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thirty-third edition | weather: back to normal 😎  | read time: 10 mins
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IN THIS EDITION:


ARTS REVIEW PUBLISHES PROF’S GRINDR BECAUSE, ERM, #WHOSTEACHINGUS(?) -- THEN GETS CENSORED BY ADMIN

INSIDE THE DECISION TO KEEP FMOTQ
OR: JUST BECAUSE THE DECISION WAS RIGHT DOESN’T MEAN THE LOGIC WAS SANE

GREG BOARDMAN GETS A NICE LETTER FROM FOHO
  

WHAT WE’RE READING


AKA, WE CONSUME THE #CONTENT SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A new year is here, and no Stanford fall would be complete without some environmental justice campaigning. FoHo was particularly intrigued by this STATIC piece which claimed that Fossil Free Stanford – a movement for fossil fuel divestment which was rejected by the administration, staged a university sit-in, were threatened with expulsion, posed for pics with Hennessy after he went to get a haircut during their protest, planned to disrupt Admit Weekend, etc. etc. etc. – is racist. There are logical holes big enough to drive a truck through in the piece – we’d love to see how FFS would “incorporat[e] black feminist theory” into rallies and still look on-message – but as Who’s Teaching Us swallows every movement around it, the changes described are probably inevitable.

More interestingly, FoHo dropped in on FFS’s first meeting of the year, where they reportedly announced they’re planning on forcing SSE – Stanford’s student finances division, which is meant to manage and generate returns on student group cash – to divest. Given SSE’s history of incompetence and shadiness, achieving change there shouldn’t be hard, but here’s a bunch of pro-divestment (1, 2, 3) and opposing (1, 2, 3) pieces from the last year if you want a refresher on the arguments in play. Two notes about more recent changes: low oil prices mean Stanford has started divesting anyway (Review), and FFS is now creating “constructive” demands the anti-divesters always wanted, so maybe things will get moving.

Remember Fraiche? The nice yogurt place in Tresidder that brought light to the day of people fed up with bison burgers, chicken tenders and Starbucks’ poor rendition of an Egg McMuffin? Yeah nah it’s gone. When the lease expired, Stanford (surprise!) awarded the contract for Tresidder corner to its own subsidiary – Residential and Dining Enterprises – despite the fact that the “grill” has no customers, mostly because the (identical) Axe and Palm is literally next door. For more on how R&DE squeezes out popular commercial competition to the Stanford garbage machine, see the demise of the beloved Ike’s in Huang a few years back (1, 2).

Two sexual assault cases are developing on campus. The one you got emailed about took place in the east campus dorm room of the perpetrator (though the victim did not know him beforehand). Meanwhile, a grad student is out on $100,000 bail for an assault in the Lyman graduate residences (Daily). We’re in touch with the police department and will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, the student Senate is set to hand $35,000 to the Diversity and First-Gen Office, which in turn is supposed to hand that money out to a bunch of student groups to help facilitate event access for low-income students (bill, Daily article). Sounds great to FoHo, but we remember the Senate rejected an extremely similar policy last year because DGen refused to say how they’d spend it, and there were allegations they were just going to write people blank checks. We’ll be keeping an eye on how this experiment turns out, given it cost each of you $5 to happen.

In lighter news, Math 51 now has an entrance exam, presumably because masochistic students didn’t know where to stop themselves (Daily).

FMOTQ
THE INSIDE STORY

A FOHO EXCLUSIVE

 
TL;DR: After a giant University U-Turn, FMOTQ remains intact, but the people who postponed it don’t care about you and don’t know how to change it. Don’t get complacent.

Full Moon on the Quad is one of Stanford’s weirdest, wildest, funnest traditions. Naturally, since it’s fun, the administration has had no time for it. Junior class presidents – who organize the event – tell FoHo that Stanford has created increasingly ridiculous barriers to stifle the event. Case in point: last year, Student Activities and Life (a part of RedEd) insisted on hiring a dozen ‘sound monitors’ with decibel-meters to sit in strategic points around Palo Alto and confirm the volume wasn’t exceeding locally-mandated limits. No volunteers were allowed (?!?!), which meant Stanford literally paid people to sit with microphones and two-way radios outside Oren’s for a few hours.

