Category Archives: Community Support

Friends of Forest Park Plans Demonstration at Commencement; UNH Administrator Cari Moorhead Tries to Squash Student Activism

On Saturday, May 19th 2007, the day of Commencement, Friends of Forest Park is planning a demonstration on the UNH campus to raise awareness about the lack of affordable family housing on campus and the increasingly dire financial situation residents of Forest Park find themselves in.

The UNH Administration has gotten wind of our plans to take advantage of this historic opportunity to educate the thousands of people coming to Durham about the UNH Administration’s blatant disregard for the well being of the residents of Forest Park. It is the UNH Administration’s refusal to take responsibility for a decision THEY created that has led us to mount public protests and demonstrations. UNH has shown time and again that they do not care that there children living in grinding poverty on this campus and that they have students who do not eat every day because of decisions this university has made.

In response to their discovery of our plans, a UNH administrator, Cari Moorhead, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, sent this letter to selected members of Friends of Forest Park:

It has come to my attention that there may be a Friends of Forest Park (FOFP) protest planned for Saturday. My point in sending this message is to basically share my opinion with you as students who may be involved. It is my sincere belief that graduation is not the time to protest, given how hard our Forest Park students have worked, and how much many families have sacrificed to get their loved ones to this wonderful point in their journey. Faculty are currently working without a contract and the union has taken other opportunities to protest throughout the year. However, as a sign of the significance the university community places on the graduation ceremony the faculty union has taken the stand that they will not protest on Saturday.

On a related note, I have a concern that the FOFP are being seen by the broader community as the actual residents of Forest park. In essence, the general community does not know the difference and therefore, if the FOFP protest it will be seen as the FP tenants protesting. In conversations with me FOFP members have indicated that they would not want to speak for the FP residents, yet that is what will be the outcome here (for example, I cannot tell you how many people have asked me why the Forest Park residents were on T-Hall lawn a couple of weeks ago.) I am not sure whether the actual residents of Forest Park are aware and/or have weighed in on the event but if there is to be an event it would seem to be important that the resident’s be aware of the implications for them.

Hope all is well with everyone.
Fingers crossed for sun on Saturday,

Cari

Cari Moorhead, Ph.D.,
Associate Dean,
Graduate School,
University of New Hampshire,
Durham, NH 03824-0275
Ph 603-862-3007
Fax 603-862-0275
cari.moorhead@unh.edu

It should be noted that every concern she has in this letter is unfounded and every claim she makes about Friends of Forest Park is wrong. To wit: It is not the intention of Friends of Forest Park to disrupt commencement in any way or to denigrate the accomplishments of the graduates. We are merely using the event as an opportunity to educate hundreds, possibly thousands of people about this important issue.

Secondly, it is inappropriate to compare Friends of Forest Park to the AAUP. Is Cari suggesting that a grassroots group that advocates for the rights and dignity of a marginalized group of students and their families is comparable to a union of mostly white, highly-educated, middle class academics? I didn’t think so. The issue of affordable housing for students with families is more important than the fact that the professors on this campus, many of whom are making six figures a year, and none of whom are making $14,200 (The highest stipend for PhD students in the Chemistry Department) are working without a contract.

Furthermore, Friends of Forest Park has never hidden the fact that it is a group of non-resident student allies. That is why the group is called Friends of Forest Park, not Friends of Ourselves, Forest Park Residents. Friends of Forest Park cannot and will not be held responsible for the thoughts and impressions of every last person who witnesses our actions. Friends of Forest Park would not exist were it not for the willful negligence of the Department of Housing and the UNH Administration.

Friends of Forest Park has always and will continue to work closely with the Forest Park Tenants Committee and the residents of Forest Park. We don’t do anything without talking to the residents. We are their allies and friends. The administration’s tactic of wearing Forest Park resident-activists down has created the need for more non-residents to advocate on the residents’ behalf. Furthermore, many of the residents of Forest Park, particularly international students, are scared of being retaliated against by the university. It has therefore become necessary for the non-resident domestic undergraduate students of Friends of Forest Park to do more ally work because we have fewer responsibilities and less to lose.

In conclusion, this letter has only emboldened us. We see it as a sign that our tactics are working. We will continue to protest, demonstrate and advocate until the UNH administration makes Forest Park and affordable family housing a priority.

