I was contacted yesterday by representatives of CAMPUSPEAK in regards to my email to their organization and blog post “Dear Campus Speak & Sara Lowery: Are We on ‘Punk’d’?“. David Stollman, Partner & President of CAMPUSPEAK responded to my email and we had an opportunity to speak in the afternoon; Interim CEO Luke Davis joined us.
I appreciated how quickly CAMPUSPEAK reacted and reached out to me. The most important aspects of the dialogue, I believe, was the opportunity to speak human-to-human and their keen interest in listening to me – quite frankly that does not always occur in customer service interactions.
Our dialogue was positive and I appreciate that CAMPUSPEAK will be moving forward on this issue in two ways. I confirmed that it would be okay to share this information and they agreed; if something is introduced in a public forum then I believe it is fair to provide folks with an update so they have a fuller story.
CAMPUSPEAK agreed to undertake the following:
1.Committing to critically engage speakers’ topics and essentially add another layer in their screening process of speakers and topics.
2. Working with local organizations in the Denver, CO area that work with people who are experiencing homelessness to oversee marketing and language to more accurately represent Sara Lowery’s full program.
We ended with the understanding that ultimately the presentation belongs to the speaker. While the marketing will change, the presentation may not and if so I will still not agree with the program or recommend it. Yet working with local organizations supporting people experiencing homelessness and engaging in dialogue is a good first step in working towards creating a more socially just product.
Personally, I do hope that the speaker considers the topic of representing the experience of homelessness and how a presentation can either dismantle or contribution to systems of oppression. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I think or considering this in an individual context, but considering the full picture. For more of my thoughts on exactly why I believe the presentation contributes to systemic oppression, please read my blog post from earlier today “Am I a Jerk for Critiquing CAMPUSPEAK and Their Speaker?”
I look forward to seeing how this dialogue continues to evolve.