Living Wage Coalition members arrested, removed from President’s Office

by TJ O'Sullivan on April 20, 2011

The Living Wage Coalition staged a sit-in inside President Taylor Reveley’s office on April 20th, refusing to vacate despite receiving five separate student conduct violations each ranging from disrupting the business of the university to refusing to comply with college officials to unauthorized presence in a closed college building. At almost 1am in the morning, all five members of the Living Wage Coalition who refused to leave Reveley’s office were arrested and released with court summons.


“Arresting students is never the desired outcome – one we have attempted to avoid the entire day,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler in an address to the five students prior to their arrest.

“We are staging a sit-in because we feel like this is the only thing that will be able to work to really pressure the administration to act on living wages,” said Katie Dalby (’11), a major organizer for the Coalition. “We have worked so hard this semester, gathering student, faculty, and community support for living wages.  And last week at the BOV meeting, the President made it one hundred percent clear that he was not willing to move forward, that he’s not willing to find solutions.  He says there is no solution.”


The group arrived in Reveley’s office at around 9:00am, Wednesday morning.  One member of the group had scheduled a meeting with the President, but a group of members of the LWC arrived instead.

Reveley left for lunch at around 11am after a reportedly tense morning as he voiced his frustration with the sit-in and they reiterated their goal of increasing workers’ wages.

The LWC held a rally inside Reveley’s office at noon with roughly thirty-some people attending including Associate Professor Jennifer Bickhan-Mendez of the Sociology Department and Professor Cindy Hahamovitch of the History Department who gave a teach-in on the history of the fight for Living Wages.

At around 2:10pm, President Reveley abandoned his office after LWC members continued chanting and reading workers’ stories aloud, assuring members that if their goal had been to force him out of his office to get work done, they had succeeded.


“I think that certainly we want the students to have an opportunity to express themselves… [however,] we want to continue the College’s business,” said Brian Whitson, spokesman for the College. “Student activism is part of the college experience.  We know they feel strongly and we wanted to allow them to protest in an orderly manner.  But now we have to get on with the business of the College.”

“Even though we might be disrupting the work of the university for one day, workers who remain in poverty working here, they’re lives are disrupted every day by having to work second and third jobs, by having to choose between paying the rent and feeding their kids,” said Dalby.

At around 2:25pm, Ginger Ambler, Vice President for Student Affairs notified the group of students in the office that they had until 2:45 to vacate the office or face student conduct violations.  “No one here is saying that you don’t have the right to speech or to protest or to lobby for a cause you believe in.  I did not say that.  You just don’t have the right to disrupt the business of the College.”

K.B. Brower (’11), a major member of the LWC, questioned this and argued that the College was trying to silence their free speech. “You do not have the right to free speech in this office.  You have the right to free speech in public areas,” said Patricia Volp, Dean of Students. “Any violations can result in a range of sanctions from warning to suspension… Your cooperation makes a lot of difference.”

As a number of students left, leaving behind 5 remaining students and the LWC’s attorney, they chanted “Peace and Power to the People” and “No Justice, no Peace.”

At 2:45pm, Dean Volp began taking the names of the people left in the room after 2:45.  She reported that these people will face conduct violations for disrupting the normal business of the College and for refusing to comply with the directions of college officials.  Remaining in the room were Katie Dalby (’11), Maggie Russolello (’12), Addie Alexander (’11), and Emily Glasson (’13) as well as the attorney Paul Falabella.


The five students will face additional conduct violations for remaining in the building after 5pm as that is when the Brafferton officially closes.  At around 5pm, Russolello and Dalby spoke to a group of supporters from the window of Reveley’s office despite warnings from members of the administration not to do so.

Now that the Brafferton was closed, LWC members were not allowed to bring in food for the five remaining members sitting in Reveley’s office.

When pressed for comment, police officers sitting in the lower level of the Brafferton suggested that it was not in the plan at that time to arrest or forcibly remove the LWC members from the building, but rather to allow them to remain there until they chose to leave. However, in a statement after the arrests, Chief Challis of the William and Mary Police clarified that they had merely been trying to give the students as many opportunities to leave as possible, but in the end, needed to enforce the law.

In her statement to the students before their arrest, Ginger Ambler stated, “At this point, you have been given multiple opportunities to leave the building. I am here to give you one final opportunity to exit and avoid legal action… If you remain in the Brafferton after 10 minutes, this will become a police matter. You will be arrested for trespassing, and this will become a matter for the legal system.”

As it stands, the five members of the LWC will be facing a minimum five student conduct violations each on top of whatever results of their respective court summons.

 

 

139 comments on “Living Wage Coalition members arrested, removed from President’s Office

  1. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Seems like redistributing Reveley’s office didn’t work out to well for the rabble rousing leftists

    • I wholehardedly agree with student, these guys make to whole College look bad. But please don’t include all liberals in with these loons.

      • I’d say that’s fair. Clearly the fact that the student body, which is skewed towards the liberal side of the political spectrum, has rejected these far-left loons, indicates that the LWC is not representative of most liberals. Of course, some might argue that one might be representing a personal honors thesis instead.

        • Just because the majority thinks something is right, doesn’t make it so. The majority doesn’t know what’s going on at William & Mary.

          For three years no one has gotten a raise at the school. No one. Meanwhile the school is spending $26 million on fraternity housing, and also spent $50,000 on a consulting firm instead of investing this money into students and faculty.

          I think the Living Wage Campaign represents a voice of dissent – how can the school justify these skewed priorities?

          • When over 300 students are put on a waitlist for housing, I’d say that’s one of the College’s top concerns. While I don’t believe that $26 million should be spent on the fraternities (not my point of posting), that opens up the units for the rest of the student body. Most people don’t want to live in the units for many reasons, but this housing deal will open up a lot of spaces for people to live. in coming years. So basically, $26 million is being invested in the students. Yes, the faculty’s pay should be raised, but I would argue that having a place to live is a higher priority than that. Once those needs are met, then funds can be appropriated to raises.

          • More money comes in from fraternity alumni than from non-fraternity alumni. Its thats simple. Not to mention that the Greek system here produces some of the most active students on campus, and has been continually passed over for additional funding for years. This has been a long time coming.

            William and Mary is a school and business and must do what it can to appease its biggest contributers. Have any of you taken Economics courses?

          • That $26 million has been earmarked so it can’t be spent anywhere but housing, and the funds for it are coming from the cost of living in the new housing. The argument that the College should take those funds and use them to increase the wages of unskilled workers is invalid because it simply can’t by law redistribute those funds.

            The College is terribly pinched for money now. If these people want wages to be increased they should be lobbying the VA legislature instead. Privatization of this school or at least increased state funding would be far more helpful since only 12% of total funding comes from the state now.

          • Note: Frequently, alumni give money to the university and specify what it must be used for. This, I believe, is the case with both the new fraternity housing and the new business school, although I don’t know where the money from the consulting firm came from.
            Donations from alumni are not a steady source of income- they are a one time event. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to use this money for wage raises, because the same amount of money available cannot be relied upon to be there next year.
            Because of this simple reality and the fact that donors often specify what should be done with their money, the College uses donations mostly for building projects. The operating budget of the school, which is what salaries come from, is a combination of money from the state (which is cut every year no matter which party is in power) and the interest from money the College has invested (the gains from which are lower when the economy is weak, as it is now).
            THAT is why there have been no raises and a halt on hiring. Haven’t you heard, sweetie? It’s a recession.

