Usdan Forum: the Wesleying transcript

Very good student turnout, but Where is PSAFE?!?!? why aren’t they here to answer questions and explain things to us?
Mike Pernick president-elect gives an introductory speech.
Izaak Orlansky moderates.
Saul Carlin reads concerns from people who are off-campus, including concerned parents.

Question directed at PSafe: what’s the policy for crowd control?
no answer from Psafe or administration. (PSafe not here, neither is Middletown Police)
Student recalls asking a police officer what they’re doing and if we’re supposed to be intimidated by their presence. The reply was “yeah, I guess so.”

Parties: not to let this hinder future parties and senior week.

List of Issues at the meeting (no answers, though):
media bias— portrayed as necessary violence by the police.
Communication: No communication between students and police. Student was threatened by tasers while he was trying to communicate and ask why they were there.
Why were the police called? Not sure why THIS night was different from every other nights– past parties have been larger with larger crowds. Paranoid Conspiracy Theory: this night was at the end of the semester when it would be harder for us to organize a response
Magnitude of the force: Student was attacked by a dog on the living room floor of a friend’s house. Knocked to the ground, begging police to get dog off, the police hit his head, started bleeding, still didn’t call the dog off.
Disrespect: Went to the police station, ask for copies of the police reports. Wouldn’t give it to them until they got a camera and began recording. People at the police station were laughing and making light of the situation. Also, history of PSafe and Police using students as target practice.
Videotapping: what’s with the videos? what are they for? No one knows.
Police brutality doesn’t just affect Wesleyan students: general concern for everyone living in Middletown. Not an isolated incident.
Alex Gelman delivers a beautiful speech about love, dehumanization, and how proud he is of the Wesleyan community.
16 police cars: took an ambulance half and hour to get here after being called– it was impossible for paramedics to get to the wounded because of the 16 police cars blocking the street.
Next Steps: archived collected documentation, someone should talk to the freshmen next year at orientation, committees should be set up,
Engaging alumni and trustees who will be here next week, etc
Getting the cops riled up: whoever threw that beer can at the police car screwed it up for the rest of us
Officer Clark: “how many people do you have to abuse before you get thrown out?”… and officers in general being very excited to shoot some students.
Party was Not a Riot: the riot procedure was misapplied and police officers were not responsive and threatening, students felt paralyzed and voiceless, violated.
Conflicting policy: people apparently couldn’t be in the street, or the backyard, or the houses.
Increased police presence on campus over the last few years, and tension and animosity between police and Wesleyan students (privilege and resentment?). Dean Mike agrees that there is increased police presence on campus, due to us hiring them to help us for burglaries and assaults. (of course the ultimate irony is that they’re now assaulting us.)
Not only was the police force excessive, it was ineffective: they didn’t actually break up the party. We watched them leave.
Know your rights: they will try to intimidate you out of them.

Past action against similar incidents and meetings with PSafe and the MPD: those meetings were very silencing, and very small. If this group of people had been there, things might’ve been different already.


Wesleyan Parent says: really concerned and emotional. This whole group was radicalized against the police– that should not have happened, that is not their job. Wants the university to have an ongoing relationship with the MPD, to make clear that it does not want a repetition of this event under any circumstances.
Call to show PSafe’s video publicly, or on the film series.

Dean Mike is sorry he wasn’t able to give answers, but hopefully will answer them soon. Repeat: more firsthand accounts! Send your pictures to Argus for the special issue tomorrow (and Wesleying!)
Mike Pernick wants everyone to send everything to WSA (However, it’s been my experience in the past that the WSA is really bad at archiving– this better change. Pernick, this is a warning: we won’t just “trust you” like you tell us to. Don’t screw up)

PARTY ON FOUNTAIN!!!

