Author Archives: claire

Disorientation Spring 2017: A Guide to Campus Activism

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Students arriving back from spring break on Saturday were treated to a special release party for a long-awaited staple of Wesleyan activism: Disorientation, the annual guide compiled by campus activists to, in their own words, “serve as a resource for students looking to get involved with political organizing on campus.”

Disorientation is a tradition that has, in some form or another, existed since the 1970s. In addition to serving as a guide for student activists, it’s meant to 1) act as a counterbalance to the admin-approved information that new students and prefrosh receive during campus tours, WesFest, and the official Orientation sessions, and 2) keep a historical record of campus activism, protests, and organizing, as well as administrative failures from the perspective of students. The latter is especially important because, like most four-year universities, Wesleyan’s institutional memory is short, and keeping activist movements alive on campus is difficult when there’s a constant turnover of students. Disorientation acts, in part, as a reference for those wondering what issues have been central to campus discourse in the past, and what methods can be reutilized for future organizational efforts.

The guide’s most recent iteration formed in Fall of 2014, spearheaded by Abby Cunniff ’17 and Claire Marshall ’17. It’s primarily been presented as an online PDF, posted to WesAdmits around the beginning of fall semester, but also has been distributed as a paper zine. You can view the Spring 2017 issue (edited by Abby and Paige Hutton ’18), as well as our breakdown of what’s in it, after the jump:

Overcoats Perform on NPR’s All Songs Considered

Overcoats perform a Tiny Desk Concert on March 1, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR)

As the electronic duo OvercoatsHana Elion ’15 and JJ Mitchell ’15 are quickly making a name for themselves in the indie music world. Yesterday they performed on NPR as part of All Songs Considered‘s Tiny Desk Concert series, which is a pretty big deal given who else has been featured. They also performed at this year’s South By Southwest festival earlier this month.

In their Wesleyan days, Overcoats played everywhere from Earth House’s intimate living room to the Spring Fling stage. Even as undergrads, their combination of sparse electronics and warm vocal harmonies allowed them to occupy a unique space in the campus music scene. Now, they’re looking forward to their debut album, Young, which comes out April 21.

You can watch Overcoats’ full Tiny Desk concert after the jump:

New Horizons Supply Donation Drive

From Owen Christoph ’18:

Open House x Light House x Unity Group are doing a supply drive! All supplies will be donated to New Horizons, a domestic violence support organization which serves the Middletown community.

New Horizons is looking for:
– rain jackets (kids & adults)
– umbrellas
– art and craft supplies
– cell phones

Please stop by Open House on April Fool’s Day (Saturday, April 1st) and drop off what you might have!

Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 9-11:30AM
Place: Open House (154 Church St.)

The 2017 Commencement Speaker: Claudia Rankine

At 9:45am today, Michael Roth sent an all-campus email announcing this year’s Commencement speaker as well as the 2017 Honorary Degree recipients. Poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine will deliver the 185th Commencement address on May 28, 2017.

Additionally, Wesleyan will honor Jo Handelsman, a former Associate Director for Science at the White House, and Cristina Jiménez, the executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration organization in the country. The Alumni Association’s Baldwin Award will be presented to John Driscoll ’62 and Gina Driscoll.

Here’s the full text of the email:

BREAKING: Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees Extend President Roth’s Contract Through 2023

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At around 1:45pm today, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Donna Morea ’76 sent out an all-campus email announcing the extension of President Michael Roth‘s contract. He will continue to remain President of the University through 2023.

Morea’s email highlighted the success of Roth’s “This Is Why” fundraising campaign; his launch of multiple academic programs during his nearly decade-long run as President; and his future plans for the “Beyond 2020” initiative (although the email doesn’t go into much detail on this front). It makes no mention of the fact that last October, over 200 students called for the removal of President Roth and Vice President of Equity & Inclusion Antonio Farias in a town hall.

Here is the full email text:

WesMaps 2017-2018 Is Live (Kind Of) (For the Most Part)

I thought I was going to get work done tonight, but the pre-reg deities had other plans. Welcome to WesMaps 2017-2018, your new form of future-building, stress-inducing procrastination.

