GMU General Assembly to Hold Potluck Dinner

You are invited to join the GMU General Assembly for a family style potluck dinner on Monday, November 21st from 7-10pm in the Paul Robeson Room, Johnson Center Room 240A.

Last week a diverse group of students, staff, and faculty from a variety of programs and offices came together to discuss the issues that concern us, as the Mason Community. Check out this article in the Fairfax Patch or our article on the front page of the Broadside student newspaper.

We must continue this conversation if we want to create tangible changes to improve our campus. Now is the time for all of us to come together, get to know each other better, and discuss next steps for the GMU General Assembly. Based on a survey on the fb page, the most popular next step was to have a potluck dinner. With Thanksgiving approaching, we will hold a family style dinner of our own before the break.

Bring a plate, fork, and a cup from your home as well as a dish you would like to share with the group. Please be aware of other dietary needs such as gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan diets when selecting your dish. Post the dish you plan on making on the facebook event wall to avoid overlap.

7pm Arrive and Set-up
7:30 Begin Eating
8:30-10pm Discussion on GA Next Steps

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Coverage of Wednesday’s General Assembly

Fairfax Patch

Photos by Vitalie Sprinceana

Broadside student newspaper

Connect to Mason

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Location Moved to South Plaza

The General Assembly will begin on the South Plaza, located by the George Mason statue near the Johnson Center. A pro-gun rally will take place on the North Plaza until 2pm.

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Response to University Statement

A university statement incorrectly called Wednesday’s General Assembly a “protest” organized by a group called “Occupy George Mason”. In actuality, Wednesday’s event will be an open forum for the Mason Community to discuss the issues that concern us. This event will not be a protest or a permanent occupation. Additionally, this event is not organized by any group calling itself “Occupy George Mason”. The administration is urged to correct their errors.

University Statement:

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Open Invitation to Participate in the General Assembly

Students, faculty, staff, workers, and other members of the Mason Community,

You are invited to the General Assembly on Wednesday, November 9th from 1 to 4pm at the North Plaza to discuss the issues that concern us all, and to move forward in creating positive change. The rain day will be Monday, November 14th from 12 to 3pm.


Part of George Mason University’s mission is to “educate the new generation of leaders for the 21st century—men and women capable of shaping a global community with vision, justice, and clarity.”[1] This applies now more than ever. At the present moment, we are faced with serious social, economic, and political crises, including:

  • An economic crisis with unprecedented student debt and national debt
  • An environmental crisis threatening our climate and health
  • A wealth crisis with a tremendous discrepancy between the top 1% and the 99%
  • A power crisis where corporations dominate our political system
  • A crisis of oppression in which our society continues to put women, people of color, LGBTQ identifying people, immigrants, and many other historically underrepresented identities at a disadvantage.

Though our challenges are great, our opportunities are greater.  Looking back at the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, and India’s nonviolent resistance, it is clear that people have the ability to make history by building a strong movement, one of which could start here on campus. The recent Arab Spring and #occupy movement is testament to the power people have when they assemble and work together to create change. Students play critical roles in social movements of the past, and college campuses have a unique opportunity to be the epicenter for change.

Join us, as we assemble to build relationships, and tackle issues that hinder our vision for a just world.  The General Assembly will seek to provide a non-discriminatory, safe environment for people to discuss improvements needed at George Mason University.

Discrepancies at Mason

Here at Mason, we have our share of injustices. The #OccupyWallStreet movement remains critical of the top 1% most wealthy and privileged individuals from the most powerful institutions, such as banks and corporations. A quick look at Mason’s most powerful individuals reveals shocking statistics. The GMU Administration Organizational Chart[2] includes 42 individuals in top positions.[3] Of these, 98% are white and 64% are male. This is unacceptable. Although this demographic holds most of the power at Mason, they comprise only 0.1% of the Mason Community.[4] Additionally, University President Merten makes $633,631 annually[5] while our dining workers start at 2.79% of his salary.[6]

Our Next President

Right now, a committee of 26 individuals is in the process of hiring our next university president.[7] The University of Maryland recently underwent this process with 14% student representation on their committee.[8] Here at Mason, there is only one student on our committee: a 4% student representation. Students may have received a survey to gain their input on this important decision; however, this survey was distributed after the position profile was established and the interview process had begun.

