SCCC Faculty member responds to Administration’s claims about Occupy Seattle

The following email was written by SCCC Faculty member Jeb Wyman and sent out widely to SCCC faculty and students. It is being reprinted here with his permission.

RATS, TRASH, AND NEEDLES. OH MY. By Jeb Wyman

A few of my colleagues have expressed gratitude to our administrators for their decisive actions to oust Occupy Seattle from the south lawn. I want to throw my roses to the matadors in the ring, too.

After last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, it was clear just how well they’d done. As it happens, that same afternoon, not long after the last smack of the gavel, I introduced poli sci faculty Jawed Zouari, who was delivering a lecture titled “From the Tunisian revolution to Occupy Seattle.” I told the crowd of about eighty students that the Trustees had just voted unanimously (a united front!) to ban camping on campus.

One student clapped enthusiastically. “GOOD!” he said. “Those guys throw needles in childcare centers.”

Maybe a dozen others glared at the young man—got to admire his guts—but that’s not the point. The point is that the young man seemed really to despise those nutjobs camped out in the rain. He despises them because, as far as he’s concerned, so it seems, they’re the scum of the earth.

It’s no secret how he came to feel that way. He and lots of others. Only ten days before, the administration pulled off a little media blitz. Quickie pieces appeared in the Seattle P-I, the Tribune, King 5, even KUOW (who cleverly rehashed King 5’s single-source story).

The news was all about rats, trash, drugs, dogs, booze, beer cans and used hypodermic needles in a children’s playground. Oh, and some stolen soap.

Now, let’s be honest, our “College of the Year” drops the ball now and then. Not this time, though. Home run! Rats, trash, and needles stuck in the public imagination like pedophilia to Penn State. Big schools like UC Davis are drowning in bad press (hapless pepper-spraying cop), but Seattle Central showed commanding form. With breath-taking efficiency and a cost-effective approach, the Occupy tribe were branded half-human drug addicts and drop outs. And they brought rats, the college said. You might call it propaganda with panache. Touche.

For sure, rats are a cherished institution at our institution. They’ve been crapping on my desk for years. Rats and the college go back a long ways, a Tom and Jerry kind of thing. Some old-timers might even remember a City Collegian article about rats in the culinary dept. kitchen, nibbling through flour sacks. (Funny, admin stamped out the 42-year-old student paper shortly after. Wonder why!)

Of course, if you spend much time at Seattle Central, you’ll get cozy with needles, too. Since 1994, I’ve parked in the lower level of the garage. On most mornings I detour around a puddle of sour pee (that bracing odor wakes you up!) in the stairwell. I’ve stepped over many a hypodermic needle on those stairs. And over broken gin bottles, stolen purses, beer cans in paper bags, empty plastic baggies. My car has been broken into three times. The garage was once equipped with security cameras, but they were—you can’t make this up!—stolen years ago.

A few years ago, the campus president locked up all first-floor bathrooms after too many homeless took sink baths and too many overdosed dope addicts were found sprawled in the stalls.

And in mid-October—that’s, uh, a few weeks before Occupy moved in—our facilities director put out an email blast (with great accompanying pix!) bemoaning that graffiti, vandalism, trash, needles, and “cleaning up the feces, and urine, and vomit left almost daily at our doorsteps” cost the school about $200,000 a year.

Sorry to gross you out, but I’m just quoting directly.

The point is, facts and first-class propaganda have nothing to do with each other. Only a fool would deny that. Quite the contrary, our administration knows what they’re doing. We’re not talking amateurs. This is poetry in motion. Salute!

Rats, trash, and needles hits ‘em in the gut, but you gotta do more than that. You gotta hit ‘em in the head, too. That’s what numbers are for. Well, how about $20,000 a week? That’s the price of Occupy on this impoverished campus, according to the administration. And that means killing off classes. (Maybe $20k is just a “ballpark” figure, with no documentation, but prove me wrong!). How about 2000 square feet? That’s the size of the lawn the Occupy hoard is crammed on, according to the administration, like slum dwellers in Mumbai. (It’s actually about four times that size, but who’s measuring?)