  2. They have talked about doing something at Graduation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgHgAnzQzWs&feature=player_embedded#t=134s

  3. wow its funny that people who are actually doing things this for the good of this college are being called loones, that sounds like some messed up conservative agenda to me. this may be making the college look bad, but for good reason they don’t make the people who should be a priority: students or the workers

    • No, they’re being called loons because they are no longer actually doing anything that his helping. Peaceful protest, sit ins, etc, can only work if you respectfully stay within the law. That’s the point. They preach freedom of speech with an obvious complete disregard for what the first amendment actually cover. They went outside of it. They are not helping your cause anymore, they are alienating the school away from your cause along with a large portion of the student body.

      • “Peaceful protest, sit ins, etc, can only work if you respectfully stay within the law.”

        No they don’t. The sit-ins of the civil rights era broke the law by seating blacks on segregated counters or in segregated restaurants.

        This doesn’t mean that it’s okay to break the law to make a point, just that sit-ins are a peaceful way of showing how a perfectly legitimate law can be used to silence dissent.

        • Honestly I think its an insult to Martin Luther King to quote him and compare the LWC campaign to the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King DIED fighting for equality of opportunity. He believed that society, both black and white could improve itself if granted equal status under the law. Prior to the Civil Rights movement black people were forced, not just by individuals, but by law to take a submissive role in society. The Civil Rights movement and Dr. King engaged in sit-ins literally in pursuit of the freedoms promised under the Constitution.

          While it is unfortunate that wages are low across the Board for W&M workers, it is in NO way similar to the Civil Rights movement. The LWC is seeking economic benefits, not human rights. The fact that workers can freely criticize the administration and push for wage increases is a credit to Dr. King.

          We are still in a recession. No one has gotten wage increases in 3 years. And with the State cutting funding, the BOV has had to raise tuition just to keep funding at current levels. Life is hard for everyone. But to compare yesterday’s sit-in to those of the Civil Right’s movement is not only incorrect, it is an insult to those brave men and women who risked (and frequently lost) life and livelihood for equal RIGHTS.

          The LWC is seeking economic benefits and privileges that odds are they won’t have to incur, and nothing more.

          • Dr. King died in Memphis – at the time he was joining the fight for higher wages for sanitation workers. At his death he had moved from the fight for civil equality to economic access and living wages. The Living Wage Campaign continues that fight.

            We’re used to thinking of economic benefits as just that – benefits – instead of rights. But what’s so strange about asking for a fair wage for a day’s work? Isn’t it your right not to be exploited? Just because your job involves cleaning doesn’t mean it should be paid a poverty-level wage.

            The argument the Living Wage campaign is making is that the workers are severely undervalued at William & Mary. If you ever visit the campus you can see for yourself.

          • I’m not sure about you guys, but I don’t consider splashing soapy water on the shower walls cleaning. I would wholeheartedly rather have a system that had everyone on the hall contribute to cleaning the hall bathroom on some sort of rotation. Drying the counters isn’t actually cleaning them either. Even if there were funds available, I would expect the workers to actually clean instead of doing this sort of fake cleaning. It’s not sanitary and that’s what they pass off as doing their job.

          • I agree with “Yet another student”. The workers really don’t do that much work. It’s unskilled labor and they should get paid as such. They are already paid above state average, and in this recession simply having a job is doing a lot better than many other unskilled laborers. If the LWC really wanted to do something to help these people they would help sponsor a “Quit Smoking” program. I honestly see many of these workers smoking more than working, and smoking takes a huge cut out of anyone’s paycheck from costs of cigarettes and healthcare.

        • Those who participated in the sit-ins of the civil rights era were deliberately breaking an unjust law. That’s what made them legitimate protest. The LWC students were breaking laws and college regulations against trespassing, laws which are not unjust, and have nothing at all to do with their cause. That is why this sit-in was not legitimate protest, but rather a publicity stunt, which is not at all the same thing.

        • So the law preventing people from entering private property and doing as they please is being used to silence dissent?

  4. I was actually for the living wage up until this nonsense. This wasn’t about the employees, this was about personal glorification.

    • that doesn’t make sense. honestly these students could get kicked out of school, fro sure when i think glory thats what i think about…

      • If they get kicked out, it ultimately isn’t their fault for being short sighted and not learning their limits but rather the oppressive system that they fought until the end to break.

        That’s their glory.

      • this is NOT about glory….
        risking your academic career to ensure LIVING WAGES for families to be able to sustain will benefit them in no way.

        get a heart. put PEOPLE over profit.

        • yo. fellow far left loonist – are you an idiot? “put people over profit’???? If there is no profit then nobody has a job

          • His point is that if we put profit over people we end up exploiting people.

            Profit is a tool used to help people, it is not an end in itself.

          • You are sillyyy!! Really… the idea of “put people over profit” is saying to VALUE the people who generate that profit more than the profit itsself. Many of the people running this country, running this school (perhaps a large majority of people in general) have forgotten their connection with people and simply look for the tangibles that they can get out of this life (which we all exit the same way anyhow).

            Have you ever been able to reap produce without first planting the seeds, watering them, and giving them the attention they need? What have you ever gotten without giving something first? We are in this so called “recession” but there are some people who get to live their lives as if the concept of a recession is nonexistent.

            I believe that our community is ignorant of itsself–the power and influence that it really has. But I guess as long as YOUR mouths are fed you will always have the energy to oppose fairness, equality and equity.

            DISGUSTING.

          • You can still make plenty of profit while people are making FAIR WAGES!

            Then it would be REAL PROFIT && not CHEATING. :)

        • That is flawed logic. There is no room for a “heart” in an economic discussion. Grow up.

          If they can not afford to feed their families, then it was their own poor decision to have children they can not afford.

          • How can you safely assume that there’s no room for “heart” in an economic discussion? Life is uncertain, and that’s why societies develop social insurance. Our society long ago rejected the idea that people need to starve on the streets for being born disabled, or for growing old. We also reject the notion that it’s okay to be paid low wages simply because what we do is “menial” or “low.”

            And in any case you don’t necessarily need to be a softie to realize what exploitation is. If you were paid an unfair wage, I’m pretty sure you would know it when you saw it.

        • The last time I checked, I wasn’t getting a profit out of being here. In fact, I pay the school a lot of money. More and more each year, just to keep salaries at the place they are now and prevent any actual firings of employees. I am happy to do that; I don’t want to be responsible for anyone getting fired during a recession. But I am not going to support wage hikes for unskilled laborers who are already paid above the state average income when our professors, who spent years of hard work getting pHDs and work every bit as hard attempting to shove information into your thick skulls (and often much harder) than the people who “clean” (cough) our dorms, are not getting wage hikes and are paid much less than the average national income for a person with their level of education.
          That is unreasonable. It is idiocy. You have no support here- not even HERE on the INTERNET. If you are doing something so crazy that not even the INTERNET wants a piece of it, maybe you should rethink.

  5. My parents just spent $130,000 on my education and you’re planning on being immature and yelling at them about wages at the celebration of a ton of hard work and money spent on getting a degree? Don’t ruin my graduation weekend because you want attention and to seem like a social activist and a martyr for a cause. It’s already embarrassing enough that you’re making students look immature. Don’t do it in front of my parents.

    • Its a damn shame that students are so ignorant and dont even realize when their voice could be the voice of reason.

      It’s a good thing your parents could afford to send you to college, isnt it?
      Let’s not be selfish…some cant afford this luxury that has become a necessity. :)

      • It seems that you are not seeing her point. They were willing to give concessions such as more classes for the workers and parking passes back in October. LWC spat on that agreement and pushed for more. Now the workers won’t be getting anything and some of the LWC members could be expelled. Does this really sound logical? Perhaps they should have taken what they could have gotten and EDUCATED the workers for FREE. Later on they would be able to get more money with an education.

