#FerryHouseSoWhite: An In-Depth Look at Whiteness in Ferry House

Photo via http://residentiallife.vassar.edu/residence-halls/halls/ferry.html.

Before I begin my analysis of the historically pervasive whiteness of and in Ferry House and its effects, I’d like to situate myself in relation to the topic at hand. My primary reason for writing this piece stems from my feeling that, as a white student living in a house that has historically provided an unwelcoming environment for students of color, I am accountable for investigating the origins and perpetuations of this dynamic so that such an inquiry not fall on the shoulders of a house member of color who already has to deal with the frustrations of living in an environment dominated by typically white communication styles, ideologies, and the like. While I realize that there are reasons why people of color may not want and/or need to live in an intentional community like Ferry (which I expand upon below), I still feel that it is important for Ferry – a space that purports to espouse egalitarian values – to at least offer a possible space where students of color can feel welcome on a campus that is very much unwelcoming, save for select, autonomously carved out spaces.

            I seek to direct this article toward a readership of primarily white students who live in Ferry, have lived in Ferry, are interested in living in Ferry, or identify with values typically associated with Ferry. My hope is that the piece will provide historical and social context for the racial dynamics that Ferry has long been experiencing yet not articulating until very recently, such that those associated with Ferry in the various ways I’ve listed above can understand that Ferry – often posited as a haven of sorts – has long served and currently serves as a very exclusive campus resource. Ultimately, I would like for this piece to serve as one of many catalysts for Ferry to begin a process of self-critical examination that could perhaps lead to the creation of a more welcoming living environment. I see other catalysts in my current housemates, who have expressed interest both in finding ways to contribute to larger discussions about Vassar as a POC-unfriendly space, as well as, relatedly, in the writing of this article.

            Finally, a note on how I conceptualize my role as what many may call an “ally.” I’m fairly uncomfortable with referring to myself as an “ally,” since I see the work typically done under a banner of “allyship” not so much as an identity that one can eventually come to embody, as though any of us can ever completely transcend all of the various oppressive ideologies that we’ve come to internalize, but rather as an ongoing process of actively questioning the self and society with the ultimate goal of collective liberation for all. One form of this work that I feel is important for me to do is to collaborate with other white folks to continue a vibrant history of white anti-racist activism that has sought to challenge white privilege, understand the violence it perpetuates, and reconstruct a white identity not based on the oppression of others. Seeking to embody the tenets of this historic movement, I look to the leadership of people of color to see how this process of self- and societal questioning should happen, but actively strive to take it upon myself to do the actual work so that the burden of teaching white folks how to be decent people doesn’t have to fall on the shoulders of people of color. I hope that this article can be a part of that work.


Ferry House: Vassar’s longest-standing cooperative living option available to students, my campus home for almost five semesters now…and super white since its inception. Commissioned and built with the vision of cooperative living in mind, Ferry officially opened in 1951 thanks to a $200,000 donation from Dexter M. Ferry – founder of once the largest seed company in the world and father to two Vassar alumnae – and the creative vision of renowned modernist architect Marcel Breuer.

When first built, Ferry received high praise from college administrators and students alike; deemed “the dorm we all take pride in” by the 1954 Vassar Chronicle team, and a “magnificent gift [that will be an] exciting laboratory for democratic group living” (2.25.1950) by former Vassar President Sarah Gibson Blanding, the Vassar community of the 1950s seemed thrilled at the prospect of featuring a living environment grounded in egalitarian principles at the geographical center of the college’s campus.

The intention for Ferry to function as an egalitarian community has prevailed through to today: our current Ferry mission statement highlights the belief that, through non-hierarchical weekly meetings and consensus-based decision making, “[the] idea … that all people are equal becomes more than just empty rhetoric; it is actually put into practice.”

Yet, despite our house’s theoretical commitment to offering a welcoming living environment for individuals of varied backgrounds and identities, since its inception Ferry has not exactly provided such a space for non-white students[1]. Indeed, personal interviews that I conducted with past Ferry residents indicate that in over 60 years of the house’s existence, students of color seldom comprised more than a quarter of the house’s population.

