Dan Spearman: The Hidden Hero at PSU

Photo Courtesy of Dan

I have known Dan since the first day he moved to campus. In January of 2014 I was at an open skate night at the Ice Arena where I bumped into a seemingly lost looking boy with brown hair and a sweatshirt that read Plymouth State University across his chest. He was skating close to the railing with anticipation of falling as he got aquatinted with the ice. He was skating with my friend Dylan, who I later found out was his newly assigned roommate. Little did I know that Dan was going to be one of my best friends I have ever made, but also such a key asset to the place that we both call home, Plymouth State.

Dan and I lived together our sophomore year in the student apartments, breaking down barriers is kinda Dan’s thing. While living there Dan really came into his own. He worked for the Global Education Office and found his true passion for international studies and justice for all. His first semester of college Dan traveled to Ireland where he was able to take classes and travel all over Europe. That experience is what led him to work for GEO. Since then Dan has traveled with PSU to Cuba, Ireland again, Italy, London, Montreal and now to Thailand this summer.

But this isn’t why I am writing about Dan for this post. Dan has spearheaded a truly interdisciplinary project right here on campus.

Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day that we already celebrate here in America, known as Columbus Day. A few years ago Dr. Robin DeRosa had gone through the process of changing this day to be recognized by the university as Fall Holiday. But Dan didn’t think that this was acceptable. “This is something that just needs to happen. This is not enough. Justice needs to given to the peoples who’s lives were lost over the years.”

Now let’s talk about the process of this seemly “simple” name change. So here we go!

Photo from Dan’s presentation

First Dan did a bunch of research on the town of Plymouth and the surrounding communities. He found out some pretty interesting history.

 

So basically there was a massacre right here in the town of Plymouth. A man with the last name Baker and his men murdered a bunch of the Pemigewasset Indians. Of course we then named the river that flows right into the Pemi River after the man who killed them all. Dan contacted the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter who had installed the plaque. Note that this plaque is on a rock tucked away, and chances are that you, just like me, did not know about this at all. This is right around the corner from our school.

Dan then drafted a resolution proposal for the Student Senate. He and I worked together to make sure the proper chain of events happened. Because this had to do with calendar change there were a lot of people that needed to approve this.

Resolution Proposal 

The Student Senate’s process takes about two weeks. The first week you propose the resolution using somewhat uncomfortable language to get your point across. Then the senate has one week to revise the proposal to make change suggestions. The next week is when the vote happens. Dan gave his presentation and provided the senate with the edited resolution. The final results were that the Student Senate passed and approved of the resolution and sent Dan on his way to the next body.

Dan then gave the same exact presentation to Faculty Senate. He said they were really excited about this change since New Hampshire is the only New England state that does not recognize Indigenous Peoples in any way. The Faculty Senate unanimously passed the resolution.

Now we are on to PAT Senate. PAT also unanimously passed the resolution and fully supported the calendar change. Previously he had met with the Campus Inclusion and Diversity group, where he was encouraged greatly to present to all of the senates on campus. OS is the last body to vote on the resolution via email, and things are looking very good.

Photo Courtesy of Dan

Next week Dan is meeting with the President’s Cabinet for the final results.

This project combined so many different offices, disciplines and fields of study. History, Peace and Social Justice, Student Senate, Faculty and Staff and pretty much the entire Plymouth State Campus worked together to make this happen. And I can say that I hope to see IPD on next years academic calendar.

Dan will be graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with two minors, Peace and Social Justice and Biology. Thank you Dan for your continuous contributions to the campus.

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One thought on “Dan Spearman: The Hidden Hero at PSU

  1. I also want to give a shout-out to my colleague, Liz Ahl, who was my collaborator on the initial move to change to Fall Break, and to about 75 faculty and staff members who joined us in petitioning the administration to make the change. It takes a village!

    Dan, you are a role model for me: your activism, generous spirit, and steadfast pursuit of what is right has inspired us all. Well done!

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