        • This is a problematic mindset – the school was willing to throw out token benefits without implementing any real change. This is the reason the Living Wage Campaign did not back down. Real change means real wages for everyone.

          The school is willing to spend millions on other projects (like fraternity housing) as well as spending $50,000 on outside consulting firms. None of this goes to the students, the workers, or the faculty.

          How can the administration at William & Mary justify this?

          • A- The frats bring in money both by alumni donations and frat housing means there current housing gets freed up.
            B- Presumably the consulting firm has been hired to do something

      • I’m really tired of hearing people say that others can’t afford to go to college. They may not have the money in their personal bank account and their parents may not either. That’s what federal loans, grants, and scholarships are for. Anyone who wants to go to a higher institution of learning can do so, but only if they put in the work.

          • By “stingy” you mean they don’t want their hard work to benefit others. You are absolutely right! This idea of forced charity is a socialistic response to a tighter fiscal climate. It has been proven through out history to never yield positive results for any nation.

            Your logic is comically childish. It is as if your parents said to you, “Don’t worry, life ‘IS’ fair.”

          • NO. By “stingy” I refer to the cuts that have been made to give wealthy individuals/corporations tax breaks when (let’s realistically face it) they make more than enough to give back…
            Yet, Bank of America (just one of many) paid NO INCOME tax last year.
            THAT is stingy.

          • Make enough for whom? And what is enough exactly is enough. You are not the judge of what I do with my funds. If I make 200k + a year and want to spend every penny of it on myself and my family, who are you to tell me otherwise?

            To address your statement about tax cuts for the wealthy, I will once again have to explain basic economics to you. Much like with the fraternities receiving new facilities (they contribute more to our endowment or for arguments sake, William and Mary’s “economy”) the wealthy receive tax cuts because they do more to stimulate our economy than the other 98% of the nation combined. So yes, it makes sense to give them a break as an incentive.

            You aren’t using logic, you are using an emotional response to a frustrating situation for you. It is completely normal, but it is not professional.

            You are a liberal, and thus, I will never agree with your point of view. I personally believe we are paying these “workers” far to much as is. I would like to test a theory. Tell each hall that they have to clean their own halls each week, but they get a cut to their tuition. I promise you, if put that to a vote (this is a democracy after all) students will overwhelmingly vote to clean their own halls. These workers are nice people, but they do their jobs terribly. This is undeniable. It is literally the most unskilled profession available, and they can barely achieve satisfactory results.

            The fact that we look the other way while they sit around and smoke cigarettes and watch Judge Joe Brown, or the People’s Court on our common room tv’s, should be more than enough payment. This entire LWC organization and the custodians alike should count their blessings, realize this has been a huge waste of time (not to mention terrible publicity), and cut their losses.

  6. Whether or not you agree with the LWC, this sets a dangerous precedent for the college acting to repress the voice of student protest on campus. Dean Ambler implied that students who are “disrupting the business of the college” must be swept aside. Arresting these students was a swift and idiotic solution to a situation that could have led to more campus dialogue on the issue. I don’t personally agree with the LWC’s move to occupy the president’s office, but I do think that the college handled this situation in the worst manner possible. No student should have to face a black mark on their record for trying to voice dissenting views that they are entitled to have.

    • How many events (and incidents of vandalism) has the LWC involved itself in on campus without being silenced. It literally took forcibly occupying a private office fro several hours for the Administration to clamp down. The vast majority of LWC supporters will not have black marks for protesting, just those who broke the law, were given a chance to leave, and still refused. This is not a threat to student rights.

  7. Considering that they broke laws, did not in any way regard the administration, have been EXTREMELY hostile towards the administration as a whole since the beginning of their campaign, have done NO sorts of compromise work with the administration (rather they have just demanded that they get what they want done regardless of what was possible with the rule of donations), I have no sympathy.

    Congrats on getting arrested, you should have known better. This is NOT how you bring about change.

    I think that their message is good, the way they are pursuing it is not. They have alienated themselves from a large amount of the campus and they are going nowhere. Now they have gone from following the rules to attempting to break them.

  8. How much are they willing to spend to see wages increase? That’s the real question. Money doesn’t spontaneously appear in workers’ pockets. My recommendation: get a high-paying job somewhere and donate a good portion of your salary to the workers. This is an individual matter, not something that can be forced on everyone. Last resort: the workers at W&M aren’t satisfied with the money they are making and they find different jobs. That’s what everyone else does.

    • William & Mary is spending $26 million to build new fraternity housing, meanwhile no one on the campus has gotten a raise in three years.

      The administration has also hiked up tuition – granted they’ve increased the amount of financial aid.

      No one stays at a low-wage job because they want to – these workers don’t have any other option. Most of them grew up in the Jim Crow era where there were no opportunities for them to advance.

      Once upon a time these jobs could sustain them because wages kept up with cost of living. That has changed now since the College prefers to spend money on frat housing rather than on the people who make it work.

      • Money for housing comes from loans from the state of Virginia earmarked for construction and private donations, very little comes from the college operating budget. Also Greeks traditionally remain the most involved in the college after graduation and, along with B-School grads, donate the most.

        • You might be right, but if you are it contradicts the administration’s position that the $26 million came from housing fees from students.

          • Only a portion came from student fees. As the fraternities create the most noticeable successful students on campus, as well as create the highest donating segment of the alumni, they should be compensated as such.

            At more successful schools like UVA (US News and World Report rankings) the fraternities are more celebrated, and thus they give back in greater numbers. This creates much larger endowments for the University. Thus, when an economic crisis strikes, they can still afford raises for the faculty and staff across the board.

            GET IT!

          • This is a great solution – especially since some of the fraternities support LWC, and not one would want to be part of a school that exploits its workers.

  9. What surprises me is that the LWC still expects to be taken seriously after pissing off Reveley in so public a manner. We are in college. It’s time to learn the proper channels for achieving change. I respect the passion of the LWC, but their methods are proving questionable.

    • It seems to me that President Reveley is the one in the wrong here. The students at William & Mary are tired of subsidizing the exploitation of the custodial staff. The fact that Reveley is so dismissive of this troubles me. He should listen to the students – they’re the lifeblood of the school.

        • The Living Wage Campaign has broad support – students at William & Mary put a lot of weight into their academics – the 10-20 you see represent a much broader consensus.

          To be fair, is their position wrong because there’s “only 10-20″ of them? It only takes one person to make a difference. At William & Mary, there’s at least ten.

          And that gives me hope.

        • The Living Wage Coalition was able to bring over 100 students to its Community Forum in March during midterm week. It collected over 800 petitions for living wages back in the Fall. It held three rallies including one in September (+100 ppl), one in November (+100 people) and the April 4 Rally (+160 ppl). In addition to the support living wages has from local unions, community leaders, churches, and the like, even many of the comments on this wall suggest that most of the student body thinks that poverty is unacceptable at William and Mary. While the LWC’s confrontational actions might not have support, living wages do.

      • I love President Reveley. I think a majority of the student body does as well. The LWC has unfairly targeted President Reveley and I wish to thank him for his unending service to the campus and student body.

        • I think the LWC has targeted President Reveley because he is the one in the position to best advocate for everyone at William & Mary.

          Under President Reveley’s leadership we have seen state funding get eroded away. He isn’t pushing the state to replace the funding it took from public higher education in general. President Reveley doesn’t seem to stand up for what is right for the students and faculty of William & Mary – he seems most comfortable in the status quo.

