Legal Chalk-In Shut Down by Roth: An Account

“There is no excuse for grabbing students like they are kindergarteners who need a timeout for not sharing a toy.”

Chalking’s back! Not really. Yesterday morning, approximately ten years, two weeks, and three days after the chalking moratorium went into effect, a small group of chalking heads (including Wesleying’s A-Batte) brought a “legal chalk-in” to Wyllys Avenue. The concept is simple. The Wesleyan Student Handbook prohibits chalking “on university property”; since Wyllys Avenue is a public street, students called the Middletown government office to confirm that chalking is permitted citywide. (“Middletown not only allows chalking but distributes it to children on the Fourth of July,” Daniel Plafker ’15 tells me.) Hence: “legal chalking.”

What followed was a tense confrontation with President Roth, who physically grabbed at least one student, and two P-Safe officers, who confirmed that chalking is indeed permitted on public streets but not Wesleyan sidewalks. The end of that interaction appears on video here, caught by Plafker. Scroll on for a first-person account by Evan Bieder ’15. (Words are his, hyperlinks are mine.)

I was one of the kids who got caught chalking by Roth. Here are some of my thoughts on what happened:

There had been talk this past week of having a legal daytime chalk-in during Homecoming Weekend to raise awareness about the need-blind issue. In order to avoid getting in trouble through Wesleyan’s chalking ban, Ben Doernberg ’13 contacted the Middletown City Government who said that chalking on public streets and sidewalks is allowed and confirmed that Wyllys Avenue is a public street. At a little after 12:15 yesterday, a few of us (including a little kid who made a pretty cool drawing of a sun) starting chalking between Usdan and the CFA on Wyllys Avenue. Some students thought it was alright to chalk on the Wyllys sidewalks since they thought the sidewalk was owned by the city and only patrolled by Wesleyan. After a few minutes of chalking on the sidewalk, a P-Safe officer told students that Wesleyan did, in fact, own the sidewalk and we were not allowed to chalk there. He was asked if students were allowed to chalk in the street and said that yes, they were allowed to do so. He did not write anyone up and walked away.

After chalking “Keep Wes Need Blind” on the street, I looked up and saw President Roth escorting Anwar [Batte ’13] over towards me holding him by the arm. I thought he was joking around because I didn’t think the president would actually restrain a student in this way, but he proceeded to grab me by the backpack and call over a P-Safe officer. The first thing he said to us was, “You’re already on probation, correct?”, referring to the SJB summons we had received for entering a Board of Trustees meeting in September. Neither Anwar nor I have heard the ruling of our SJB hearing, so we said “Not that we’re aware of.” Roth then passed us along to the P-Safe officer, said, “These students think they can change a financial issue with chalk,” and continued on his way to the soccer field. After Roth left, the P-Safe officer took down our WesIDs, and we told him about how we had been given permission by another officer to chalk in the street. He then left and I have yet to hear anything more about the incident.

I think this incident just serves to further exemplify the administration’s detachment from the student body. The first words Michael Roth ever said to me were, “You’re already on probation, correct?” I doubt he knows my name, class year, major, or anything else about me, but for some reason he wanted to make sure I was on probation. Instead of taking five minutes out of his day to talk about the need-blind issue or to clarify Wesleyan’s chalking ban, Roth’s immediate reaction was to physically restrain our legal right to express our opinion. I understand that Homecoming Weekend is a busy, stressful time for the president of a university, but there is no excuse for grabbing students like they are kindergarteners who need a timeout for not sharing a toy. While he was walking away, Roth said, “These students think they can change a financial issue with chalk.” I’d just respond to that statement with, Yes, we do think that. Roth has not been straightforward with parents or alumni in regard to what is actually happening to Wesleyan’s financial aid policy. He continues to make blog posts about “affordability,” tip-toeing around the heart of the issue (the university’s termination of full need-blind). The Hartford Courant has reported that Roth said this policy will affect “maybe 15 to 20 out of 10,000” students when the president himself has admitted that it’s clearly going to affect many more than that. Everyone involved with this university deserves to be informed about this issue and it’s too bad that Michael Roth doesn’t think so.