Last year, Greg Boardman (Vice Provost for Student Affairs / full-time bad guy) threatened to withdraw support for the event altogether, claiming it failed to represent “the values of our community.” This was, of course, bullshit, and 89% of the ‘community’ voted to keep the event as it is (1, 2). Instead, Boardman proposed a “new tradition”. Only problem: he had no idea what that tradition might be, and neither did any of the SAL administrators who either refused to talk to us or vaguely promised to “let students decide”

Anyway, after their thumping vote of no confidence in student elections, Stanford formed a ‘working group’ of students and administrators to ‘fix’ an event that was fine how it was.

 
[The exclusive stuff begins ~~here~~]
 
This working group has been the object of much fascination. It was led by Snehal Naik, an Associate Dean at SAL (known for, er, not much, except destroying student groups by banning them from selecting members based on competence – he’s also currently FoHo’s #2 most-active reader by links clicked 😏); Carley Flanery, director of SARA; and (apparently) the new Junior Class Presidents – though none of them seem to know anything about the process. To the surprise of literally everyone, after beavering away for three months, the group decided to postpone the event to Winter rather than cancel it (Review).

A U-turn like this is pretty shocking for Stanford. Remember, the alcohol ban – despite being even less popular than the FMOTQ ban – is meant to stay in force for five fucking years. Props to the students who showed up to meetings and RAs who dug their heels in for forcing the most prudish administrators at Stanford into a course reversal.

But the fight probably isn’t over. We showed up to a Q&A with the committee to see whether they’re actually listening or whether they’re just running away from a wildly unpopular idea with their hair on fire. Shocker! – it looks like the second interpretation is the right way to see this. Specifically, FoHo observed:
  • A blatant lack of interest in what students thought: The committee described the referendum as a “helpful data point”. But it wasn’t a “catalyst” for their discussions, and they didn’t really care because they had their own “focus groups”. (FoHo has yet to locate a single student in any of these focus groups. If you’re one of them, please reach out!)
  • A surprising lack of smoking guns: Presumably, if you were going to ban an event that 90% of students loved and that was better-regulated and safer than any Saturday-night campus party, you might have some data – or some suggestion of evidence – that explains why FMOTQ is just too unspeakably awful to sanction. Err…nope. The committee decided FMOTQ’s problems were “less about metrics of violence and alcohol abuse,” and more about…hmm, tbh they weren’t sure either.
  • An unwillingness to admit the bleeding obvious: Look, we know that Stanford’s a bit afraid of hosting anything after the terrible media coverage Brock got them – and the legal liability of something happening in Main Quad (not that it’s any different than any all-campus). But the committee wasn’t willing to admit that this had any impact on Boardman’s constant attempts to shut FMOTQ down. Instead, more garbage about evolving traditions.
  • No particular way to make the event much safer: So, let’s assume FMOTQ is really unbearably unsafe. How does Stanford’s special committee plan to make it safer? No real ideas here from the panel of experts, except one amazing idea – fund some support and consent groups that…erm…already exist, and supported FMOTQ back in April. The only new idea is that freshmen might get better consent training, so we should wait for that to finish. Just one small problem here: consent training just finished (and, according to the Daily, was pretty comprehensive!), so FMOTQ in fall wouldn’t have been an issue if that were the actual justification.

It’s an amazing climbdown for administrators who were ready to nuke the event last spring to be willing to host it – albeit later in the year – after forming a panel that seemed stacked against sanity. But the laughable reasoning of the administration is hardly a change of course for Stanford. 

The reasons Stanford tried to shut down FMOTQ are pretty clear. It’s noisy, it suggests that students might actually prefer music and sex to Build-a-Bear at Cardinal Nights, and it generates embarrassing NYT stories. The only reason they gave in this time was because students loudly and repeatedly said enough was enough – not because Snehal and Carley have decided, out of the goodness of their hearts, to start paying attention to what Stanford thinks. 

