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(en) US, U o Chicago students continue struggle for democracy

From worker-a-infos@lists.tao.ca
Date Mon, 13 Mar 2000 15:06:48 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


The International House (I-House) residents in Hyde
Park continue their struggle against the University of
Chicago’s plans to close and tear down their building.

The way the University has proceeded in this matter,
completely going behind the backs of the student
community, conflicts with even the most basic sense of
democracy. Furthermore, the administration’s
motivation appears to be nothing more than financial
gain at the expense of cultivating the cultural and
social life of the student community and promoting
such values as community, friendship, and
understanding between people of different nations.
(See further below for a summary account of the case.)



11.30 A.M. – 1.15 P.M.

We will leave I-House (at 1414 East 59 Street) at
11.30 a.m., and, bringing music and colors, approach
the University via Blackstone and East 57 Street. We
will reach the University Administration at East 58
Street and South Ellis Avenue at ca 12.10 p.m., at the
entrance towards the quads. We will spread out in
small groups on the field in front of the
administration building, each group accompanied by
flags from different countries. Until 12.30 p.m. we
will remain quite, some wearing gags, as a symbolic
indication of that the administration has not cared
the least about hearing our points of view. In each
group there will be someone who explains and clarifies
the facts of the situation to the others. At 12.30
a.m. we join again in a single big group outside the
administration building. There will be short speeches
by three I-House residents from India, Korea and USA
respectively, plus an opportunity for others too to
voice their concern about the case. As we next
circulate around the building, a few people will enter
and march through it, while someone will bring and
hand over the signatures we have collected to the
University administration. The demonstration will end
around 1.15 p.m.


Every day, RALLY (all day)
We will have a table with information and petition
ready in the Reynolds Club at East 57 Street and South
University Avenue. 
We also have set up a Campaign Office just by the
entrance of the International House. It is open 24
hours and has petitions and information ready.

Monday, March 13, PUB GATHERING, 10 p.m.
I-House supporters will gather for a pub evening at
The Pub in the Ida Noyes building on East 59 Street (2
or 3 blocks west of International House). 

Wednesday, March 15, GENERAL MEETING, 8 p.m. 
To coordinate the work of our various committees, and
address new matters and strategies. The meetings are
open to all students who support us. Join one of our
committees, set up your own, or let us know if you can

On March 7, the Chicago Maroon leaked that U o C
possibly was planning to close the International
House. International House is a 1932 architectural
landmark in Chicago, home for 350 American and
international students, and an important institution
in Chicago’s cultural and social life. 
In short, we managed to confirm the following from
reliable sources:
- that the University of Chicago indeed already had
decided, at an informal level, to close International
House on June 30 this year and to hand it over to the
Graduate School of Business.
- that the Graduate School of Business intended to
tear the building down in order to replace it with
luxury apartments for its own students.
- that the University was going to announce its
decision around March 15, during finals week, most
probably in order that the students then would be too
busy to protest.
These plans have been developed completely behind the
back of the student community. Noone knew about them
(although there had been various rumors for a long
time). The University has consistently kept its
discussions behind closed doors and given the students
no means of accessing information about the case.
The residents, in response to the University’s plans,
quickly organized a petition among themselves, and had
a first critical general meeting on Wednesday evening,
March 8. We decided to have a demonstration the
following day, Thursday, March 9. Though near finals
week, we mobilized around 50 residents. Throughout the
rest of the week, we organized open meetings every
evening. We have managed to set up a number of
committees in order to deal most efficiently with a
broad range of strategies and thus cause strongest
possible pressure on the University administration.
Some of these committees are listed below. 
The University has outlined its argument in terms of a
supposed need on International House’s part for costly
upgrading and a supposed lack of funding. The truth,
however, more seems to be that the University simply
wants to get hold of International House’s property
for conspicuously profit-making purposes. For this
reason it has systematically tried to enforce an
unnecessarily costly upgrading plan on the House,
while also consciously preventing it from raising the
required funds in an efficient way. The facts are that
I-House is NOT losing money, can arrange repairs of
the building at a moderate cost, and also has the
capacity to raise funds on its own if not
unnecessarily restricted by the University.
Most recently we have managed to confirm from
University Provost Geoffrey Stone that indeed the
University is planning to tear I-House down. Geoffrey
Stone has also revealed the new location of a
supposedly continued International Program: a
dilapidated building in a run-down area that,
furthermore, can take only about half of the residents
that the present International House has.
To summarize:  While focusing on the Administration’s
plans to close down International House, our protests
ultimately connect with broader and more fundamental
issues: the University’s recent tendencies to put
profit making and money over and above the social,
cultural, and academic interests of the student
community, and its longstanding tradition of not even
engaging the students in any serious dialogue or
decision making process. 
We will continue our struggle with every means at our
disposal. We are organized according to grassroots
democratic principles. Our committees work at a
decentralized level. We have no leaders, but work
through specializing on various functions. We
circulate important functions like speaking in public
contexts and facilitating meetings among ourselves. We
are now working on organizing demonstrations, rallies,
and petitions; informing media, the general public,
and university alumni and donators; connecting with
other local groups and struggles; arranging parties to
promote the social cohesiveness of our struggle;
developing information materials, such as flyers,
brochures, and a web site; and also cultivating and
refining the democratic and organizational structures
of our organization.
See www.uchicago.edu/adm/ihouse/ for more information.