32 thoughts on “Usdan Forum: the Wesleying transcript

  1. Anonymous

    “Next Steps: archived collected documentation, someone should talk to the freshmen next year at orientation, committees should be set up, Engaging alumni and trustees who will be here next week, etc”YEAH! we need more “committees”, more boring frosh “orientation” sessions. or maybe DONT STAND DRUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF A STREET HOURS AFTER THE POLICE TELL YOU TO MOVE 20 FEET OUT OF THE WAY

  2. Anonymous

    “Next Steps: archived collected documentation, someone should talk to the freshmen next year at orientation, committees should be set up, Engaging alumni and trustees who will be here next week, etc”

    YEAH! we need more “committees”, more boring frosh “orientation” sessions. or maybe DONT STAND DRUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF A STREET HOURS AFTER THE POLICE TELL YOU TO MOVE 20 FEET OUT OF THE WAY

  3. Anonymous

    if people were asked to leave repeatedly for nearly an hour without cooperating before any force was used, i don’t understand the argument for saying the police shouldn’t have been therethe school’s private police force asked for the mpd to be there. what is the problem?the use of excessive force is an entirely different story. it seems to me that there is no justification for tazing people and releasing the hounds. does anyone have a different opinion on this? i’d like to hear one. were the police ever in direct danger?were the people tazed/attacked/arrested randomly chosen or did they do something that may (or may not) have warranted the response?p.s. the fact that seniors at this school were ‘getting in cops’ grills’ is pretty alarming to me. i tend to think of the ‘wesleyan bubble’ as sort of a myth. but if you did this, you know absolutely nothing about the real world.

  4. Anonymous

    if people were asked to leave repeatedly for nearly an hour without cooperating before any force was used, i don’t understand the argument for saying the police shouldn’t have been there

    the school’s private police force asked for the mpd to be there. what is the problem?

    the use of excessive force is an entirely different story. it seems to me that there is no justification for tazing people and releasing the hounds. does anyone have a different opinion on this? i’d like to hear one. were the police ever in direct danger?

    were the people tazed/attacked/arrested randomly chosen or did they do something that may (or may not) have warranted the response?

    p.s. the fact that seniors at this school were ‘getting in cops’ grills’ is pretty alarming to me. i tend to think of the ‘wesleyan bubble’ as sort of a myth. but if you did this, you know absolutely nothing about the real world.

  5. Anonymous

    Leddy – btw, Fountain Ave and the sidewalks on it are property of the city of Middletown. So class action – for what? Students by their own admission were asked repeatedly, first by PSafe then Middletown PD, to “disperse” from the street (that was the word they used when I was there. Drinking alcohol in public and resisting repeated demands from local PD to get off the street, all well past 1:30 a.m. on a weeknight – doesn’t sound like much of a legal leg to stand on. Add to that the possibility that the PSafe videos might reveal what I saw and heard a LOT: of kids telling the police loudly to fuck off and getting right in their grills. I’m from NYC. You do that in any of the FiveBs, cops won’t put up with it for a second. We think these cops in Middletown are going to be more educated and considerate? Please.

  6. Anonymous

    Leddy – btw, Fountain Ave and the sidewalks on it are property of the city of Middletown. So class action – for what? Students by their own admission were asked repeatedly, first by PSafe then Middletown PD, to “disperse” from the street (that was the word they used when I was there. Drinking alcohol in public and resisting repeated demands from local PD to get off the street, all well past 1:30 a.m. on a weeknight – doesn’t sound like much of a legal leg to stand on. Add to that the possibility that the PSafe videos might reveal what I saw and heard a LOT: of kids telling the police loudly to fuck off and getting right in their grills. I’m from NYC. You do that in any of the FiveBs, cops won’t put up with it for a second. We think these cops in Middletown are going to be more educated and considerate? Please.

  7. Ben

    leddy: the problem is that they can’t just prevent MPD from coming onto campus. the state of connecticut passed a law that allows police to come onto private property to enforce underage drinking laws–basically, whenever they so desire (i was at the WSA meeting last year where dave meyer went over that). even if wesleyan hadn’t called in MPD, they could have come anyway.that said, i agree with everything you wrote.

