Old Mustafabad Delhi-110094 ngosofia@gmail.com

General body

THE General Body remained fluid and flexible throughout the sit-in in order to remediate the erasure of particular groups or individuals. Though often wonderful, it was also difficult. There were numerous internal challenges due to the high-pressure fishbowl situation of the sit-in, as well as the nature of attempts at intersectional solidarity. This resulted in times where some people or groups felt less safe, or less welcomed in the space than others, some felt (or perhaps, for all intensive purposes, were) actively pushed out, less visible and/or less represented. And of course, age-old issues of privilege and power occurred, as they often do even in groups whose intention is to operate from a fully participatory, social-justice approach. While it was the desire of all involved to earnestly work on and dismantle these issues, there were many ways in which things could have been improved. The university administration also worked to undermine solidarity, attempting to ‘befriend’ or isolate certain members, as well as agreeing to address certain issues, while ignoring others just as crucial. Overall, though, THE General Body helped form connections, helped all participants learn, and had, and continues to have, powerful impacts.

The activism of THE General Body kickstarted larger conversations on campus about transparency, privilege, oppression, intersectionality, mental health, disability, heterosexism, transphobia, racism, the ‘ivory tower’ disconnected from the larger community, and sexism on campus. This was a part of a larger national conversation regarding university rape culture, white supremacy, and corporatization. Additionally, the actions of THE General Body put pressure on Chancellor Syverud and the senior executive administration to address the closure of the Advocacy Center fully and to give more power to the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Sexual Violence Prevention, Advocacy, and Awareness. As of April 2015, because of pressure from THE General Body and the persistent activism of disability rights activists the university will soon be hiring its first full-time Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator in 10 years, and the hiring of a new psychiatric nurse has made mental health services more readily available to students. Teaching and graduate assistants saw a significant raise in substandard pay while THE General Body and groups such as the Graduate Student Organization and Graduate Students United advocated for these labor rights. Opportunities for students to participate in the “Fast Forward” campus restructuring and mission/vision statement modification processes were expanded.