66 thoughts on “Legal Chalk-In Shut Down by Roth: An Account

  1. Pingback: Fit To Print: Wesleyan Need Blind Struggles Covered in NYT – Wesleying

  2. Pingback: A Decade Without Chalking, Part Three: An Interview with Claire Potter – Wesleying

  3. Pingback: Legal Chalk-In: A Political and Artistic Success – Wesleying

  4. Tee

    “I doubt he knows my name, class year, major, or anything else about me, but for some reason he wanted to make sure I was on probation.”

    It’s possible he did know who you are, you know. You’d be surprised at how on top of things he can be in terms of recognizing students.

  5. Pingback: Democracy Now! Airs Homecoming Protest, Bizarre Roth Confrontation – Wesleying

  6. Pingback: Alumni Letter: “Please Withhold Your Almuni Giving to Wesleyan” – Wesleying

  7. Pingback: Massive Legal Daytime Chalk-In – Wesleying

  8. Pingback: Homecoming Weekend: A Time for Violence – Wesleying

  9. Adam Johnson

    I saw earlier today that roths lights were all out and no cars were home, which is weird because he and his family live and eat and work here most of the time. can anyone confirm how temporary this is or was? are they at their lake house on the moon?

  10. Pingback: Passive-Aggressiveness at the Parents Assembly – Wesleying

  11. alum

    “When you say that “most students accept the administration’s rationale/number-crunching, and, to be honest, care more about preserving the prestige and quality of the institution rather than saving need-blind”, that may be true, but this belief is grounded on an unproven assumption: that we have to choose between one or the other. Many of us think the administration has provided insufficient evidence to argue either a) this is the least bad/best choice or b) they’ve tried or considered everything else”

    Wes has cut $30 million from the budget in response to the recession. Any more and it affects the academic core (preserving things like cutting the grass and athletics, etc. is also important because it’s all a part of the student experience). Therefore, what do you cut? Chopping $10k here or there doesn’t do anything, because it’s millions that Wes needs to fill the fin aid hole. You don’t make the Wesleyan experience crappier just so a few more people can attend via need-blind. This is because need-aware is only temporary. The problem is that the administration has NOT been forthcoming with how long that will be.

    1. Zach

      Once again: Despite your claims, Roth has said that he has no idea if this policy will be temporary or not and isn’t willing to commit to that. This is all on video in our coverage of the Wesleying forum: http://is.gd/K6QYaF

    2. Jesse

      Most of what you said is accurate, but the administration currently has no plans to restore need-blind. The policy is that we will be need-blind as we can afford to be.

  12. alum

    Get this: When Roth was a candidate to become President in 2007, he campaigned to reverse the chalking ban, arguing that every student had a right to free speech. That’s a FACT (maybe in the Argives). Once he took office he made an about turn, and burned many students who had supported him. Looks like it’s getting worse.

    1. Sunny

      http://wesleyanargus.com/2007/12/04/roth-praises-activisim-questions-chalking/

      Here’s an old Argus article I found. Some highlights:

      “I have been impressed by the serious, energetic activism of groups at
      Wesleyan working for peace, on the environment, on anti-racism, and on
      behalf of workers,” Roth said. “This is not about weirdness, it’s about
      progressive politics and building our campus culture.”

      “Wesleyan has been at the forefront of critical thinking about issues
      of social justice since the 1960s,” Roth said. “This is far more
      important than cultivating an interest in the tunnels, or composing
      anti-corporate juvenilia.”

      This response prompted another question on chalking, to which Roth
      expressed reservations about chalking as political expression.

      “I don’t really have an opinion on writing on the sidewalk with
      different colored chalk,” he said. “I’m more interested in what people
      say than in the colors they use to write—whether they put the ideas in
      chalk or on flyers. I wish energy was used in making a difference in
      neighborhoods in Middletown, or on national issues rather than
      expressing an attitude.”

      “What Wesleyan students should be, we’re looking for students of
      extraordinary academic ability in all areas with proven achievement in
      one of more of those areas, passionate engagement on those ideas with
      other people, a taste and appetite for discussing issues in a community
      with a tolerance for views,” Roth said. “It’s a tall order, it’s a lot
      of things. The key for me is students who have courage, capacity,
      and care.” …

      Ball underscored Roth’s continued commitment to listening to students as he solidifies his plans for the University.

