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LIVEBLOG: Wesleyan Commencement 2017

Today at 10am, the class of 2017 will begin lining up around the Wesleyan graveyard, probably hungover from tent party. Actual commencement will begin at 11am. There will be a livestream of the ceremony featuring commencement speaker Claudia Rankine on the Wesleyan Facebook page and on WesCast.

Congratulations to the class of 2017 and to Wesleying’s graduating seniors Maya, kitab, rachel, and medusa. We’re going to miss y’all!

Petition Calls for the Wesleyan Administration to Admit Mishandling of Sexual Misconduct Cases

“Admitting that a man with a long history of sexual predation acted inappropriately and hurt students’ lives in his role as Associate Dean of Students for almost ten years is a necessary first step, and further changes and amends also need to follow.”

Content warning: This article discusses issues of sexual assault involving current and former Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.

Since last Monday’s news of Scott Backer’s arrest, many in the Wesleyan community have been responding with renewed frustration and anger at the current administration for their present and past handling of sexual misconduct cases.

One survivor has stated publicly that Scott Backer allowed for statements about a respondents character (e.g. “He’s such a good guy.”) during a hearing, despite this being against University policy, according to their account. Other accounts tell of Scott Backer asking invasive personal questions during the investigation process.

As a result of these stories and others, a petition was created calling for Wesleyan to admit that Scott Backer mishandled cases of sexual assault during his time on campus. Back in October, when the Wesleyan community was notified of the real reasons for Scott Backer’s firing 3 months after Wesleyan announced his departure sans commentary, President Roth mentioned that after a consultation from Pepper Hamilton, they found “nothing amiss” in the four years’ worth of sexual misconduct cases that Backer oversaw. Since then, there has been no detailed public mention of how Pepper Hamilton went about reviewing cases.

The petition has been circulating on social media and in other channels. It demands for an acknowledgement of Backer’s mishandling of Title IX cases; a disclosure of how Pepper Hamilton conducted its review; and a commitment to “[taking] real steps to make amends for the harm [Backer] caused,” suggesting a task force made up of more students than administrators to conduct Title IX reform as a possible solution. The petition was later updated to include a demand that Wesleyan acknowledge Backer’s mishandling of disability services, which he also oversaw as Associate Dean of Students. Read past the jump for the full text of the petition.

Banners on Move Out Day Call for Rejection of Sexual Predators

Content warning: This article discusses issues of sexual assault involving current and former Wesleyan students, faculty and staff. 

It has been more than 24 hours since keys were due to ResLife for all who aren’t seniors or people who are working for senior week. Campus is much quieter and there are 96% fewer parents on campus today than there were yesterday.

In anticipation of the frenzy of move out day, a collection of students have taken this time to bring light to some of the issues surrounding cases of sexual assault at Wesleyan. At several prominent locations around campus (Music House, Community Engagement House, WestCo, and Hewitt), banners were hung reading “Reject Sexual Predators Emboldened by Institutional Power.”

Did You Ever Write a Paper About Wesleyan? Send It to Us!

This past finals week (or in any semester prior tbh), did you write a paper about Wesleyan? I frequently stumble down the WesScholar rabbit hole at inopportune times and procrastinate by reading about the history of coeducation at Wesleyan or University partnerships in urban renewal in Middletown. I may be desperately alone in this, but I’d like to think that I’m not.

I was thinking it would be cool to have a more extensive aggregation of student scholarship about Wesleyan and so I was like “Let me find all of the WesScholar theses about Wesleyan and then ask the aether.”

Procrastination Destination: ASMR Unboxing Videos

asmr

Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is a thing you’ve probably heard of. There have been internet communities devoted to the phenomenon for some time now. It all supposedly started with an internet forum founded in 2007 called “Weird sensation feels good.” Searching ‘ASMR’ on YouTube now produces more than 7 million results, and the term is now widespread in the meme vernacular. These videos typically consist of an ‘ASMRtist’ speaking softly into an ultra-sensitive microphone and generating other sounds from crinkling paper, tapping their nails, painting, you name it. And this is supposed to give you the tinglies.

Now, I didn’t want to do a Procrastination Destination post on ASMR writ large. That would be much too stale. Instead, I have decided to focus on a subgenre of ASMR videos that was founded at the intersection of another popular and inexplicable YouTube genre: Unboxing videos.

The genre has been around just a tad longer than ASMR videos. According to the Unboxing wiki, the first incarnation of the modern unboxing video was this one of a guy unboxing a Nokia E61, uploaded to YouTube in 2006. The gist of the genre: people open up shit that they buy and record their reactions.

Now, as with many intersections, the genesis of the ASMR unboxing subgenre is unclear. But, as you will see, it is heavily populated. Here are some vids, for your procrastination:

President Roth Calls for Affirmative Action for Conservative Ideas, Announces New Classes That Fit the Bill

“As someone who identifies with the political left, I welcome this intellectual diversity–and as a teacher, I know that education requires it. If you are on the right, you might call this a remedy for political correctness; if you are on the left, you might prefer to call it the ‘new intersectionality.'”

c/o the Wall Street Journal op-ed

In the haste of reading period and yesterday’s news, we missed big news from President Roth’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for affirmative action for “conservative, libertarian and religious modes of thinking” on college campuses. The op-ed generated quite the buzz on Twitter, and even received mild praise from notable conservative magazine the National ReviewRoth’s op-ed, entitled “The Opening of the Liberal Mind” was published in the Wall Street Journal behind a paywall last Thursday, May 11. Luckily, thanks to the Wesleyan Library’s databases, Wesleyan students have access to the op-ed.

[CONTENT WARNING] Scott Backer Arrested in West Hartford for Soliciting Minor on Yik Yak

Content warning: This posts discusses sexual assault/predatory behavior towards minors and contains images/video of Scott Backer

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Former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer was arrested today in West Hartford for soliciting sexual conduct with a minor over Yik Yak. The Hartford Courant reported the arrest and Fox61 confirmed that the Scott Backer arrested was indeed the same Scott Backer that was fired from Wesleyan after the university learned from the Boston Globe that he had previously been fired from Vermont Academy for sexual misconduct.

The Big Drop!

From WesMaSS:

Ever wanted to see stuff falling from the top of Exley? Come see the big drop! Sponsored by WesMaSS and the Free Radicals, students will be throwing everything from fruit to PINATAS from the roof. Come and see some great demonstrations.

Here’s a link to the video from last year:

Cool!

Date: Wednesday, May 10
Time: 4:30-5:30PM
Place: Exley Patio (closest to Lawn Ave)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

From Lucy De Souza ’16:

We would like, if we may, to take you on a strange journey- a journey through the craziest night in the lives of the newly engaged Brad and Janet. After a flat tire halts their trip to see an old science teacher, the couple stumbles upon Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s castle, filled with servants, groupies, party guests, and his very own live experiment. Come see the campiest, sexiest horror parody movie this side of Denton! Absent Toast, Wesleyan’s very own Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast performs the midnight cult classic right in front of the screen, with full audience participation.

Dressing up in your finest corsets, fishnets, and heels STRONGLY encouraged!

Date: Wednesday, May 10
Time: 11PM-2AM
Place: CFA Hall (Ring Family Performance Hall)
Facebook Event: Here!
More on the cast: