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Written by Elena Thompson ‘23
In January 2020, Bard College President Botstein announced, by an email to the campus community, that Bard College had co-founded the Open Society University Network (OSUN) together with the Central European University (CEU). In his email he explained that this new organization would reflect “key elements of Bard College’s unique educational programs and innovations.” However, there was little information about how this would affect students studying on the Bard Annandale campus. Ten months later, much has changed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students who would normally attend classes in person on the Annandale campus are now scattered throughout the United States and the world and are taking classes remotely. Bard’s participation in OSUN has allowed the college to adapt quickly and effectively. Bard students have benefitted from the innovative online work of OSUN, from virtual guest lectures and workshops, to opportunities to participate in engaging classes with students across the globe.
But how does Bard fit into the Open Society University Network? OSUN has emerged as a result of more than a decade of discussions between Bard, CEU, and the Open Society Foundations. Bard plays a crucial role, with the OSUN network building upon the foundation of Bard’s international network of partner institutions. President Botstein serves as the Chancellor of OSUN, and the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard is the main hub of OSUN’s secretariat. This means that Bard College, and the CCE specifically, manage many of OSUN’s programs.
Bard students, both in Annandale campus and studying remotely, have many opportunities to participate in OSUN’s programs. For example, the Get Engaged Conference is held annually, and allows student leaders within OSUN institutions to engage with one another and develop community leadership skills. Lecture series, such as the popular Protests in Perspective series, also allow students to dynamically engage with current events and gain new perspectives. Because of OSUN’s international quality, students have had the opportunity to hear from experts in countries where protest movements are currently taking place, such as Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Bard students also have the opportunity to take part in ‘international classrooms.’ This has been especially beneficial during the COVID pandemic, with students from around the world able to offer differing perspectives on how the pandemic is affecting them and their home country.
There is much more to come with OSUN. New and innovative graduate programs are being developed, such as an M.A. in Human Rights and the Arts. This program will start in Fall 2021, and will be led by Tania El Khoury and Ziad Abu-Rish. El Khoury and Abu-Rish will also teach in the undergraduate program, allowing Bard undergraduate students to participate in this groundbreaking new curriculum. Once it is safe to travel again, there will be more opportunities for international exchange. Bard students will be able to travel to partner institutions, as well as share the Annandale campus with students from new partner institutions.
So, how can Bard students, both on and off campus, get involved? They can register for OSUN-sponsored classes, participate in the multitude of conferences and contests held by OSUN, and much more. However, they can also engage by reaching out to the CCE, and letting them know what is important to them. Jonathan Becker, Bard’s executive vice president and the vice-chancellor of OSUN, believes students play a crucial role in navigating OSUN through the dramatic shift from COVID-19, saying that student’s feedback will allow OSUN to “unpack in the COVID era.” To learn more, visit the OSUN website.
By Nily Rozic and Jonathan Becker
College should be the most transformative years in a student’s life. But now, in addition to mastering remote learning in the midst of a global pandemic, students have had to try to figure out how to make their ballots count this fall.
Evidence has shown that while young voters historically vote at lower rates, their interest in voting has grown overwhelmingly in the last several years. Youth voting grew significantly during the 2018 midterms and in this year’s election, early voting suggests that there appears to be record youth voting, through it will still lag behind other age groups.
However, even without a global pandemic, voting as a college student can be tough. Every November, a significant portion of our state’s population is excluded from voting simply because they live too far away from their polling site. Poll sites are often too inaccessible or too far from campus with limited public transportation to get there. According to a survey by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning, nearly 20 percent of youth with college experience cited a lack of transportation as a reason for not voting in 2016.
Read the full story on TimesUnion.com >>
The coronavirus pandemic and new requirements in Republican-led states created voting obstacles for college students this year. Yet youth participation appears to be on the rise: “At Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., students and the school sued in September to get a polling site on campus; the closest place to vote was at a church located down a dirt road in the nearby town of Red Hook. A New York State Supreme Court judge originally denied their petition, citing a Republican member of the Dutchess County Board of Elections who said it was too close to the election to change polling locations. Yet the very next day, the board moved two other polling sites in Red Hook.
“On Friday, the judge reversed her decision and ordered the polling site to be moved to Bard’s main student center.
“‘For the first time on this campus,’” said Sadia Saba, 21, a senior who was a plaintiff in the case, ‘students feel like their voices are being heard in the political process.’”
The new Bard College voting site will be open to all Town of Red Hook District 5 voters on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, after the Dutchess County Board of Elections withdrew its appeal to the Appellate Court. In addition to confirming the Bard College voting site, a compromise will allow the existing voting site at Church of St. John’s to also operate for the 2020 election.
“Judge Rosa’s order moving the District 5 voting site to Bard is a wonderful victory for student voters and all voters of the district, including those with disabilities,” said Jonathan Becker, executive vice president of Bard. “Our original petition to the Supreme Court asked for a polling site at Bard instead of, or in addition to, the Church, and that is what we have achieved,” he said. “The decision is a blow to student voter suppression, which has taken place in Dutchess County for decades. It is a great lesson for our students about the importance of persistence and the rule of law. Now they will have to learn how to safeguard victories.”
See On-Campus Voting FAQs for Election 2020
“The Election@Bard Team is so proud of the generations of student leaders who have worked to secure this polling place for the Bard community,” said Kathy Gaweda ’21, director of Election@Bard. “We are so excited that on Election Day students and on-campus faculty can vote safely on our very own campus thanks to the efforts off the Andrew Goodman Foundation, the entire Election@Bard Team, the plaintiffs in the case, and our fantastic legal team.”
“The court's decision to move the polling place to Bard College's campus is a move to listen to years of demands from young voters,” said Sadia Saba, a Bard College senior and plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Young voters, especially first-time voters, are historically disadvantaged by the political system, so this polling place is just one step to mitigating voter suppression in this county. Bard students are thrilled to get out the vote, and we are so excited to have our voices heard in this upcoming election!”
The voting site at Bard, in the Bertelsmann Campus Center, will be open to all District 5 voters from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 3. New signs are posted at the College’s entrances and along Annandale Rd. welcoming voters and directing them to the Campus Center and parking in North Ravine Rd. parking lot. Voters are expected to follow COVID safety protocols, as they are at all polling sites. Bard Security, campus personnel, and volunteers will be available throughout the day to assist voters and poll workers.
“This court victory and settlement demonstrates that students are a powerful force in our democracy. The opening of a new polling location on the Bard College campus redresses two decades of student voter suppression in Dutchess County. Students and community members can finally rest assured that they have access to a safe, accessible, and ADA-compliant polling location. A healthy democracy requires participation from all citizens, especially younger voters whose future is most impacted in this election,” explained Yael Bromberg, Esq. Chief Counsel for Voting Rights at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “As we’re witnessing at polling sites all over New York, people are energized to vote and are willing to endure long longs to ensure that their voice is heard this election season. I want to thank our partners at Bard College — President Leon Botstein, Executive Vice President Jonathan Becker, Vice President Erin Cannan, Andrew Goodman Campus Champion Sarah deVeer, and generations of Bard students and Andrew Goodman Student Ambassadors including but not limited to Sadia Saba, Ava Mazzye, Kathy Gaweda, Eva Quinones, and Jonian Rafti—for their commitment to ensuring every voter in District 5 has fair and equal access to the ballot box.”
“Students nationwide are excited and motivated about exercising their right to vote,“ Becker added. “We’re proud that Bard students have set an example for others that persistence in advancing student voting rights through the legal system, even in the face of widespread voter suppression, can succeed in gaining equal access. We thank our colleagues at the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Venable LLP, Bromberg Law LLC, and Caring Majority Rising for their support and congratulate all of the Bard students who have worked tirelessly on behalf of student voting rights.”
#About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 160-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
About The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training the next generation of leaders, engaging young voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program partners with America’s colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement, public policy, and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20-year old Freedom Summer volunteer, and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering Black Americans to vote in Mississippi. For more information visit www.andrewgoodman.org.
Judge Maria Rosa on Friday ordered the Town of Red Hook’s District 5 polling site moved from the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist to Bard College’s Bertelsmann Campus Center, in response to concerns voters would not be able to adequately social distance at the church.
Learn more about the fight for a polling place
Press Conference (October 22)
Appeal of Judge's Decision (October 15)
WAMC Interview: Judge Rules Against Moving Polling Site to Bard College (October 15)
Judge's Decision (October 13)
Election@Bard, Andrew Goodman Foundation, and Bard College President File Voter Suppression Lawsuit (September 5)
Red Hook Town Board Votes for On-Campus Polling Place (August 26)
Campus Voting Site Will Be Open to All District 5 Voters on Election DayRuling Comes after More Than Two Decades of Bard Students Fighting for the Right to Vote and to Do So in a Fair and Equitable Manner
On Friday, October 23, Dutchess County Supreme Court Judge Maria Rosa ordered the Town of Red Hook’s District 5 polling site moved from St. John the Evangelist Church to the Bard College campus. The ruling came in response to a motion for reconsideration following a court filing by student and staff plaintiffs at Bard and the Andrew Goodman Foundation.
