10 Feature 5/28/10
Lafayette Charitable Group Life Thrives
Mysterious “Purple People” cult revealed to be positive force of philosophy and cooperation by Mackenzie Lee
professors tell the students how the things they are arguing are in fact perfect. The Morehouse symbol to the right During the 1960s communal living was a popular but stands for the group’s idea of perfection. Several of the short-lived fad. With communal living comes decisions Morehouse residents wear necklaces with the symbol. that need to made by the group as a whole. This made The Lafayette Morehouse was also at one time a keeping communes happy and together difficult. But in the recognized university, the More University. In 1977, late 1960s Vic Baranco was asked to create a communal classes about communication and sensuality were being living lifestyle that would last. taught at the Morehouse. “Vic was this really dynamic businessman who built this “We had the qualifications and we went for it,” said lifestyle in response to a request,” said Sugar*, Morehouse Sugar. resident and Vic’s daughter. More University had a boxing team, a cheerleading The lifestyle evolved over the past 40 years, and the team and a purple turkey mascot. leadership changed as well. Vic died in 2002, leaving However, in 1997 the qualifications to be a university Morehouse to his wife Cindy Baranco. changed and the More University was no longer recognized “It’s sweeter, softer, nicer to be led by a woman,” said as a university. Nevertheless, many of the courses offered Sugar. at the time are still offered today. The Morehouse philosophies were created by Vic The Morehouse has its own internal government in stages of self discovery. The “Flash of Perfection”, a system. The One-No-Vote is aimed at giving everyone founding principle of the Morehouse beliefs, is an idea in the community an equal say in decisions that affect that everything is perfect. Vic set out to find the root of them. The system works by having the group vote on a Photo: M. Lee every good and bad thing that happened in his life. proposal. People can debate the proposal all they want, The Morehouse symbol extends perfection to all. “He made his life, every good and bad thing,” said Jill, but it only takes one “no” vote to kill the issue. The “When I went there one time I expected to see Morehouse resident of five years. “Every bad thing that proposal may never be brought to the table again, not even happened to him could be traced back to a decision he after the person who said “no” passes away or leaves the purple buildings, purple cars and naked people,” said an anonymous Miramonte student who admits to sneaking made in his life.” Morehouse. The “Flash of Perfection” also said that perfection Where to put the washer and dryer was a decision that onto the Morehouse property numerous times. “I thought includes the potential for change. When becoming a took a couple of years because the Morehouse residents there would be bonfires and tribal sex music. But there was a bodyguard guy and we ran away because it was member of the Morehouse one must take a class called wanted everyone to be in agreement. Presentation. This class is around three hours long and “You don’t want a disgruntled minority,” said Michael, scary.” “We don’t advertise or look for people to join,” said is designed for the students to challenge professors that Morehouse resident. things in the world or themselves are not perfect and the Mark Groups are an important and enjoyed part of the Sugar. Although the Morehouse is said to be a cult, there Morehouse. They are two- or three-hour long events at someone’s house where three are numerous courses and an evaluation course that is structured games about communication are mandatory to be accepted into the group, so joining the played. The games are about giving and group isn’t as simple as just walking in the door. Morehouse residents can be kicked out or leave when they please. receiving attention. “I would leave if I could find a place that is more fun,” “You learn a lot about people without prying,” said Michael. “It’s a dynamic said Michael. The Morehouse continues to deny any cult actions evening that is a lot of fun. I met my wife at within their group. a Mark Group.” “We don’t make anyone drink the ‘kool aid,’” said While living at the Morehouse there is an ongoing course, the More Socratic Sugar. The Morehouse also gives back to the outside community Dialogue. It is the everyday learning about pleasurable living. The idea behind the through their charity, Turn on America. They go to Whole More Socratic Dialogue is, “Fun is the Foods and Trader Joe’s and take the food that is taken off the shelves and give it away to people in need. goal, love is the way.” The Morehouse is also looking to make some changes Many rumors about the Lafayette Morehouse are spread, mainly throughout to their property. “We have not taken as great care of our houses as we high school students. The group is often visited by unwelcome and mean high school could have,” said Jill. “It is our biggest communal goal to fix it up.” Photo: M. Lee students who try to sneak onto the property *Last names withheld upon request and sometimes harass the residents. Morehouse residents Michael, Sugar, and Jill share a smile.
Forestall Foreign Influence in Haiti with Education Haitian college problems dwarf Measure A; only Haiti can liberate itself by Eric Hass
maintained there by MINUSTAH, a UN amalgamation of the armed forces of well-meaning nations. The international community’s track record in Haiti isn’t good. France gave Haiti a debt of protection money after the successful slave rebellion. One thing Haiti’s stable agrarian economy wasn’t good at was being extorted. America invaded the
debtor nation in 1914 and forced a constitution on the helpless country that enabled a voracious kleptocracy. The earthquake in Haiti crippled college education The constitution, written by FDR, contained a clause there, with 90% of university buildings destroyed of “efficient development” that compelled the eventual and about 15% of the university population perished. deforestation of the country, a job begun in the seventeenth Professors now hold classes outside with megaphones century by French sugarcane planters. and lecture to hundreds. Classes A 1986 IMF loan of less than $25 million have been seriously disrupted and forced the country to accept cheap American students have written off the second rice imports that undercut and decimated the semester. If the university system Haitian rice industry, one of the few remaining operates at all next year, it will in the country at the time. Money left the have to fight through lack of space country to buy the cheaper rice until the and material. If a generation goes coffers were emptied and mud cakes became without higher education Haiti will a popular alternative to food. be in even deeper trouble. A thriving student population would enable Supplying a group of students Haiti to resist foreign interests who would love might rub some of the passed-over to see Haiti become a sweatshop or the holding the wrong way, because Haiti’s of an American natural resources company. impoverished supermajority rarely Those are the options of Western development, goes to college. which is the only method Western-dominated Charitable groups uninvolved international organizations know. This isn’t to in books and computers might denigrate the necessary aid of the Red Cross. be jealous of money spent on Bill Clinton co-chairs the organization that such frivolities. Nevertheless, the all reconstruction aid to Haiti flows through situation in Haiti makes it clear and he has recognized the need to rebuild that aid to colleges is one of the nine of the 13 State University campuses. It is few things that could prevent future unlikely he will destroy one of the barriers to tragedies and domination of the higher education by mandating that classes be Photo: Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT. country by foreign entities. conducted in Creole, which a supermajority Currently, a veneer of order is A civil engineering class meets on a plain below the hills outside Port-au-Prince. of Haitians uses, instead of French.