In case you missed it, last week’s packed Board of Trustees meeting was a multi-media propaganda tour de force. After 15 minutes of obligatory “public comment” time (yawn!), there was serious testimony. One student was reported to be dropping out because, he said, he shouldn’t have to put up with Occupy. “And I think he’s right,” said Pres. Killpatrick. (no word whether he was passing his classes!) One other student said she’d been “harassed” four times by Occupy people (and they’d only been on campus 13 school days). She complained, she said, to Dean Evans, who told the poor thing that her hands were tied because “the school is being held hostage.” (a hostage situation? Sounds like a job for the SWAT team.)

We heard from vice-presidents and chancellors and assistant attorneys general. And when Karen Strickland, who represents 1000 faculty as union president, requested time to speak, she was told to shut up and apologize! Magnificent! That’s how you do it.

The coup de grace was a gut-wrenching viewing of a Q13 FOX broadcast (“We report. You decide!”) about a lurid “alleged attempted sexual assault” in the squalid Occupy encampment. Occupiers tell me that the strange girl stumbled up to the camp—drunk, ruffied, incoherent and already half-naked—and they brought her in to the camp to get her off the street. If so, that sure was a dumb idea!

A lot has been made of the “educational” opportunities Occupy offers. For sure, classes are abuzz and people are talking. A lot. About the profound undermining of publicly funded higher education. About the grotesque and rapidly widening income gap in this country. About a financial system that is sinking the middle class. About soaring lines at food banks and people cut off from basic medical and dental care. About whether our future has to look like the past.

I could go on and on.

“Education”? Honestly. Think this is going to help our graduates score jobs or claw their way up the corporate ladder? Give me a break. Far better they learn how to get things done. Let our administration show ‘em how.

Jeb Wyman
Faculty, Dept. of English

6 Responses to SCCC Faculty member responds to Administration’s claims about Occupy Seattle

  • John Ellis says:

    VOCATIONAL SCHOOL — TOOL OF SLAVERY

    Having taught vocational school in two different school districts, back in the days when they were not so deceitful as to call it a Community College, please be enlightened:

    The corporate rich created our vocational /technical school system for but two purposes: First, to upgrade the job skills of those at the low end of the educated middle-class to the maximum. Second, to dumb-dumb down the laboring-class as a tool of class slavery.

    But, be it hand skills to improve ability to handle repetitious manual drudgery, or head skills to jack up your brain speed in handling repetitious mental drudgery, the goal is to put you into a cubicle where you can generate the most repetitious productivity for the least pay. For not one Community College credit is transferable to a true college with a 4 year degree, and if you want more out of a job then a boring repeat of what you did yesterday, then run for daylight.

    So, the main reason Occupy Seattle was evicted from campus of SCCC vocational school, was to keep hidden the fact that SCCC is nothing but a slave driving vocational school.

  • REPUBLIC says:

    Indigenous people deserve this land more than you and I.

  • Bradford B. Morrison says:

    Friends;
    What a great letter we have by Jeb Wyman. Just the right amount of irony and sarcasm. I am envious, Mr. Wyman, of your writing skills!! Extremely well put!! I very much admire your “ballsiness” also, in going against the “flow” of the propagandistic B.S. smear campaign against OCCUPYSEATTLE by the media and SCCC administration and the Seattle Health Dept.