While one could attempt to attribute these unbalanced demographics to Vassar’s historically low enrollment of students of color—before a nationwide effort began in 2003 to increase college accessibility for low-income families (The New York Times 9.8.2014)—numbers provide only one indicator of white dominance in Ferry. More significantly, students of color who lived in Ferry for one or more recent semesters expressed in personal interviews their discomfort with the pervasive whiteness of our house—not only in its racial makeup, but in its values, practices, and communication styles—as well as with our house’s lack of discussions about how racial, class-based, and gender-based privileges affected power dynamics between residents. Though Ferry residents have begun to engage in such discussions during the time that I’ve lived in the house—almost entirely thanks to instigations by our non-white housemates—not one past Ferry resident whom I interviewed can recall any house discussions regarding race or privilege in the house between the 1950s and early 2000s (Goldberg, Huyck, Murray, Perkins, anonymous).

So why, if Ferry’s current mission statement demands of house members “a conscious effort on our part not to perpetuate… forms of social oppression,” does our house tend to repel non-white students from comfortably entering the Ferry community? Sure, general white supremacy on Vassar’s campus certainly plays a part, but I believe that it is particularly Ferry’s identity as an intentional community, as well as its unintentionally internalized values of materialism, consumerism, and individualism, that works to create a space of white domination. If Ferry is to truly fulfill its mission of offering an egalitarian space in which to transform theories of social justice into praxis, then I see it as necessary for our house and future houses to contend with these long-held aspects of its functioning.

Ferry House falls under the broad category of an intentional community, defined by Fellowship for Intentional Community board member Geoph Kozeny as “a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values” (qtd. in Smith 110). Outlined by the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, such core values often include holding resources in common, assuming responsibility for the needs of community members, practicing nonviolence, using consensus-based decision making, working toward non-discrimination, acting to conserve natural resources, and creating processes for group communication (Smith 108-109). Despite these inclusionary principles, however, “[the] well-educated white middle class is represented in greater proportion in intentional communities than in mainstream society” (Dellorco). This phenomenon tends to result from the social issues most frequently associated with intentional communities, as well as from the typical cultural differences between white people and people of color, which often render living together difficult (Dellorco).

One issue most commonly associated with intentional communities is environmentalism. Historically, Ferry and its members have chosen to advocate on behalf of environmentalism: the house implemented composting before any other building on campus (Miscellany News 1.29.1999), played an integral role in the planning of the Vassar Experimental Garden (Miscellany News 2.12.2009), and has hosted various campus events in collaboration with the Vassar Greens (Miscellany News 2.25.2000, Hall 2013). Former Ferry members Scott Murphy ’01 and Abby Nathanson ’14 also noted that, in terms of activism in which their housemates participated, environmental work dominated, along with animal activism. Though it would be obscenely incorrect to say that people of color have not made necessary contributions to the U.S. environmental movement—with Native American groups at the forefront—those whom appear to mainstream society as the most visible actors within the movement are overwhelmingly members of the white middle class (Dellorco). If people of color cannot see where they might fit into the U.S. environmental movement thanks to its dominance of white activists, it logically follows that they might neither be able to see themselves actively participating in a community that prioritizes a culture of environmentalism, as intentional communities tend to do. More importantly, many people of color may not want to focus their energies on environmental activism (or animal/vegan activism, which I discuss further below), since it might not be as integral to their own identity as might anti-racist activism, for example. There is a privilege in being able to advocate on behalf of an identity taken on by choice (an environmentalist or vegan, for example), versus an identity bestowed at a very young age by an interrelation of social and biological factors (i.e., racial identity).

In addition to environmental activists, the prevalence of animal activists in Ferry House (such as myself) may also contribute to the house’s deterring of people of color, largely because this activism has manifested itself most obviously in Ferry’s vegan/vegetarian practices. As intentional community scholar Adriane Dellorco points out, “the tofu-heavy vegetarian diet emphasized [in many intentional communities] [tends] not [to] jive with most people of color. People of color tend to take greater pride in their heritage than white people do and prefer to retain their cultural way of eating that may not exclude meat or incorporate strange health foods.” Indeed, Vassar student Asia Alman ’17 noted that she felt alienated as a meat eater when she first came to Vassar, since vegetarianism/veganism proves largely absent from her cultural heritage in Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally, low-income people of color may not have easy access to vegetarian/vegan foods like fresh produce and culturally appropriate beans and grains, which could also contribute to a feeling of isolation from those who advocate a vegetarian/vegan diet. Take, for example, governmental food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – in which Black people are about twice as likely as white people to enroll – that make it more economical to purchase calorie-dense processed and animal-based foods (Morin). Or consider that in food deserts – defined by the USDA as a low-income area in which at least 500 people or 33 percent of the population is located more than 1 mile (in urban areas) or 10 miles (in rural areas) from the nearest supermarket or large grocery store – the proportion of Black and Latina/o residents is around 65 percent greater than in non-food deserts (Dutko et al).

