This Collection was unique: a grassroots initiative with staff, faculty and students working together to offer all community members an opportunity to speak on decision-making and governance at the College.
Organized by the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), the idea for the Collection grew from their advocacy for a child care benefit. In the previous week, SLAP and Human Resources released survey data from the dependent care survey of faculty and staff at the College. Of the 28% who responded that they used childcare, 41% of that number claimed that they were unhappy with their current child care arrangements. More than half of the respondents preferred an on-campus child care placement. In 1991 the Women’s Concerns Committee submitted a survey, and spent the next 14 years advocating for child care for faculty and staff. The question SLAP and the community had to consider: if the community supported a child care benefit, why hadn’t that benefit been implemented, especially since funding had been provided?
The Collection, facilitated Joyce Tompkins, Religious and Spiritual Life Advisor, brought together a panel to begin the discussion on decision-making processes and endowment spending at the College.
Peter recently wrote a series of articles on the endowment in The Phoenix:
The inequity of Swarthmore’s endowment: An open letter to the Swarthmore College community
The inequity of Swarthmore’s endowment, revisited
Why endowment policy needs community input
Gwen Synder is Director at the Philadelphia branch of Jobs with Justice.
Brett Day, Staff from Dining Services (unfortunately Brett could not make it because of difficulty arranging for child care).
It is the hope that this Collection will be a catalyst for the College community to work toward participation and transparency, as now neither faculty, staff or students have voice when it comes to financial decision-making. Truly enlightened institutions will foster coöperation that can only come by encouraging participation in decision-making as an inclusive practice that educates students in the process of genuine democracy and brings community members together to work in partnership with each other.
More photographs at the Daily Gazette.
Proposal to Meet Staff and Faculty’s Child Care Needs at Swarthmore College sent to the College administration in May 2014.