  8. Ben

    leddy: the problem is that they can’t just prevent MPD from coming onto campus. the state of connecticut passed a law that allows police to come onto private property to enforce underage drinking laws–basically, whenever they so desire (i was at the WSA meeting last year where dave meyer went over that). even if wesleyan hadn’t called in MPD, they could have come anyway.

    that said, i agree with everything you wrote.

  9. leddy again

    In terms of constructive responses to this event, two things:1. A zero-tolerance policy for police presence on Wesleyan’s private property. This can be done today if Roth authorizes it, but naturally the administration will be resistant to relinquish the control police presence provides. We DO NOT need the police on campus, for any reason, period. They do not belong in a private institution with its own private enforcement organization.2. A class action law suit brought against Wesleyan University and the Middletown Police Department, filed by every student directly involved in the altercation. The tangible economic risk for Wesleyan will compel North College to actually take drastic action instead of hemming and hawing all summer and hoping we forget about it — they’d rather have us making banners or theatrical demonstrations than actually threatening something they care about, i.e. the bottom line.A suit seems totally in order considering the amount of wanton damage inflicted by the MPD on unarmed and innocent civilians, and the degree to which Wesleyan was complicit in it.Talk to some lawyer parents, please.

  10. leddy again

    In terms of constructive responses to this event, two things:

    1. A zero-tolerance policy for police presence on Wesleyan’s private property. This can be done today if Roth authorizes it, but naturally the administration will be resistant to relinquish the control police presence provides.
    We DO NOT need the police on campus, for any reason, period. They do not belong in a private institution with its own private enforcement organization.

    2. A class action law suit brought against Wesleyan University and the Middletown Police Department, filed by every student directly involved in the altercation.
    The tangible economic risk for Wesleyan will compel North College to actually take drastic action instead of hemming and hawing all summer and hoping we forget about it — they’d rather have us making banners or theatrical demonstrations than actually threatening something they care about, i.e. the bottom line.

    A suit seems totally in order considering the amount of wanton damage inflicted by the MPD on unarmed and innocent civilians, and the degree to which Wesleyan was complicit in it.

    Talk to some lawyer parents, please.

  11. Leddy

    The real question is, as I and the parent said in the forum, who within this institution is responsible for deciding whether to authorize police involvement or not?Although Dean Mike claimed my assertion that the deans are called for consultation before authorizing police presence “incorrect,” this was my direct first-hand experience when implicated in a similar non-compliance situation with Public Safety — the P Safe report showed that upon my refusal to show ID (I was admittedly uncooperative and belligerent) they called the interim weekend Dean, who then gave them the green light to call the MPD. To me this indicated they could not have called MPD without first consulting a North College administrator, which makes perfect sense policy-wise. But I suppose a lack of any such policy could explain how our own President allegedly had no idea police were brutalizing kids on his own campus. But this begs the question, how could our institution overlook the inevitable result of lacking such a communications policy — the possibility of Public Safety making a decision that leads to things getting out of hand while North College remains totally unaware?Whether the decision to use police on the campus’ private property is the Dean’s or a higher-up’s within Public Safety’s hierarchy, SOMEBODY must be the one to ultimately make the decision; Dean Mike’s explanation that he “doesn’t know” who’s job it is to green-light police force on campus reflect both incompetence (how can you be Dean of the whole school and still have “no idea” whose job it is to call the Middletown Police? Wouldn’t any rational person in his position think it’s the Public Safety officer with the most authority?) and an unwillingness to take responsibility as an administrator.Whichever group or entity okayed the use of police force last night owes the student body a direct apology, an acknowledgment that they directly and knowingly endangered our well-being, and a concrete institutionalized policy of zero-tolerance for police presence on the school’s private property. Moreover, they should immediately tender their resignation for their colossal failure in serving and protecting the student body they are employed to represent.

  12. Leddy

    The real question is, as I and the parent said in the forum, who within this institution is responsible for deciding whether to authorize police involvement or not?

