Kerri mentioned that she liked the way that we worded the slides, and others agreed that they were pleasantly surprised we weren’t intending to go into Chief’s office and literally set him on fire.

“I think everyone was worried about how controversial your project was”

Thanks Avery.

We may print out a list of the areas of concern so that we have something to reference, because it would be more professional to have a list pre-prepared than to try and remember off the top of our heads what needs to be fixed. The class suggested that we do not use the specific anecdotes that we have collected. We agree that the anecdotes might make Chief feel like we are being hostile. We are also going to make sure that we keep the same tone that we have on the slides, emphasizing the issues that have arisen instead of the responsible parties. “These are some of the issues that students have brought up” in place of “These are the things that your department is doing wrong.” This will hopefully preserve Chief’s upbeat and positive attitude, and make it clear that we are not there to attack anyone, but to actually improve the relationship between the student body and the department.

The class seemed on board with the idea of a student committee, which was very encouraging. The only question we got was how the members of the committee would be chosen. We’re going to suggest to Chief that the members of the committee be elected by the campus community and see what he has to say. The other option could be to have the positions be applied for through the engagement office.

Interestingly, when Caroline was talking about the Adopt-a-Dorm program, no one in the class had ever heard of it. We have three separate classes in our group, and none of us had ever heard of it either. Theoretically, the program is a great idea, but in practice it hasn’t been followed in any noticeable way. This is definitely something that we are going to bring up in the meeting with Chief. He is very proud of this program, and the fact that no one knows about it really emphasizes the need for better communication. This is a program that could be instrumental in bettering the relationship between DPS and the students, and we believe that we definitely need to focus on making the students more aware that this program exists.


Writing Center Feedback

First, our situation may be slightly different from the other groups, as we have not written as much as they have due to the nature of our project. She read the email that we sent to chief, and gave us feedback and suggestions for the face to face meetings.

She suggested that we make sure to emphasize our appreciation for the department, which we already had in the email, and will reiterate in the face to face meeting. We agree that they need to be recognized for the ways that they help the students. By focusing on that a little more, it makes it clear that we are not attacking them, but genuinely wanting a beneficial relationship between DPS and the student body.

She also suggested that we structure the meeting based on his responses to the email. Honestly, we were expecting a much less positive response and were pleasantly surprised by his reply. It seems so far that he also feels like it would be a good idea to strengthen the relationship. Because of his responses, we are definitely taking her advice and structuring the meeting based on them. For example, “In your reply, you talked about the adopt-a-dorm program that you started, could you elaborate a little more on that?” or “You mentioned that students often don’t reach out to you because of their schedules or because of lack of interest, is there anything you think could be done to improve that?”

She also recommended that we suggest other ways that DPS could get involved on campus, like going to campus events hosted by student groups. This would show that they support the students, and make them recognizable as fully participating campus members. We could approach this by commending them on their DPS karaoke night, and then recommending other ways they could interact, like going to games or joining in on Slice of Transy, to help normalize them as approachable rather than distant.

She did ask us if we were going to talk about the card swipe safety issue, but we don’t feel like that really relates to what we are trying to accomplish. Though it’s definitely a valid concern, and we are supportive of anything that would increase campus safety, it doesn’t really relate to the focus of our project. Besides that one comment though, there’s nothing that she said that we disagreed with. She was actually a valuable outside perspective, and it was very reassuring that she thought we were representing this issue well.


Seas Reaction

This text was a wild ride. By which I mean: the message contained in it was worth spending an hour deciphering a paper that, when stripped of the academic jargon, amounts to “it’s about the marketing, not the message.” This article makes an interesting intentional point, describing the importance of targeting rhetoric to have the largest impact on people in order to allow an idea to grow and thrive. Super important, especially when dealing with issues that affect the entire student body, like the way DPS communicates. In such a small tight-knit community, social contagion is everything. Activism only counts if people are listening, and if people are talking about it.

Which brings me to my second point. The article goes beyond the stated purpose, and highlights a very important factor through the use of its own rhetoric. This text is unreadable to anyone but academics, and even then it’s still not an easy task. This detail serves to make a likely untentional point- If no one can read or understand your message, your audience is going to be




Which, as the article says, is not the best way to keep an idea surviving and thriving. Though the article delivers a ridiculous amount of information, it does so in a way that is not conducive to Informing A Wider Audience or making the point “sticky.”

