EXCO - U of M Chapter

History:
The EXCO of U of M began in the Fall of 2007 at the Twin Cities campus. EXCO was one of many movements started across campus in response to the AFSCME strike in September 2007, an event that served as a catalyst for re-thinking the U of M as a public, land-grant university.

The Experimental College movement began in 1966 when universities and colleges across the U.S. sought to include more alternative voices in the culture of the university. The EXCO chapter at the U of M forms a Twin Cities EXCO network with the chapter at Macalester College in St. Paul, which began in Spring 2006.

Mission Statement

The Experimental College (EXCO) is an autonomous university that both envisions and enacts a “public” university by offering unique courses that are free and open to anyone.

EXCO seeks to embody the vision of a democratic university that serves the common good.

EXCO is committed to inclusion, community involvement, and progressive social change.

EXCO offers both a model of what the U might be, and a tool to make it so: EXCO is both an alternative university outside the U of M, and a subversive university that seeks to change the U of M from within.

EXCO is designed to both examine and overturn the alienation and exclusion created by the political hierarchy, bureaucracy, and neoliberalization of the university, by

CONNECTING:
--theory with praxis
--scholarship with activism
--campus with community
--workers, students, and faculty with each other
--the university communities with communities at large

And

CREATING:
A space where people come together to:
--share their talents in an inclusive, open, non-hierarchical, non-coercive setting
--become authentically involved in their education
--question, live, and transform their education
--build networks between and among groups
--build solidarity on campus to grow a public university
--organize for social change

EXCO COURSES:
--provide a large imaginative net to welcome any kind of content and form
--respond to community, campus, and public needs
--offer truly public access, involving university and non-university members not just as participants, but also facilitators and collaborators
--employ a variety of educational and pedagogical tools
--meet regularly as decided by those organizing them
--channel the U’s resources (classrooms and monies); use existing infrastructure

EXCO COURSES MAY:
--collaborate with other grassroots groups on campus
--carry out original research committed to social change
--arise from problems and material realities right here at the U, the community, or the world
--culminate in direct social action in response to problems and realities
--be taken for credit as part of Independent Study