Author Archives: pyrotechnics

About pyrotechnics

Fire is clean and fire is bright - Ray Bradbury

Go for Perfect, Wes

Fare ye better. -- pyrotechnics

As I contemplate my impending graduation in a matter of hours, I find myself wondering what Wes will be in the next semester and beyond. What should Wes be?

Wesleyan is not a perfect place, and only our Admissions brochures pretend that that’s the case. We’ve got problems, big problems. We’ve got deep, meaty, institutional problems. We’ve got acrid, calcifying, traditional problems. We’ve got murky, messy, cultural problems. For the moment I’ll let you define precisely what those are–the point is, Wes is not a perfect place. We all spend days here unhappy, frustrated, hurt. And by and large, we try to change that.

That’s a long, lonely road, but a good one.

Wesleyan Creates New College of Integrative Sciences

On Wednesday, the Faculty voted overwhelmingly to approve a proposal for a new college, the College of Integrative Sciences (CIS), to join the College of Social Studies, College of Letters, College of the Environment, College of Film and the Moving Image, and the College of East Asian Studies. Students in CIS would have pursue a CIS Linked Major to complement an additional primary major in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). According to the proposal, the new CIS aims to “offer Wesleyan students a curricular and research framework that enables new ways of thinking at the frontiers of science.” 

Good News! You Can Change Your Name, Starting Next Fall: An Interview with Dean Mike Whaley

Goober Cornelicious Perpindantia Obo Love III

Good news! Starting next Fall, students will be able to log a preferred name in their ePortfolios to appear on most University documents instead of the legal given name. I sat down with Dean Mike Whaley of Student Affairs some time ago to get the details:

pyrotechnics: If you could start off by describing what the project is?

Dean Mike Whaley: Yeah, so a number of years ago we had a student who, even prior to coming to Wesleyan, was very active on trans* issues, and when ze arrived on campus one of the requests was ‘can I change my name, so that not my legal name but rather my preferred name appears on class lists, email… everything but transcript and diploma.’ And at the time, we made that happen in an ad hoc way, but that got me and others thinking about… there are a number of students, trans* students, international students, even students from New Jersey who use their middle name instead of the first name, nicknames, [etc.]. So we’ve been thinking for quite a while now that it’d be really helpful to give people the option to record a preferred name, to store in the system a preferred name, and to have that name appear in most places. There are certain issues with diplomas and transcripts and having to have your legal name on those, but most of the business we conduct can make use of preferred names. At the time we talked to the Registrar’s Office about that; they had a very long list of things they were working on with ITS and so this was at the bottom, and last year… [laughs] I’ve kinda raised it every other year or so… and last year we got some traction on it. Folks said ‘yeah, we can accommodate this and make it happen.’ So that’s what we’re working on now. 

Online Story Submissions for Take Back the Night

From Caillin Puente ’15:

In preparation for this year’s Take Back the Night, the Students for Consent and Communication (SFCC) are collecting anonymous stories for the event.

Take Back the Night is the global movement to end sexual violence and allow survivors a safe space to share their stories. In addition to our two speak out circles where every member of the community is able to share their experiences, we are adding these anonymous submissions so anyone who is uncomfortable sharing their stories in person can have them read by an SFCC member during the event.

If you are interested in sharing in this way you can submit stories here, or drop a story off during lunch and dinner in Usdan where we will be tabling for the next week. Again, all submissions are anonymous and we will accept them up until the day of the event next week!

Lastly, this year’s event will also have a new showcase of performances including songs, poems, raps and displays of visual art. If you are interested in performing please contact Caillin Puente (cpuente[at]wesleyan[dot]edu) or Nina Gurak ’16 (ngurak[at]wesleyan[dot]edu). If you have any comments, concerns or questions about the event please feel free to contact us as well.

Take Back the Night will take place Thursday April 24th at 7pm- look out for the Facebook and Wesleying event soon for more details!

