BREAKING: Music House Moving into Eclectic’s House Starting Fall 2016

Last semester, students campaigned against Eclectic’s history of enabling racism and sexual violence with images like this.

NOTE: Updates are provided at the bottom of the post.

Thursday night, we received knowledge that Fran Koerting, Director of Reslife has reached out to the residents of Music House offering the program house the space of 200 High Street, home to Eclectic Society since 1906, for the 2016-2017 academic year. Koerting confirmed this at 12:15PM today and said that an announcement email will be sent around early this afternoon.

The residents of Music House, after discussion, decided that they would accept Reslife’s offer for the space, which the University has owned since the 1970s when Eclectic alumni sold the house to Wesleyan for $1. When asked about offering the space of 200 High Street, Fran Koerting stated:

We wanted to be sure the ballroom at 200 High was still available as a social space for students, and given its popularity for concerts, Music House was the logical choice out of all the current program houses.  I believe they will be good stewards of that social space.

Music House has been sharing spaces with Art House since 2014. Before that, Music House had a home to itself at 316 Washington Street.

This comes after recent discourses around instances of racism in Eclectic’s recruiting process from last semester and students coming forward with accounts of members of Eclectic creating a culture that blames survivors of sexual assault (one of many themes in The Reclamation by Karmenife Paulino ’15, a photo campaign looking to reclaim and subvert ideas central to Greek life at Wesleyan). 

Eclectic was never a stranger to controversy. Roth had a long blog post in 2009 discussing the complexities of Eclectic being a central social and concert space and holding the space accountable to the University’s judicial regulations.

We’ll continue to update this story as more details come to light.

If you have any thoughts on the situation and wish to write something about it for Wesleying, feel free to email us at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org.

Update (2/12/16, 1:19pm): Sonya Torres ’17, House Manager of Music House, has confirmed that Eclectic members may apply to live in the house next year as members of MuHo. Additionally, there has been no report stating that Eclectic members won’t be able to assemble; they just won’t live in the space.

Update (2/12/16, 1:27pm): Fran Koerting, Director of ResLife, sent an all-campus email on the state of Eclectic. In it, she confirms that Eclectic may continue to be a “non-residential” organization. On a non-Eclectic note, Psi U is now a program housing option, and Buddhist House has renamed itself “Middle House” and rewrote its mission statement.

Here’s the email:

Dear Students,

The housing selection process for the 2016-17 academic year begins this weekend as Wesleyan’s program houses open their doors for our annual “House Hopping Day” this Sundayfrom 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  I hope that you will make use of this opportunity to explore Wesleyan’s variety of theme/interest houses.

There are several important changes for you to be aware of as program housing selection begins.  I’m happy to report that Psi Upsilon (242 High Street) will return to program housing for next year, and will be participating in House Hopping Day. Buddhist House has chosen the new name of Middle House, and has rewritten its mission statement. I regret to report that due to judicial sanctions Eclectic has lost program housing status effective at the end of this semester and will not be an option for students next year.  (Of course, Eclectic may continue as a non-residential organization.)  Music House (currently at 230 Washington Street) will relocate to 200 High Street for the coming year, which will enable 200 High to continue as a vital social space on campus. In the fall, I will work with the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee and the WSA to determine future use of the house. Finally, 184 High and 276 High will continue to be off limits to Wesleyan students this summer and next year.

Please note that applications for the first round of program housing are due Wednesday, February 17th at noon.


Fran Koerting
Director of Residential Life


Additional reporting by hermes.

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5 thoughts on “BREAKING: Music House Moving into Eclectic’s House Starting Fall 2016

  1. alum 2010

    I think it’s interesting that, in addition to responding to real problems in the way that the houses are run, the university has won another battle it’s been fighting for decades without anyone appearing to notice – destroying places that contribute to Wesleyan’s unique culture but that retain some autonomy from that administration and replacing them with Reslife managed housing. College aged people do stupid things and have stupid opinions, but in an attempt to snuff out bigotry Wesleyan students have handed a lot of power to the administration who will use that expanded authority to put pressure on student organizations. Everyone knows that administrations like frats and societies because their members donate, but also that they don’t like them because they have parties and get in trouble and the administration can’t keep tabs on everything they do. They don’t have RAs to narc on students, and they represent a risk – a potential civil or criminal liability – for the university, not to mention that what the university can’t control can still hurt its appeal to potential students or donors. Better, from the administration’s standpoint, to do away with all such institutions. And some of those goals I sympathize with. But a strong student life also grows in the places that the administration does not have 24 hour control of. Not being under administrative supervision could pose some risks, but it also allows for the kind of student autonomy that allows us to experiment (not just with drugs!), to grow into ourselves, to have productive conversations, to make our own ridiculous college personas and remake them. I’m not sure I’ll mourn the Eclectic Society (and I know it lingers as a non-residential society, but really the house was the heart of it and I doubt Eclectic will be nearly as relevant without it). It stands for class privilege, hedonism, and lack of accountability. But then so does the private liberal arts college itself. I doubt that the administration’s real aim in doing away with it is to reduce the inequality that it represents. I expect that the administration knows that the Eclectic House, heart of decades of student artistic and above all musical life along with all of the negative things it connotes, was an aspect of Wesleyan’s weirdness. And that weirdness is fading. When I say weirdness, I don’t just mean wackiness or drugs or hippiness – I mean creative ferment, I mean an authentic autonomous student life – things no administration can create on its own, and that Eclectic contributed to. And I worry that in our zeal to destroy symbols of the political ills we rightly want to confront, students are also harming themselves by allowing the administration to step in and control places that used to be student-run. And not all of that control is going to be used to protect students from violence(s).

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