          The message I get from Reveley is that he doesn’t want to rock the boat. But higher education is being threatened from all quarters. If a school like William & Mary is being bled like this, then there isn’t much hope left for public education.

          Reveley is not much of a champion for William & Mary in my view.

          • We have seen state funding erode because we are in a recession and the Commonwealth of Virginia is facing a big deficit. How is Reveley to blame for that? Do you really think he should be holding a sit-in in Governor McDonnell’s office?

            Higher education is being cut everywhere, because the money isn’t there. Blaming Reveley for that is like blaming a hit-and-run victim for denting a drunk driver’s car. State budgetary politics are out of his control. And if he acts like an asshole to the present gubernatorial administration, it could harm the college’s future state allocation. You LWC people don’t seem to understand that you LOST support after resorting to pettiness, hyperbole, and outright disruption of college life.

          • The deficit exists because the Commonwealth cut spending on public education to give tax breaks to the rich. The schools pass on the cuts as tuition increases, and students have been forced to shoulder this burden by taking on more and more debt.

            The Commonwealth is in a recession, but that’s no excuse to reduce education as a priority. At least this year the state didn’t cut funding from W&M, so that’s a start.

            Reveley SHOULD be sitting in at the Governor’s office. He should be walking up and down the Capitol rattling cages. He was once a big firm lawyer, so he has friends out there who can change this. Reveley can’t let this go on – he’s running a famous public school that is being gutted. He can’t stand by and let this continue. He just can’t.

          • You can blame the “rich” all you want but that doesn’t change the fact President Reveley has ZERO control over Virginia’s legislative budget. If Reveley was “rattling cages” like you want him to, we would LOSE money.

            After you LWC people switched to tantrum mode what happened? You LOST support. You LOST momentum. You LOST the high ground. You LOST the argument. You LOST any chance at getting concessions from the administration. You can’t change public opinion by yelling and screaming that you are right. You alienate people by doing this. You alienate MOST people by doing this.

            Lets say Reveley did huff and puff in Richmond. Lets say he called McDonnell a Fascist and demanded more educational funding, illegally staged a sit-in in the Governor’s office, used hyperbolic slogans on a regular basis, vandalized Monument Avenue, and told the press day after day how bad the administration was … what would happen? He would LOSE sympathy from the General Assembly. They’d be MORE prone to cutting our budget, not LESS. He’d LOSE sympathy from the BOV and go the way of Gene Nichol. He’d LOSE sympathy from a majority of the student body.

            You don’t just represent a minority point of view now, you represent a low minority of the public BECAUSE you huffed and puffed. You took a hard, hard left and alienated 95% of the student body. Rather than trying to build coalitions, you sabotaged them. Rather than trying to educate the campus, you closed their minds. I think its pretty telling, when avowed liberals I know bluntly tell me that they wish you guys would just shut up and act like adults for a change.

            You had 15 meetings with the administration, and then had the nerve to call Reveley inaccessible. He was right, you have enclosed yourself in a great self-righteous ire. And despite being told that there is no feasible way for your plans to happen now, you resorted to pettiness by occupying Reveley’s office. What did you hope to accomplish? You knew that your demands would not be met by doing this. Did you really think this would get you public sympathy? This was done to spite Reveley and nothing more.

          • William & Mary lost money without Reveley or anyone in the administration or the legislature saying a word. It kept losing money to this deafening silence. If someone made noise, wouldn’t it have the opposite effect? Isn’t it plausible to think legislators aren’t cutting funding out of spite, but because nobody is making enough noise against the cuts.

            I don’t speak for LWC, but I’m not sure you can speak for 95 percent of the student body.

            It seems that the only reason that the problem cannot be resolved now is because the administration isn’t even pretending to try to resolve it. Even a pitiful pretense at an attempt would be better than the silence.

          • You are 100% correct. The administration and President Reveley do not agree and are not pretending to try and resolve it. They see that you feel strongly but completely disagree with your logic.

            Deal with it… if you can between hearings for trespassing.

  10. The idea behind the sit in WAS to disrupt the “regular” working environment of the College, because THAT environment endorses POVERTY. I’m shocked by all of these selfish, uninformed comments. And yesterday’s outcome is STILL unacceptable; LWC will not stop. This is STILL about workers’ wages. As someone pointed out, my friends risked A LOT being in there and REMAINING in there. It is sick to me that our own student body is no better than the administration. And you are the people that will probably someday be running this country. Change must start somewhere. No one who came out in support yesterday was doing so for any “self-glorification”. We came out because we KNOW it’s right. I’d rather stand up for what is right (even if I’m standing alone) than to watch people who look JUST LIKE ME –BLACK PEOPLE—suffer at the hands of MY administration and just sit back and not do anything. There is a sick system that has been created, and this school has part in perpetuating that system. It’s called oppression. But I have a voice, YOU have a voice. There are MANY more of us than there are of them. And if we HAD the support we so desperately needed then we could make a bigger impact! But no one is even concerned about others’ right to the pursuit of happiness. This pursuit is IMPOSSIBLE if you are working the majority of the day, and STILL unable to see any benefits of all of that hard work (just BARELY getting by doesn’t cut it). YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED IN YOUR OWN LACK OF COMPASSION. This generation is disgusting for being so brainwashed and careless. And people in general are accomplishing less and less as we “progress” as a society yet are leaving SO many people alienated from that progression.

      • Sociology 101: race and class intersect. W&M remains segregated in a big way — it doesn’t take much to notice that an overwhelmingly white student body is served every day by African Americans — the people who clean our dorms, our academic buildings, who cut our grass, who run the mail room, who serve us food. Hell, the Biology department just hired its first black faculty member THIS YEAR. We cannot talk about job status and class at W&M without confronting the fact that our lowest-paid workers are black.

        PS Ladies and Gentlemen, the “race card” was created by white people to help them deny their own racial privilege.

    • It embarrasses me that you and I will receive the same bachelors degree.

      Certain jobs = poverty level wages. Being a custodian is one of them. Do you believe that everyone can live in a world of rainbows and butterflies where we can all afford to live well and have families? Thats what is sounds like from here.

      • I should point out that the wages for these jobs wasn’t always poverty-level. They only became that because wage increases did not come to the custodial staff, and inflation ate up the values of their salaries as time went by.

        So basically it isn’t that their work deserves low wages, it’s just that their wages haven’t been raised to reflect the times. They still do the same work, but their wages are woefully out of date.

        • This is true for the salaries of professors as well. They have had to adjust for the current economic climate by cutting back. One of the benefits of skilled careers is that you do make enough that cut backs are possible without causing you to go into poverty. That is why they went to college and receive compensation for their level of education and value added to the educational system.

          Unskilled laborers do not enjoy the same level of flexibility, as they do not contribute anything that can not be replicated by another unskilled laborer (everyone that doesn’t have a certification or degree) so when the economy gets worse, they can not longer afford the life style that they had created for themselves. That does not mean that their job should or even can, adjust to keep them afloat. It means they can seek other means of employment (maybe at one of these other places that seem to be setting the bench marks for custodial compensation), and people with less fiscal requirements will takes their vacant positions (I give it 48 hours until its filled).

          It comes down to a very specific concept that you misguided leftists don’t seem to comprehend. Nothing is deserved or entitled to in this world, aside from the air you breath. Everything else you need to take! If these workers want more, then they need to work harder, apply for positions with different hours so that they can go to night school , and better themselves. Or they could invent something that the world needs. As my father always told me, you can make money by doing a job better than everyone else, doing a job nobody can do, or doing a job that nobody is willing to do. Only then will they be able to create the better life that comes with higher compensation.

          Or they can just buy scratch tickets instead of cigarettes and hope for the best…

  11. Schools around the country are raising tuition, eliminating classes, and for what? More benefits for the students?

    How can William & Mary justify $26 million for fraternity housing when no one at the school has gotten a raise in three years? Let alone the workers who make a bare pittance for maintaining such a gorgeous campus.

    If this is what it takes to make us see what kind of corruption is going on in higher education, I applaud the Living Wage Coalition.

    • WM justifies the fraternity housing by saying it opens up more spots for housing for everyone. Yes, I think it puts fraternities on a pedestal, yes, I think that’s wrong… But at the same time that opens up the units for non-Greek students to get off of the absurdly long waitlist. And the custodial staff don’t do a bang-up job within the buildings. Sure the outside looks nice, but my hall bathroom has had mold growing on the shower curtains for a while. The outside is hardly maintained by much staff besides the lawnmowers and the people that take the garbage away from the garbage cans. There’s hardly any litter here, and that’s because we are clean people, not because custodial staff makes up for it.

      • I think this is a reflection of how WM works so hard to create an image that looks great from the outside but has MANY issues within.

        Again, the disruption caused in these workers’ personal lives as a DIRECT RESULT of the poverty wages they receive at working at WM (forcing them to take on multiple other jobs) is mirrored in the work that they do here.

        If you get at the ROOT of the issue, you have much broader, positive effects.

      • How can you be motivated to do a better job when you’re up from 3am? And you have a second job, and a third job after that? As well as family obligations, child care, and maybe even health issues to deal with?

        There’s no excuse for laziness, but the custodial staff at William & Mary do a terrific job. There’s about 500 of them for almost 8000 students. They clean every residence hall, every office space, every graduate school, and even tend to the outside campus.

        The students aren’t slobs because William & Mary attracts the very best students in the country. These students won’t make anyone’s job harder than it needs to be.

        These students will also stand up for workers when they feel that the workers are being exploited. These students appreciate that the workers do an incredible job without being fully appreciated for it.

        Will a student want to come to William & Mary once they find out that the school subsidizes poverty? I can only say that I wouldn’t.

        • Many students, including myself, would prefer if students who would support any ideals that align with the LWC, to go to a different institution, as we feel that they (you) make us look like a bunch of entitled, far leftist, whiners.

          So to answer you question (Will a student want to come to William & Mary once they find out that the school subsidizes poverty?) Yes, and a less liberal type of student than we have previously been host to at William and Mary. At least that is my personal goal.

  12. Everyone is talking about how we should fight for these people because they can’t afford to go to college and everyone here can. Well guess what? I go here and I can’t afford to go to college. I’m paying my way through by working two jobs as well as an internship. Where’s the fight for me to get a better wage, huh? Instead, people are fighting to take away my very hard-earned money and give it to people who rarely even do the work that they are assigned to do. (I’m sorry to have to say that, but it’s the truth in EVERY dorm I have ever lived in on campus.)
    And the fact is that the school does things such as build new buildings rather than raise wages because that’s what attracts the caliber students that William and Mary desires to have. While I was visiting colleges during the summer time, I looked for construction as a proof of expansion within the school. I didn’t want to listen to my tour guide about how they weren’t expanding because tuition money was going to raising wages. Sorry to be blunt about it, but that is how it is for MANY people.
    And it’s ridiculous to assume that students can pay higher tuition now AFTER the tuition has already been raised this year. Not everyone at this school is rich, you know. If you really want to increase wages, this school needs increase funding by the government, as we are still a public institution and, therefore, Revely doesn’t control the majority of our money supply. Take up this issue with the Commonwealth in a well-organized fashion if you want to see anything get done. If you don’t want to do that, then stop disrupting our college.

    • The main reason you can’t afford college is because tuition has been raised every year. Sure the school is expanding, but how does it benefit you? What would you rather have – access to education, or new fraternity housing?

      The administration is portraying this as a zero-sum game – that if wages are raised someone is going to lose out. This is not the case. If wages are raised, everyone benefits.

      • “If wages are raised, everyone benefits.”

        “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

        • The Animal Farm reference is great, but it misses the point completely. This isn’t about equality in so far as it is about fairness.

          No one at William & Mary has gotten a raise in three years – this has disproportionately affected the custodial workers who are now basically the working poor. That is why they should be the priority – they have lost the most, and stand to lose even more.

          • Equality and fairness go hand in hand.

            Isn’t giving one group priority treatment over another by definition unequal and unfair?

          • Isn’t giving one group priority treatment over another by definition unequal and unfair?

            Only if the groups are actually equal. The workers at William & Mary can’t actually bargain collectively, so they’re pretty much at the mercy of the administration.

            They also get priority largely because raising their salaries doesn’t seem to cost a lot ($5 million or so) and because the current economic climate hurts them the most.

        • The more important question is, how can you have an education if there’s no one to clean the dorms or your classrooms?

          It isn’t a zero-sum. The $26 million used for new housing can also include something for the workers who are going to clean and maintain it. How is that unfair?

        • I don’t see any of the workers quitting, do you?

          And if they did, there would be a long long line to fill that position. Unemployment is at 9% – This means that the employer is in the power position. These workers are lucky to be paid the salary and benefits that they are for the results that they produce. Y’all should stop now before too many people realize just how little they do around here.

          • Why do the workers stay? Because of intangible values – the workers at William & Mary get some health benefits (private companies tend not to offer this), and the job is more stable than the private market. And they’re proud to be part of a venerated American institution. They value their jobs as more than just a paycheck.

            Not only that, many of them cannot afford to pick up and move to where the grass is greener. They stay because they’re bound by leases, mortgages, families, children, or other commitments that make change untenable, if not impossible.

          • Then that is their problem. Simple as that.

            They didn’t plan for the future (should always be putting away at least 25% of every pay check), and they are reaping the benefits of that short sightedness.

            This is a free country. There is opportunity for everybody to advance themselves. The opportunities are not equal, as some people are born with more accessibility than others, but thats just how it goes. No amount of whining will change that.

          • …do you know how impossible it is to save anything when your paycheck is already said for before you even get it?

            In reply to: “This is a free country. There is opportunity for everybody to advance themselves. The opportunities are not equal, as some people are born with more accessibility than others, but thats just how it goes. No amount of whining will change that.”

            If you can admit to yourself that opportunities are not equal, then you cannot say that there is opportunity for everyone. By what definition do you define opportunity? If all of your time is said for with all of the additional jobs you are forced to take on… you don’t even have an opportunity to stop and watch your kids grow up, let alone take classes or pursue any other actions that could potentially further yourself. What kind of opportunity is that? This is not a “free” country. Nothing comes for free.

            These people are not “reaping the benefits of short sightedness” (which I will gladly point out that there are no BENEFITS), but they are suffering from the oppressive system that has been prevailing since the start of this country and, with some modest revisions, still prevails today.

          • WOW. Very little in your argument is worth responding to, however, I will pick apart a couple of blatant issues.

            First, you mention that these people do not have time to watch their kids grow up. Of course not! Please tell me where they ever got the idea that they could afford to have children? That is an absolute privilege and luxury that comes after careful planning, and the achievement of a lucrative position. I personally believe that bring a child into this world, with out the proper funding should be one of the most punishable crimes in this country. They are literally ruining innocent lives by birthing children into an environment that can provide them with none of the tools necessary to succeed in this country.

            Now, to address the issue of saving money. The wages for these “workers” do not need to change. Their lifestyles do. If they have a single luxury (i.e. – living alone, having a tv, cable, buying cigarettes, driving a car, and god forbid they have kids) before they have found the necessary survival situation that allows them to save that 25% ( I say survival because I expect it will be pretty awful – most likely 2 or 3 people in a studio, similar to how we live in college dorms) then they are 100% to blame for their current situation. I personally know about 10 of the cleaning guys who all have every luxury I named.

            This world is not supposed to be fair. We are not all supposed to be successful and able to afford to have children (See Social Darwinism). If they follow the path they I described earlier, then yes, they will have th opportunity to go on and make something of themselves. Hopefully, a couple generations later, that person’s family will have gone on to prosper. That is why american opportunity is equal. We all have the possibility to succeed, just as we all have the possibility to fail. Nowhere does it say that we all get the same tools.

            This system is not oppressive, its just tough. So either suck it up, or fail. No concessions will be made because you think you deserve more. Nothing is deserved.

      • Dear Think About This,

        You keep using the fraternity housing as a scapegoat and to anyone decently intelligent or deductive they will realize that you yourself are negating your entire argument by mentioning it.

        1) 3 things pay for this college: Students, The State, and Greeks…. I mean alumni.

        2) 25 percent of the Undergraduate Male population is Greek. When they get their nice comfortable “the man” mandated jobs where they are making an upwards of 80,000 to 100,000.00 dollars a year…who do you think will be the ones donating to this college…allowing for things such as pay raises and things to be bought for the students: They will. Either way because the college is poor we will need to have more students to coming in to generate more money. This will inevitably lead to less housing. More housing is essential and the only opposition to this project is the fact that it is fraternity housing and not everyone will be able to reap the benefits of it.

        3) Did you ever stop to think past your view why a school would do something like this in a time of painful budget cuts. Greeks like to see that the Greek system is surviving and happy when they return to the school. If they see worn down crappy housing they are less likely to be pleased with the current system and will become uninterested and disconnected. If they see nice new housing and that the Greek system is flourishing they will donate to make sure projects like the Fraternity housing complex continue. In addition, the project serves to better attract students to the college because Greek life is considered a big part of the college experience for prospective students. If they see a lack of it they might be swayed towards other schools with a more present system. A new multipurpose dorm is all good and dandy but if the money has to be spent regardless it might as well be spent on something that can potentially generate money and eventually allow the school to have money to support things such as pay raises.

        • There’s nothing wrong with Greek life on campus necessarily – and it’s great that alumni donate to the school.

          It isn’t scapegoating to point out that $26 million is going into new housing when it would take about $5 million to bring up the wages of all the workers. The state cut that much from W&M a couple of years ago.

          If the school can rouse up support for $26 million for contentious fraternity housing, it can at least pretend to try to find $5 million for low-paid workers. Reveley, it seems, isn’t even pretending to try.

          But the school isn’t just about Greek life. It may seem expedient to do things for the people with the most dollars, but at what cost? I don’t think the fraternities want the workers to be paid low wages. A number of fraternities have joined the LWC as far as I know, but I can’t speak for them.

          • …but that’s exactly it. “find 5 million dollars.” No one in the LWC has come up with a finite economic plan of how this can be done. All that has been presented is the fact that the school is spending lots of money on things that are ultimately for the good/ benefit of students and not workers…which is exactly what it is supposed to do. I fully realize that the staff here is not making enough to make a minimum standard of living. The fact is that this is not unfair it is just unfortunate. It would be unfair if this was the only job they were allowed to do but the fact is they can leave any time they want and pursue other careers. The roar over this issue is that people assume because they grew up bad/ don’t have a degree/ etc that they cannot find a job they are qualified for that pays more and that is simply not true. Would it be difficult ..yes… Is it impossible..no. If this is the only career path suitable to them… why not become the head of a custodial staff. That pays in the 40,000’s in most places and if they have been working here 20 or 30 years they have the experience to get positions like this that pop up all the time.

            I have heard the stories of the workers, I have seen the propaganda video. While moving, it still does not change the fact that there is no plan laid out to get the money needed to raise wages. The only plan that has been even hinted at is get the money from the fraternity complex project which is impossible for a variety of reasons. I would completely agree with the LWC if they did not take such radical measures and spent more time crunching numbers and thinking realistically.

            People don’t believe the LWC to be a legitimate gesture because whenever a discussion is attempted a lecture on morality results/ peoples opposing views are completely shunned. To garner real support the LWC needs to do ALOT more research and find the places where money can actually be siphoned into a 5 million dollar wage fund. If the campus has the money and is just to cheap to give it up…PROVE they have the money. In addition, they need to be more accepting of the fact that not everyone who disagrees with them are immoral

    • Is it right that people have gone from caring about people to caring about such artificial things as the buildings and plants that are around campus? I applaud you for being blunt, but it is a blameworthy acceptance of this that I want to get it.

      It is true that people at this school prioritize these projects over the well-being of people they are around everyday.

      HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER ACTUALLY GOTTEN TO KNOW SOME OF OUR WORKERS??? Not just professors… but the custodial staff, dining services staff, etc? Everyone just looks at them as workers… but these are PEOPLE, guys… who have obligations other than washing/picking up behind you. THEY LOOK OUT FOR THE SCHOOL BUT THE SCHOOL DOES NOT LOOK OUT FOR THEM.

      && “enough already” it is not enough. Perhaps if the people on the custodial staff were not constantly stressed (worrying how they will pay their bills or get to their next jobs, feed their families, get their physical sicknesses tended to, etc) they would be able to perform to your standards. But it’s easy to argue and complain and not put any action behind your words to see something done.

      And I applaud LWC for backing up their beliefs/demands with ACTION. There are so many great inventions/movements/etc that were not successful the first time through. No one recognizes greatness until it is history. And LWC is definitely making history.

      • No one is saying that these aren’t real people and that they don’t deserve to make a living wage. This is why so many students feel alienated from the LWC because there is this sense that if you’re not part of the movement then you can’t possibly see the workers as human beings. Why does everything have to be so black and white? Why is it either you’re in the movement and you agree with everything they do, or you’re outside the movement and you don’t care about the housekeepers as much as the LWC members do? WM students are some of the most motivated, active, intelligent people I have ever met, imagine what could be accomplished if the LWC and the larger part of the student body actually worked together. How about a change in tactics? Maybe the LWC can begin to focus their efforts on fundraising or increased networking with WM alumni, remind them of their days at the College and how the housekeeping staff helped them when they were students. Just a thought. :)

        • You make a fantastic point. I actually don’t speak for LWC, but you do have a point.

          W&M’s budget is public largely – maybe they can create an alternative budget and find savings or worthwhile investments in there? The main reason they’re a pain to the administration is because the administration is the best located for this sort of thing. At the same time, it’s healthy to approach the administration’s conclusions with some skepticism.

  13. Da Comrade!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91kdwxFsthI

    Skvoz grozy siialo nam solntse svobody,
    I Lenin velikij nam put ozaril.
    Nas vyrastil Stalin – na vernost narodu
    Na trud i na podvigi nas vdokhnovil.

    Slavsia, Otechestvo chashe svobodnoe,
    Schastia narodov nadezhnyj oplot!
    Znamia sovetskoe, znamia narodnoe
    Pust ot pobedy k pobede vedet!

    My armiiu nashu rastili v srazheniakh,
    Zakhvatchikov podlykh s dorogi smetem!
    My v bitvakh reshaem sudbu pokolenij,
    My k slave Otchiznu svoiu povedem!

