Last winter in the wake of contentious anti-corporate protests led on its Capitol Hill central campus by Occupy Seattle, Seattle Community College District officials were beginning to grapple with proposed legislation from its teachers union that was introduced in sympathy with Occupy’s goals.
A “Resolution In Support of Business Practices Congruent with The Message of the Occupy Movement” was raised for preliminary consideration by Seattle Central Community College instructor and teachers union leader Karen Strickland at the board’s January meeting and then discussed in a February board study session. It called for the district to adopt an ethical purchasing policy and also condemned district vendors such as the Bank of America, and the Georgia Pacific paper company owned by the controversial conservatives, The Koch Brothers.
RFP for banking services could result in replacement of B of A
The resolution authored by the American Federation of Teachers, and the board’s preliminary discussions, have’t yet resulted in a district purchasing policy emphasizing corporate responsibility, but the district did quietly serve notice – in a staff memo on page 86 of its May meeting agenda packet – that it will be issuing a request for proposals for banking services and appointing a related evaluation committee. This could pave the way for replacement of Bank of America as the district’s banking services vendor. The company is reviled by Occupy protestors for what they characterize as B of A’s evasion of corporate taxes.
Contractor currently being sought to help the district re-brand
But at the same time it tries to respond to student and faculty concerns about ethical business practices, the district also wants to repaint the face it presents to potential enrollees and donors. lt is looking for a public relations advisor to do three months work for up to $50,000 this summer – to lay the groundwork for burnishing its brand image.
In anticipation of a major fundraising drive approaching in 2017, one that will surely depend on corporate and philanthropic largesse to compensate for declining government funding, the three-school district of two-year community colleges within Seattle’s city limits has issued a request for proposals from prospective bidders titled, “Positioning, Visibility and Brand Development.”