Box city demonstration on Wednesday!

Join the Friends of Forest Park in a demonstration on T-Hall lawn May 2nd from 10-4 (We will be rallying especially from 12-2pm – so if you can only make it for a short time try to show up then!).

“The Future of Family Housing at UNH” that will include boxes decorated as dilapidated houses to signify the continual neglect and oppression that the Forest Park community is subject to and the stark reality that family housing is being phased out of the University altogether.

The demonstration willl be displayed and attended on T-Hall lawn all day on Wednesday May 2nd, in which we as the UNH student community will demand that UNH Adminstrators honor their commitment to provide an “inclusive and welcoming place to study, work and live for all persons” (UNH Diversity Strategic Plan), by lowering the rents for student families so they can afford food, clothing, and other basic necessities!

Join us as we stand up for this community and send the message to the administration that treatment of individuals on our campus like this will not be tolerated!

Help us make a box-city demonstration for Forest Park

UNH families should be THRIVING not merely SURVIVING!

Join us this Saturday, as a Friend of Forest Park, to help create a box-city demonstration called, “The Future of Family Housing at UNH” that will include boxes decorated as dilapidated houses to signify the continual neglect and oppression that the Forest Park community is subject to and the stark reality that family housing is being phased out of the University altogether.

The demonstration willl be displayed and attended on T-Hall lawn all day on Wednesday May 2nd, in which we as the UNH student community will demand that UNH Adminstrators honor their commitment to provide an “inclusive and welcoming place to study, work and live for all persons” (UNH Diversity Strategic Plan), by lowering the rents for student families so they can afford food, clothing, and other basic necessities!

But we need your help in order to make this demonstration happen! Meet us at the Diversity Support Coalition Office (first floor on the MUB, next to the WUNH radio station) from 10am-2pm this Saturday, April 28th. Bring markers, paints, cardboard boxes (check into stores to collect em’ before they’re recycled), and any other artsy crafts or ideas you can muster up such as displays or street theatre.

Power to the Peaceful!
Derek Price

Thanks to everyone at the benefit!

Maureen reports the benefit for Forest Park last Monday raised over $600! So many thanks to everyone who helped organize it and participated. Forest Park residents and their allies appreciate all your efforts!

Art auction to support Forest Park

A message from Maureen Reilly and Third Wave: A Place for Feminists: 

I am writing to you to request submissions for an upcoming open mic/art gallery on Monday, April 23 from 6-9pm at the Waysmeet Center on Mill Road (across from C-Lot).

Tickets are $5 and the structure is as follows:
6-8: Silent auction, gallery, coffee and dessert and open-mic
8ish-9: Music from Callie Lipton (UNH ’06) and Aaron Katz from Percy Hill.

  • We are looking for any art submissions: paintings, watercolors, photography, prints, sculpture… whatever… to display around the room during the event. If you are interested in selling your work with proceeds to benefit Forest Park, please indicate that in your response and we will include you in the silent auction!
  • We are also looking for musicians! Showcase your musical talents in any way you would like!
  • Writers and poets are also crucial to this event. Please share your poems and stories! Read them yourselves or submit them anonymously and another person will share them with the audience.

We will have a sign-up sheet for people who want to participate but it would be great to get a sense of who is interested beforehand so we can make enough time for everyone. Let me know what you were thinking about sharing and an estimated performance time if you can.

If you are interested in participating in this event or if you have any questions, please e-mail me — mmreilly(at)unh(dot)edu.

All proceeds from this event will benefit the community of Forest Park. Forest Park is the University’s family housing units with approximately 130 families/apartments w/ about 40 children. Many of these residents are have families and live on a very tight budget and the residents of Forest Park have seen dramatic rent increases, problems from construction of the new dorms and Kingsbury around them, the destruction of their daycare and playground and many other abuses from the Administration. The proceeds will help support this community in a variety of ways from providing food and clothing to the community, to helping with unexpected health costs or a community garden project.

Also, please forward this to anyone you know who would be interested in submitting or sharing at the benefit.

Thank you so much for your time, your creativity, your contributions and for supporting Forest Park.
Sincerely,
Maureen Reilly
Third Wave: A Place for Feminists