“This is a great victory for youth voters on the 50th anniversary of the 26th amendment, which reset the voting age to 18. It’s also a victory for all voters and poll workers in the district, who will be able to vote and work safely on November 3,” said Jonathan Becker, executive vice president of Bard.
The petition turned on the safety and accessibility of the existing polling site, which was small, did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, could not be adapted for COVID-19 safety, and was largely inaccessible to the 70% of District 5 voters who reside on or near Bard College.
The College’s focus on safety during the pandemic offers an advantage for voters in District 5. The campus will be accessible to all voters in the district on Election Day, and the campus will apply its safety protocols as it has throughout the year. “It is important to underline that the Bard campus is and has remained open for essential civic activities, including voting,” said Becker. “Our Campus Center is a discrete facility and voters will use a designated entrance, adjacent to handicap parking, that will be for voters only. We will only have essential activities take place in the Campus Center on election day and Bard Security and volunteers from the Center for Civic Engagement will be on site to ensure that voters are guided to the correct location and are able to remain separate from the other activities on campus.”
“The Dutchess County Board of Elections has a twenty-year history of intentionally discriminating against student voters. So much so, that the Board is willing to put voters’ and poll workers’ lives at risk by forcing District 5 to vote in a location that itself acknowledges that it is unsafe due to the pandemic,” remarked Yael Bromberg, Chief Counsel for Voting Rights with The Andrew Goodman Foundation and co-counsel on the brief. “On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which outlaws age discrimination in access to the ballot, and on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the BOE’s actions necessarily remind us that we must vigilantly protect the fundamental right to vote. I commend the generations of Bard College students who paved the way for this win. We stand alongside them in protecting the future that they will inherit.”
The ruling comes after more than two decades of Bard students fighting for the right to vote and to do so in a fair and equitable manner. “We hope this is the last chapter in the history of efforts to suppress student voters at Bard. We are also reminded of the travails that voters across the country face as officials and political parties attempt to impede citizens from exercising the most central of their rights,” Becker said. “We thank our colleagues at the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Venable LLP, and Bromberg Law LLC for their support and congratulate all of the Bard students who have worked tirelessly on behalf of student voting rights.”
To the Bard Community,
As one of the plaintiffs in the College’s recent lawsuit seeking to move the District 5 voting site to a location safer and more accessible to all voters—to the Bard campus—I write today to inform the community that our case was not successful. The judge ruled against us, not on the merits of our core argument, but on the contention made by the Board of Elections that there is not enough time to alert voters properly before the November 3 election. Within 24 hours of the ruling, however, the BOE contradicted its own claim, on which their legal challenge to us was based, by moving two other polling sites in Red Hook.
Our contention is that the current voting site is antiquated, inaccessible, and too small, particularly during the time of COVID-19. We are grateful to St. John’s for the many years it provided the site for voting and agree with church leaders that it is unsafe for the upcoming elections. But the community has outgrown the facility. Furthermore, the BOE has consistently violated the voting rights of Bard students. Although we have lost this round, we have appealed and will fight the decision. If we are not successful this year, we will continue to challenge the decision until we are successful.
I believe the court’s ruling and the BOE actions are based on partisan politics. Their public posture has nothing to do with providing equitable access to voting. It is truly disheartening to see those who control the local voting process disparage the motivation of first-time and young voters. They seek to discourage the next generation of citizens from participating in the essential democratic process of voting. Instead, the BOE, the courts, and all of us should engage and encourage all members of our community by making it safe and convenient for every registered voter, including the young and the elderly, to cast a ballot.
I will update the community further when our appeal is heard and the case moves forward.
Bard has appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider the decision rejecting the proposed move of the District 5 polling site to the Bard campus. The primary basis is that, after claiming that moving a polling site would harm voters, an argument Judge Maria Rosa ultimately endorsed, Election Commissioner Haight approved the moving of two polling sites in Red Hook, less than 24 hours after the judge’s decision.
Jonathan Becker, Executive Vice President of Bard College, spoke with WAMC Northeast Public Radio about Bard's appeal, and why the refusal to move the polling site to Bard College is a form of voter suppression, targeting youth voters.
Read the Interview
Appeal of Judge's decision Oct. 15 >>
Judge's Decision Oct 13 >>
WAMC Interviedw: Judge Rules Against Moving Polling Site To Bard College >>
Election@Bard, Andrew Goodman Foundation, and Bard College President File Voter Suppression Lawsuit. >>
Red Hook Town Board Votes for On-Campus Polling Place. >>
The Open Society University Network (OSUN)—led by Bard College and Central European University with support from the Open Society Foundations—has been elected as cochair of the Taskforce on Third Country Education Pathways, launched by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).
OSUN will cochair the taskforce with The World University Service of Canada, leading representatives from the Japan ICU Foundation, the Government of Portugal, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the Government of Canada, Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo, and the Institute of International Education, among others.
The task force is charged with developing best practices for higher education pathways that respond to the needs of refugees, internally displaced individuals, and others displaced by crises, as well as leading the development of advocacy strategies to ensure access and the establishment of minimum standards for institutions seeking to host students.
Dr. Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, will represent OSUN. “I look forward to this work as part of our wider mission to develop the OSUN Microcolleges for Connected Learning Initiatives for displaced and host-community learners.”
Learn more about the work of the taskforce in the UNHCR Doubling Our Impact Report.
Center for Civic Engagement Director Jonathan Becker and Election@Bard Team Leader Kathy Gaweda ’21 Discuss the College's Lawsuit Against the Dutchess County Board of Elections“Our essential claim is that the space on campus, which is 2,200 square feet, is far safer than the current polling site, which is approximately 700 square feet,” said Becker. “Now, we don’t only think this. The Town Board of Red Hook has asked the Board of Elections to move the polling site, and even the church, which hosts the polling site, has said that they do not believe that their site is safe.”
Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United StatesMariel Fiori ’05 and Emily Schmall ’05 cofounded La Voz magazine in 2004 as a Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) project when they were both students. “We started this very tiny thing,” says Fiori, the longstanding managing editor, “that we wanted a newsletter in Spanish for the Spanish speaking community, and there wasn’t much around—actually, there was nothing in Spanish at that point.” Today, the magazine is distributed to 150,000 readers in eight counties in the Hudson Valley, offering important news to Spanish speakers and giving a voice to the region’s Latinx community. Laura Perez, a Bard student writer for La Voz who is originally from Venezuela, says the magazine gave her a sense of belonging. "When I arrived to Bard, I didn’t know anyone," said Perez. "The first thing I saw that reminded me of my country was the magazine La Voz in the campus center.”
LEAD GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT FELLOW
Al-Quds Bard College—Palestine
Junior in International Law and Human Rights
As a the Lead Global Fellow, I strive to attract students to contribute productively and meaningfully to their community by assisting them in incorporating their skills, visions and experiences figuratively and literally to lead civic engagement projects, which will contribute to the excessive growth of their community in concrete-based results.
The Emmy-nominated PBS series College Behind Bars, which follows Bard Prison Initiative students and alumni/ae, has upended misconceptions about people in prison, who they are and what they can achieve. Director Lynn Novick and Jule Hall ’11—a BPI alumnus and Ford Foundation program associate who is featured in the film—discuss how politics and the pandemic are affecting students in prison.
by Jessie Floyd '21
Last fall, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador through the Pitzer Ecuador program. A key component of the program was learning from a community service project. At Bard, I am a Spanish Major with a Concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Because of what I’m studying at Bard and my desire to learn about gender activism and transfeminism in a context other than the American one, I chose to volunteer for Proyecto Transgénero.
I learned that Proyecto Transgénero is a transfeminist organization that works with many different projects, each with the mission of dismantling systems of gender oppression and gender violence. The principal projects I worked with were “la Vitrina No binaria” (The Non-binary showcase), “el Sindicato de Trabajadores Sexuales” (The Sexworkers Union), “la Marcha de las Putas” (the SlutWalk Ecuador), and “la Fraternidad Transmasculina” (The Transmasculine Fraternity). More specifically, I began the process of conducting and translating interviews with non-binary people so they could share their stories about and thoughts on gender. I also helped plan la Marcha de las Putas and organized, attended, and then ran Putalleres (slut workshops). The workshops were transfeminist conversations with people who had all different types of life experiences but shared a common frustration with oppressive gender systems in Ecuador and beyond.