Since at least the 1980s, all communal meals served in Ferry have been vegetarian – and more recently vegan – and residents who do eat animals may not bring animal flesh into communal spaces. Campus perceptions of the house, however, tend to erase the fact that one need not practice vegetarianism/veganism to live in Ferry; a generous number of post-1987 articles from The Miscellany News bestow upon Ferry residents such titles as “tree-hugging commie vegans” (10.27.2000) and cite Vassar students otherwise unaware of Ferry as believing that “you have to be a vegetarian to live there” (11.20.1987). Even if this misperception didn’t persist, a house so associated with vegetarianism/veganism in and of itself may deter people of color from wishing to live there, since like in the environmental movement, the visible actors in the vegan/animal rights movements tend to be middle-class white people. In the eyes of Nathanson, the house’s vegetarian/vegan associations have curbed its goals of intentional living into a very particular (and most visibly white) type of lifestyle, rather than a broader one perhaps more welcoming to non-white people.

Another anonymous past Ferry resident sees the house’s reputation as “the vegetarian co-op” and its atmosphere of white dominance as obstructing the fact that the reasons for many house members’ vegetarianism/veganism transcend mere dietary choice and stem from a desire to address broader social issues with racial, class-based, and gender-based dimensions. Indeed, I myself practice vegan consumption habits not for reasons of health or consumer activism, especially because the notion of the latter operates under the capitalist myth of “voting with one’s dollar” (which I will discuss further below). Rather, I practice such habits as an extension of my attempts to challenge the default ideologies under which I’ve operated since childhood, and that infringe upon my ability to coexist with others. For me, vegan consumption practices help to question the specific default ideology of speciesism – the “idea that human beings are superior to all other beings on earth, and that this superiority grants us a natural right to make use of the other beings however we like” (qtd. in Rodriguez) – since I don’t feel myself able to foster an anti-speciesist politics while consuming the bodies of other animals.

I see this understanding of speciesism as a social justice issue, however, as shrouded by a larger vegan/animal rights movement that tends to focus its energies on increasing the number of vegan products on the market, and that frames a change in individual eating habits as an end goal rather than as a potential step in cultivating an anti-speciesist mindset. Individualistic and consumeristic in its functioning, the mainstream vegan/animal rights movement tends to attract those who occupy a place of economic and social standing that conditions them to feel power as individual consumers, and who have the means to access plant-based foods.

Ferry, too, has been framed and understood as a space where vegan eating happens in the service of individuals who choose not to eat animals, rather than as a space in which to include anti-speciesist politics among the multitude encouraged by the typically activist-oriented house members that Ferry has tended to attract since the 1970s (personal interviews). Perhaps if Ferry can reconceptualize the role of veganism in the house, it can lessen its tendency to alienate those who don’t practice vegan consumption habits and/or don’t identify with the broader, consumeristic vegan/animal rights movement – without throwing out its vegan consumption practices altogether.

Ferry’s focus on both environmentalism and animal rights/vegan activism, as well as its role as a cooperative living space, have contributed to the house’s widespread campus reputation as a “hippie house,” identified in various past Miscellany News articles (11.20.1987; 4.15.1994) and in personal interviews with past Ferry residents Zoey Peresman ’13, Yanee Ferrari ’15, and individuals who chose to remain anonymous. This connotation of Ferry with hippies may also work to alienate people of color from the house, since the hippie movement historically comprised mainly of youths ages 15 to 25 who came from white middle-class families (Zablocki). The hippies glorified poverty (Miller), thus romanticizing the lives of predominantly non-white impoverished people in the U.S., and ignoring the institutional racism that such people have to face on a daily basis. Considering the ignorantly privileged outlook of the primarily white hippie movement, it is easy to see why students of color at Vassar might desire to separate themselves from a house centered around a hippie culture.

Though Ferry’s associations with environmentalism, vegetarianism/veganism, and the hippie movement may have served to dissuade students of color from applying to live in Ferry, if non-white students do choose to live in our house, typically white practices and values have tended to overshadow those of the non-white cultures of students of color. A phenomenon not specific to Ferry but broadly experienced by many intentional communities, this white behavioral dominance tends to express itself largely in differing communication styles and an air of self-righteousness.