    Slavsia, Otechestvo nashe svobodnoe,
    Slavy narodov nadezhnyj oplot!
    Znamia sovetskoe, znamia narodnoe
    Pust ot pobedy k pobede vedet!

  14. The $26 million dollars for Fraternity Housing came from funds donated specifically for that cause in a fund dedicated for that purpose. The College is legally bound to use the money for Fraternity Housing, it’s not a deliberate slight by the administration.

    I wouldn’t know whether or not the majority of the campus supports the project seeing as how I’m only one person, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, the school’s hands are tied.

    It’s a shame that everyone in this argument seems to view each perspective only in absolutes, which leads to false assumptions stretching to prove a point that may or may not be true.

    • Well, LWC was told DIRECTLY by Reveley that those funds came from students’ room and board fees.

      If they are able to ask for funds for a new fraternity complex, they could just as easily ask for funds to go toward the upkeep (or a fraction of the funds that are already given).

        • Because if they were, the workers would have higher wages. This hasn’t happened.

          In fact, nobody at the school has gotten a raise, not even Reveley. It’s just that the custodial workers are the ones that feel the pain the most.

          • So if part of this $26 million included funds for upkeep the custodial staff would automatically experience a raise? That seems illogical. Upkeep includes more hours of maintenance at current wages and additional maintenance supply purchases which would be accounted for before anyone received a raise. It wouldn’t make sense for one construction project to fund a raise for campus-wide staff.

          • Not only that, this implies that the custodial staff will have more responsibilities but still get paid exactly the same. How is this fair?

          • Life isn’t fair. Say you have a desk job – Your boss throws an extra report on your desk on Friday and says he wants it done by Monday. Do you get paid more? No, as part of the job you were given additional responsibilities.

            I am sick of stating the obvious through metaphors and examples so that you can understand basic principles.

          • I don’t know about you, but I got a bonus for crunching out that extra report.

          • Interesting,

            I don’t receive the same benefits. And guess what? I am not complaining about it. I am grateful to be employed, and work very hard with that hope that I will have the opportunity to provide more value to the company and eventually move myself up that chain.

            I commute to work about an hour a day by car. Gas has gone way up this month. I do not expect my pay check to rise accordingly. Why? Because I made the choice to work here. The employees of this college make the same choice. If the economic climate was more flush, then my company would most likely try to pay me more in order to keep me from taking my talents else-ware. However, their assurance that i wont leave comes from the fact that it is a tough job market right now; one that they know I would not like to venture back into.

  15. It seems like the purpose of a public college is to educate students at affordable prices, not to ensure some sort of redistributive economic concept of “fairness” for the poor. Any attempt to increase worker wages at the expense of the student body through tuition increases is unconscionable. We are an institution of higher learning, not a “fair trade” group.

    On a side note, vandalizing the library seems like a poor way to “educate” the masses.

    • Wage increases don’t have to be at anyone’s cost, yet tuition increases continue to no one’s apparent benefit. Granted the cost of running the school may be rising, but that just shows poor fiscal planning on the school’s part if revenues are increasing but to nobody’s benefit.

      Your position assumes that the workers at William & Mary are being paid a fair wage – when it’s entirely plausible that they are being underpaid for the benefit they confer.

      Think about it this way – private custodial services charge far more than what the workers at William & Mary get. This indicates that the workers aren’t being paid what the market demands for their services.

      Why do the workers stay? Because of intangible values – the workers at William & Mary get some health benefits (private companies tend not to offer this), and the job is more stable than the private market. And they’re proud to be part of a venerated American institution.

      Not only that, many of them cannot afford to pick up and move to where the grass is greener. They stay because they’re bound by leases, mortgages, families, children, or other commitments that make change untenable, if not impossible.

      • You just explained that they do make what the market demands. They receive health care benefits. Private custodians do not.

        Thus the high wages that these privatized companies are paying are off set bu the health care that these WM employees receive.

        Again, leases, mortgages, families and especially children are in no way the colleges responsibility. If a worker made the choice to have a child, or spouse that they have to support, then that is a decision that they will have to live with. The problems of a worker can not be the responsibility of the employer. Even so must see the dangerous precedent that a move like that sets.

  16. From the point of view of two fellow students, this has truly gotten out of hand. Demonising the administration because they won’t give you what you want makes us think of the middle-class Frenchmen who spurred the bloody French Revolution. Only a small percentage of the student body is acting, and yet they will be the ones to mark the reputation of the whole because they make so much more noise than the rest. I, the French one, have recently seen my countrymen risk much more for important issues as well, but I wonder about your timing, approach, and pragmatism. If your fellow students have lost your message, take a step back and ask yourselves if you have helped anyone at all. Machiavelli is fine and all, but what ends have you reached thus far that have justified anything you’ve said or done?

    Do not make the mistake of thinking that you’re right and everyone else is wrong. I, the British one, would like for you to do your research. The administration does not just laze about and decide to spend millions on frats because the spirit moves them so. Use your brain; what would a new frat complex bring to the college in the long run? Also, where would this money come from? Where? This is a recession; no one is getting a raise any time soon and if the college is looking to rely less on public funding, it will have to attract the kinds of families that can support these increases. Should they just raise tuition again? Admit in more students and add to the already-frustrating housing, class registration, and parking situation? Cuz you know we’re not increasing faculty equally. Offer some solutions after some well-rounded research and I will support you; don’t just bark the problem.

    It’s great if you’re paying for your tuition, but we don’t know that our parents would be too thrilled at the notion, given the times–one of us pays in-state and the other out-of-state tuition. One of us can afford it, and the other barely. Yeah yeah, we’re adults; we do what we want. Do it on your own dime. Volunteer your funds to the cause, but know that the college cannot force the student body to pay for an issue that it does not entirely support. The college is prioritising; it’s just not the way that you would like them to. Think long term!!!

    You are not entitled to occupy private property; this is not a game of Risk! It’s one thing if you had been outside his office, but come on! Also, someone mentioned that there were concessions made? Why not accept them? Baby steps. For the person that mentioned the Civil Rights movement…baaaaby steps. That took time, lots. of. time, and all is still not well, my friend–which brings us to the black student above. We are both also black (though foreign), but believe that you help your race by helping all. Intense solidarity within a race is precisely why others act on it as a whole and succeed. If you’re trying to help because you see a sort of step back in time, good on you, but that’s not an all-inclusive movement. Though African Americans are the majority, there are workers of other ethnicities. You are fighting for them too, right? And our student workers? Do they figure in the deal as well? We know a couple (one of us included) that do so much extra just to get by! Do you speak for them? That’s not the impression that we’re getting…

    You are not loons; you’re just kind of getting desperate. This is a great cause, but you’re handling it way worse than the administration. When you graffiti the school, who cleans that up? When you do not respect the administration in the name of these workers, what does that say to us? We don’t even think we can hear their voice over yours any more. President Reveley is right; there is no solution (right now), but you can blow his mind. Blow our minds by coming up with a sustainable, practical one. Heck, give him options! Otherwise, right now we see the solution being you graduating, getting a great job, and giving back to the workers. There is so much that we wish we could say, but we think we got our point across. We really just want you to be thinking long term.

    • I think the LWC represents something fairly fundamental – that a person deserves a living wage for an honest day’s work. This is true no matter where you are in life, from President Reveley all the way down the totem pole. I can’t speak for them though, but I think we can all agree to that.

      I also think they’re highlighting something really important. Governments are cutting budgets for higher education and blaming the recession. Certainly there is a recession, but even when revenues were high governments still cut higher education. In fact this is the first year that W&M isn’t getting a cut from the state in a long time – yet it’s still a recession.