As part of the Pitzer Ecuador program, we were required to do an independent study and I decided to look into the question: “What does gender mean in Ecuador?”. My work involved eight lengthy interviews of people I had met through Proyecto Transgénero and in my daily life. I was very aware that I was just scratching the surface. Gender systems and gender identity are personally and socially complex. However, what I did learn definitely changed the way that I think through gender and the way that I wanted to go about studying it. Personally, I am a queer woman who has had traumatic experiences with sexual assault and sexual harassment. Until working with Proyecto Transgénero, specifically the founders Eli and Ana and activist Fabian, I had not been a part of an honest, empowering, intersectional, and authentic gender-based group. I left Ecuador with a deeper understanding of gender norms and gender bias’s connection to colonial history and colonial legacy as well as a passion for listening to others and sharing my own story.
I decided to do my Senior Project for Bard as a continuation of the project I had done on gender last fall. I also grew excited about the possibility of interning with Proyecto Transgénero this summer to learn more for my SPROJ and to help the organization with fundraising and international outreach. Given the organization’s flexibility and reliance on frequent communication via WhatsApp, I felt confident that my work could be done remotely if need be. I have not been disappointed. My weekly schedule since early July has included weekly Zoom meetings with Maria Laura, my supervisor, with her in Ecuador and me in New York, and frequent updates in our WhatsApp group chat. Recently, I’ve been working on translating the language of a GoFundMe that will raise money to help Proyecto Transgénero deliver groceries to transwomen from the Sindicato de Trabajadores Sexuales since they cannot work safely during the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve also been working on editing the video clips of the interviews I have from last fall that I wasn’t able to complete before returning to the United States. This editing has taken a significant amount of time as I learn how to use new software and transcribe quotes in my second language. In future weeks, I will be working with Maria Laura to create a proposal for virtual transfeminist workshops that might be able to stand in place of this year’s Marcha de las Putas.
I have been honored and excited to work with Proyecto Transgénero this summer. It has been wonderful to be doing something that I feel so passionately about, especially given the challenges of feeling hopeful in 2020. If you would like to support Puente Solidario (Bridge of Solidarity), an initiative run by Proyecto Transgénero to donate food and supplies to the trans community in Quito, see below.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) along with the President and students from Bard College filed a lawsuit against the Dutchess County Board of Elections for violating the voting rights of students. The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Dutchess County, follows yearslong efforts by Bard students to establish an on-campus polling location.
The Bard College community comprises the overwhelming majority of the district’s eligible voting population at nearly 70 percent. Moreover, the current polling site is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and related New York State Law. It is inaccessible by public transportation in clear violation of New York State Election Law, which requires that polling places are situated on public transit routes. Additionally, the current polling location is a 3-mile round trip from the Bard campus on an unsafe route that lacks sidewalks and adequate street lighting. The route creates a significant hardship for voters with disabilities and the majority of students who don’t have cars. The lawsuit challenges the ongoing failure of the Dutchess County Board of Elections to comply with the New York Constitution and state laws by refusing to open a polling location on the Bard College campus.
“I am grateful to our friends at St. Johns for hosting a polling station in the church, but we now face unprecedented times that demand sustainable solutions,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Not only does the Bard community constitute a large percentage of District 5 residents of voting age, but we can accommodate the social distancing demands of COVID-19, indoors and out of inclement weather, and provide a safer and more accessible alternative for everyone at the polling place.”
“The narrative that we keep hearing is that students don’t vote and are not civically engaged, but this notion does not hold up when you consider that nearly 85 percent of Bard students are registered to vote. The reality is that students continue to face intentional barriers to voting. Even in what is considered a ‘blue state,’ students must contend with ongoing voter suppression, which demonstrates how widespread this problem is,” remarked Alexandria Harris, Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “Across the country student voting rights are under assault. As student voter participation increases, so do efforts to restrict their access to the ballot box. This is why The Andrew Goodman Foundation will continue to stand with students and vigorously defend their constitutional right to vote.”
“The longstanding efforts by the Dutchess County Board of Elections to suppress student voting, which continues today with their refusal to move the polling site, has been wrong from the start. Now in the COVID era it is also dangerous,” said Jonathan Becker, Bard’s Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The current site’s lack of sidewalks, inaccessibility by public transport, failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and, most importantly, its inadequate space for social distancing, makes it both unsuitable as a voting site and a danger to voters and poll workers. It is unfortunate that the Board of Elections continues its efforts to suppress student voting and in doing so, endangers the safety of the voters of District 5.”
“Fifty years ago, this nation came together across partisan lines to support the expansion of the ballot free of age discrimination through the ratification of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment,” said Yael Bromberg, Chief Counsel for Voting Rights at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “The principles that drove the foundation of that Amendment continue to be true today: young people are critical to the practice of democracy. We must remove obstacles to the ballot—and that includes bringing polling places on campus. The Dutchess County Board of Elections has made its intentions clear: it simply does not want Bard College students to vote—counter to the values of our democracy, which are beyond partisanship.”
This is the fourth instance since 2000 where Bard students have resorted to litigation or the threat thereof over schemes aimed at limiting their voting rights. The courts ruled in favor of the students in all preceding legal actions. The current lawsuit follows years of advocacy by Bard College Andrew Goodman Student Ambassadors and their peers for an on-campus polling site. Despite support from the Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner, the Republican Commissioner has denied two timely requests to relocate the polling place, thereby prompting the current lawsuit.
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of Andrew Goodman Student Ambassador Sadia Saba; Bard College President Leon Botstein; Bard College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan; Election@Bard; and The Andrew Goodman Foundation.
Counsel on the lawsuit are Yael Bromberg, Chief Counsel for Voting Rights for The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Principal of Bromberg Law LLC, and Michael Volpe, Joshua Rothman, Hilary Atzrott, Megan Hynes, and John Walsh of Venable LLP.
Learn more about Election@Bard
Read Lawsuit (PDF)
About The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training the next generation of leaders, engaging young voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The Foundation's Vote Everywhere program partners with America's colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement, public policy, and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20-year old Freedom Summer volunteer, and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi. For more information about The Andrew Goodman Foundation visit andrewgoodman.org.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a 4-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1000 park-like acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 160-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal education. Bard is known for its academic excellence and emphasis on the arts and civic engagement, and is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
The article highlights Bard as one of only nine colleges to achieve a voter registration rate topping 85 percent, acknowledging Bard’s longstanding commitment to civic engagement and the work of Election@Bard, an initiative that facilitates voter registration for students, provides information about candidates, hosts candidates forums, and protects the rights of students to vote and have their votes counted.
Bard at Brooklyn Public Library microcollege student and artist Russell Craig ’22 has installed a mural honoring the Black Lives Matter movement at the entrance of the Philadelphia Municipal Services building. The mural, called Crown, is just steps from where the statue of controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo once stood, and the site of large protests in late spring demanding the city remove the statue, which it did in June.
“Although Kingston's air quality is, for the most part, doing well, we know that increased traffic, train activity, wood burning, and household heating systems can contribute to short-term air quality issues and long-term health issues if not appropriately managed,” said Eli Dueker, director of the Center for the Study of Land, Air, & Water, which partnered with the City of Kingston’s Conservation Advisory Council’s Air Quality Sub-Committee to form the Kingston Air Quality Initiative. “This research addresses what Kingston needs to be able to meet its sustainability goals long-term.”
The Engaged Citizenship course with Kseniya Shtalenkova and Chrys Margaritidis covered a variety of engagement opportunities, including arts engagement during Covid-19.
Ksenyia Shtalenkova states:
"The field of arts and civic engagement is not yet a scholarly trend although its social impact and academic potential highlight a very productive heuristic perspective both for interdisciplinary research and social participation. Engaging art forms like political poster design, urban art festivals and documentary theatre are possible ways to engage society in various aspects such as supporting vulnerable groups, raising political awareness, creating inclusive platforms, recovering historical memory and increasing cultural relations and exchange. Within the Engaged Citizenship Summer Class, we've been discussing with the students among other topics relevant cases of arts and civic engagement in global and local contexts, especially referring to the cases of arts and political participation and the Covid-19 challenges for engaging art activities, 'A Dinner on Zoom' by Richard Nelson among them. In their own final presentations, the students in turn reflected on the political impact of visual art in Afghanistan and political performance in Hungary and Russia."
To see a snippet of Shtalenkova's presentation on arts engagement during Covid-19, head to @BardCCE on Instagram! And find the presentation resources included below:
During Bard College's one hundred sixtieth commencement, the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service was awarded to Nicholas Ascienzo, longtime friend and supporter of CCE, and founder of the Ascienzo Family Foundation.
Nick Ascienzo has dedicated his life to serving the Red Hook, New York, schools; the Hudson Valley; and people across the United States. He is the definitive example of community minded and engaged.
Ascienzo grew up in nearby Kingston and began teaching in the Red Hook Central School District after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany, where he majored in mathematics and was named a SUNY Albany Hall of Fame athlete in baseball. For the next forty-two years, he taught mathematics—seven years at the Linden Avenue Middle School, then more than three decades at Red Hook High School, where he ran the AP Calculus and IB Mathematics programs, and coached baseball and softball teams. He also worked at Dairy Queen, co-owning several franchises from 1979 to 2000.