Communication between house members proves supremely important in cooperative living situations, both in order for the community to maintain the house’s functioning, and to mitigate interpersonal conflicts. Thus, if one communication style tends to dominate over others, house members more familiar with non-dominant communication styles may feel isolated from and tense around their housemates. Since white liberals comprise the majority of intentional community and Ferry residents, and since whiteness centers itself in any situation, typically white communication styles tend to eclipse those that non-white people tend to employ. Indeed, a past Ferry member who identified as Asian-American and otherwise wished to remain anonymous referred to Ferry as a “very white space,” in part due to the predominance of “white styles of interpersonal confrontation” within the house.

One the one hand, many white communitarians “do not like to create waves in their community,” and thus tend to deal more covertly with interpersonal conflicts than do Black people, who tend to prefer more open engagement with others about the personal problems they are experiencing (Dellorco). Evincing this covert style of communication among white people in Ferry, Ferrari— a past housemate— recalls an atmosphere of “two-faced” communication during her time in the house. She remembers that many of her primarily white housemates would speak politely in front of other Ferry members, only to retreat to our rooms with a housemate with whom we had a close relationship and complain about the person with whom we had just had an otherwise polite interaction. Ferrari notes that she felt frustrated by this indirect communication of many of her white housemates, as well as that it detracted from the house’s ability to build community.

On the other hand, though white people tend to use covertness to attend to interpersonal conflicts, we also tend to employ drama and straightforwardness in our everyday interactions, which can often serve to alienate Asian Americans. Tending to rely on indirect, coded messages gleaned from an ability to infer meaning from non-verbal signals, typical Asian American styles of communication emphasize collectivist values over the importance of individual expression privileged in typical white styles of communication (Park & Kim). An otherwise anonymous Asian American former Ferry resident suggested that this dynamic played out in Ferry: they remember that white house members tended to express our opinions more vocally than did the Asian American Ferry residents, resulting in an unspoken power dynamic that created a house atmosphere in which individualism dominated and building community proved difficult for Asian American house members.

In addition to often alienating people of color, white people’s communication styles also tend to assume an air of self-righteousness, seeing as “those of us who were socialized with privilege tend to take our own ideas more seriously: we are the first to speak; we interrupt others; we are comfortable talking for long periods of time; we confuse technical skills with leadership abilities” (qtd. Howell in Dellorco). In intentional communities whose functioning often depends on discussions that happen in large-group settings – such as the weekly meetings that we hold in Ferry – this domineering communication style may easily intimidate house members of differing experiences and/or points of view (such as people of color) from fully contributing their ideas and opinions to the conversation, as both interviews mentioned above suggest.

This white self-righteousness has transcended inter-house communication in Ferry, whose members over the years have tended to speak of the house with an air of arrogance and self-congratulation. Past articles in The Miscellany News suggest that Ferry members have historically viewed Vassar’s other residential options as inferior to our configuration of cooperative living: a 1972 newspaper issue expresses the belief of past Ferry residents “that they could never go back to dorm life” (10.27.1972); a Ferry resident interviewed in 1987 “[has] often wondered how students can be expected to be intellectually responsible when they are so spoon-fed by dorm life” (4.10.1987); and in 2002 the house apparently “[considered] itself the only ‘sustainable living option on campus’” (9.27.2002). Since we white people globally suggest to Black and Brown people that the latter’s ways of living are inferior to those of white Westerners, it is understandable that students of color at Vassar would look upon Ferry and our self-congratulatory rhetoric with wariness.

As for students of color living in Ferry, the house’s internalized superiority may prove frustrating if they are experiencing an alienation due to the issues discussed above, and thus may feel their housemates to be acting hypocritically. Indeed, Ferrari recalls “nit-picky” conversations about house buying practices that she believes made other house members feel politically progressive without our having actually engaged in meaningful political dialogue, and felt that she had to exert much energy in order to even initiate house-wide conversations regarding privilege, race, class, and gender.