      This is happening in Britain too – the government is raising the university fee to 9000 pounds – apparently because of the recession.

      It seems to me that the recession argument is a red herring – education cuts happen in good times and bad.

      The deficit argument is misleading because the state government is blaming higher education for the deficits. This is untrue. -The government of the state cut education spending to give tax breaks to wealthy individuals and companies. These tax breaks did not translate into any tangible social benefit in Virginia (no new jobs created because, as you can see, we’re in a recession). All it did was line pockets, fill bank accounts, or the money was transferred to other “more profitable” markets for investment.

      We’re seeing a wholesale privatization of public schooling. This process just raises the cost without conferring any tangible benefits. To get ahead you need a college degree, but is it worth it to spend $100,000 in college to (maybe) get a job that pays only half of that? Or even less?

      The LWC seems to be campaigning on raising wages. There’s an argument for reducing costs – but how can that be done if the state has continually withdrawn funding from public education to no real positive effect?

      If their argument seems desperate it’s because it is desperate – it’ part of a growing trend where there’s backlash against governments that punish students and society for the mistakes of a wealthy elite.

      We need to re-think our priorities as a society – instead of cutting eduction to give tax breaks to the wealthy, we can use the money to shore up education. How does that hurt anyone? Doesn’t that benefit everyone?

      • You are right the Living wage issue does reflect something universal. A failure to understand supply in demand. they make 50 cents more an hour than the average custodian in the region with healthcare and a pension. be happy with it.

        Perhaps you can re-think our priorities as a society outside or in your own dorm room?

  17. Pingback: Activism and its Discontents « One Man, One Pint

  18. College should be free for me and the workers should make $50 an hour. Now I’m going to hold my breath until someone makes that happen.

  19. Doesn’t Addie Alexander (’11) live in the Colonial Williamsburg House???? which is one of the best on campus housing options. This is one of the most expensive houses the college maintains in the heart of CW that only houses two people. Why does she not advocate putting that money towards LWC?

  20. The students support Reveley over the LWC:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=question&id=1700261986527&qa_ref=qts

    • This is great, finally some actual data (I will be the first one to admit that it has biases). But still, an overwhelming # of us are tired of hearing about the living wage-go away.

  21. “We have worked so hard this semester, gathering student, faculty, and community support for living wages. And … he says there is no solution.” – a “major organizer” for LWC in the class of 2011

    To me, this was the most disturbing point in the entire article. I believe the LWC’s goals and cause are important. However, I would hope that students on the point of graduating from my alma mater would understand that getting a large number of people to agree there’s a problem does not constitute a solution.

    “Gathering support”? What about gathering supportERS who can actually contribute to funding? If you want change, don’t stage protests and disrupt things until you get your way — as others have said, that’s essentially a tantrum. I’d like to see the passionate students of the College putting their pricey educations to use crunching the numbers themselves and presenting a realistic plan for achieving their goals. If you believe there’s a way to make the budget support a living wage, find that way yourself. Otherwise, you’re not really part of the solution.

  22. Addendum: Now, if a practical, realistic financial proposal HAD been presented by the LWC, and it was being ignored or suppressed by the administration, THAT would be a good reason to stage a sit-in. But I don’t think that’s the case.

  23. William and Mary cannot wait another day to raise wages for employees. This is a moral issue and this is an issue of civil rights. The College invests millions of dollars in its students. We need to W&M to invest more in all members of the W&M family, and begin with the people who W&M currently doesn’t pay enough to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. Please watch this video of Kim Phillips, Co-Director of the Lemon Project, speak about why we need to raise wages of College employees and demand a living wage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wftrYNYro30

  24. So this is what protesting has come to? Their 1960’s mentors would be proud. The whole living wage movement is a lie! Community organizers at their finest.

    Sounds like a bunch of spoiled little rich kids having a temper tantrum.

    Four dead in Ohio!

  25. I agree with $50 wages for all, no matter what you do, from toilet scrubbing, to surgery on brains… Life would be fair!

    But life isn’t fair. I personally think teachers should make more than sports figures, but that’s my opinion. I do not watch sports, but try to use my time learning how to solve problems of the world. I also don’t watch tv, but I’m sure I miss some important lessons in Desperate Housewives and Glee. What do the actors make on those shows? Do you buy the products that sponsor the shows? Do you protest products for shows you disapprove of? There is so much you can do to make a difference, but like some said, think LONG TERM, and not what is going to bring harm.

    What is happening on your campus is similar to the protests for democracy across the middle east. But will it bring about real change, or only change at the top? What group is backing this? I would guess it is one of the socialist Saul Alinsky groups that push for Living Wages–groups that are similar to ACORN. They take money from people at church and stir up trouble to bring about change that is NOT sustainable! You raise everyone’s wage, which brings up costs, so your tuition is up, which brings less students so the overall profit is down, and we have to lay off some low end employees. Same thing happens all over. Research the first living wage campaign in Baltimore and you will find it FORCED higher wages on those companies who had contracts with the city. Great so only those people got higher wages. But then it spread to more areas, and eventually Balimore went bust. Check it out for yourself. Check out other cities that have done living wage campaigns under other Saul Alinsky groups like Industrial Areas Foundations, PICO, etc. They eventually backfire and people in LARGE NUMBERS will get laid off because no one can afford to pay wages when they aren’t covered by the state’s, county’s, city’s income!! It is not sustainable. It has to be a natural move by market need. Where there is competition for jobs, workers are forced to work harder and like one student said–you make yourself the best worker, or do something no one else can or is willing to do. You are then worth more and get paid more or leave and become more valuable to another company. Is it the best way? Is it the way it will be forever? I don’t know. But it is better than getting in debt to China.

    I am impressed with the comments from all sides, for the most part. You give me hope for the future. Be civil, keep debating, keep learning, keep talking to others. America is the greatest nation on earth and if you guys keep fighting for improvements, will always will be, and can then help other nations. God Bless America!

  26. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed all chastising from LWC, but I think this is gone far enough. The majority of us don’t support what you’re doing and just because we disagree with you doesn’t mean that we’re heartless. If you want to supplement the workers’ incomes, go raise the money yourselves. You’ve had every opportunity to continue to try to do this the right way, respectfully, but instead you’ve decided to sanctimoniously preach from on high about our inferior morals. I care about poverty related issues that people all over the world face every day, but money doesn’t just appear from nowhere. Instead of trying to badger the administration into procuring money out of thin air and alienating people who would potentially support the cause, why not start focusing on some of the “creative solutions” that this group claims that they have currently in their arsenal. There are ways to raise money outside of official channels. The fact the LWC doesn’t appear to be pursuing these alternative avenues makes me think that they really only care about the “principles” rather than actually accomplishing their goals. That fits in nicely with the need for overprivileged college kids to protest something while they sit fat and happy with their tuition paid by Mom and Dad. Principles are noble but they don’t pay the electric bill or feed someone’s kids. Find me a self-sustaining investment fund through which I can contribute to the cause, otherwise, kindly end this nonsense.

  27. I really commend the LWC for standing up for what they believe in. It seems like they’ve tried every other means possible to convince the administration and haven’t gotten anywhere. I have to say though I really do wish they would make more of an effort to reach out to students because they’ve alienated people that would otherwise support the cause. But really, standing up against poverty on campus-that’s tribe pride.

  28. Juste pensé que je devais vous écrire une ligne de vous dire que votre www.virginia-informer.com vraiment génial! J’ai été la recherche de ce genre d’informations pendant une longue période .. Je ne réponds généralement à des postes mais je vais dans ce cas. WoW grande formidable.

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