Phoebe reports from the front lines of FOCUS, Yale's pre- orientation program for sophomores interested in New Haven, where tonight was the traditional very expensive dinner with the Office of New Haven and State Affairs.  The debate started early with a discussion at her table between her and Alyssa and a few of your favorite ONHSA-ers of this summer's Community Benefits Agreement legislation: it's back and forth about the agreement not being specific enough or tied to specific instances (as, according to m., the ones in LA were) or discouraging development or whatnot. and carol inserts herself very unhelpfully to everyone (i'd say even to herself, in terms of her likeability, if she has any) at various points. the final line is m. talking about the benefits agreement as a mechanism (after its purpose as a "mechanism" has been established by alyssa) that induces friction and we respond that it's just bringing already existent friction/tension/whatever to the surface, might even be a mechanism by which some of that might be resolved. and then, oops, time to start the presentation; we're behind schedule; m. has to go, tells r. to "take over," or i guess he says "handle it" or something, but r. runs off too--something about some key box not working--and it ends on that friction-surfacing note. score. then we have the m. presentation, which directly references the "new economy," among other things. question period. after a couple of questions alyssa takes the floor, asks about the pharmaceutical companies m. is mentioning and the university in general and how how the university is working to create and keep jobs that are relevant to the skills and needs of the people in the city. m. responds with, among other things, "we will never be an effective job-training organization"--that being a job-training organization is "not something a university like yale does well." the next question is about adult education, and m. mentions somewhere in his answer "six years" of labor contracts. i raise my hand, get called for the next question, point out that there are in fact eight-year contracts (yes, it's six years from now when contracts expire, but his use of "six years" was ambiguous; and as a point of information, he didn't once mention the strike or organized labor or work at yale in general in any way during his prepared talk) and then move on to his statement about yale never being an effective job-training organization. i mention the racial and ethnic disparities in job classes and how i see it as part of the unversity's responsibility to work to eliminate those disparites and the conditions that create them and doesn't that necessarily have to involve some sort of job training? and one of the victories of the not-aforementioned contract settlement was a job access committee with community access and commitment to job access and training and all. and he says some ridiculous thing about how he "rejects a lot of what i said" (after clarifying the lengths of the contracts) and doesn't really answer me, says that "adult education really isn't the university's mission." i respond that, um, actually, my question was prompted by his response to alyssa's question, not to the (very valid) question about education for folks in the community. he takes the next question, never once having responded to the issue of racial and ethnic job disparities. a couple of rockstar need-to-be-organized focusites ask great questions about the university gentrifying the area around yale and moving out the problems and displacing residents for student housing and such. near the end, alyssa brings the community benefits conversation to the whole group, and m. lies, completely misrepresenting the agreement as required rather than voluntary, and exceedingly frustratingly completely ignores us saying that it is, in fact, voluntary, so his declaration that he doesn't support a required benefits agreement is really irrelevant. he's just "out of time," can take one more question, and then the thing is basically over. the best thing is to see the extent to which most people here appear not to be very taken in--everyone in my discussion group basically left as frustrated with m. as i was. well, maybe not quite, everyone, but significantly frustrated. but i think we completely won and that was just great. Mike: If you're back at this site and want to take issue with this account, this may be yet another reason for you to start an ONHSA blog of your own...


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