Given the unwelcoming atmosphere often created for people of color in predominantly white intentional communities, white people who choose to live in such communities must engage in serious self-reflexivity if we are to achieve the goal of creating an egalitarian space for people of all backgrounds – a goal that upwards of 80 percent of contemporary intentional communities hold (Dellorco). However, members of predominantly white intentional communities who seek to create a welcoming space for people of color may also need to understand that our living situation may not prove as necessary in building community and fostering interpersonal support for people of color as they often do for white people. As intentional community scholar Adriane Dellorco notes, educated white liberals – the typical demographic of intentional communities, and certainly of Ferry – tend to seek community in cooperative living situations because often we have realized that the individualistic rhetoric of capitalism has kept them us being able to develop meaningful interpersonal relationships, so we seek fulfillment in intentional communities. In contrast, people of color typically experience a much greater sense of community with their culture and family than do white people, due to the social and economic marginalization that often forces the former to create internal support networks. As such, people of color may not feel the need to join an intentional community in order to feel supported and fulfilled.

This is not to say that predominantly white intentional communities should not seek to create a welcoming space for people of color, for race should always occupy an important space in our consciousness, even if people of color are not present. Rather, I mean to suggest that creating such a space may not depend primarily upon numbers, but upon the quality of life experienced by any people of color who do live in any intentional community. Working toward this goal may require an intentional community’s relaxing of its insistence on living by typically white ideologies, and a prioritizing of its internal development of a multicultural competence that necessitates the questioning of characteristically white values, practices, and communication styles.

Up until now, I’ve discussed Ferry House as it faces many of the struggles more broadly experienced by intentional communities around the U.S. in creating – or perhaps more accurately, failing to create – a welcoming living situation for people of color. However, I also identify a number of issues specific to Ferry that may contribute to its historic functioning as a primarily white space, and may foster a space even less welcoming for people of color than those of intentional communities more generally. Indeed, while Alman expressed her enthusiasm for the opportunity to live in a cooperative living environment, she felt that Ferry held a much different community dynamic than the other intentional communities she has visited, and that this dynamic dissuaded her from even considering living in Ferry. It is to the potential specifics of and reasons for this dynamic that I will now turn.

As discussed above, Ferry describes itself as an intentional community, which are by definition guided by a “common purpose” grounded in shared “core values”—whether environmentalism, vegetarianism/veganism, anti-racism, or something completely different. However, it seems that Ferry throughout its history has lacked a well-understood and clearly identified set of member-defined common principles: all of the past Ferry residents whom I interviewed either improvised an unsure interpretation of our house’s mission, described our house as not having a clear mission statement, or criticized what they understood as our house’s mission. Though Ferry is in constant flux due to its ever-changing membership, I hypothesize that the house’s historic lack of any unambiguously articulated goal grounded in a shared commitment has caused the house to be co-opted by and internalize the rhetoric of individualism, materialism, and consumerism espoused by the white supremacist college administration that has discretely controlled Ferry – and quite understandably deterred students of color – since the house’s inception.

Intentional communities almost universally see ourselves existing as “potential solutions to the problem of the loss or decline of community experienced” by a capitalist modern society (Smith 107). Ferry, in contrast, was founded by white wealth – namely, a $200,000 donation from a very profitable businessman – and has since operated under the guidance of an individualistic college administration. For example, in the year of Ferry’s construction, then-president Sarah Gibson Blanding defined Ferry’s mission as “increasing self-help opportunities on campus” (Miscellany News 2.25.1950), rather than as offering a non-dormitory space devoted to building community on campus. With this rhetoric of individualism in mind, Blanding led a committee of administrators, faculty, and students to determine Ferry’s procedures, regulations, and premier house members (Miscellany News 3.1.1951). This bureaucratic aspect of Ferry’s formation – along with the fact that Ferry’s opening ceremony only welcomed Vassar’s most powerful administrators, members of the wealthy family of Dexter M. Ferry, the Poughkeepsie mayor, and professor Emeriti (Miscellany News 10.6.1951) – suggests that Ferry was conceptualized as “the college’s little experiment” (Miscellany News 2.11.1959), rather than as a student-driven initiative to challenge a mainstream lifestyle of individualism espoused by the white supremacist system of capitalism.

Ferry’s administratively guided functioning also displays itself in the requirements outlined by Blanding’s “Ferry Committee” to the house’s potential applicants throughout the 1950s: maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA, passing a health examination, and submitting a recommendation from the applicant’s current house leadership team (Miscellany News 3.3.1951; Vassar Chronicle 2.14.1953; Vassar Chronicle 2.8.1958; Vassar Chronicle 2.15.1958). Each of these requirements necessitated that an administrative body pass judgment on the applicant, which almost certainly meant that any body labeled deviant by the white supremacist administration had no hope of living in Ferry.