35 Years Ago Today: Jimmy Carter v. Giant Rabbit

Today is the 35th anniversary of the day that then-President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a giant swimming rabbit, and barely escaped with his life. On a mid-Presidency fishing trip near his hometown, Jimmy Carter’s boat was unexpectedly attacked by an enormous, aggressive, and seemingly amphibious mammal with clear hissing intent to board the President’s vessel. Fortunately, although Secret Service was not immediately on hand, the President was able to bravely repel his furry assailant alone, via paddle and splashing as seen above. The rabbit was never seen again.

Who knows when it will strike again?

We must never forget.

We must maintain vigilance.

Please carry on with your day.

Lawsuit Filed Against Psi U

Read on for several community responses, including from Students for Consent and Communication and from President Roth.

From Wikipedia Commons. Where else?

A student filed a lawsuit against Psi Upsilon, the Wesleyan Xi Chapter, and several Psi U members on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the defendants regarding a sexual assault perpetrated last spring against the student in the Psi U common room. This lawsuit does not name Wesleyan University itself as a defendant, unlike the previous lawsuit against a Wesleyan fraternity regarding a sexual assault. Instead, the lawsuit states that Psi U and its members violated its contract with Wesleyan which requires the fraternity to manage its events and keep its guests safe.

Wesleyan has, however, emailed all of us an official statement just this afternoon. President Roth’s email notes that the perpetrator of this particular sexual assault was dismissed from the University after disciplinary proceedings, in addition to sanctions against Psi U. President Roth’s statement in full: 

The Atlantic, Fraternities, Wesleyan, You


Image via The Atlantic

The Dark Powers of Fraternities” was published this morning by The Atlantic. The article is the culmination of a yearlong investigation into the systemic power of fraternities and the tragedies derived therein, and prominently (ignominiously) features our very own Wesleyan University and Beta Theta Pi. In brief, the article describes fraternity organizations’ thoroughly American heritage, their roles in transforming the nature of higher education from the priest-factories of yesteryear into the often-outrageous party scenes of the modern day, and the complex trade-lanes of power, litigation, fundraising, and tragedy that have allowed the fraternity infrastructures to survive and thrive among even the most progressive of Universities. The article gets many, many things right, and I thoroughly agree with the sentiment of the authorthat colleges and universities are institutionally and structurally threatened by powerful organizations with outdated (and morally detestable) principles and priorities.

The article also gets a few minor points wrong, and misses a larger point: the cultural attitudes weas Wesleyan students, as American collegians, literally as humansaccept and collectively promote bears as much responsibility for the horrors described as do unscrupulous power structures protecting that culture. In other words, I am responsible for the continuation of awful events like those brought to light in “The Dark Powers of Fraternities,” and so are you. 

Pizza and Sex

Pizza and Sex

Come eat pizza and talk about sex! We will be watching this TED talk and discussing the language we use around sex at Wesleyan and we might make the Wesleyan sex scene more positive, healthy, and sexy. Large quantities of pizza will provided, not metaphorically.

Time: 7PM
Allbritton 311
Cost: $0

Healing Forward: Self-Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault

From SART Intern Rachel Verner ’15:

Come restore your mind, body and spirit in this 9 week support group for female identified survivors of sexual assault on Mondays beginning February 10th from 5:30-7:00pm. Each week the group will focus on a different aspect of building sustainable self-care practices.

The deadline to sign up is Friday, February 7th.

Week 1: Why Self-Care Matters
Week 2: Self-Compassion 

Unofficial Orientation, Winter Edition: Cost-Saving Tips

Welcome to wintry Wesleyan. (Finally.) In line with our typical annual Unofficial Orientation Series in the Fall semester, below is one more blog-vomit of campus lore.

Garnered inexpensively from Google Images.

Textbooks are Expensive!

Some professors are awesome and require no textbooks, or just a few cheap ones. Other professors don’t do that. NSM classes can be brutal, at no fault of the professor. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on books each semester, some of the following might be cheaper options: