I am a former congregant and employee of Living Enrichment Center ["The Prophet Margin," WW, May 19, 2004]. As with just about every aspect of my involvement with LEC, I have mixed feelings about their current financial crisis. On one hand, it is sad because Morrissey has undoubtedly inspired many people, myself included, by pointing us in the direction of spiritual truths. On the other hand, it is a bit vindicating because in the late '90s my fellow employees and I spoke in hushed tones, fearful for our jobs, about the suspicious financial dealings.
Time after time, year after year, anyone who questioned Mary, LEC's financial practices, or any aspect of the way she ran the institution in which she continually proclaimed we were all family, mysteriously disappeared and was never spoken of again. In 1999 when I voiced my concerns about LEC's finances, Mary sent me to see a therapist for my "negative thinking." The therapist told me that this was a common practice for Mary. Later, after I was told to never return to the grounds again, Mary forbade all her employees from having any contact with me.
LEC mistreated its employees, engaged in dishonest financial practices, but also, paradoxically, contributed to my spiritual education and ultimately did exactly what its name promises: enriched my life. I found some of my closest friends at Mary's church, as well as what has since become my true spiritual path: the self-study book about spiritual psychotherapy called A Course in Miracles.
PSU STILL NEEDS SHAKING
Zach Dundas' piece ["Doing the PSU Shake," WW, May 26, 2004] on two Portland State University bureaucrats quitting on the same day, left out a number of important campus issues vis-à-vis accountability of the Bernstine administration to students.
Both PSU officials have been the subject of PSU student protests this spring. I attended a protest meeting, with the provost, against the administration's proposed termination of a popular PSU Black Studies teacher who is advisor to AAS, the Association of African Students. Retention of faculty of color, like inclusion of students of color in ASPSU (student government), has been an issue for quite some time at our school.
The departing vice president for finance, Jay Kenton, has been advocating the PSU campus security buy and use tasers, something which almost all PSU students oppose, and Kenton spearheaded a drive to build a proposed (but not needed) $30 million new gym.
Activist, anti-racist students have organized against PSU's business ties to unethical corporations, including supporting the Florida farm worker-based Taco Bell Boycott (PSU is the only four-year college in Oregon with Taco Bell in our cafeteria), and the Coke-Odwalla Boycott (for human rights in Colombia). So far, PSU has refused to cancel university contracts with Taco Bell and Coke.
PSU needs to put academics and ethics before tasers, sports and racist profits.
Lew Church, member
PSU Progressive Student Union
Southwest 10th Avenue