At the high school, Ascienzo, or “Mr. A” as he is widely known to students, became one of the most admired members of the faculty, and also was a leader of the Red Hook Faculty Association.
Ascienzo further solidified his commitment to the community when he created the Ascienzo Family Foundation (AFF). Approaching retirement, he began pondering how to use the assets from his Dairy Queen franchises, and realized that his biggest assets were his students. He asked a handful of Red Hook High School students to help him create a foundation with a shared purpose and vision. These students became the AFF Board of Directors. The foundation was incorporated in 2015, the year before Ascienzo retired.
The Ascienzo Family Foundation focuses on poverty alleviation, educational opportunities for the underserved, and services for senior citizens. The programs it supports have ranged from the Red Hook Harvest Backpack Program, addressing food insecurity, to CultureConnect, providing after-school activities for English-language learners attending Red Hook schools. In response to COVID-19, the foundation played a central role in the development of Red Hook Responds, a community volunteer initiative that offers meals, assistance to senior citizens, and resources for local families during the pandemic.
The foundation has also supported programs in which Bard students are active, including MLK Day of Engagement activities and the annual Middle- and High School Debate Tournament at Bard. AFF was an early sponsor of Brothers at Bard, which runs a mentorship program for young men of color at Kingston High School, Ascienzo’s alma mater.
Ever the educator, Ascienzo has incorporated more than forty of his former high school students into the foundation as AFF Ambassadors, who play a central role in decision-making. “We learn as much from our students as they learn from us,” says Ascienzo. Through Ambassador Grants, AFF has expanded its reach, assisting such endeavors as the Sunflower Bakery in Maryland, which provides employment opportunities to adults with learning differences, and Crossroads Family Center, a homeless shelter in East Boston.
Teacher, coach, volunteer, and AFF founder, Ascienzo is a model for young people on how a committed citizen can make a difference. As one colleague stated, he “will go out of his way to see a need and fulfill it.”
The John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service was established in 1990 to recognize extraordinary contributions by Bard alumni/ae and others to the public sector or in the public interest. It continues Bard’s tradition of honoring public service embodied in the Episcopal Layman Award, which was given until 1983. The Dewey Award honors the eminent American philosopher and educator John Dewey, the father of progressive education and an outspoken advocate of a system of universal learning to support and advance this country’s democratic traditions.
Over the summer term, the Human Rights Advocacy: Scholars at Risk course collaborated with Scholars at Risk, an NGO based in New York City. Through this collaboration, the class worked as "the case-responsible entity for a scholar who is being persecuted for his/her ideas."
Specifically focused on the Uyghur scholars currently imprisoned in China, students created visual campaigns drawing attention to this issue. The featured image is these students’ call for transnational student solidarity on behalf of the Uyghur people being persecuted in Western China.
Human Rights Advocacy: Scholars at Risk was taught by Adam Braver of Roger Williams University and Esther Gallo of the University of Trento.
Created as part of Professor Peter Klein’s Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences course Hudson Valley Cities / Environmental (In)Justice, Galloway and Avery’s project distributes resource kits to high-volume homeless shelters in Kingston, as well as the community organization Beyond the 4 Walls Outreach Program. Not limited to masks, wipes, and PPE equipment, Thrive On! Kingston kits include other essentials such as soap, shaving kits, body wash, shampoo, reusable bags, water bottles, notebooks, pens, and blankets, among other items.
By Najwa Jamal ‘21
Welcome back returning students, and to our incoming first-year class, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) would like to say hello! This summer edition of the Annandale Advocate, CCE’s student newsletter, is meant to shed light on the resilience and strength of the Bard community in the face of racial disparities and an expanding pandemic. As we enter the fall semester, let this edition be a reminder that we can handle the changing tides with the same passion and student drive we’ve always approached life at Bard.
What exactly does community mean during uncertain and divided times? As we write, faculty and staff are preparing to begin a new and wildly different L&T and fall semester. The Center for Civic Engagement is committed to building and maintaining community. We’re in this together as we all work to reinvigorate outlets for engagement amidst a pandemic, racial injustice, and a presidential election.
CCE Statement on Racism and Inequality
Read CCE’s statement on racial, social, and economic disparities across the nation, at Bard and in the communities where Bard and the Bard network operate. Read here.
Election@Bard is amongst one of our collaborators, with team leaders Kathy Gaweda’21 and Sadia Saba ‘21 working tirelessly on ways to keep the Bard voting community active and engaged. They are ‘transitioning in-person preparation into remote advocacy,’ says Gaweda. Saba shared plans in progress for this unique election year, including: online office hours for student questions, continued efforts to create an on campus polling site, and voter registration forms and FAQ slips in first year welcome packages. Learn more about Election@Bard here.
Center for Civic Engagement: Language & Thinking Events
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. Join us for our L&T events and discover how to “Get Engaged.” For list of events and descriptions, see here. Note: these events are only for incoming first year Bard students.
By Anna Schupack ‘22
In the Engaged Citizenship course taught by Jonathan Becker, Erin Cannan and Brian Mateo, students from all over the world explored issues related to political participation, civil society, and social justice on both a local scale and a global scale. Through dialogue, reflections, and guest speakers; they heard from people from around the world about what it means to be a good citizen, what responsibility we have to our community, and how students can get involved and lead community organizing. Each student selected an area of focus and developed a "Civic Issue Research Paper" that framed a key policy or civic issue that impacts their local community. Topics included desegregating the NYC Public School System, addressing sexual violence in the school curriculum of Bangladesh and sustainable transportation in Maryland.
The 17 students in this course were from across the globe. This course included students from Ashesi University in Ghana; BRAC University in Bangladesh; Smolny College in St. Petersburg; American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; the Bard early colleges at Simon’s Rock, New Orleans, and New York City; and Bard Annandale. The diversity of views and experiences that the online platform allowed them to have fostered rich dialogue and reflection.
A student commented, “the online connection that was made from students across the globe taught me more about the activities around the world more than any class would. I cannot encourage students to engage in these classes enough, as they are so helpful in understanding the topics through multiple lenses.”
By Emily Costello ‘23
When COVID-19 hit close to home, many individuals, organizations, and communities shifted their focus to surviving through the pandemic. Two creative and forward thinking Bard students, Keyvious Avery ‘21 and Aidan Galloway ‘21 knew they wanted to do more than just help people survive, they wanted them to thrive, and thus Thrive On! Kingston was born.
Thrive On! Kingston stands out for its success, initiative, and inclusiveness. This project has united community members in the effort to provide resources to one of the most marginalized communities in Kingston and the Greater Hudson Valley area: those experiencing homelessness.
Their work began in the Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) course “Hudson Valley Cities/Environmental (In)Justice” taught by Peter Klein. Klein describes the course's intent as “[to] link theoretical and conceptual ideas of environmental justice, urban change, [and] urban development.” For this course, another link was the bridge leading to Kingston, New York where students were tasked with developing or getting involved with engagement projects in partnership with Kingston community organizations. Throughout the semester, students developed community partnerships centered on local challenges such as housing, food security, and food justice.
Keyvious and Aidan took the course to gain experience examining the reality of urban development. As an economics major, Keyvious saw it as an opportunity to pursue the study of urban economy in a more tangible way. For Aidan, the class allowed him to pursue questions of development economics and explore what that looks like in an urban context. As Aidan describes:
“Reading the course description of Peter’s class… [it] really spoke to the part of me that wants to figure out how to be an architect or urban planner or some kind of designer...or go into that space while also keeping in mind the social issues that are so prevalent and are made visible by cities. I got really interested in the question ‘what does development look like in the context of a city?’”
Both students share an interest in the logistics of urban development, as well as prevalent social issues, and this intersection allowed them to focus their attention on the homeless population in Kingston and the effect of COVID-19.
For Thrive On! Kingston, this means that COVID-19 resources are not limited to masks, wipes, and PPE equipment, but also include other essentials such as soap, shaving kits, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. And to thrive, additional items are needed such as reusable bags, water bottles, notebooks, pens, and blankets, among other items. Upon compiling this list of items, Keyvious and Aidan created the Thrive On! Kingston kit.
During our interview Keyvious showcased the packages he had just received for the Thrive On! Kingston kits. Some of these packages included socks, shaving kits, laundry detergent, sporks, pens, and soap. He emphasized the team’s focus on taking the time to ensure quality, citing the organic aloe vera in the shaving kits. Once assembled, the kits are scheduled to be delivered to high-volume homeless shelters in Kingston, as well as the community organization Beyond 4 Walls Outreach Program. What Keyvious sees from the people in Kingston is that:
“[they] have this common idea and this common image of where they want to see Kingston. You can see this amazing momentum and amazing effort with everyone actively aiming to achieve that; where they want to see exceptional progress from Kingston. To me that’s the thriving spirit. When everyone’s there together, when everyone realizes that there’s a vision beyond what any one person can make. So everyone comes in to put that together.”
