Meeting Minutes 3/9/2013

Free University Meeting 3/9/2013

Last FreeU meeting report:
talked about the website (i.e. updates as opposed to the blog), came up with poll to propose a Free University structure (as multiple small Free Universities on May Day) which received positive response, discussed structure of call for Free University

A general announcement and all-call needs to be sent out this weekend. Time is running low. A singular May Day event seems like it has low momentum.

  1. A Free University in every park, or a call to “Make the City a University.”
  2. Include invitation to get involved with our meetings for support and networking, Q & A
  3. What can Free University provide to prospective organizers (see Conor’s email pitch on Google, as well as meeting minutes from February 23)

There seem to be two pitches:

  1. Flashy Free University announcement
    1. Include in the announcement that we are doing a city-wide/national Free Education Day
    2. Turn the City into a University/Free University in Every Park
  2. Invitation to create your own Free U event
    1. What is our outreach list for the invitation part? There is a document that Maria will send out to enrich and lengthen our list of possible organizers for Free University events.
    2. Already have confirmation from Cooper Union that they would like to do an event.
    3. What is our national/international network? We should reach out to those networks and see what happens. A lot of people don’t seem to be sure what they will be doing for May Day. Affiliates like Strike Debt who already have a national network/readerships would be good to utilize. If an organizer/organizing group is particularly far away, how do we offer support?
    4. With these questions in mind, it might be good to remain ambiguous as possible when offering support and models for Free University. This both encourages autonomy amongst organizations, and means we won’t stretch ourselves too thin.
    5. Are we trying to replicate International Student Movement’s networking model, of simple postings and all calls?

Why are we doing this city-wide Free University?
1. May Day of 2012 was a very different political and social climate, as galvanized by OWS, etc.
2. We also have tried out a week- long stretched event to encourage more participation, but it was still in Madison Square Park in Manhattan: in a specific environment.
3. This new FreeU May Day would hopefully be a more truly autonomous event for various groups, engendering a more sustainable and less media-flashy movement building exercise.
4. Widening the perspective on the significance of May Day (which holds resonance for people around the world.)
5. It’s an opportunity to tap into various radical and activist energies around the city which are already active and holding events.

Step One: All-Call/announcement
See “May Day Proposal for the Free University of NYC” in Google docs.
1. Should we presumptuously mention that “confirmations are pouring in!!!”??? Conor will reach out to Hampshire and Cooper Union to confirm participation.
2. Include in the All-Call a “contact” or RSVP for more information. (include Google Voice number)
3. Use both “A Free University in Every Park,” and “Turn the City into a Free University” as taglines.
4. Free Universities will be happening all day about the city, and in the afternoon there will be a convergence at (2:30pm?) possibly at Cooper Union. Conor will reach out to Cooper Union folks to ask permission to use that location for the convergence.
5. Organizers are encouraged to arrange their free education event at a time that allows them to attend the convergence, but it isn’t required.
6. Folks at the convergence would have an education rally and then join folks at Union Square.. marching at 3:15pm to arrive at 3:30pm for to join events and the march at 4pm
7. We are not proposing to have our own event in MSP
8. Include what Free University will offer participants in terms of support (outreach/press/publicizing for local autonomous Free Us; our website will host an interactive map and schedule of events for all NYC Free Us; we will offer a “toolkit” that explains how to create a Free University; Free U members are also willing to offer facilitation training to groups offer to go out to groups to help with troubleshooting, and offer to host troubleshooting meetings.)

Step Two: Pitch/invitation to participate
1. Pitch should include a short history to identify ourselves
2. Collaborators are encouraged to RSVP and forward questions/comments/suggestions/needs to Free U by March 25th, Monday; and attend an Open House on March 31st, Sunday. although these deadlines are by no means required or prohibitive.
3. On March 29 and 30th New York Students Rising is having an organizing training event. Free University participants should be encouraged to go, and it will also be a great time to outreach.
a. We should have an Open House event on March 31st, Sunday for prospective participants to come and meet with Free U folks and share ideas/plan/get support.
i. Where should this event be? It should be outdoors/picnic?
ii. 60 Wall Street has lost it’s value as an attractive and open space, to encourage folks to just stop by.

Step Three: Toolkit to be released in tandem with pitch/invitation

  •  Kathleen is going to bottom-line a first draft, based off of previous documents collaboratively written by Free University folks. Also, she will send out an email requesting pieces of opinion for short answer sections.

Step Four: managing incoming flux of communications

  • Need point people and spread sheets

Next meeting:
March 16th, Saturday 1pm-3pm space TBA, 60 Wall Street = fallback

March 23rd is Conor’s Birthday!
Darragh is having an Ides of March/St. Patrick’s Day event on March 16th

When Kathleen’s computer keeled over at about 3pm, we ended.

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