Activist club to be inactive next year

B.R.I.C.K., Building Revolution by Increasing Community Knowledge, one of South Puget Sound Community Colleges’ most revered clubs, is taking a one-year hiatus for the 2013-2014 school year, because it will be without an advisor during that year.

The current advisor, David Hyde, has been awarded a sabbatical for the next school year and will be unable to lead the club at that time.

While club members did search for a substitute advisor, they couldn’t find anyone.
“One likely candidate was Eric Chase, who has always assisted in advising B.R.I.C.K. informally,” said Hyde.

But, because Professor Chase is an adjunct faculty member, he has no contractual job responsibilities aside from teaching, and he would not get paid for his work with the club, said Hyde.

“B.R.I.C.K., being a progressive political club whose members strongly believe in labor rights and a fair day’s pay for a day’s work, felt it was inconsistent with the club’s values to ask Professor Chase to work for free,” said Hyde.

Standing by the club’s principles, B.R.I.C.K. members unanimously voted to withdraw the club’s budget request for next year and suspend the its activities.

According to Hyde, club members hope the college will develop a policy that allows adjunct faculty and classified staff to receive stipends when they advise clubs, both to prevent situations like this in the future and to adequately compensate those adjunct faculty and classified staff that currently advise clubs.

“It’s our understanding that the college’s administration is currently discussing this issue, and we’re hopeful a reasonable solution will be found going forward,” Hyde said.

Student Life and the Services & Activities Fee Committee, which allocates money for club activities and events, are considering the possibility of adjunct faculty receiving a stipend for advising clubs.

“There are a few key difficulties. For one, if we paid adjunct faculty, we would also have to pay classified staff as well. And, secondly, we would have to figure out where the money to pay these additional salary fees would come from,” said Dave Rector, dean of student life.

While B.R.I.C.K. intends to return as a student club in the fall of 2014, it’s members and many people in the campus community are saddened by its one-year disbandment.

Mayahuel Weisser, an active B.R.I.C.K. member since winter quarter 2011, said the club has been an irreplaceable part of her experience at SPSCC.

“I am a shy person, and it’s hard for me to reach out to new people. Encouraged by David Hyde and some classmates, I attended a B.R.I.C.K. retreat to what the club was about,” said Weisser, “It was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Weisser said, “B.R.I.C.K. has taught me leadership skills and helped me feel like I was making a real difference in my community.”

“The thought of B.R.I.C.K. disbanding next year is a painful one. It represents such a loss for the SPSCC students and the Olympia community at large,” said Weisser.
According to Rector, the club has been one of the most active club on campus since it’s conception.

“Every cent of our budget goes back into the community, and we co-sponsor with almost every club on campus,” said Weisser.

“It’s easy to feel helpless, to become cynical about the state of the world, but B.R.I.C.K. gives students the opportunity to get engaged and change their community for the better,” said Weisser.

“When I think about how many students will miss these eye-opening opportunities next year, I get so angry and sad,” she said.

B.R.I.C.K. meets at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Student Union Building.

Currently, the club is organizing a screening of the documentary “Precious Knowledge” to spread the word about Arizona banning the Mexican-American Studies Program.