      1. Sunny

        Also, this early blog from the President’s archives:
        http://roth.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2007/09/21/renewal-of-possibility/

        Highlights:

        The meeting with a small group of Boston parents and alumni was very
        interesting…The conversation was very engaging, and I heard
        from graduates from the 1950s and the most recent decade. What did they
        have in common? The first thing was the strong commitment to financial
        aid at Wesleyan. We must keep the university accessible to people from
        all social classes.

        As we drove back to Middletown, I started to think about some of the
        ways I might work at becoming a more effective president, starting with
        listening more closely to students and faculty.

        …Tonight begins Yom Kippur, a day that in my tradition calls for
        reflection, repentance, and a renewal of possibility. In retrospect,
        “the renewal of possibility” may be the theme of this past week. May it
        last!

  13. Guy Arthur

    hahaha… “These students think they can change a financial issue with chalk.” I really appreciate Roth now. This chalking campaign is a fucking waste of time. It sucks that almost no one at Wesleyan would tell you that, though. This is almost as much of a joke as the anti-need sensitive posters that have mugshots of some of the richest kids at this school. Way to go guys. Now that you’ve had your picture taken for a poster and written with some chalk on a sidewalk, no one can tell you that you aren’t a conscious and caring individual.

    1. Anonymous

      “This is almost as much of a joke as the anti-need sensitive posters that
      have mugshots of some of the richest kids at this school.”

      I can respect differing opinions, but you have no basis for spewing the hateful bullshit that you are. It is obvious that you have no idea what those students’ financial situations are like.

      “Now that you’ve had your picture taken for a poster and written with
      some chalk on a sidewalk, no one can tell you that you aren’t a
      conscious and caring individual.”

      What are you suggesting? That people campaigning for the retention of need-blind don’t really care about the cause? Why?

      You need to take a long break from the computer and go on a walk. If you still feel this strongly about your peers, you should seriously consider leaving, and possibly seeing a therapist.

        1. Guy Arthur

          God I love this! At this school, all you have to do is shit on someone’s chalk art and suddenly you can no longer consider yourself an “intellectual” or maybe even a good person. Man, I love Wesleyan. But seriously, I’ll readily admit that I have no factual proof that I can safely use to criticize the poster campaign. This is where my motives become apparent; instead of engaging in meaningful discussion, I’d rather just sit here and take the piss out of a few Wesleyan students who spend too much time arguing about stuff on Wesleying (seriously, why not pick a way cooler place to argue like Myspace?).

          As far as the “chalking” is concerned, it wouldn’t hurt your image and credibility to pursue a more serious medium than one that is associated with hopscotch and summer camp.

          1. Guy Arthur

            But Seriously (actually this time?), there’s no way Michael Roth can come away looking good on this one. Just dumb decisions on his part.

          2. Guy Arthur

            (I’m obviously making the least funny joke of all time here)
            #troll
            #unproductivedebate
            #myspace
            #nofactualproof
            #seriousmedium
            #longislandmedium
            #petseances
            #unnecessaryquotationmarksonchalking

          3. Adam Johnson

            i dont see it. this is a place to discuss this issue about which some students care and others dont. how am i the bully in pointing out that the one who doesnt care started a dialogue by spewing false ad hominem at those who do care or want to do at least a little about it for fun?

    1. Adam Johnson

      creepy shit. today i gave my name as “michael roth” at weswings and my order came with a free slice of cheesecake. I pointed at the order receipt and said “I didn’t order a cheesecake” and they said “no this is for someone else.” Huh

      1. Adam Johnson

        “these students think they can change a financial issue with chalk”… has roth ever read his own bullshit before? or do you forget everything that you learned at whatever age he is?

  14. 2014

    this is crazy. not only should the president not be restraining students and speaking to them in this manner, his snide comment that students think they can change things with chalk is totally against the ideals about social change that this university impresses upon us in the classroom everyday and in their official literature. laughing at college kids trying to make a difference any way they can, president roth? i thought that was the reason we attended school here in the first place……. fuck you for embodying everything we fight against. great way to behave as the figurehead of this “liberal” “progressive” university

  15. Chile

    While I do agree that it is highly inappropriate for a university president to engage students in a physical manner on any level, I would warn that it does not help to overreact to these types of small altercations. The fact is that chalking on public property is legal, whether or not the content is political. All students, including Anwar and Evan, should feel safe drawing and writing with chalk on streets and sidewalks.

