To the President from Collective.

This is an open letter written by the Wholefoods Collective sent today in response to an email written regarding the redesign and refurbishment of the Wholefoods space.

An open letter to Esther Hood, Monash Student Council President, 2012
From the Wholefoods Collective, the student organising body of Wholefoods since 1977

Dear Esther Hood, President of the Monash Student Council Executive (and Freya Logan, acting President of the Monash Student Council Executive)

Re: Wholefoods Redesign Update
We, the Wholefoods Collective, write in response to your email, received on the 29th of June this year. You describe in your email that you wished to give ‘a quick update on the Wholefoods redesign’ and that  ‘hopefully in the next three weeks the MSC Executive will be able to present the Collective with two different choices in overall design’. From this design, we will have ‘options’: For example you might like one type of flooring over the other.’

The Wholefoods Collective regards this as a mere tokenistic gesture on your part. It is an attempt to placate us, to give us the false impression that we– in your words – have a choice. The fact that Collective has merely an ‘either/or’ choice between the types of wood, or the colour of tiles is a clear bastardisation of the Collectives role. These choices disguise the fact that the Collective has never asked for aesthetic changes to the space.

We find this presumptuous, condescending and misleading in the extreme. Up until the 29th of June 2012, plans for a radical reshaping of the Wholefoods space have been going on behind our backs, and now, in the final stages, you wish to give us ‘options’.
As it stands, the Collective has no opinion on any redesign and refurbishment. As we have been systematically excluded from all decisions and negotiations, the Collective has not been in a place to discuss whether this is something that we need, or whether this is an unnecessary and excessive expenditure.

Your email is only one of the more recent examples of the MSC Executive continuously undermining the power of the Collective in order to impose their own vision of corporate and anti-student management.

You write that ‘We have also made sure that all materials used are at least 60% recyclable to ensure we are committing to the ethos of the restaurant.’  We regard this as a farcical attempt to appeal to our environmental ethic, whilst simultaneously indicating a gross misunderstanding of the ethos of Wholefoods.

Further, your recent designation of the Collective as a ‘Directory Advisory Committee’ continues this absurdity and is absolutely antithetical to what we consider to be the ethos of Wholefoods. This form of consultancy is a farce – a parody of the kind of autonomy that Collective has been running Wholefoods under for 35 years.

We draw your attention to Section 19 of the Monash Student Association (Clayton) Inc. Constitution as what is emblematic of the ethos of Wholefoods, particularly parts 2 and 3:

(2) to encourage voluntary student participation at all levels of operation of Wholefoods, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation;

(3) to demonstrate that a collective operating with a consensus decision making process is a viable alternative to a hierarchical organisation;

Esther, we decline your offer to participate in a decision making process that has already ended. We ask that all renovation negotiations, until this point, be abandoned and begun again from scratch. We suggest, as a starting point, that you approach the Wholefoods Collective in an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation with the following question: Does Wholefoods need to be redesigned?


The Wholefoods Collective

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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