This mindset is what grounds this project’s mission to thrive. Featured on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, Thrive On! Kingston has raised $4,142 to produce their kits, exceeding its original goal of $3,800. While they have achieved great success, their focus is still concentrated on addressing the needs of the community they are serving. They intend on continuing the campaign and have begun talks about expanding as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. As the project continues, there have been conversations about incorporating more Bard students into their effort. However, both Keyvious and Aidan acknowledge that future plans are dynamic and will adjust to the present needs of this community they are serving. While Thrive On! Kingston began as a reaction to the pandemic and homeless crisis in Kingston, the momentum surrounding this project showcases the gravity of its purpose. Through continued work and partnerships, we are certain this project will not only survive but will thrive.
As the final guest speakers featured in the Women & Covid-19 course, the spotlight is on the founders of Black Talks 2020: Bernadette Benjamin, Sage Swaby, and Talaya Robinson-Dancy.
Bernadette Benjamin recently graduated Bard College with a bachelor's degree in sociology. As a student, her academic focus was on Black and Asian studies. Her senior project examined how Black women conceptualize the effects of their identity on their ability to participate in a community in Japan. In addition, Bernadette is interested in how to mediate inequities within systems of education within America. She is aspiring to be an education lawyer, particularly focusing on the treatment of Black students in public schools, and an author. She aims to continue to mentor young people to give them the skills they need to be a better version of themselves.
Sage Swaby is a rising junior at Bard College studying Written Arts and American Studies. On campus, she is a co-Trustee Leadership Scholar of the Black Body Experience, co-head of the Womxn of Color United club, and co-head of the Caribbean Student Association. Her dream profession is to be a journalist. She is passionate about community support and protection for all black womxn and femmes as well as learning more about police and prison abolition.
Talaya Robinson-Dancy was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. She is a rising senior at Bard College and will be graduating in 2021 with a degree in Historical Studies with a minor in Africana Studies. Talaya has created and executed many projects including Black Talks 2020, The Black Body Experience Conference, and Sincerely Black. She aims to give back to her community through providing safe and fun spaces to share resources and facilitate conversations that lead to change in various communities.
To hear clips from their discussion with the Women & Covid-19 summer course, head to @BardCCE on Instagram! Check out the sources below to connect with Sage, Bernadette, and Talaya and their work.
Further learning: Hoodrat to Headwrap: A Decolonized Podcast
This week we have a special #FollowWednesday featuring Maggie Hazen and Lauren Enright! In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Maggie and Lauren 3D printed and assembled PPE face shields in upstate New York.
Maggie Hazen is a New York based interdisciplinary artist from Los Angeles and is also the Co-founder and Director of the Juvenile Justice Digital Arts Project (JJ-DAP). Her work explores themes of resistance in a cinematically real world of violence through a combination of moving image, sculpture and performance. Her forthcoming exhibitions will be at The Bronx Museum in New York and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. She has exhibited, screened and performed works at Pulse Miami Beach as part of Pulse Play; The Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, CA; Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Light Year on the Manhattan Bridge; The Granoff Center, Brown University; Performance Works Northwest, Portland, OR; CICA Museum, South Korea; Holland Projects, Reno NV; Icebox Projects, Philadelphia, PA; and The Boston Young Contemporaries, Boston, MA, among others. She is a current resident at Pioneer Works, NY and has had residencies and fellowships at The Bronx Museum; The Shanghai Institute of Visual Art; The Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, European Graduate School, Switzerland; I:O at the Helikon Art Center in Turkey; Vermont Studio Center; and The Pasadena Side Street Projects, CA. She holds a BFA in sculpture from Biola University and an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at New York University, The Stevens Institute of Technology, The Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and is currently a professor at Bard College in Studio Arts.
Lauren Enright is the Founder and CEO of Axiom Climate, a water risks company focused on data mapping, risk analysis and ESG factors in water risks for Fortune 500 companies, non-governmental organizations and small governments. Her water research has led her to working on water / nuclear / security projects for the Center for Climate & Security and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Lauren spent the last 8 years working for Control Risks, an international risk analyst firm as a Security Consultant based in Los Angeles. Her main responsibilities included managing protective global tasks for US and international clients, security and threat assessments. Lauren's projects have led her to support clients across the United States, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, and England. She has experience in running Hostile Environmental and First Aid Training (HEFAT) courses for clients which is where she gained her close protection agent certification. Lauren holds a BA in political studies and art history from Gordon College in Massachusetts and a MA in International Relations and Maritime Security from Regents’ University in London.
To hear a clip from Maggie and Lauren's discussion with the Women & Covid-19 summer course, head to @BardCCE on Instagram! And check out the sources below to connect with them and their work!
Further Learning: Bard Connects: Faculty and Staff Get Creative to Provide Protective Gear to Regional Health Workers and the original GoFundMe fundraiser.
To the Bard College community,
America faces an unprecedented opportunity to confront the fundamental and tragic rift between the ideals invoked in the nation’s founding enshrined in its Declaration of Independence, and the reality, from the foundation of white settler domination of this continent to the treatment of indigenous and Black populations, who to this day remain subjected to sustained suffering, oppression, and discrimination. The widespread protest and outrage at recent killings of Black Americans have placed the nation’s systemic discrimination against people of color into the forefront. By acting to redress this long history of racism, we can unite the nation in a manner consistent with the belief that we are all “created equal”, with the same right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
Every institution in American civil society, particularly colleges and universities, must play a part in creating fundamental change. To that end, each institution should assess its past, analyze its present practices, and produce a plan for the future.
Therefore, I have created the President’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice at Bard College.
It is made up of 30 members drawn from the college’s faculty, students, and staff. It will be chaired by Kahan Sablo with Dinaw Mengestu and Myra Armstead serving as Vice Chairs. It is charged with conducting an audit of Bard’s past, reporting on the present state of affairs, and recommending a plan of action for the future. The Commission is being asked to complete its work by January 1, 2021.
I want to thank the Commission members for agreeing to serve. The members of the Commission are:
For the third week, the spotlight is on the Women & Covid-19 course’s professors; Cammie Jones and Elmira Bayrasli! To hear a clip from this course’s Q&A with their professors, head to @BardCCE on Instagram! And check out the sources below to connect with Cammie and Elmira and their work.
Cammie Jones serves as the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement, oversees several domestic and international network experiential learning initiatives, and teaches “Women and Leadership” and “Women and COVID 19: Activism, Leadership, and Global Engagement” courses at Bard College. Before her role at Bard, Cammie developed and launched Dutchess Community College’s Service Learning Department, which served over 50 nonprofit agencies within the county and accounted for over 11,000 annual hours of service. Furthermore, Cammie served as Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement at Marist College, which led to the founding of a female leadership program, Ladies Empowering Athletics, and created an expansive life-skills program for student athletes. Cammie also launched several prevention empowerment-based programs through her work as Prevention Coordinator at Grace Smith House, Inc., a non-profit domestic-violence agency serving residents of Dutchess County, New York. Cammie leads a life of service and leadership within the Dutchess County community through serving on several board and committees for local organizations for women empowerment, and has received several awards for her work in higher education and community engagement, which include the Dutchess County Regional Chamber Of Commerce’s 2012 Forty Under 40 Class, N4A 2014 Professional Promise Award for Region 1, and the AWCC 2017 Forty Under 40 Class, and the 2017 Arc of Dutchess Peggy Martinko Community Trailblazer Award. Cammie holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin and a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University A&M.
Cammie was also recently selected to join the inaugural women’s leadership cohort of Majority Leaders with the Supermajority Education Fund! Read more here.
Further Learning: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Becoming (Streaming on Netflix) and What A Day and Unlocking Us with Brene Brown.
Elmira Bayrasli is the Director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA). She is also the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted. In 2015, Public Affairs published her first book, From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places, a book that looks at the rise of entrepreneurship globally. From 2002 to 2006, Elmira lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina where she was the Chief Spokesperson for the OSCE Mission. From 1994-2000 she was presidential appointee at the U.S. State Department, working for Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, respectively. Elmira is a regular contributor on global entrepreneurship for Techcrunch. She also provides analysis on foreign policy, particularly on Turkey. Her work has appeared in Reuters, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Quartz, Fortune, Forbes, The New Republic, CNN, NPR, BBC, Al Jazeera, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Elmira sits on several boards, including Invest2Innovate, Turkish Women's International Network, and Our Secure Future. She is a Mets fan and a simit eater.
Visit her website!
Bard College has joined an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to block the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidelines for international students announced last week. The guidelines seek to strip international students of their visas if their course of study is entirely online. Bard signed on to the brief filed by the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, of which it is a founding member.
In a letter to the community last week, Bard College President Leon Botstein wrote, “We consider these guidelines to be senseless, ill-conceived, and completely at odds with Bard’s mission and its role as an international partner in higher education.”