    In terms of the protests in general (to address kidd’s comment) — There are currently two goals that are being balanced–the financial health of the university, and equal access to a Wesleyan education. In the long term, the only way to accomplish both of these goals is to increase the endowment by hundreds of million of dollars (bigger endowment=more financial aid=more access). No one is denying this, not even the protestors (myself being one of them).

    The point the protestors are making is not that Michael Roth or the board of trustees are evil. I fully believe that he and the board have the University’s best interest in mind. However, this does not mean that I am willing to sit idly by as they altar the experience of a Wesleyan education. Students are affected most by their decisions, and we deserve an opportunity to be a part of the dialogue. In the short term, while Wesleyan engages in a massive capital campaign that will (hopefully) stabilize our financial situation, I fully believe that an open dialogue could create alternative models that would not sacrifice the other goal, equal access to education. The Sustainability Task Force is working hard, and hopefully they will have a set of proposals for us by the end of the semester, but that does not mean we should end the discussion.

    What are Wesleyan’s core values? What does the label “need-blind” even mean? Why won’t Roth answer some basic questions about how the decision was made and how it will be implemented? Why won’t the Board of Trustees engage with students in an official manner? What is the misinformation being spread around amongst the student body, and what can we do to to fight it?

    This is all part of a longer piece I am writing, but for now, cheers.

    1. Chile

      I would also add that the transition from need-blind to need-aware is a move towards active discrimination against poor and middle class applicants. It is affirmative action for rich people.

  16. kidd

    This is ridiculous. The protest has been successful, everyone knows that the students want admission to be need-blind. Roth gets the message, but protests won’t change the University’s financial state, so he’s right about that. The trustee protest and chalking is just annoying to the administration. I agree with him that the people responsible for the protests should be punished. Everyone’s on the same side on this. Everyone wants the same thing. Students need to understand that the problem would be fixed by someone donating a billion dollars to the school, not by students chalking everywhere that they’re unhappy.

    1. Wes Alum

      What is ridiculous is your post, frankly. Not “everyone” knows that students want admission to be need-blind. I assure you that many parents are completely unaware of the change in policy. Thus, the students’ attempt to call attention to this is warranted. And why should people be “punished” for legally chalking in a public street? It’s the Public Safety officer who is out of line in the video–his assertion that filming without his permission is not allowed, when he is requiring Wesleyan students standing on a public street to show their ID for doing NOTHING illegal–and for doing that legal act on public, not Wesleyan property, is not only wrong but ludicrous. I’m a Wes alum and a donor, and I want the university to take note that I and other donors are watching what’s happening. And many of us are *not* happy with the administration’s responses.

    2. peter

      I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of why these protests are taking place. For a detailed explanation of exactly where most of us stand on the issue, and why many feel like direct action is still necessary, read Jesse and Robert’s comments on this wesleying post: http://wesleying.org/2012/10/20/diverity-univerity-activists-swarm-football-game-support-need-blind/#disqus_thread

      Also read this excellent Wespeak: http://wesleyanargus.com/2012/10/04/the-problem-with-resigned-acceptance-in-the-need-blind-debate/

      1. alum

        The problem with that Wespeak is that it ignores the cold, hard numbers. The fact is that Wesleyan cannot afford full need-blind with its current endowment. If the Board of Trustees, the finance administrators, and a third-party economics professor all say the math doesn’t work, who else do you need to tell you that the money simply isn’t there? Wesleyan is raising money to re-instate need-blind, but you have to understand that it takes reducing spending now in order to have the money later. A $400 million campaign is under way. If need blind still isn’t back by the time that’s completed, then I would understand raising some questions. Writing with chalk isn’t going to raise the endowment, nor is it going to alter the logical fundamentals of economics, all of which point to Wes being too poor to afford need-blind.

        I understand being frustrated by Roth’s actions – completely uncalled for. However, all of these protests should be aimed at raising awareness for raising money, not trying to change the opinion of whether Wes can afford need-blind. The people who have the financial expertise have said we can’t afford it – even with access to the full budget (though I don’t understand how much more information is needed than what I already public) who’s to say what should and should not be cut? People should be raising awareness that Wes is only 90% need-blind and that they should donate – that would be the quickest way to restore need-blind.

        1. Zach

          “A $400 million campaign is under way. If need blind still isn’t back by the time that’s completed, then I would understand raising some questions.”