RACISM AT PATIO


Many of you have probably heard of Patio, a bar on Emerson Street with karaoke and drinks. It’s pretty popular. It’s also, apparently, super super racist. A tipster sent us this pdf with a litany of instances where people were ‘mysteriously’ turned away for not-so-mysterious reasons. FoHo is sad that this still happens. 😞
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WE SENT GREG BOARDMAN A LETTER


and you can read it too! 😃


We asked, you answered. Dozens of RAs, staffers, frosh, upperclassmen and even the odd alum chipped in to shit on Stanford’s new alcohol policy – ICYMI, the one with little academic support, RAs who don’t want to enforce it, and an administration that won’t let it die till 2021 at the earliest.

We produced this lovely pdf, printed it and mailed it to Etch, Boardman and Natalie Thomas, Stanford’s new 1984-style ‘alcohol educator’. Last time students complained about the university shoving garbage down their throats, the admin claimed they hadn’t heard or seen from the student body. So, here are their FedEx tracking numbers, so you can check for yourself whether they’ve read what you have to say. 😊


Etchemendy, Provost: 9505512859916281033554
Boardman, Arch-Banner of Fun: 9505512859916281033561
Thomas, Tasked With Making Shitshow Work: 9505512859916281033578

PS we know you three are on our mailing list – if you ever feel like commenting, hit us up tips@fountainhopper.com 😘 😘

ART STUDENT FINDS PROF ON GRINDR, LOSES SHIT;
STANFORD CENSORS ARTS REVIEW

 

A FOHO EXCLUSIVE
 

TL;DR: Stanford Arts Review pubs piece from angry student with prof’s Grindr profile, Stanford Legal shuts them down 😲

Picture the scene. You’re an Art History major with an interest in queer art who finds a professor with an outstanding background in this very area. You get excited and decide to embark on independent study with him. He doesn’t reply to your emails for a bit, and you get worried. So, do you:

a) Reach out to the Art History department?
b) Email your academic advisor? 

or:
c) Write a flaming op-ed in the Stanford Arts Review that includes screenshots of your professor’s Grindr profile?

Here’s what happened. The student – let’s call them X – alleges that the professor, M, ignored him for nearly a full quarter, then gave X an incomplete because of “unforeseen mental challenges.” Naturally, according to X, this was because the professor is white – because clearly a queer art historian has no experience whatsoever of the struggles of marginalized groups, and professors take great pleasure in fucking over nonwhite students for no reason.

More likely, it’s because tenured professors can do pretty much whatever they want. In fact, that’s literally the point of tenure: let professors do anything, and they embark on cool/risky research. But they can also treat students like shit, and Stanford can’t do much to stop them.

It does seem 
like prof treated student like shit in this case – constant missed meetings, non-communication, etc. etc. We saw decent evidence to that effect, and we don’t have the other side because prof isn’t picking up the phone. (Protip to prof: pick up the phone!)

But when you get a shitty academic advisor – and sure, they do show up – it’s a bit weird not to go to ombudsmen or department chairs but instead to post your professor’s Grindr profile online. 🤔


Here’s where it gets interesting. The Editor-in-Chief of the Arts Review decided the article (now on Medium) was good to publish – fine, that’s their right. Then, the Arts Review’s faculty advisor heard from the Arts Institute and the Stanford legal office that the article was “inflammatory”. The article was quickly taken down. The advisor now reportedly wants to “take a more active role in overseeing content.”

 

 

Look, it’s up to you to believe whether the student should have published this – it seems pretty extreme to us but they tried a bunch of other avenues and tenure (reportedly) made them all fruitless. But you should believe that independent campus publications have the right to say what they want when the editorial team makes a decision, and should take the social consequences – not be shut down by Stanford’s speech police.

There was always a fear that Stanford could exercise censorship power on nominally-independent publications. Now we have it in writing.

ICYMI, we don’t take money from Stanford, so they can’t shut us down 😁

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