Unfortunately, a process for students to share their hopes, dreams, and visions with decision makers on campus and to participate in decision making is nearly nonexistent. While Student Government has the power to pass non-binding resolutions, these resolutions may be completely ignored by decision makers. Would it be possible to establish shared governance in which all stakeholders – students, faculty, and staff – can participate in decision making rather than concentrating power in the hands of the 0.1%?


Our faculty is an essential part of creating change at Mason. They have long-term visions and knowledge of Mason’s institutional workings. David Kuebrich, an associate professor of English at Mason, says that “At this moment of crisis—when we are losing both our democracy and our planet to individual and corporate greed—we professors must do more than teach the younger generation. We must also stand with them.  Our students have a right to expect much from us. Not only must we restore our country’s earlier commitment to public higher education, but also, and more importantly, we must help restore basic decency to the public life of our nation. We faculty must begin to think and act in new ways. Soon it will be too late.”

Opportunities for Change

Fighting for justice and equality is not a new thing at Mason. In the fall of 2010, our dining workers went on strike to fight for better working conditions[9]. The campus group TQ Mason is fighting for gender neutral bathrooms and more rights for transgendered and queer identifying students on campus. Student Government is actively working to address the student debt crisis by hosting an event called “What’s Your Number?” Several organizations are working together to provide economic and educational justice to undocumented students who have been paying taxes and living in VA for most of their lives. These are just a few examples of issues already being addressed.

This event is being organized for the Mason Community to exercise their constitutional and student right to free speech in accordance of the law and university policy. The organizers plan to work with, not against, the University Police Department and university administrators. All participants will be given an opportunity to speak. A moderator will limit the speaking time for everyone to assure that every voice can be heard. Everything discussed will be documented, and after the general assembly all participants will be encouraged to deliver this documentation to Mason’s top administration. You are invited to bring innovative change to this institution we all value. We conclude with the official mission of our university, with the hope of working with you to better achieve that mission.

The University’s Mission

George Mason University is innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit and utilizes its multi-campus organization and location near our nation’s capital to attract outstanding faculty, staff and students. George Mason will:

  • Educate the new generation of leaders for the 21st century—men and women capable of shaping a global community with vision, justice, and clarity.
  • Encourage freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in a tolerant, respectful academic setting that values diversity.
  • Provide innovative and interdisciplinary undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses of study that enable students to exercise analytical and imaginative thinking and make well-founded ethical decisions.
  • Nurture and support a highly qualified and entrepreneurial faculty that is excellent at teaching, active in pure and applied research, capable of providing a broad range of intellectual and cultural insights, and is responsive to the needs of students and their communities.
  • Maintain an international reputation for superior education and public service that affirms its role as the intellectual and cultural nexus among Northern Virginia, the nation, and the world.

Please consider joining the General Assembly to initiate the conversation about how we can create a unified vision for our university.


Patricia Poyer

Veronica Ramos-Coreas

Anartia Gamboa

David Kuebrich

Daniel Stock

Rebecca Icing

Jason Von Kundra

Andrea Fraser

Ce Garrison

Mike “Biff” Anderson

Hannah Sheffield

Jade Pearce

Lianne Roe

Julia Douglas

Chris Bartlo

Celine Leary

Zac Dettwyler

Brandi Welborn

Louis Elkner-Alfaro

Angela Stewart

[1] George Mason University Mission Statement

[2] GMU Administration Organizational Chart of July 2011

[3] This does not include Virginia’s state Governor and the Board of Visitors who are elected by the Governor.

[4] GMU has 32,562 students, 2,359 faculty and 859 staff according to

[5] Washington Post article “Maryland chancellor, George Mason president among the top-paid at public universities”

[6] Sodexo Labor Claim Report – Fall 2010, GMU Internal Audit and Management Services

[7] GMU Presidential Search Website

[8] UMD Presidential Search Committee Members

[9] Washington Post article “GMU food-service workers strike to protest conditions”

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