          Nope. Those questions should be raised — and commitments demanded — now. Despite your claims, Roth has said that he has no idea if this policy will be temporary or not and isn’t willing to commit to that. This is all on video in our coverage of the Wesleying forum: http://is.gd/K6QYaF

          It’s about more than “cold, hard numbers.” It’s also about the blatant, condescending disregard being expressed towards student and alumni protests and concerns.

          1. alum

            I would agree about commitments being demanded now. Interesting that Roth wouldn’t commit to restoration of need-blind via the campaign. However, I think it’s pointless in trying to paint the administration/Roth as not caring about student access – they obviously do, otherwise they wouldn’t be concerned about maintaining grant size and loan reductions. (To those questioning whether it’s possible to hold the administration accountable about this, it’s actually self-motivating – more grants and less loans makes the aid packages more attractive, enabling admissions to get the students it wants. It makes sense that slowing an aid budget increase would allow for those that get packages to get bigger ones. Wes has no incentive to reduce packages to those it offers aid. The issue here is the # receiving aid.) They did, however, screw up with regards to transparency. Big time.

            The more useful avenue is to get the Board and the admin accountable as to the details of the campaign and future budget projections. There is no transparency. However, that is separate and distinct from not caring about student access. It’s obvious Wes can’t afford need-blind now (and probably simply came to this realization in the past year – hence a change in tune since 2010). I think the best bet is to get accountability going forward – what are tuition increased modeled 5-10 years out? Budgets? Aid specifically? Our peers?

          2. Zach

            “They did, however, screw up with regards to transparency. Big time.”

            Then it’s baffling that you would refer to student protest efforts as “pointless.” How else can students (whose voices have been left out of any meaningful decision-making apparatus) register their outrage and pressure the relevant parties into being more transparent with decisions of this magnitude of the future?

            Protesting doesn’t raise the endowment, but it clearly draws attention to Wesleyan’s financial situation and need for donations, which seems to be what you’re advocating for anyway. Hence, this comment thread.

          3. alum

            There’s a difference between arguing that Wes should re-instate 100% need-blind right now and arguing that Wes should be more transparent going forward as to when it can afford to re-instate need-blind. Wes can’t afford it now, period. Protesting that point is, as I said, pointless. A lot of the protestors are not doing a good job differentiating between the two (afford it now vs. transparency going forward). The former is a moot point, the latter is extremely relevant and important.

            Protesting for general accountability is not as effective because the administration has been fairly transparent as to how it arrived to its current decision. However, it’s done shit to explain when it’s going to reverse the new policy. Complete fail.

            From an alumni perspective right now, I’m not seeing a clear distinction from the protestors. Hence, my comment.

        2. Wes Alum

          In regard to that $400 million capital campaign…I really wonder how well it’s being conducted. In two separate recent years since graduating, I’ve donated amounts well into 5 figures. For many, many years, I’ve given at least in the low four figures. I had planned to give larger amounts (5 figures) to Wes every five years, and this was that year. But it’s been well over a year since I received any kind of contact from the development office. What I’m going to say may be offensive to some, and I understand that I am very lucky to have this amount of money to give–but believe me, I am not Romney-style rich, and my proportionately large charitable donations mean I don’t travel as much as I’d like and I drive a 15-year-old car–and so on.

          I don’t expect a dog-and-pony show from the organizations I give to, but the reality of the charitable donations game is that people like me like to be contacted personally on an annual basis. And when other organizations have kept in touch with me while Wes hasn’t bothered, I feel confirmed in my growing belief that it’s just plain not being run particularly well and I start to question why I should continue my donations. So the $25K I was going to give to Wes this year has been committed elsewhere. I guess that’s peanuts to Wes but it isn’t to the organization that got it instead and the money will do good things there.

          1. Wes '92

            Wes alum: Thank you for your post. You have hit the nail on the head!

            Wesleyan’s inept, unprofessional fundraising is THE problem underlying the need-blind admission debate—it’s the reason need-blind has disappeared, and it’s the reason need-blind will not be reinstated absent dramatic change.

            The story you relay—of the Development Office failing to properly cultivate and acknowledge donors—is one I have heard again and again from other alums, parents, and faculty.