The College will continue to support international students currently enrolled, or considering enrollment at Bard, and will continue working with its representatives in Congress to strike down these guidelines and to push for action to speed visa approvals for international students.
Every Friday for the month of July, we will be highlighting guest speakers from the summer course; Women & COVID-19. This course examines the Covid-19 crisis effect on women and the historical, cultural, and social reasons why women, despite their majority in many other sectors of life, are greatly affected by such disparities. It is taught by Cammie Jones, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement at Bard College, and Elmira Bayrasli, Director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program.
Our second spotlight is on Grace Choi from the New York City’s Mayor Office!
Grace Choi is the Director of Policy to the First Lady of NYC. Recently, she served as the Constituency Director for Asian American & Pacific Islander Outreach for the Stacey Abrams for Governor Campaign. Previously, she was the Associate Director for Global Gender Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children. She served in President Obama’s Administration as Policy Advisor in the Secretary of State’s Office on Global Women’s Issues and as Staff Assistant in the White House Liaison’s Office at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to her political appointment at the Department of State, Grace worked for the Council of Korean Americans (CKA), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) in Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office, the Presidential Inauguration Committee, President Obama’s 2012 Presidential Campaign, the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Refugee Affairs Division.
She is a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, is a Council of Korean Americans Member, was a Member of the White House National Security Leadership Workshop, and served on the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership Board of Directors as Vice Chair for Programs. She holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.
To hear a clip from this course’s discussion with Grace, head to @BardCCE on Instagram!! And check out the sources below to connect with Grace and her work.
Social media accounts:
Further Learning: I Am Not Your Negro (Streaming on Netlfix), Just Mercy (Streaming on Hoopla) amd 13th (Streaming on Netflix).
Cammie Jones, associate dean of experiential learning and civic engagement at Bard College, has been selected to join the first cohort of Majority Leaders with the Supermajority Education Fund, a program created for emerging women leaders throughout the United States. Majority Leaders is a new five-week training program for women community leaders that will focus on intersectional feminism, how to protect voting rights, combating misinformation online, community activism, and more. “This is quite an exciting opportunity to be selected for the inaugural cohort,” said Cammie Jones. “I’m looking forward to this program taking off and am hopeful of the impact this program will provide for women throughout our nation.”
Bard College announced today the appointment of Tania El Khoury as Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Ziad Abu-Rish as Visiting Associate Professor of Human Rights. Together they will lead a pioneering Master of Arts program in Human Rights and the Arts, planned to commence in Fall 2021. Designed by Bard’s Human Rights Program, the Fisher Center at Bard, and the Central European University, and launched through the Open Society University Network (OSUN), the interdisciplinary program will bring together scholars, artists, and activists from around the world to explore the highly-charged relation between artistic practices and struggles for truth and justice.
The appointments deepen Bard’s relationship with El Khoury and Abu-Rish, both of whom were visiting faculty at the college in 2019. Abu-Rish taught in the Human Rights Program, while El Khoury co-curated the 2019 edition of the Live Arts Bard Biennial at the Fisher Center at Bard. Where No Wall Remains: an international festival about borders included nine newly commissioned projects by artists from the Middle East and the Americas. In addition to their work with the new graduate program, they will also teach in the undergraduate college: El Khoury is joining the faculty of the Theatre & Performance Program; Abu-Rish is affiliated with the Human Rights Program.
The proposed M.A. program in Human Rights and The Arts links the study of advocacy, law, and politics to critical theoretical-historical reflection, and focuses on the power of aesthetic, performative, and curatorial forms in the fight for rights. Anchored in the intersection of art, research, activism and social change, it will offer students the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary training, creative knowledge production, and practice-based research. At its heart is a perspective that looks beyond the U.S.-based art and NGO industries to identify, assess, and engage with the ethical, intellectual, and political potential of this emerging hybrid form. Students in the program will pursue a core of interdisciplinary courses in human rights theory and practice, supplemented with electives across the arts and humanities, including, in particular, the study and practice of live arts and performance, and curatorial practices.
“The international and cross-disciplinary dimensions of this new program make it groundbreaking and timely,” said Gideon Lester, Artistic Director of the Fisher Center and Director of Bard’s Theater & Performance Program. “Students will work with artists, faculty, and curators across OSUN's international network and beyond. Artists and human rights experts will inform each other’s practices, offering a fully integrated pedagogy. At a time when the ideals of open society and liberal education are threatened, this program will offer unique and fertile opportunities to study and share best practices across the world.”
El Khoury is internationally recognized for her installations, performances, and video projects. A Soros Arts Fellow for 2019, El Khoury's work explores political histories and contemporary issues through richly-researched and aesthetically-precise events focused on audience interactivity and concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. In as Far As My Fingertips Take Me, a one-on-one performance, a refugee artist painstakingly inscribes a drawing on the arm of a guest while narrating the story of his sisters' escape from Damascus. In Gardens Speak, an interactive sound installation, the audience is asked to dig in the dirt to exhume stories of the Syrian uprising. El Khoury holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is affiliated with Forest Fringe in the United Kingdom and is the co-founder of the urban research and performance collective Dictaphone Group in Lebanon.
Abu-Rish was previously Assistant Professor of History and Founding Director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Certificate Program at Ohio University. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves as Co-Editor of Arab Studies Journal. He has a highly successfully track-record of institution building, public scholarship initiatives, and graduate student training. He co-edited Jadaliyya, organized summer institutes for graduate students, and contributed to various research centers and academic associations. Abu-Rish has published widely on politics, economics, and popular mobilizations in Lebanon and Jordan, and is a co-editor, with Bassam Haddad and Rosie Bsheer, of The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (2012). He is currently completing a book entitled The State of Lebanon: Popular Politics and the Institution Building in the Wake of Independence.
“Almost 20 years ago Bard was the first U.S. institution to offer a full, free-standing, interdisciplinary B.A. in Human Rights,” said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard's Human Rights Program. “Tania El Khoury and Ziad Abu-Rish will expand this to the graduate level and explore the forces that emerge at the intersection between human rights and the arts. The program will underscore the importance of the arts and humanities in confronting pressing social issues, and serve as an incubator of new ideas and strategies within the human rights movement at a time when it is widely understood to be under assault.”
The program is supported by the newly-founded Open Society University Network, a global project of Bard College, the Central European University, and the Open Society Foundations, with university and research partners stretching from Germany and Kyrgyzstan to Ghana and Colombia.
# # #7/8/20
The administration and faculty of Bard Microcollege Holyoke has had more to consider in the pandemic than how to conduct classes via Zoom. The school's tiny student population is made up of young, low-income mothers working toward a better future. “Students rose to the occasion. They supported each other more, not less,” says Anne Teschner, executive director at The Care Center, where Bard Microcollege is housed.
The Bertelsmann Foundation and Humanity in Action presented a live discussion about contemporary democracy on the occasion of the online launch of the documentary film How To Fix Democracy. Andrew Keen hosted the conversation with Bard College President Leon Botstein; Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur Professor at Harvard University; and Earl Lewis, founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Social Solutions.
Every Friday for the month of July, we will be highlighting guest speakers from the summer course; Women & Covid-19. This course examines the Covid-19 crisis effect on women and the historical, cultural, and social reasons why women, despite their majority in many other sectors of life, are greatly affected by such disparities. It is taught by Cammie Jones and Elmira Bayrasli.
For the first week, the spotlight is on Zsanai Epps from Black Women’s Health Imperative!
Zsanai Epps is the Manager of Special Projects and My Sister’s Keeper Program Manager at Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI). Zsanai assists in the management of Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life. (CYL2 )’s strategic direction and guiding the program toward increasing the availability of CYL2 in underserved communities, enrolling and sustaining participants in the program, increasing clinician screening, detection and referral of prediabetes, and helping to build the capacity of BWHI’s program partners to sustain the program. Zsanai also manages BWHI’s My Sister’s Keeper (MSK) advocacy and leadership development program for women on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses.
To hear a clip from this course’s discussion with Zsanai, head to @BardCCE on Instagram! And check out the sources below to connect with Zsanai and her work.
Social media accounts:
The Open Society Foundations announce $100 million in funding for Bard College to support and extend its commitment to innovative higher education programs in the United States and around the world.
The grant, awarding $10 million per year for 10 years, will strengthen and expand Bard’s Center for Civic Engagement initiatives, central to both its undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and its leadership role as a founding partner of the new Open Society University Network.
“The Open Society Foundations have partnered with Bard College for nearly three decades to make higher education more inclusive and accessible,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. “At a time when democracies and the right to free expression are under threat—and every institution of higher education is facing enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 and economic crises—we need to invest in teaching and education that advance the values of an open society. As George Soros has said, we need to export critical thinking.”
VIDEO: Live Web Conversation with Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard on "Civil Society and Social Movements" on July 1. During the event, Gaspard announced a $100 million grant to Bard College from the Open Society Foundations.
