Archive for December, 2011

Wow. It has been quite an amazing month and the December issue of Raging Chicken Press reflects the kind of month it has been. It’s also pretty clear that we are already bursting at the seams, ready to expand our site into new areas. I am going to spare you my end of  year reflections until next week sometime. Suffice it to say that we’ve got big plans for 2012!

Here’s a breakdown of the December issue:

As you can see, it’s quite an issue. A great way to close out 2011. Raging Chicken Press will be taking a little break over the holidays. Our next issue will be published the first week of February. While we will not be publishing a full issue until then, I will be using the opportunity to fill you in on our plans for 2012.

One reminder: it’s still possible to be eligible to be selected from our subscriber list to receive this months “Must Read.” This month’s book takes its inspiration from our Chomsky interview: Noam Chomsky’s, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order as well as Hopes and Prospects (that’s right, another double give-away). To be eligible, all you need to do is enter your email address in the subscription box on the right-hand side of our main page and click “Subscribe” by Monday, December 19th. That’s it and it’s free. I’ll announce our lucky subscriber next week.

That’s it for now. Hope you dig the issue!

Bread and Roses,

Editor Zero, Kevin Mahoney


Read Full Post »

A few moments ago I sent my comments/suggestions on last week’s Strategic Plan Open Forum to the task force’s co-chairs as requested. Last week’s open forum was the university community’s final opportunity to comment on the strategic plan that will guide the university’s direction for the next several years.

For the past several weeks, I have been meeting with a group of students, faculty, and staff who have been thinking concretely about how to bring change to the university and build strong networks with the surrounding community. Our group, Occupy Kutztown, meets every Tuesday at 11am in Bear’s Den coffee house in the student union building (meeting will restart at the beginning of the spring semester).  The three suggestions I sent to the Strategic Plan Task Force attempt to get the university to enact policies of material support to the community. Here is the full memo I sent:

To: Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Task Force
From: Kevin Mahoney
Re: Comments/Suggestions for Strategic Plan

Date: December 7, 2011

I am writing to follow up on last week’s Strategic Plan open forum. As you may recall, I made a few  suggestions about the implementation of the Strategic Plan that I believe would provide KU with some concrete goals toward implementation. These suggestions are focused on reinforcing the spirit of the mission and goals of the university in ways that also help build strong connections with our surrounding communities.

I want to express my thanks to the Strategic Plan Task Force for their great work. I believe that this strategic plan represents the first coherent vision for the long-term success of the university I have seen since joining the faculty in 2002. As the outside consultant, Dr. Stephen Reno, stated

as a result of this process, you all have a wider responsibility for this campus.  So, you should be looking at this plan and asking yourself, “what’s my part in it? What piece of it can I pick up and take up and work on?”
These suggestions represent the kind of work that I and others envision as the parts of the process that we are willing to “pick up, take up, and work on.” So, as requested, I am sending you these comments/suggestions to you to include in your deliberations.

The three suggestions I have relate directly to Objective 2.1 Develop, Promote, and Sustain Strong Community Partnerships, in particular (but not limited to), Initiative 2.1.2. The goal of Initiative 2.1.2 is to “Establish and strengthen reciprocal relationships with regional businesses and community groups.” The two desired outcomes are: 1) identify and establish relationships with businesses and community groups aligned with KU programs; and, 2) Expand our networks of approved internship sites.

The current economic climate continues to strain communities and families that surround the university and from where most of our students come.  It would seem both appropriate and strategically smart for the university to act proactively to support our communities materially. These three suggestions could have a significant material impact in our communities and strengthen our ties with our communities.

  1. Bank Locally

    Currently, Kutztown University does its banking with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo was one of the “big banks” that contributed to our current economic crisis and continues to be plagued by ethical and legal violations. I propose that Kutztown University moves its money out of “big banks” and into a community based bank. Fleetwood Bank, for example, is a local, community based bank that would be an ideal candidate. By banking locally, we are supporting the local economy and maximizing the local impact of our banking practices.

  1. PA Sourcing of Office Supplies and Related Materials

    While Pennsylvania has been spared the worst of the current economic crisis, jobs are still quite difficulty to come by and PA families are struggling. As a state institution that is owned by the taxpaying citizens of the Commonwealth, it would make sense that we should maximize our economic support for PA industries. I propose that Kutztown University enact a policy of buying at least 50% of all office supplies and related materials from PA industries with a unionize workforce.