            Among the most shocking incidents: donors receiving letters requesting multi-million dollar gifts (already a no-no—you make these asks in person) that are addressed to someone other than the recipient; donors receiving angry calls from the Development Office claiming six-figure pledges have not been received when the checks were sent months prior; donors setting up scholarships who never hear from the students awarded the scholarships because the Development Office has not encouraged communication between the students and the donors; and donors who request their gift be directed for a specific purpose, only to find their gift “lost” or “redirected” to another purpose.

            And these are just the most outrageous stories—mostly I hear of experiences like your own, when donors have simply said, “I have not received the acknowledgement, respect, and professional care from the Wesleyan Development Office that I have from other institutions.” Needless to say, these donors respond the way you did—by choosing to send their dollars elsewhere.

            As the relative of a (non-Wesleyan) university fundraiser, I find these stories appalling and, frankly, embarrassing for Wesleyan. What we’re talking about here is Fundraising 101: developing relationships, pitching demonstrated need, respecting donor wishes, and communicating in a clear and timely manner how donations are making a positive difference. Yet the current team in University Relations screws these things up time and time again. (Not to mention fails to utilize its strongest fundraising assets: faculty and students!)

            If memory serves, the current VPs of University Relations and Finance have been at their posts for just over and just under (respectively) a decade. Both arrived in these positions with no prior experience in the field—ie, the first was not a fundraiser, and the second was not a finance person. Despite their efforts, and with one completed capital campaign already under their belts, Wesleyan has barely made a dent in its financial difficulties. It is time for new leadership with new approaches (and please, more professionalism!) in these positions. A top-down housecleaning is in order. (It’s very odd that Roth did not do this when he became president. Usually new university presidents bring in an entirely new set of VPs.)

            The administration knows need-blind admission and socioeconomic diversity is of great importance to the Wesleyan community—the students have made this clear, faculty members have made it clear, and alumni have made it clear. (Every candidate for the alumni trustee positions begins his/her statement of intent with “I am dedicated to maintaining need-blind admission.”) Yet while the administration—and particularly Roth—have focused intently on re-thinking the marketing and branding of Wesleyan, they have not made a similar effort to re-think how Wes raises its money. Nothing will change until they do.

    3. blah

      I would disagree with your assertion that “everyone knows the students want admission to be need-blind.” It’s my impression that the protests are being coordinated and attended by a small cohort of extremely active and passionate students. The protest yesterday had around 50 students, which, to be honest, is hardly impressive at a university of about 2,900. In fact, in the Wesleying poll about this issue, I believe a plurality of students went with the “resigned acceptance” option. It’s totally valid and admirable that a small group of students cares so much about this issue, but I think the majority of the student body is either apathetic or cautiously supportive about the change in policy.

      1. Jordan

        What bothers me about this protest is that most of the protestors seem to feel that they speak for a majority of students. They say “the students want this, the students want that.” In reality, as your reference to the Wesleying poll shows, these protests do not represent a majority at all. I for one, am in favor of cutting need-blind to 90%, and I know quite a few others that agree.

        1. Abbey

          The 90% number is a pretty confusing one put out by the administration–in reality that’s basically an estimate by President Roth of about how many applications will be looked at need-blind before the financial aid cap is reached. Keep in mind, also, that the cap on financial aid will continue to be lowered each year for several years until it reaches 30% of the budget. So the “90% of students admitted need-blind” number is the ESTIMATE for this year, and will likely be changed to a much smaller proportion by the time the cap reaches 30%.

          Anyway. All of this is assuming that Roth is actually being genuine in how he’s describing the process. Some evidence suggests that he’s not–head folks from admissions have acknowledged that it’s likely that all applications will be looked at need-aware so that they can craft the “right kind” of Wesleyan class.

          Basically, Wesleyan is now need-aware–confusing percentages aside.

      2. jf

        That Wesleying poll was hardly
        a scientific survey of the student body, but since you’re referencing it, here
        are the results:

        – “I think it’s both morally sound and fiscally prudent.” 66 votes

        – “I don’t like it, but I think it’s necessary, considering the
        University’s financial situation.” 358 votes

        – “I think Wesleyan should preserve need-blind admissions for domestic
        applicants and find another financial solution.” 264 votes

        – “Need-blind admissions should be strengthened or extended instead of
        just protected (e.g. also admitting international and transfer students
        need-blind). The moral imperative trumps any others.” 141 votes

        – “I’m unsure as to what course of action the university should
        take.” 66 votes

        – “I don’t really care either way / I don’t think this is all that
        important.” 12 votes

        Hence, 46.75% of respondents support the policy shift in
        some form, of which 84.44% “don’t like it, but think it’s necessary.”
        Given that the great majority of respondents in favor of the policy “don’t like
        it” and support it only on grounds of necessity, it’s not unreasonable to
        assume most of those students support attempts to place the onus on the
        administration to prove that necessity. Otherwise their support wouldn’t place
        financial necessity as a caveat.