Bard does important work in the New York City area and across the United States. Over the past decade, Bard has built a global network of rigorous and innovative programs, including the Bard Prison Initiative, the Bard Early College Network, and Bard’s International Partnerships. These programs are designed to deliver a high-quality liberal arts education to underserved populations at home and across the globe.
Bard and Central European University are the founding organizing institutions of the Open Society University Network, which the Open Society Foundations endowed with $1 billion earlier this year. The Open Society University Network will build on Bard, Central European University, and Open Society’s work globally. It will integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide as well as offer network courses and joint degree programs, and will regularly bring students and faculty from different countries together. The network aims to provide access to students from communities that have faced barriers and exclusion, including incarcerated people, the Roma, and refugees and other displaced groups.
“Bard is deeply grateful for the support of George Soros and the Open Society Foundations, their work in public schools and prisons, as well as international partnerships, and most recently, their role in founding the Open Society University Network,” said Bard College President and Open Society University Network Chancellor Leon Botstein. “This philanthropy has enabled Bard to fulfill its mission as a private university for the public good.”
Bard College and Foreign Policy Interrupted (FPI), in cooperation with the Open Society University Network (OSUN), announce the inaugural class of fellows. The FPI-Bard Fellowship is for midcareer women in foreign policy who are eager to share their expertise and engage in policy discussions.
Nine women, across a range of foreign policy disciplines, will participate in a six-week workshop focused on op-ed writing, media training, public speaking, and pitching editors.
The 2020 FPI-Bard FellowsAdjoa Anyimadu
Molly Hayes Baril
Audrey Kawire Wabwire
FPI started the fellowship in 2014 and has trained over 40 women, across a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity, Asian defense, conflict resolution, science, and technology. Previous FPI Fellows have been published in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the New Republic, and the New York Times.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Bard College and the OSUN network on an expanded version of the fellowship program,” said FPI cofounder and CEO Elmira Bayrasli. “Bard and OSUN’s global reach and focus on building community and creating value makes it the right partner.” Bayrasli was named director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA) in January.
“This is a fellowship for women around the world, from different backgrounds and disciplines. Bard and OSUN provide wonderful networks to help FPI reach more talented women whose voices and expertise can only add value to today’s pressing challenges,” said Jonathan Becker, executive vice president of Bard College and vice chancellor of OSUN.
For information about applying for an FPI-Bard Fellowship, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webby Award winners this year include Tatiana Prowell ’94 (Special Achievement) and Ronan Farrow '04 (Best Host - Podcast). The two were among the honorees at the virtual 24th annual awards show on May 19, hosted by Patton Oswalt. This year’s event was dedicated to individuals and organizations using the Internet in response to COVID-19.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Bard College and Simon’s Rock alumnus Ronan Farrow won for his role as host of the Catch and Kill podcast, based on his best-selling book on the takedown of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Bard College alumna Dr. Tatiana Prowell ’94 of Johns Hopkins University received a Special Achievement Webby for her use of the Internet to organize a blood drive and to inspire COVID-19 survivors to donate their plasma to those still in the fight to recover. In response to receiving the honor, Dr. Prowell said simply, “Love and serve. That’s It.” Dr. Prowell gave a powerful, in-depth interview on Radiolab about her work during the pandemic and the struggle of her beloved Papa Doc—her brother-in-law’s father, an internist in California—with the virus.
Keyvious Avery and Aidan Galloway have been working on a project called, "THRIVE ON! Kingston", aimed at providing Kingston's homeless population with the tools to both survive and thrive COVID-19. They formed the initiative after realizing they were fortunate enough to have 4 walls to quarantine in, while others did not. Tools include locally, hand-made face masks, blankets, socks, water bottles, and more. Click here to view their full campaign. Started in Peter Klein's Hudson Valley Environmental (In)Justice Course, Keyvious and Aidan raised over $4,000.
"I share this exciting news to assure you that no matter the circumstance, diligence, passion, and focus leads to perseverance. We are all capable of achieving monumental things. Let this be a testament to that." ~ Keyvious Avery
Part of the Talloires Network – Open Society University Network Education Partnership, the COV-AID Student Engagement Award is a pilot grant program to publicly recognize and support undergraduate students who are currently engaged in their local communities in ways that contribute to more equal and more inclusive societies. The winners receive an award of 2500 USD and will appear on an upcoming COV-AID webinar.
Learn More >>
This spring, Bard College Professor Kwame Holmes and 13 of his students geocoded and collected information on hundreds of properties in Kingston’s Midtown section in an effort to study the hidden geography of property ownership in the city. Students explored the role of corporate ownership in the local property market, as well as the impact of Airbnbs and other vacation rental sites on the rental market. The class, Urban Abandonment: A Housing Justice Lab, was a collaboration of Bard’s Environmental and Urban Studies and Human Rights programs and part of the Bard Center for Civic Engagement Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) Program, an interdisciplinary program in which students work with different geographies, organizations, and programs in local communities.
Using property tax information from Ulster County Real Property Tax Service Agency, Holmes and his students found that, of the 481 properties they studied in one section of Midtown Kingston, 275 were owned by non-local owners, those who did not have an address within the neighborhood area. Non-resident owner addresses were geocoded, revealing the importance of Saugerties, Westchester County, and New York City to Kingston’s land market. Non-resident owners could be found as far as California, Texas, and Florida. Eighty-seven properties were owned by Limited Liability Corporations, 10 of which shared names with corporate landlords operating in states across the country. These dynamics, the class realized, illustrate the extent to which land in Kingston is a site of profit extraction, and very little of that capital directly benefits local residents.
Furthermore, gathering information from Airbnb, Holmes’s class found that there were 110 vacation rentals available in Kingston, compared to 43 advertisements for regular long-term rentals available on Craigslist. The average rent per bedroom per month on Airbnb was $4,187, a price over 300% more expensive than a regular monthly rental. Holmes, who recently presented the class’s findings to the Kingston Common Council’s housing committee, said the Kingston Housing Lab was born out of an interest in transforming how communities talk about housing inequality and scarcity in small towns.
“Rather than focus on ‘the most affected population’ and recite statistics about rent as a percentage of median income, we wanted to shine a light on home owners and land ownership as an economic and cultural phenomenon and explore their impact on housing availability, quality, and pricing,” said Holmes, scholar-in-residence, Bard Human Rights Program, and faculty advisor, Bard Prison Initiative. “Housing security, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a public health issue. We’re interested to learn the impact of ownership from afar upon living conditions of renters, particularly in working class areas. Are non-local landowners more likely to sell for an immediate profit, exposing renters to an involuntary displacement? More transparency in and analysis of ownership patterns are essential for the maintenance of public health.”
Holmes, who is slated to talk about present his class’s results on Radio Kingston and make a presentation to the Kingston Land Trust this week, said he plans to expand the Kingston Housing Lab project, working with students to gather information on all of Kingston’s properties, as well as reach out directly to non-local property owners—particularly those who own three or more residential properties in a neighborhood—to better understand how they interact with their properties and relate to the communities wherein they own.
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Brian Mateo, associate dean of civic engagement and director of strategic partnerships for the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program, has been accepted as a Stephen M. Kellen Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Founded in 1921, CFR is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.
In addition, Mateo will be serving as a mentor for Climate Reality Project’s first ever Virtual Global Training from July 18 to July 26, 2020. The training is facilitated by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and participants learn the science of climate change, how to inspire others to take action, and also grassroots organizing. Training in August 2019, Mateo has written and presented on climate change and how it affects vulnerable populations, people with disabilities, and education. The deadline to apply to be trained as a Climate Reality Leader is June 25, 2020. Click here to apply and learn more.
Mariel Fiori spoke in front of 1,000 people at the second annual walk in Kingston. Read the transcript of her speech in English and Spanish below or watch the video here. Read about the event in the Daily Freeman here.
Hello, my name is Mariel Fiori and I am here to give a MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY
Racism is no stranger to our community. For more than 500 years they have wanted to erase us. 500 years of oppression that we no longer want. It is time to decolonize our minds. We say enough is enough.
For me, and for many Latinex, your fight is my fight
I am grateful and full of respect for this community that continues to fight for the respect due to all human beings, regardless of skin color, legal status or sexual orientation.
Your struggle is our struggle.
Divide and conquer, they say. Better to be well informed, and read, knowledge is power.
Well, here I tell you that those who want to divide us need to know that:
The people united will never be defeated.
I am here because I believe that silence is complicit, silence kills, and not only George Floyd, and so many African American and Afro-Latino brothers.
That is why we protest, because we want a system change now. The status quo no longer serves us.
This is a time of healing. We are already seeing results, there are some concrete things to celebrate, but the fight continues.
Who harvested your food today?
Why are there still children caged in detention centers paid with our tax dollars?
Why are there police in schools?
Why give military equipment to the police?
And speaking of the police, how about abolishing ICE?
The pandemic left us thinking, it is time to get down to business.