Though there no longer exists an administrative committee specifically dedicated to determining Ferry’s functioning, the Office of Residential Life, since the early 1990s, played a substantial role in influencing the house’s operation and ethos. In 1994, after closing Ferry down for a semester due to cited health risks in the messiness of the house, former ResLife Director Faith Nichols and additional staff worked with previous Ferry members to draft a new house constitution ensuring that house members take responsibility for the upkeep of the house (Miscellany News 1.27.1994). This means that Ferry’s current formal mission statement was at least partly defined by the Vassar administration, and focuses on the material aesthetics of the house rather than on fostering a community-centered living situation welcoming to all members of the Vassar student body.

The material focus of our current formal mission statement has manifested in our house’s conceptions of community which, emphasizing tasks over relationships, reflects a classic aspect of individualistic, white supremacist cultures (Park & Kim 54). For example, interviews with former Ferry residents from past articles of The Miscellany News describe house jobs such as cooking and cleaning as contributing to a sense of closeness and community (4.15.1994; 2.7.2003), suggesting that our house conceptualizes the basis of our community as grounded in a material aesthetic. Nathanson echoed this understanding of Ferry’s focus on material procedures as manifested through individual behaviors in her critique of our house’s clique-based mode of inter-member communication, which she believes worked to render community-building an “extracurricular activity” rather than an integral aspect of the Ferry experience.

Ferry’s rhetoric of materialistic individualism has in recent years demonstrated itself in house members’ concerns of “responsible” or “ethical” buying practices, suggesting a harmful belief in “purchasing power” and “voting with one’s dollar” that perpetuates the present political-economic order of white supremacist capitalism. An anonymous former Ferry resident noted in an emailed statement that in a recent semester their housemates (including myself) came to a consensus that no member of our house should have to “put their money where it conflicts with their personal ethics,” while another former Ferry resident Zoey Peresman ’13 expressed her belief that approaching communal buying practices from an “ethical” lens – incorporating fair-trade, organic, and local tenets – comprised the house’s main priority. Multiple former Ferry residents felt that our house’s prioritizing of communal buying practices displaced arguably more pressing political discussions regarding power, race, class, and gender, which contributed to a privileged white power dynamic that alienated house members who came from less economically advantaged backgrounds in which ethical concerns seldom overshadowed financial considerations.

Prevailing conceptions of Ferry as isolated from the rest of campus further suggest an individualistically driven inability to build community, not only between house members but with the student body at large. As early as 1964, members of the Vassar community described Ferry in such individualistic terms as “very easily [becoming] the center of one’s private solar system” (Miscellany News 10.21.1964), expressed their hesitancy to enter the house (Miscellany News 9.7.2007), and drew parallels between the house’s “stand-alone” architecture and its philosophy (Miscellany News 4.10.1987). Alman described Ferry as “its own little thing” with which non-residents have a difficult time associating; she also noted that Ferry doesn’t even “fit into [her] friend group’s world.”

Ferry’s isolation from the rest of campus, as well as an atmosphere of alienation among our members, suggests that our house has not only failed to develop a truly egalitarian space devoted to building community in an individually centered world, but has also functioned to perpetuate such materially based, individualistic rhetoric, thanks in large part to influence from an ideologically similar administration. With such rhetoric dominating in Ferry’s functioning and history, and aligning the house with a white supremacist administration, it makes sense that students of color might not feel welcome in the space, and might instead seek out other campus spaces to find community at Vassar.

Experiencing issues of general white dominance in intentional communities at large, as well as more specific problems with internalized individualism, materialism, and consumerism, Ferry House can by no means call itself an anti-establishment egalitarian space that welcomes all members of the Vassar community, especially students of color. It will take a highly prioritized, active effort on the part of current and future Ferry residents in order for our house to truly function as a space that challenges dominant white ideologies of violence and oppression. But this goal must become more than an intention: Ferry can no longer function as a merely “intentional” community; it must transform into a praxis-based one.

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—. 5 January 2015.

—. 12 January 2015.

—. 13 January 2015.

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[1] Throughout this article I will employ the terms “non-white” and “people/students of color,” even though I realize that such terms homogenize the myriad cultures of Black and Brown people globally, and that many non-white U.S. immigrants do not identify themselves as “people of color.”

Article originally published on May 3rd, 2015, date has been modified for republishing purposes

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