We collect signatures in support of I-House most days
in the Reynold’s Club at East 57Street and South
University Avenue and 24 hours every day in our
Campaign Office just by the entrance of the
International House. 


Please contact the University Administration and the
newspapers to voice your concern about the
Administration’s plans and to show your solidarity
with us and International House. Let the University
know that many people are aware of what is happening. 

The University Administration – some relevant

Don M. Randel, Incoming President of the University
dmr4@cornell.edu    (607) 255-2364 

Hugo F. Sonnenschein, Outgoing President of the
h-sonnenschein@uchicago.edu   (773) 702-8001 

Geoffrey R. Stone, Provost of the University
g-stone@uchicago.edu   (773) 702-8810 

Patricia Woodworth, Vice-President and Chief Financial
p-woodworth@uchicago.edu   (773) 702-8188 

William Harms, University News Office
w-harms@uchicago.edu   (773) 702-8356 

Robert Hamada, Dean of the Graduate School of Business
robert.hamada@gsb.uchicago.edu   (773) 702-1680

Mark Zmijewski, Deputy Dean of the Graduate School of
mark.zmijewski@gsb.uchicago.edu   (773) 834-2867

Some local Chicago newspapers: 

The Chicago Maroon
(773) 702-1403
Fax: (773) 702-3032 

The Chicago Weekly News
(773) 834-0622
Fax: (773) 834-3311 

The University of Chicago Free Press
(773) 834-0458
Fax: (773) 702-7718 

The Chicago Tribune
(312) 245-9247 

The Chicago Sun-Times
(773) 921-2500


We need your active support and engagement. Please
contact us and let us know what you can do. Contact
information is below.


We would like to establish contact with everyone who
sympathizes with our struggle and feels that he or she
could help. To contact us, please see the bottom of
this message for a list of some of our committees and
their contact details. You may also want to visit our
I-House Campaign Office at International House at 1414
East 59 Street. It is open 24 hours. A few things that
are especially pertinent for us right now is to
establish contact with other student groups, both on
campus and elsewhere in America and the world.


Our Campaign Office is open 24 hours at International
The address is:
I-House Campaign Office
C/o International House 
1414 East 59 Street
Chicago, IL 60637




Visit or write to our I-House Campaign Office (see
above) or send an email to any of our committee
contacts below:

Outreach to Other Groups
- Thomas Johansson      tcjohans@hotmail.com
- Marie Adams      mnadams@midway.uchicago.edu

Calling Alumni from the University and I-House
- Luis Nogales      l-nogales@uchicago.edu 
- Andrea Scott      amscott@midway.uchicago.edu
- Maria Chow      mmchow@midway.uchicago.edu
- Alejandro Paz      aipaz@uchicago.edu

Information Brochures
- Thomas Johansson      tcjohans@hotmail.com

Email Campaign
- Russell Miller      russell@math.uchicago.edu
- Phil Lynch      phil@math.uchicago.edu

Media Campaign
- Paul Castle      pcastle@midway.uchicago.edu
- Maria Chow      mmchow@midway.uchicago.edu
- Andrea Scott      amscott@midway.uchicago.edu

Petition for General Public
- Jessica Smith-Rohrberg     

Petition for U o C Professors
- Ertugrul Iokten      eiokten@midway.uchicago.edu

Contact University Professors and Staff
- Ertugrul Iokten      eiokten@midway.uchicago.edu
- Agnes Fauduet      afauduet@midway.uchicago.edu

Web Page Maintenance
- Pat Crotty      prcrotty@midway.uchicago.edu
- Jessica Smith-Rohrberg     

Monday March 13 Demonstration
- Russell Miller      russell@math.uchicago.edu
- Pinar Emiral      mpemiral@midway.uchicago.edu
- Thomas Johansson      tcjohans@hotmail.com
- Marie Adams      mnadams@midway.uchicago.edu

Forming Recognized Student Organization in Support of
- Pinar Emiral      mpemiral@midway.uchicago.edu
- Thomas Johansson      tcjohans@hotmail.com
- Ertugrul Iokten      eiokten@midway.uchicago.edu
- Andrea Scott      amscott@midway.uchicago.edu
- Alejandro Paz      aipaz@uchicago.edu

Support I-House Parties
- Pinar Emiral      mpemiral@midway.uchicago.edu
- Thomas Johansson      tcjohans@hotmail.com

Legal, Financial and Organizational Matters relating
to the management of I-House and the University’s
approach to the affair
- John Patton      johndpatton@aol.com

Thomas Johansson
resident of International House

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