    Although Dean Mike claimed my assertion that the deans are called for consultation before authorizing police presence “incorrect,” this was my direct first-hand experience when implicated in a similar non-compliance situation with Public Safety — the P Safe report showed that upon my refusal to show ID (I was admittedly uncooperative and belligerent) they called the interim weekend Dean, who then gave them the green light to call the MPD. To me this indicated they could not have called MPD without first consulting a North College administrator, which makes perfect sense policy-wise. But I suppose a lack of any such policy could explain how our own President allegedly had no idea police were brutalizing kids on his own campus. But this begs the question, how could our institution overlook the inevitable result of lacking such a communications policy — the possibility of Public Safety making a decision that leads to things getting out of hand while North College remains totally unaware?

    Whether the decision to use police on the campus’ private property is the Dean’s or a higher-up’s within Public Safety’s hierarchy, SOMEBODY must be the one to ultimately make the decision; Dean Mike’s explanation that he “doesn’t know” who’s job it is to green-light police force on campus reflect both incompetence (how can you be Dean of the whole school and still have “no idea” whose job it is to call the Middletown Police? Wouldn’t any rational person in his position think it’s the Public Safety officer with the most authority?) and an unwillingness to take responsibility as an administrator.

    Whichever group or entity okayed the use of police force last night owes the student body a direct apology, an acknowledgment that they directly and knowingly endangered our well-being, and a concrete institutionalized policy of zero-tolerance for police presence on the school’s private property.
    Moreover, they should immediately tender their resignation for their colossal failure in serving and protecting the student body they are employed to represent.

  13. Anonymous

    question:why is everyone so upset about psafe videotaping? if you aren’t doing anything wrong, who cares? it can be used, however, as evidence of excessive force. it can incriminate you. but if you aren’t doing anything wrong, why argue against something that can help you?I’m all for videocameras, and cameras on campus as well. it’s not like they are in our bedrooms…

  14. Anonymous

    question:

    why is everyone so upset about psafe videotaping? if you aren’t doing anything wrong, who cares?

    it can be used, however, as evidence of excessive force. it can incriminate you. but if you aren’t doing anything wrong, why argue against something that can help you?

    I’m all for videocameras, and cameras on campus as well. it’s not like they are in our bedrooms…

  15. Anonymous

    I don’t understand why Psafe had video cameras in the first place. Who authorized them to do that? Can a Psafe officer efficiently do his job if he is video taping? Who is viewing these videos? Was this a one time thing or should we expect to see Psafe with video cameras in the future and have they video taped us in the past? If this was the first time, why did they decide to break out the cameras last night of all nights?

  16. Anonymous

    I don’t understand why Psafe had video cameras in the first place. Who authorized them to do that? Can a Psafe officer efficiently do his job if he is video taping? Who is viewing these videos? Was this a one time thing or should we expect to see Psafe with video cameras in the future and have they video taped us in the past? If this was the first time, why did they decide to break out the cameras last night of all nights?

  17. Anonymous

    “Increased police presence on campus over the last few years, and tension and animosity (until a few years ago MPD were not allowed on campus) between police and Wesleyan students (privilege and resentment?)”Actually Fountain is a public street. As I understand it, once Middletown PD shows up and whatever they are investigating is in public space it becomes their jurisdiction.

  18. Anonymous

    “Increased police presence on campus over the last few years, and tension and animosity (until a few years ago MPD were not allowed on campus) between police and Wesleyan students (privilege and resentment?)”

    Actually Fountain is a public street. As I understand it, once Middletown PD shows up and whatever they are investigating is in public space it becomes their jurisdiction.

  19. Anonymous

    how many people were there? and middletown police? what was the attitude of psafe?

  20. Anonymous

    how many people were there? and middletown police? what was the attitude of psafe?

  21. johnwesley

    parenthetically, this is one more item under the rubric of “things at which Mocon would have sucked”. Mocon was a terrible place to hold meetings.

  22. johnwesley

    parenthetically, this is one more item under the rubric of “things at which Mocon would have sucked”. Mocon was a terrible place to hold meetings.

  23. Anonymous

    thanks for this, a lot of us cant be there and i really appreciate the livebloggin.

  24. Anonymous

    thanks for this, a lot of us cant be there and i really appreciate the livebloggin.

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