2014: A Very Wesleying Year In Review

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Guys, here’s the deal. We’re all feeling really old again because 2014 is over now, and that’s what happens each time you celebrate another year having come and gone. But before we can settle into 2015, which a previous year tried to warn us about (????), it’s time for your annual Wesleying Year in Review. Frosh writers astag_rockyCaro, and Jackson put together the ten biggest moments on campus (#tbt style), links to relevant Wesleying posts that help you brush up on each of those topics, and lots of fun honorable mentions.

Some really weird, interesting, amazing, magical stuff happens at Wes, and this post serves to remind us to take those memories with us as we go forward. (Looking at you, “New Year, New Me” people.)

Now, a disclaimer: Not everything that happened this year is covered because even with help, frosh only get some of the things right some of the times. Feel free to leave your personal favorite/weirdest/coolest Wesleyan moments in the comment section. Also, note that the events that do get covered are not placed in any particular order of importance or severity.

Read after the jump to see who wore it best.

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1. #BlackLivesMatter: Middletown is Ferguson, Ferguson is Middletown 

In the wake of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, approximately 700 members of the Wesleyan community took to the streets of Middletown to protest police brutality, chant, and stage a die-in that shut down a major intersection and part of Route 66. The Black Lives Matter March was the culmination of increased dialogue this year concerning race issues at Wesleyan, particularly the lack of resources given to the AFAM Department.

For further reading:

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2.  Changes in the role of residential frats

Always a relevant and contentious issue on campus, the role of Wesleyan’s three remaining residential frats, Beta Theta Pi, Psi Upsilon and Delta Kappa Epsilon, underwent a dramatic transformation in 2014. Shortly after banning students from Beta in September, President Roth announced that all residential frats would have to become co-educated in three years and freshmen could no longer pledge greek organizations. In addition, in the wake of two reported sexual assaults at Psi U this year, and a subsequent lawsuit against the fraternity, Psi U was placed on probationary status in December and banned from hosting social events until the end of 2015. While the sanctioning of fraternities has drawn praise from those who believe the administration is finally attempting to resolve Wesleyan’s frat problem, there has been a significant backlash from members and alumni of the fraternities themselves.

For further reading:

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3. Sexual harassment/assault is still a major problem.

Sexual assault has always been a problem at Wes, but open dialogue about it only started recently, in the wake of greater national discussion of sexual assault on college campuses. Topics dominating the discussion include sexual assault and Greek life, silence and violence, and creating safe spaces for survivors. In September The Monument Quilt came to campus to criticize rape culture, support survivors, and prevent sexual violence. Continued dialogue on rape culture and gender violence culminated in December when students, professors, and alumni came together in Usdan to support survivors publicly speaking and sharing their stories.

For further reading:

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4. Israel/Palestine: Starting 2014 with divestment and ending it with hummus.

In the spring semester, WSA passed a resolution to divest from companies that contributed to or profited from the illegal occupation of Palestine, in spite of some opposing requests. The divestment has carried on throughout the fall semester, most recently sparking a debate about our favorite chickpea snack. Members of the SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) group began protesting the stocking of Sabra brand hummus, publicizing that Sabra’s parent company provides money to violent anti-Palestine military organizations. This endeavor was successful at first, prompting Weshop and Usdan to stop stocking Sabra; recent updates, however, claim that Wesleyan will be stocking Sabra again in January 2015.

For further reading:

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5. Whey is the most happening place on campus, and why are things less fun lately?

Wes just has not been the life of the party this fall semester (but we’re trying to make do with what we’ve got.)

For further reading:

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6. #AFAMiswhy.

Over the past year, the AFAM department has suffered some serious blows. Two professors — Sarah Mahurin and Leah Wright — scored new jobs at Yale and Harvard, respectively, and Wesleyan didn’t replace them… leaving only one full-time AfAm professor for the fall 2014 semester. Some seriously pissed students led marches and met with Roth last spring about the lack of department funding.

For further reading:

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7. Spring Fling didn’t suck this year (but other concerts had trouble).

In case you forgot, Spring Fling 2013 was a disaster. Despite boasting a lineup that included Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Ryan Hemsworth, as a result of the concert venue changing to the ice skating rink, issues with the gendered entrance signs, student behavior and the floor and venue capacity emerged. In 2014, Spring Fling Committee figured out weather-defying stage logistics on Foss so that Spring Fling could be outside. While bad weather and sound problems threatened a repeat calamity, crowd pleaser Chance The Rapper and indie sensation tUnE-yArDs overcame any issues and put on a great show. However, with the changes to Wesleyan’s party scene this year, other concerts have suffered from overcrowding and P-Safe interruptions, highlighted by DC rapper Gold Link’s show, or rather lack of show, in September, when two pulled fire alarms prevented him from performing.

For further reading:

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8. Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02 and his brainchild In the Heights came back to Wesleyan.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the Tony-award-winning hit In the Heights during his sophomore year at Wesleyan, and this fall, the theatre and music departments combined their resources to bring the Wesleyan-born show to the CFA theatre. During the process, the ITH cast got to meet Miranda and chat with him about writing and starring in musicals, Neil Patrick Harris and the famous Tony rap, and his time at Wesleyan. The musical showed six times in November to sold-out audiences at nearly every performance.

For further reading:

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9. Money is still hard for students. 

We’re talking about the continued debate on need-aware admissions and the recent light shed on campus dining options. Basically we haven’t had need-blind admissions for future students for nearly three years now, and current students wonder why everything can’t just cost, like, two dollars.

For further reading:

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10. Wesleyan Librarian Pat Tully was fired… pretty harshly.

Pat Tully, Wesleyan’s previous University librarian, was fired because of a provost disagreement just days before the start of the fall 2014 semester. Since Tully didn’t sign a contract requiring her silence, she addressed the Wesleyan faculty directly about her termination — she sent a letter via listserv to the faculty that was also published on Wesleying. Tully criticized Wesleyan’s firing policy and questioned if other faculty that had “mysteriously left” in the past had suffered the same unceremonious termination she did.

For further reading:

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Honorable Mentions:

1. Carter Bays ’97 and Craig Thomas ’97 of HIMYM fame returned for a roundtable discussion, and it was awesome.

2. Well, time to cross Daniel Handler ‘92 (aka Lemony Snicket) off our list of alumni we brag about.

3. Wesleyan went test-optional.

4. And suddenly, we cared about college rankings.

5. Yik Yak became the latest campus social media obsession.

6. Thankfully, The Corner Pocket and Esca revived Bar Night (RIP The Nest).

7. John Oliver (!!)Paid tribute to the WesleyanBrooklyn connection.

8. Seriously, WTF was this Deer Head doing in the Exley parking lot?!?!

9. Raechel Rosen ’15 and the Second Stage crew slayed us with their unforgettable play Blow.

10. Dean Mike Whaley gave hope to anyone inspired by Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) after announcing that students can now change their name as it appears on official university documents.