    I would like to just add this, about the “issue” of “rodents” at the campsite.
    Rats and mice have been on this planet hundreds of thousands of years longer than humans have been here. In all probability, they will still be here long after humans are gone; (either due to extinction from thermonuclear war; global warming; or simply failure to invent and distribute an anti-hiv/aids vaccine.)
    I am not a camper, but I am an “OCCUPIER”; and have have spent about 3-5 hours per day on the campsite of OCCUPYSEATTLE at SCCC since Oct.29th, when many of us moved here from Westlake Park or City Hall. I have not seen any rodents. I know of no one who has told me that they saw any rodents in or around the campground. Nevertheless, it would not surprise me in the least if there WERE a few rats or mice. I also would not be the least bit surprised if rats or mice were occasionally found in the yards of Mayor McGinn; SPD Chief John Diaz; SCCC President Dr. Killpatrick; or even on the grounds of the White House in Washington D.C. The population of rats and mice on planet earth is vast. Undoubtedly far more than the 7,000,000,000 humans who inhabit our mysterious and beautiful globe. Somehow, blaming OCCUPYSEATTLE for this and claiming that it is part of an “EMERGENCY” situation is at least a bit disingenuous, if not downright pure propagandistic smear campaigning on behalf of the wealthy folks who know, deep down in their hearts, that they are greatly to blame for the economic ills befalling so many parts of the world.
    Should we inspect the yards of, oh, say, Jamie Dimon (CEO of Chase Bank) for rodents and EVICT HIM and his FAMILY if rodents are present?? Or, maybe the Koch brothers, or Rupert Murdoch( FOX NEWS head honcho)??? The hypocriticality is obvious, and very immense, if a person stops to reflect on it even a little bit.

    Thanks for listening
    Peace and Love
    Loudmouth Karaoke Brad

  • marycpaterson says:

    Thank you, Jeb Wyman! You are my hero of the hour! Not only do you tell the truth from a position of knowledge (you’ve been a member of the SCCC faculty for some period of years), but you tell it with wit and humor and intelligence!

    You corroborate what I’ve been gathering piecemeal over the last several weeks, and that is that the area around SCCC has seen its share of troubles for a long time, much longer than OccupySeattle’s presence there. Drug addiction and its many concomitant sorrows–ruined personal integrity, ruined relationships, ruined physical and psychological health and ruined free will–have been a feature of our sick society for many decades now. It’s not invented by Occupy Seattle. Occupy Seattle has only shed a light on this problem, and many others, by trying to create a community at the encampment that excludes no one, and in fact tries to feed people who are hungry and tend to people who are sick or injured. As a visitor and sometime-participant in Occupy Seattle, I can attest to this. I value the conversations I’ve had with everyone there, including those who are too troubled by addictions or whatever to be among the most activist in the camp.

    At the Town Hall meeting–an interesting look at the Occupy and the community around it!–one of the OS panelists spoke about the discovery of needles in the children’s play area adjoining the camp and the campus. He had done some investigating, which the media who reported the discovery had not, and learned that needles were routinely found on this playground, just as you imply, Jeb. The SCCC administration knew this full well, without a doubt, but was planting seeds to manipulate the eviction of OS several weeks ago.

    As Tim Harris of Real Change recently reminded us, it’s a very effective strategy to make things look “disgusting” when you want to turn people’s opinions against them. That seems to be what’s happened here. Rather than teach compassion, rather than teach critical thinking and the importance of looking beneath the surface of things to find root causes, the SCCC administration has taught its followers to be “disgusted” by “the other” and to settle for superficial answers.

  • Christy X says:

    Seriously, excellent work, Jeb. Thank you for not only breaking down the prose (in high style) but for spelling out the truth in hard cold facts. I am proud of be a part of Occupy, over the past few weeks I have felt nothing but pride, love and support for all the folks I have met whether or not we have seen eye to eye on every issue, whether or not they were here before me, etc. I have never felt judged for who I am, wanting to participate on limited time, being a busy working single mom, filmmaker/media person, etc. I have nothing but love for Occupying Everything.

    On a personal note, I am 39 and a recent graduate of the soon to be a gone, SCCC Film and Video program. I write, produce and direct my own material – I do this with a tremendous amount of integrity and compassion (but also with shame and sadness) because my beloved instructors, peers (and future filmmaker’s), will someday soon not have a place to call home. Fucking SCCC is a disgrace. Fucking SCCC also helped me build a new future for myself. I am sad at how Occupy and other “outsider” programs or groups, like Film and Video have been treated. I am a granny, social documentary filmmaker, single parent and a ton of other things – I will not go quietly! Thanks for standing up while everyone else is afraid.

    Your baker – (and a damn good one!) Christyx

  • John Ellis says:

    This grotesque letter by Wyman, with all its putrid words that focus our minds on garbage thoughts, surely it is a gift straight from the devilish minds of the rich.