No justice, no peace.
Sí se puede
Hola, soy Mariel Fiori y vine a dar un MENSAJE DE SOLIDARIDAD
El racismo no es ajeno a nuestra comunidad. Por más de 500 años nos han querido borrar. 500 años de opresión que ya no queremos. Es hora de decolonizar nuestra mente. Decimos basta con ustedes.
Para mi, y para muchos latinx, tu lucha es mi lucha
Me siento agradecida y llena de respeto por esta comunidad que sigue luchando por el respeto debido a todos los seres humanos, sin importer color de piel, estatus legal u orientación sexual.
Su lucha es nuestra lucha.
Divide y reinarás, dicen. Mejor informarse, leer, conocimiento es poder.
Pues acá les digo que los que quieran dividirnos tienen que saber que:
el pueblo unido jamas será vencido.
Estoy acá porque creo que el silencio es cómplice, el silencio mata, y no solo a George Floyd, y tantos hermanos afroamericanos y afrolatinos.
Por eso protestamos, porque queremos un cambio de Sistema ya. El status quo ya no nos sirve, a nadie.
Este es un momento de sanación. Ya estamos viendo resultados, algunas cosas concretas para celebrar, poero la lucha sigue.
¿Quién recogió tu comida de hoy?
¿Por qué hay todavía niños enjaulados en centros de detención pagados con el dinero de nuestros impuestos?
¿Por qué hay policías en las escuelas?
¿Para qué darle equipo militar a la policía?
Y hablando de la policía ¿qué tal si abolimos ICE?
La pandemia nos dejó pensando, es hora de ponernos manos a la obra.
Sin justicia, no hay paz.
La lucha sigue
Sí se puede, Sí se puede
"Reflecting on the Moment" is a collaborative initiative spearheaded by the Dean of the College in consultation with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The new series invites alumni, current undergraduates, faculty, and staff to have honest conversations about the current moment we are living in the wake of a global pandemic and systemic police brutality. The aim is to present models of inclusive dialogue, to draw from the rich personal experiences and expertise of our ever-developing and ever-changing community, and to present approaches for community activism and engagement in the name of racial equity and justice."
In the first installment, Dariel Vasquez, co-founder and co-director of Brothers@Bard and Brothers@ as well as Class of 2017, and Drew Thompson, Assistant Professor of Africana and Historical Studies and Director of Africana Studies, speak about the role of mentorship and the university in the wake of the global pandemic and police brutality.
Visit the Bard Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources webpage.
As part of the Brooklyn Rail New Social Environment Lunchtime Conversation series, BPI Founder and Executive Director Max Kenner ’01, BPI alumnus Darren Mack ’13, director of community engagement and advocacy for JustLeadershipUSA, and Christopher Perez, program director of Bard Microcollege at Brooklyn Public Library, took part in a discussion about their work and experiences with BPI and Bard Microcollege, the history of the programs, and the challenges moving forward in the context of decarceration, COVID-19, and other issues. The conversation was moderated by MIT history professor Craig Steven Wilder and included a Q & A with viewers.
Bard College has received a grant from Second Nature, a Boston-based NGO that supports climate action through higher education. The grant from the Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund will support a project of Bard’s Office of Sustainability to create collection drives for items that contain refrigerants, while aiming to map the ecosystem of refrigerants management in both Ulster and Dutchess counties. The goal is to establish a process that can then be replicated.
“On behalf of the entire Bard College community, I want to express our solidarity with all who grieve for the deaths, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination, and with all who find themselves without hope in these dark and violent times. [...] Something has to change in a way that actually helps the lives of our fellow citizens and neighbors of color.” —Bard College President Leon Botstein
Dear Members of the Bard Community,
I am writing to all of you today with sentiments that I know are widely shared throughout the Bard College community.
Words cannot properly express the anger, sadness and despair each of us feels at the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the killing, by two civilians, of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia, and the murder, once again by officers sworn to uphold the law, of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentucky. The victims were all black; the perpetrators were all white.
On behalf of the entire Bard College community, I want to express our solidarity with all who grieve for the deaths, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination, and with all who find themselves without hope in these dark and violent times.
As we all continue to follow the unfolding national crisis, I also wish to express Bard’s support for the journalists who have covered and continue to report on these events and their aftermath, particularly those of color such as CNN’s Omar Jimenez, who have been punitively targeted by the police because they are professionals of color. Not only are black lives in danger, but our fundamental civil liberties, including freedom of the press are at risk today.
The Bard College community includes members and families connected to Bard’s main campus in Annandale, Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Bard’s seven public High School Early Colleges in New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Cleveland, and New Orleans. Bard’s family includes the students and their families in the Bard Prison Initiative, Bard’s Microcolleges in Brooklyn and Holyoke Mass., and our Clemente Courses throughout the nation. The majority of the students Bard serves across its network are non-white, and nearly half come from families in poverty.
The mission of this nation’s universities and colleges requires faith in the proposition that language and reason are the proper shared instruments of politics and society. Places of learning are dedicated to the belief that, in the long run, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Bard takes pride in its commitment to these ideals.
However, if we are to redeem these noble and just convictions, we must confront the complacency and hypocrisy with which this country has dealt with the systematic injustice based on race that is visible every single day. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the tragic consequences of our tolerance of economic and social inequality plain, as we watch Americans of color suffer disproportionately from the epidemic and the national failure to combat this new disease and its spread.
We must do more than express outrage. Something has to change in a way that actually helps the lives of our fellow citizens and neighbors of color. We have witnessed too many of our nation’s failures to make progress in the matter of racial justice after eruptions of civil unrest. The failures to make sufficient progress, during Reconstruction, after the racial violence of the 1920s, the broken promises of Brown vs. Board of Education of the 1950s, and the dashed hopes after the urban riots of the late 1960s remain vivid in our collective memory. To add insult to injury, we seem to accept with striking passivity the divisive hostility, the open appeal to prejudice, the incompetence, mendacity and ignorance that now represents the Executive Branch of our Federal Government.
We have come to accept as normal the persistence of discrimination, the toxic link between race and economic justice, in which the quality of our public schools plays a central role, and the daily experience of fear on the part of people of color. Universities and colleges must no longer accept the unacceptable that we have the power to change: a substandard education for people of color, particularly in our cities. In an era when the rich have become richer, and when the technological consequences of economic inequality—the digital divide---have accelerated, how can we tolerate the status quo?
I want to assure each and every one of you that Bard College will continue to do its utmost to lead in the task of articulating a better vision of democracy and government and a better reality for all in our country in the sphere of education. Bard’s mission is not restricted to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. It seeks to forge a link between what is true and what is right and good, a connection between epistemology and ethics. Bard is proud to be an institution committed to combating injustice through education. Its investment in educational access for historically underserved populations is in support of the cause of a more just and civil society.
I recognize this is a deeply frightening, frustrating, and challenging time for students, faculty, and staff, particularly those of color. On behalf of the College, please know that Bard is with each of you in spirit, even if, for the time being, we cannot be physically together. In the face of these difficult circumstances, our commitment and resolve is to work together to play our part in building a better future. We will try to do our best as the nation confronts its failures and, guided by its better angels, resolves to change, and realizes the promise of freedom and justice for all.
Thirty Bard Early College New Orleans students received associate's degrees from Bard College in a socially distanced graduation ceremony on May 27 in New Orleans City Park. This was the inaugural class to receive both an AA from Bard and a high school diploma from Frederick A. Douglass High School.
Written by Joelle Powe ‘22
The Program in International Education (PIE) and Bard’s Tuition Exchange bring about twenty five to thirty students from across the Bard network and Tuition Exchange partners to the Annandale campus each semester. My role within the Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) is to support integration efforts into the Bard community by connecting this group of students to CCE’s community outreach programs, friendly Peer Counselors, and other international students. In this position, I also organize excursions and join the group to explore beautiful places that I am also seeing for the first time as an international student.
I first started working with PIE and Exchange students after my now supervisor, Trish Fleming, pulled her car over to ask me to work with the Fall 2019 cohort. She had seen my presentation encouraging conversations across cultures at The Difference and Justice Symposium shortly before that, and asked me to support the next cohort in their adaptation process. I have worked with Bard Abroad for almost a year now and I continue to support my second cohort as they come to the end of their semester with an unexpected ending.
Since the unprecedented circumstances presented by COVID-19, a number of PIE-Exchange students have returned to their home countries, while many remain on campus. In March, I myself returned to my home in Jamaica. To keep them connected to one another, as a group going through the same experience, I created newsletters. I reached out personally to each student, those who remained in Annandale as well as those who returned to Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Egypt. With their stories and photos, I was able to compile a newsletter to share with the entire group. One student is sewing masks, another is coloring, one who lives in the US sent in a photo of the hopeful poem her mom posted on their fridge. I hope that seeing the way they’re all responding, surviving, and thriving will remind them that they are still part of an experience and community at Bard, despite being apart.
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