After reading this article I can definitely argue that, despite recent claims to the contrary, emotions are a key part of activism. So much can be accomplished through policy and requests, emails and meetings. The emotional marketing though, is what makes people care, it’s what gets people interested, and as any viral cat video can show you, people pay attention when something makes them Feel Emotions. Just like the virus cannot exist without the host and without spreading, the message will never be as effective as it needs to be until it is packaged in a way that people can personally connect with, a way that makes them want to spread the message and not just listen and forget. Humans thrive on emotion; it’s why controversial news stories get more attention, why heartwarming videos of children get millions of likes and shares, why Time published an emotional article about a machete wielding man attacking students at a small university. Emotion generates interest, and humans are social creatures. If you can make someone care about an issue, for personal or empathetic reasons, they will share the message with others. This is important to our issue because DPS  has an impact on everyone. They interact with hundreds of students on a daily basis. DPS wants to help students; students want help from DPS. People care about this, and they will continue to care until the situation changes to benefit everyone involved.


Questions for Serenity

1) Is Transy a good place for student activism?

2) What are the challenges to activism on such a small campus?

3) What happens when the stakeholders are resistant to change?

4) What is some of the activism you’ve seen on campus in the past?


Deeper Research

We accidentally posted this entry on Caroline’s blog, and it can be viewed here:


Learning by example

In terms of issues with campus police, there is no shortage of other universities where student activists have fought for better understanding and diversity training for their school’s officers. Often these issues arise out of police misconduct, but this isn’t always true. I tried to find specific examples that weren’t responses to a violent act by the campus police, since there hasn’t been anything like that on our campus.

At the university of Chicago, student activists started a movement called the Campaign for Equitable Policing. This movement aims to end racial profiling by the UC campus police, and is composed of students and residents. In October 2014, they held their first meeting which allowed students, faculty, and community members to share grievances and suggestions for improvement for the community as a whole. I think that this would be a very good direction for our project. We’ve already talked about having a sort of open forum for similar discussion, and I think that it would be just as beneficial as it was at UC. A community forum makes it more of a cohesive cooperative interaction and doesn’t seem like any blame is being placed unjustly or that anyone is being attacked.

In another article ( which sounds like it possibly comes from an alternate universe in which our class is taking place, a woman explains how she taught her campus police to more tactfully address the issue of sexual assault. She discusses meeting with the chief of campus police before publishing an angry article about the matter, and being surprised at how willing they were to work with her. She mentioned that she was working with several different campus diversity groups to better educate the campus police on how to respond to sensitive issues, and working to get them sensitivity training. I hope that our campus police will be just as responsive to this type of meeting, and that we can create a similar productive dialogue. This article really stood out to me because she was, like us, in a class about writing for change, and was upset at the lack of respect for sexual assault survivors from the police force. I think that it really shows that their campus police was very willing to educate themselves to better serve the student body, and I really do have faith that DPS will be equally interested in strengthening their relationship with the rest of the Transy community




I thought that this article made some very good points. Especially when it comes to sensitive and daunting issues like “changing the entire campus police” it’s important to remember to give administrators time and be ready to make compromises. Not everything can change all at once, and I think the anger-fueled internet activism doesn’t really translate well into real life.

It’s interesting reading this article right now, as I am in the middle of trying to figure out what is and is not important to include of the stories that other students have told me about DPS. I feel like this article made a good point, which is that administrators would be much more likely to respond to things that are objectively awful rather than subjectively awful. (Example: Objectively awful is making sexual comments to underclassmen. Subjectively bad but not really something to get up in arms about: DPS making comments about how a woman should have done her makeup)

I thought that the interview with Esophorous was interesting, both because it humanized the “sensitive college liberal” strawman argument that is often used by older generations to decry trigger warnings and mental health concerns. I also thought it was really fascinating that some of Esophorous’s other comments reflected the same ideas in our own presentations. Especially the part bout having to interact with professors who aren’t understanding about health issues, which is Shelby’s exact project.

On the other hand. I think that there are a lot of good points made in this article about the direction in which student activism is heading. I think that virtue signaling and individualism has just as much of a chance to destroy student activism as it does to advance it. I think that a lot of the virtue signaling we do now, like throwing a fit when there are sombrero table decorations at a cinco de mayo party, creates a disconnect between our generation and older generations. I think that the virtue signaling and identity based activism makes it very difficult to have productive and understanding conversations, because any disagreement means that you are directly disrespecting someones identity (whether literally or theoretically). This approach means that anyone that does not agree 100 percent with proposed or demanded changes is a bigot, even if their personal opinion is not actually bigoted. Calling people bigots the exact second that they disagree with you isn’t going to contribute much to your cause, especially if the people that are trying to listen to you and help you make changes are the ones you are attacking.