Truth be told, we don’t usually post about fall WesMaps until spring pre-reg, but since the new WesMaps link is already spreading like wildfire on social media, we thought we’d make an exception. Most of the courses aren’t even up yet, so we’ll hold off on our “best of” list, but here are some initial observations:

In Depth: Wesleyan Refugee Project (Part 2)

Members of the Wesleyan Refugee Project

Libby Salzman-Fiske ’19, Caroline Kravitz ’19, and Sahar Shaikh ’17

Note: The information found in this feature was recorded in early to mid-February. Immigration and refugee policies in the United States are still in flux under the Trump administration, and the exact details regarding immigration laws and their enforcement may have changed since these interviews were conducted.

Since the Wesleyan Refugee Project (WRP) was founded in the Fall 2015, the volunteer organization has been hard at work in their contributions to resettlement programs, legal aid, tutoring services, and fundraising events. We spoke to one of the group’s founders, Casey Smith ’17, last September. Since then, it’s become even more difficult for refugees to enter the United States under Trump’s new immigration policies, and the future for refugee resettlement in the US is uncertain.

This semester, I spoke to several different members of the WRP, all in different leadership positions. I asked each of them how they got involved with WRP, what the group is focusing on this semester, and how other students can volunteer and participate. Read their stories after the jump:

VIDEO: Karmenife Paulino ’15 Delivers Powerful Comedy Set at Malcolm X House

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Content warning: the following post and video discuss sexual violence and assault.

[Updated 2/16/17, 11:53AM] Check the bottom of the post for photos of the performance from Jejomar Erln Ysit ’19

If you were on campus at any point from Fall 2014 – Fall 2015, you might remember Karmenife Paulino ’15 as being something of a legend. Here are a few ways you may be familiar with her:

  • She became a very public activist against sexual violence, openly talking about her assault at Psi U her freshman year.
  • She also spoke out against members of Eclectic (which she was also a member of) for allowing her rapist into their home and perpetuating rape culture. Along with controversy surrounding a racial slur on a membership application, this contributed to Eclectic losing their house for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • She, along with Tess Altman ’17, created a photo project titled Reclamation during the Fall 2015 semester. We covered the project in a 12,000-word interview with Karmenife, and then the photos went viral. Even Margaret Cho took notice.

Since graduating, Karmenife has gotten involved with numerous projects and collaborations. She created a portrait series of black icons and turned OKCupid harassment (and her comebacks) into art. She’s written and spoken extensively on how white feminism perpetuates rape culture. She’s a very active presence on social media. And, to top it all off, Karmenife has started to perform as a comedian.

She returned to campus last Friday for a one-hour stand-up routine, “Make Your Own Reparations 101,” and delivered a rousing set to the packed basement of Malcolm X House. Her jokes covered everything from the Wes administration, to casual racism at her workplace, to scamming white men on Tinder. Watch the video of her performance after the jump:

Rocky Horror Picture Show Auditions

Some time-warpin’ news from Lucy Rubin ’17:

Amazing costumes?? Dance with friends? Watch an amazing(ly bad) movie? If yes, then Absent Toast, Wesleyan’s only (and sexiest) Rocky Horror Shadowcast, is where you should be! The show is a low time commitment, once a week rehearsals, and one show on the last days of classes at midnight!

Auditions? Super low key. Just show up with some attitude!
Auditions are
Monday, February 13th from 7:30-9 @ Exley 150
Tuesday, February 14th from 7:30-9 @ Exley 150

Each audition shouldn’t take that long. Come by, feel the vibe, makes some friends, looking bangin in a corset.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/248450712248933/

Date: February 13-14
Time: 7:30-9 pm
Place: Exley 150

“Hedwig & the Angry Inch” is Weird, Queer, and Very Wesleyan

Photo credit: Chloe Briskin

Last weekend, a production of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch performed three shows in Alpha Delta Phi’s Grotto. If you’ve never heard of Hedwig, let’s just say that it is a sight to behold, and this version was no exception.

I live in Alpha Delt, so skipping this show was out of the question for me; I do my laundry down the hall from the Grotto, and I kept walking in on Hedwig rehearsals during the first two weeks of school. I also knew several of the people who worked on it, including the director (Maia Nelles-Sager ’17), the stage manager (Chloe Briskin ’18), and the bassist (our managing editor Maya). But I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew a Wesleyan alum, Stephen Trask ’89, had written the music and lyrics. I knew that the main character was genderqueer – traditionally performed by a cis man in women’s clothing, although in this version the actor was also genderqueer – and that the only other character onstage was a gay man played by a woman. And I knew there was a rock band. But that’s about it.