same, to limit them, you cannot get full exposure to your chosen field.  Abroad programs through theatre 


Sara Aonan: came to SLC with a plan with several requirements, but has been bumped from biology every single year--core requirement for premed.  internships (that might sub for credits) have requirements as well.


Sarah Weiss: similar predicament, being able to try different things, able to discover passion through that.  now has been bumped from psychology.  is there a way to let college know that you have a specific drive.








George (first year): wants there to be more film classes, esp. hands-on like film-making that are not just fys.


Bacchus: important to remember diversity of why we're here.  build into phil. that there is a diversity.  Don't make assumptions about any categories.  Allow for agency within system to achieve own goals.  During registration, you can list whether something is your passion, etc.


Mary: would you actually say you didn't want a class?




Two words: Chinese, Arabic


: semester-long visual arts courses, not many art history courses second semester, language: No ASL (HAS STARTED EXTRA CURRICULAR CLASS)


Diana [Shawns]: not able to receive credit if you've taken something on your own time.


Kristen Sands: policy is changing, because there's a lot of difficulty working with other institutions and the quality of the program.  past attempts have not worked out, so SLC is stopping.  language studies a high priority for the college.  


Al Green: when you make a decision to go to college, you've made a choice--sometimes to a place that can't satisfy everyone's needs.  choices have to be made.  hard when a small liberal arts college.


Lauren [Plotzman]: Not enough artistic classes.  given number of art-related students, only one faculty in each discipline.  supporter of open curriculum, but have found frustrating doing higher-level advance studies when it's people's first course in a discipline.  in classes with people who consider art a hobby.


Mali Irvin (senior): Matriculation--maybe with workshops, talking about what SLC grads experience.  


Roland Dollinger (German): not enough opportunities as senior to study as senior.  SLC used to have senior seminars, he thinks they worked very well.  created by faculty members, program died.  would take incentive from dean's office to push these kinds of courses.  would be wonderful for students and teachers.  could fulfill a lot of wishes.  shifting ratio between semester-long and year-long courses.  many more one-semester courses recently, in attempt to offer more courses.  needs to be addressed.


Mary: more semester-long classes means more opportunity to be bumped


Neil (senior): conference work sole reason came to SLC.  all gripes with classes that this is only half of what we do.  dissappointed that we do amazing projects that stay on hard drives and we forget about them.  if we could encourage more practical use of conf work...why don't we have more evidence of where work can get published.  sense of community could be solved if we knew more about what people were doing.


: most enriching classes--service learning.  need to emphasize applying things.  independent study should be emphasized.  prioritize.


Claudia Martinez (senior): transfer.  encourage survey course in art history.  program a mess.  friend took a course with someone asked to leave.  should be established appeals process in regards to evaluations.  many in a course not given credit deserved.






: career counseling not as effective as it might be.  resorted to friends writing apps to grad school.  


Mike (senior): support of being published, but don't force. good to be in space where you don't need to be worried about being published.


: step up offering art of teaching, undergrad and masters in five years.


William Forber: economic problems.  since been student, experienced rise in tuition.  how are you intending to represent needs?


Scott Calvin (Physics): good job of giving core, marketable skills; don't do a good job of letting students know that they have skills.  sometimes average student at SLC gives you huge advantage over state schools.


Tyler [Mayo] (sophomore): often don't talk about applicability of skills--even now.  important for people to know how people can make money with your life


(senior): lucky to have career part along with school part.  we can't be expected to be handed something on a silver platter.  but if you really need help, you can get it.


India Nicholas (senior): only complaint--lack of information about getting internships getting pre-approved.  didn't get credit for unpaid internship.


: SLC core values are those of grad school.  why award a bachelor's and masters in five years, but not MFA in five years?


: we're directed to the list that career counseling has for jobs (short list), but we need to be made more aware of other resources.  have low-level, not just professionals, come back to speak.


Grace (senior): a few things about becoming a senior.  being abroad, felt real disconnect, lost advantages.  seniors shouldn't get bumped as often.


Bacchus: taboo against talking about conference work.  we should appreciate each other a lot more.  don't value how-to knowledge.  nexus between practical and artistic is out-valued.  comunication.  communication.  communication.


Eliza: more communication between special programs office.


Emily (senior): taken science internships here two summers, amazing.  might not exist any more for economic reasons






e-mail 3 most important things you heard.




-appears that snaps are coming back

-student in audience thinks there's still capitalist economy in u.s.


for real:

-donning is working, curriculum working

-some inconsistancy in labeling of courses (int., adv. etc)

-maybe more mentoring with donning


-exploring possibility for system of letting admin know that a course is very imp. to student


-chinese, arabic

-think through pressures of small lib arts

-film, film making

-value of conference work and importance of making students aware of peer work


-workshops in grad school, career.

-advising from dons

-need for workshops for practical skills








John Y.: people don't have time to do things, John is proposing global calendar--planned inter-disciplinarily.  different groups/disciplines can collaborate and plan events together


Bacchus: create atmosphere of participation and you get participation.


Walker: music tuesdays, gaps should be filled by student stuff.




Bacchus: plenty of fun things to do when you don't need funding.  Amy doing sing-alongs.  


Read on...