Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Time to Make Amends

When I arrived for orientation as a New College
student in January 2001, I was given a student manual.
In the manual, it mentioned student representatives
could meet with the full faculty each month to bring
student body concerns to them for discussion. I
inquired with the designated administrator, Marjorie
Paul, about how I might become a representative, and
was told that function was being deleted from the

Later, when programs were being arbitrarily dropped,
classes canceled without notice, or relocated from one
campus to another, I and other students sent a letter
to the trustees requesting a meeting to discuss the
mismanagement of the school. We were ignored.

When student loan and work/study checks started
bouncing, I figured the place was falling apart, but
was told by long-time employees it was always that
way. Later I heard the chair of the Board of Trustees,
Cathrine Sneed, on KPFA saying the school gives away
degrees to felons in San Quentin for life experience,
and I told her and President Hamilton I thought they
were an embarassment.

In 2002, I developed a formal proposal for what became
the Activism and Social Change program, and showed it
to Dean McAvoy, who then ascribed his name to it
without giving me credit.

Since leaving the school in 2002, I became briefly
involved with the alumni association, but realized it
was just another manipulated farce intended to deceive
WASC, and it quickly fizzled. Again, Marjorie Paul was
in charge of it, but she is probably just the point
person for Hamilton to make sure alumni -- like
students -- don't actually become involved in creating
a functional institution that might rid itself of
bureaucrats that have become obstacles rather than
avenues to social change.

As the flagship of the Bay Area moral theatrics
industry, New College's demise will likely be a messy
affair, with scandal following revelation following
resignation following firings and so on. What
interests me, though, is resurrecting something from
the ashes that actually serves the purposes the
trustees have betrayed. Maybe that will be a
reorganized New College after the present leadership
is purged in its entirety. Maybe that will be
something entirely new.

They have let us down, and it is now time for them to
make amends--not more empty promises.

--Jay Taber


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