“We don’t care how much you earn! Everyone deserves to learn!”
When we first reported on definite changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind policy, I marveled at the lack of student protest or even discussion on campus compared to the events of 1992. “This is not the first time that the administration has proposed axing need-blind admissions to cope with a budgetary crisis,” I wrote. “This is merely the first time in recent Wesleyan history that students have permitted the decision to go forward.”
Five months later—after banner drops, urgent WSA proposals, late-night chalking, Wespeaks, a Wesleying forum, an occupation of a Board of Trustees meeting, more Wespeaks, more forums, national news coverage, petitions against SJB charges relating to the the Trustee occupation, and more Wespeaks—I’m ready to admit I was mistaken. Wesleyan activism is not dead after all.
Around 3 P.M. today, between the third and fourth quarter of the Homecoming football game against Amherst, a shouting band of roughly 45 or 50 student activists swarmed the sidelines nearest Foss chanting and carrying a red-and-black banner proclaiming “DIVER$ITY UNIVER$ITY?” Beginning outside Fayerweather and marching across towards Olin, the group chanted “We don’t care how much you earn! Everyone deserves to learn!” in support of need-blind admissions. Halfway across, the students cued the pep band and led the crowd in a rendition of the Wesleyan Fight Song. We’ve got video footage of the event here and here (disclaimer: these were captured on a shaky Flipcam while attempting to march along and snap photos of the group), as well as a photo gallery below. Here’s a shot of the group in action:
The activist surge followed on a handful of smaller actions throughout the day intended to raise awareness among parents and alumni about, well, need-awareness: a banner drop outside Usdan, another drop outside PAC (the sign read “DON’T DISCRIMINATE”; according to our liveblog, some misread it as “DON’T FORNICATE”), and a small cluster of students tabling in Usdan, handing out information in Usdan and pins offering variations on “Save need-blind.” Wesleying has also received reports of a legal chalk-in on Wyllys Avenue that was interrupted by President Roth himself. (As a public Middletown street, Wyllys is ungoverned by university chalking policy.) A first-person account of that incident should follow shortly.
Lastly, today’s football siege was captured on camera by a major external news organization that stuck around afterwards for video interviews with involved students. When their coverage goes live, we’ll let you know.
Whatever your views on need-blind, today’s actions have spurred the sort of conversations among students, parents, and alumni that never took place last spring. What better time than Homecoming Weekend?