  1. Sourcing Food Locally

    Similar to #2, I propose that Kutztown University enact a policy of sourcing at least 50% of the food served on campus from local farms. Given the sheer size of Kutztown University, we would provide significant direct support for local economies. Furthermore, given the increasing number of food related crises connected to large-scale, global food sourcing (arsenic in apple juice, E. coli in meat and pre-packaged salads and vegetables) buying food locally is also a health issue.

I fully recognize that none of these proposals could be enacted over-night. I also recognize that enacting these proposals would require both work and a different way of thinking about how we fulfill our mission. As President Cevallos said at the open forum, these proposals lead us into “long and complicated” discussions and there would be “difficulties.” The group of people that I am working with on these issues are more than willing with work out the “difficulties.”

I believe that we can “think big” with this strategic plan and create a set of practices that can build strong relationships with the community through material choices the university makes as to how to spend and invest its money. As President Cevallos said, budgets and the use of resources are “choices.” The three choices I outline above are choices that can help demonstrate to the community that we can not only talk the talk of community engagement, we can walk the walk, too.

Thank you in advance for you consideration. Feel free to contact me via email @ mahoney@kutztown.edu or by phone. I would be happy to meet to discuss any of these issues further.


Kevin Mahoney
Assoc. Prof., English
Along similar lines, our group has been discussion ways to build progressive networks on campus and to provide a site for activist education. We decided to begin a “Free University” @ KU that will run for nine weeks during the spring semester. More details will be coming.  In the meantime, here is a copy of the “syllabus.”

the Free University | brought to you by Occupy Kutztown

Kick off: February 13th.

Week 1: Intro to the Economic Collapse (6pm)

  • Film: Inside Job
  • Discussion:

Week 2: Best Democracy Money Can Buy

  • Film: We the People, INC – Bill Moyer’s Journal
  • Discussion:

Week 3: Rigging the Game

  • Film: Koch Brother’s Exposed 
  • Discussion:

Week 4: Intro to Community Agriculture

  • Film: Fresh
  • Discussion:

Week 5: Frankenfood

  • Film: The Future of Food
  • Discussion:

Week 6: Corporate Supper

  • Film: Food, Inc. 
  • Discussion:

Week 7: Blowing Up Appalachia

  • Film: The Last Mountain
  • Discussion:

Week 8: Frack This!

  • Film: Split Estate
  • Discussion:

Week 9: Fire in the Water

  • Film: Gasland
  • Discussion:
If you are interested in working on any of this stuff, check out the Occupy Kutztown facebook page or drop me an email.

Read Full Post »

This morning President Cevallos hosted an open forum to discuss the latest draft of  the university’s strategic plan. Here is the original description of the forum:

The Strategic Plan Task Force invites the campus community to an Open Forum from 11 – 11:50 a.m. on Thursday, December 1, in AF, room 203, to discuss proposed revisions to the Strategic Plan. Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to join in a conversation with our strategic planning consultant, Dr. Stephen Reno, members of Cabinet, and the Strategic Plan Task Force.

F. Javier Cevallos, president

My intention was to have full video of the entire forum, but two things went wrong. First, about 5 minutes into the video there is a glitch that separated the video from the audio by a few seconds, making viewing the video incredibly annoying. Second, the last 10 minutes of the forum got cut off because my SD card was full. Live and learn. I am particularly disappointed the my last exchange with President Cevallos concerning KU’s $29.1 million is unrestricted net assets (if you want the background story, check out my post from April on the XChange or my article, “Kutztown University, Shock Doctrine, and Snake Oil Tales,” from the first issue of Raging Chicken Press).

What I’ve done is convert the video to all audio. Ideally, I’ll pull out some shorter clips that will be easier to circulate. However, I thought I would post the raw audio for anyone who is interested. Click on the link below to listen to the MP3 file. You can also right click, download it to your computer, and listen to it through whatever media player you use.

KU Strategic Plan Forum – December 1, 2011

You can consider the MP3 file to be licensed under the XChange’s general Creative Commons license. You are welcome to use the file as you wish within the terms of the license.

Read Full Post »