Q/A w/ Marcus Lee Banafrit
In the last two weeks, a new student group has popped up that is trying to make a change on campus, with both a public forum and rally on March 3 and 4, respectively. The ColleXion is “an organization of people who are trying to find the “X”; they’re trying to find what they’re purpose is.” Jackalope Magazine sat down with The ColleXion founder Marcus Lee Banafrit to talk about what The ColleXion has planned for SFUAD.
Jackalope Magazine: What is The ColleXion trying to do on campus?
Marcus Lee Banafrit: The ColleXion is trying to do two things. They’re trying to bring together artists to collaborate and they’re also trying to make sure that the rules that are set in place to help campus life and help things run smoothly aren’t being stepped over and abused.
JM: What rules in particular?
MLB: Rules regarding privacy and the rules against discrimination. Things of that nature.
JM: How was The ColleXion formed?
MLB: I formed it back in 2013 [outside of SFUAD] as my own personal way of getting through life and following my dreams. I wanted to make it fun for myself and I also wanted to have a message behind it. For The ColleXion AT SFUAD, I saw that there were a bunch of students that felt like they were being wronged… I saw a lot of students who had to deal with things at this school that they shouldn’t have had to deal with. I saw myself in a lot of the people that were telling me their problems and I figured that I could use The ColleXion to help fuel them in helping them… find their “X” without things getting in the way.
JM: What are The ColleXion’s goals? What is their list of demands?
MLB: The list of demands are sensitivity training, diversity training, and semesterly reviews on RAs, faculty members and administration. What The ColleXion really wants is a checks and balance system.
JM: How has administration responded to The ColleXion?
MLB: Administration has responded very positively, actually. Administration is definitely on our side…The [college interim] president [Maria Puzziferro] told us that she was proud of us. [Assistant Director of Student Affairs] Jeremy [Hadley] has told us that he’s proud of us. They want to work with us and help us fix the issues on campus. The administration has definitely accepted us very well.
JM: The ColleXion wants to have more forums, correct?
MLB: Yeah, the president said something about having those forums once a month! I think that would be great. I can’t remember exactly who said it in the audience, but [someone mentioned] having it in a bigger spot because I don’t think every student can fit in the Forum, but I know more students could fit in the theater, so if we did a forum in the theater, that would be really cool because more students could come. Even though we had the Forum and we had the [protest] yesterday, there are still people who still don’t know what The ColleXion is about. There’s still people who still don’t know anything at all [about The ColleXion] and oppose simply because they don’t know. If we have these forums every month and see what it’s about, see what’s going on campus, then I think that will set the record straight for a lot of students. I know that no matter what there will always be people opposed to what The ColleXion does and what The ColleXion is about for whatever their reason is, but as long as we get the message out about what we’re about, that’s all that really matters.
JM: The ColleXion held a protest on March 4. How did that go?
MLB: The protest went really, really well. A lot of people thought it was going to be a negative thing and we were going to go up to incoming students and tell them ‘this is everything that’s wrong with the campus! You should know this before you come here!’ and things like that, but it wasn’t that at all… We all came out with our posters. We had ‘We Love SFUAD’ posters and ‘The ColleXion’ posters and things of that nature…We played music and people on the quad just enjoyed the things we were doing. We had people performing. I think it went really well. It definitely wasn’t what people thought it was going to be. It was really fun and that’s what we wanted it to be.
JM: What’s next for The ColleXion?
MLB: We had meetings all [last] week but now they’ve been compressed down to two meetings a week. One meeting consists of issues on campus and working to make changes and the second meeting is about collaborating as artists, all of us coming together working on projects whether it’s film projects or performances [or] paintings. The second meeting is mainly about collaborating as artists…
We haven’t come up with a time for when we’re going to meet each week, but it’s definitely going to be two days out of the week and we’re trying to figure which days that is. There is a open [Facebook] page called ‘The ColleXion at SFUAD’ that’s up now. That’s where we’re going to start posting things… We’re going to post times and stuff on there and if we plan events, we’re going to post that, [too].
The author of this article both interviewed The ColleXion founder and participated in The ColleXion rally.