Posts Tagged ‘Wells Fargo’

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.


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I could not have asked for a better way to start my day. As I drove in to work this morning, I swung by the local Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of Whiteoak and Main Street to see if the Occupy Kutztown action had gotten underway. Despite the rain and cooler weather, there were already at least a couple dozen people in brightly colored rain ponchos, homemade signs, and an energy that seemed to light up that little corner of Kutztown. I honked my horn, put down my passenger-side window and yelled “I’ll see you all in a little bit!!!”

What a way to start the day.

After I get done with my first round of office hours this morning, I am going to head down to Occupy Kutztown and and my voice to the protest as well as gather some stories and photos for Raging Chicken Press. I wish I could be there all day.

I am hoping that my colleagues, union members, union leaders, and students will take some time out of their days to join Occupy Kutztown in front of the Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of Whiteoak and Main. After today’s action, the question will be where do we go from here? I have a host of ideas for what we can do locally to nurture this emerging social movement. After all, the Wall Street created economic crisis is not limited to a few blocks in New York City as we are well aware.

Bruce Levine, author of Get Up Stand uP has given me some ideas about the need to rebuild solidarity and our self-respect. Levine appeared on the Rick Smith Show back in April and I just transcribed the interview and published it in the October issue of Raging Chicken Press. Levine uses the example of the Populist Movement in the 1880s to get at the kind of organizing that needs to take place today to get back our self-respect and confidence.  Here’s a bit of what got me thinking:

But what they did—Populist organizers—was real smart. They realized, hey, our guys are getting ripped off by the banks and they’re getting ripped off by the railroads—that was the oligarchy of the time that was screwing them—the grain elevator operators. Why? Because they had to go into debt to plant their crops and when they finally got around to getting their crops sold, they couldn’t get enough money to pay off their debts, and so they were going deeper and deeper into debt, and losing their farms and all that. So, the great organization of that era was called, the short term for it was the Alliance, and what they did was they did some thinking about it. How could we come up with some kind of economic, self-help here that we could pull off that doesn’t take a lot of money, that could reduce these folks’ pain economically. And what they did was they just came up with the first, gigantic scale, working peoples’ cooperative where they basically cut out the middle-man. These farmers got together and they pulled their crop, cut out the middle-man, got great prices for their crop and word spread—they didn’t need twitter, they didn’t need facebook—word spread in a hurry that this was a great deal, this Alliance. They weren’t just an organization preaching at us, they were taking away our pain, giving us back our self-respect, giving us confidence.

The Occupy Kutztown action opens the possibility for a collective discussion about how we–right here where we live and work–can retake the reigns of the future by looking at alternatives to the mantra of “budget cuts” and manufactured “fiscal crisis.”  We shall see how the Kutztown community responds to the question posed by Eminem — a question that has been ringing in my ears for the past several weeks:

Look…If you had…one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted…in one moment, would you capture it? Or, just let it slip?

The opportunity of a generation is here. An opportunity to begin to retake the initiative, to right decades of wrongs, and to gain back our confidence to do more that throw our hands up in the air and say, “there is nothing I can do.”

I hope to see you today at Occupy Kutztown.

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That’s right folks! The cornfield and picturesque campus were no match for the Occupy movement. It’s here.

Here’s the details:

  • When? Tomorrow! Wed. October 12 beginning at 11am
  • Where? Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of Whiteoak and Main, Kutztown
  • What? A rally of the 99% . Here’s the official call to Occupy Kutztown:
    • INVITE EVERYONE!We are the 99%. Stand up to Wall Street, stand up to the Banks. Stand up to the 1% of the population that have been destroying the American Dream.Since we can’t leave campus because of class, why not bring it to Kutztown. Meet outside the Wells Fargo on main street. A company that took 25 billion dollars from the American Tax Payers. They continue to take people’s homes. They support the 1%. Who do you support?

      For more information about the movement please go to – www.occupytogether.org

      please note this is to be a peaceful demonstration.

  • Word has it that the Reading Eagle will be there along with 69 News. And, of course, Raging Chicken Press will be covering the event as well.
Hope to see you there!

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