        1. blah

          Perhaps your assessment of the student body’s opinion is correct, but I think the somewhat underwhelming attendance at these protests indicates otherwise. If most of the student body wants to “place the onus on the administration,” why did only 50 or so people show up at the Homecoming event? I think most students accept the administration’s rationale/number-crunching, and, to be honest, care more about preserving the prestige and quality of the institution rather than saving need-blind. You might consider that shallow and selfish, but I think it’s honest. We all came to Wesleyan because we wanted good teachers, small class sizes, nice amenities, a well known-name. I think many students agree with the administration that preserving need-blind would unduly compromise the quality of the Wesleyan experience. If you wanted to go to a school that wasn’t elitist, why did you choose a private university? A private school is, by definition, an elite institution. The great things about a private school–small classes, superior teachers, modern buildings, vegan lunches etc.– cost money. Most people here could have probably chosen to attend our own state schools at far less expense. Presumably, we chose Wesleyan because we calculated that the superior experience at Wes would be worth the cost. And why did we think that? Because it’s a private school, and thus has no moral or legal obligation to be accessible to the general populace.

          1. explained

            The reason nobody shows up is that we’ve all already been admitted, so we don’t have to worry about need-blind. That, and personally I’m busy all the time and don’t want to get on the administration’s blacklist.

          2. jf

            You brought in the Wesleying poll. I merely pointed out that an overwhelming majority of respondents to that poll don’t like the policy and (even if they support it resignedly) acknowledge that it’s at least ethically questionable.

            Only fifty people (certainly not insignificant) showed up at that protest because it was thrown together only a few hours beforehand, with little advance planning or announcement, and because others feared SJB retribution after hearing about the Trustee occupation charges. Do you not see how the administration has used disciplinary action to discourage any direct action like this? A better indication of student interest would be the Wesleying forum, which well over 115 students attended.

            Your assertion that a private institution that has spent decades filling its admissions literature with platitudes about practical idealism, social conscience, and diversity has “no moral or legal obligation to be accessible to the general populace” is telling.

        2. Guest

          you get a new ip adress all the time and some have been used before and my vote wasnt counted. just because something is in essence “scientific” does not mean that it it proof.

  17. D_M_Z

    This is not okay. What is going on with Roth? Between this and then his interaction with the Democracy Now reporter, he seems like he’s going CRAZY. What is he trying to accomplish? What is he hiding? The guy’s obviously got something big troubling him.

  18. wieb$

    The PSafe officer also lied about filming. You are allowed to film anyone, anywhere, without their consent, so long as it is not in a location where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., enclosed private property). It’s the justification PSafe gives for filming Foss on 4/20, so it’s shameless that he should misrepresent the law.

  19. Anon

    Mr. Roth committed unlawful restraint, and possibly assault. Anwar Batte should press charges. It is one thing if PSafe gets physical, because they’re hired for that kind of stuff, but it is not okay for the university president to be a vigilante. Or, since he’s carrying his vigilantism out against nonviolent, legal protest, a thug.

    1. asdf

      Pressing charges against the President of Wesleyan University ? Costs University money, both directly and indirectly ? Does not help Wes bring back need blind.

        1. Blind Cheap Justice

          So perhaps bring Roth before the college judicial board instead?
          Assault deserves at least . . . probation. Or maybe an essay explaining why adults do not solve interpersonal disputes by grabbing onto each other, when much more civilized means of discourse (like conversation, or writing out one’s opinions) are available. I think in the daycare the advocate “using your words”.

      1. economicincentive

        Money is the only language the university understands, so if someone wants to send the administration a message, costing them money is the only way to do it. I’m sorry if that sounds cynical; the university certainly isn’t the only organization where this is the case.

        1. alum

          costing Wes money is the best way to ensure need-blind doesn’t come back. yeah, let’s make the school even poorer, great idea.

Comments are closed.