left: President Maeda
and Dean of Students, Raj Belani listen to a statement from Duhirwe Rushemeza at a meeting with RISD students about the closing of OPE. right: Flyers distributed at meeting.
We knew that on this day, weâ€™d need more than seven minutes. So we broke down the tables of the conference room and arranged the chairs in concentric circlesâ€”a way to diffuse the concentration of power and help to ensure that everyone would have an equal place in the conversation. The President entered the room looking for a stage, where there was none. This small move had a significant effect on the conversation that day. Hours later, students were still speaking and the administration appeared to be listening. We also staged protests outside two meetings with the Board of Trusteesâ€”participatory signs, stickers and flyers helped to reinforce the statements expressed at the previous meeting and project them to a more public audience.