In the past few months, student organizations such as Swipes for a Cause and Dores Divest have been chastised by Vanderbilt for the over-improvement of both campus and greater Nashville communities. On the heels of this crucial work, the Vanderbilt administration has brought down its iron fist on yet another student organization, serving Camp Kesem with a cease and desist letter.
Early last week the leadership behind Camp Kesem, an organization serving children whose parents have cancer, received their own VU eviction notice citing concerns that, “The families of cancer patients have had it too good for too long.” The university also claimed further grievances with Kesem’s initiative, insisting that it, “provided too many children with an exorbitantly positive life experience.” Upon further questioning from The Slant, university spokesperson Carnegie Rockefeller said of Camp Kesem, “There is nothing in this world that represents our university less than that organization. Anyone who knows Vanderbilt can tell you that we recognize community assistance and volunteer work only in the form of biweekly Instagram posts and Immersion project proposals.”
Following a surge of student activism on campus, including petitions for racial justice and against winter break housing policies, these new measures appear to cement Vandy’s staunchly anti-student stance. When asked about a potential compromise, Rockefeller stated, “Affecting meaningful change cannot and quite frankly will not be tolerated on this campus. Of course, we’d be willing to renegotiate our terms with Camp Kesem if the children pay our daily fee for campus accommodations or go through the appropriate channels at the Office of Immersion Resources.”
Kesem representatives described their reaction to the measures as, “disappointed, but not surprised. It was only a matter of time before they realized we were helping people instead of making a subcommittee to discuss the philosophical idea of helping people.” This legal action was the first of many outlined in Vanderbilt’s new public service policy Anchor Down, Punch Down, a 350-year 56-phase plan that describes the replacement of the Office of Active Citizenship and Service with the Office of Active Capitalism and Stealing. According to Rockefeller, “We won’t rest until every needy Vanderbilt student and community member is absolutely guaranteed to remain in need. Ideally, worse-off. These dangerous organizations must be shut down immediately.” As of the publication of this article, Vanderbilt’s legal team continues, day-in and day-out, to make this shimmering vision a reality, one cancer-stricken family at a time.