Author Archives: Wesleying

THESISCRAZY 2017 (Part 1): Jeb! Bush, Alpacas, and Netflix, oh my!

“…my plan is to get as drunk as possible without literally collapsing…”

julia's carrel

Hello, hello and welcome to the first installment of THESISCRAZY 2017! We’ve got some great interviews in here, so sit back, relax, and have an existential crisis over whether or not writing a thesis is a actually good idea. Oh, and you can see THESISCRAZY interviews from previous years by clicking here.

If you’re a senior writing a thesis and you want to commiserate about your thesis poops and most traumatic thesis experiences, email us at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org and include your name, major, workspace info (carrel, lab, etc.), and times you can meet before April 19th.

Thesis-ing is after the jump.

Posters Call to Reject Sexual Predators

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Early this morning, posters like the one above appeared around campus, calling out institutional protection of sexual predators. Many were removed shortly thereafter, but as of mid-morning, some remain.

The posters follow increased anger with the administration last semester for a variety of institutional failures. In particular, students and faculty alike have criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the firing of former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer and, before that, the Title IX complaint filed by Associate Professor of Classical Studies Lauren Caldwell, which states that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by a fellow professor. Last October, more than 200 students at a town hall meeting reached consensus to push for the removal of Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Antonio Farias and University President Michael Roth from their positions at the University. That same month, over 30 professors issued a statement to the Argus, calling for independent review of sexual assault cases at the University.

Guest Post: Former Iraqi Refugee Ahmed Badr ’20 on Trump’s Muslim Ban

“You can hate me for being muslim, or for being a refugee, but I will show you that your hate is ill founded by my appreciation for your voice and your perspective.”

abadr

Today, many in the Wesleyan community are in uproar in the wake of the news of Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 majority Muslim countries. Many students attended demonstrations at Bradley International Airport that protested the order. President Roth sent an all-campus email in response to the ban.

Ahmed Badr ’20 is closer to these issues than most. He moved to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee with his parents when he was 10 years old. He is now a U.S. citizen and student, entrepreneur, youth leader, writer, poet, and photographer. He also founded a global storytelling platform called Narratio. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted a statement about Trump’s Muslim Ban and has given us permission to republish his words here.

We know that this executive order (and the no doubt numerous to come) is having immediate effects on many in the Wesleyan community. If recent actions by the Trump administration are impacting you or your family and you have something to share, feel free to email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.

Guest Post: “Why We Decided to Write ‘Amerikkka’ On an Upside Down Flag”

“Burning and defacing the flag is a critique of what American patriotism and the American flag represent.”

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On Friday, hundreds of Wesleyan students took part in a multi-stage demonstration that featured testimonies and chants from perspectives ranging from staunchly anti-State to “final stands” of full blown Trump supporters.

The second stage of the demonstration saw students gathered outside of Olin library and several among the crowd ascending the steps to communicate their response to the election results. During this part of the demonstration, we posted a live Facebook video of Yael Horowitz ’17 and Abby Cunniff ’17 spray painting “Amerikkka” on an upside down American flag. The video now has over 22,000 views and 142 shares. Many comments on the video declare their hatred for Wesleyan students, and several have been explicitly threatening and violent. We are posting the following guest submission so that they protesters can explain their motivations. The following views are the writers’ own.

Fall Break Dining Hours

wesolinThe weather remembered it’s fall, your midterms are (possibly) taking a brief hiatus, and football-loving alumni will soon be flooding the campus, reminiscing about carefree days of yore. If you’re staying on campus this break, you’re in luck! There are actually more on-campus dining options open than is usual during fall break. Perhaps this is to make up for the fact that they have apparently given up entirely on posting break hours of operation on the university website. Lucky for you, Wesleying is on it (and Bon Appétit posted the hours outside of Pi). Usdan heard my wordpress-draft pleas and posted the schedule here. If you are for some reason opposed to the university website, however, check after the jump for the schedule.

Guest Post: An Open Letter to President Roth

“You have no obligation to protect Scott Backer’s reputation. You instead have an obligation to support our community’s uncountable survivors, and they deserve to know the character of the man who judged one of their most painful experiences. They deserve to know, from you, how Wesleyan intends to do better.”

Roth at the forum on Monday

Roth at a forum on need-blind admissions in November 2012.

The following is an open letter from Andrew Trexler ’14 to university president  Michael S. Roth in the wake of campus turmoil caused by recently released information about the firing of former Associate Dean of Students  Scott Backer. The views reflected here are the writer’s own.

Michael et al.,

Wesleyan assures us that nationally recognized auditors “found nothing amiss” in Scott Backer’s handling of student conduct and sexual misconduct hearings. Although I am skeptical that Pepper Hamilton was able to thoroughly review years of case files in so short a time, this report is not unexpected. The reality is that the national standards for campus adjudication of sexual misconduct are, in the most delicate terms I can accurately put them, very very fucked. It is therefore no surprise at all to learn that Scott Backer’s handling of these cases meets national standards.

The truth of the matter is that the flaws I witnessed firsthand in three years as a process advisor for students and survivors—constant victim-blaming, hostile questioning practices, inconsistent training of panelists, acceptance of character witnesses, to name a few—would not, I suspect, be of interest to Pepper Hamilton. They were not of interest to Wesleyan’s Title IX Officer when I raised them at the time. The “checks and balances” and sparse appeals system are no help to a survivor who’s told her rapist gets to stay on campus because she was wearing a pretty dress that night and his buddy says he’s a good guy.

S0BER, DRUNK, H1GH: Liveblogging the Vice Presidential Debate

The hootenanny of all hootenannies:

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Get ready. Drum rolly roll. We are getting ready to kick off our coverage of the 2016 election. Tonight, at 9PM, the most underexposed vice presidential candidates in history will face off on the debate stage in Farmville, Virginia.

We are sober-drunk-high liveblogging the Vice Presidential debate (throwback to the last time this happened). We’re not sure what to expect. We’re not even sure that Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are REAL. But alas, giantepgoynte will be blogging blazed, gettincrunkman will be drunk, and p-safe will be sober.

Here we go:

Beyond Scott Backer: Accountability at Wesleyan in the Sexual Misconduct Judicial Process

This article has been the collaborative effort of kitab, Maya, and wilk.

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Last night, the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe published the latest installment in their “Private Schools, Painful Secrets” series detailing New England private schools’ repeated mishandling of reports of sexual misconduct and assault involving administrators. The Globe article, titled “Educators accused of sexual misconduct often find new posts,” exposed more explicitly that one of these administrators turned out to be Wesleyan’s own former Associate Dean of Students, Scott Backer.

The Globe team focuses on how the lack of public accountability at private schools allows offenders to “rewrite their pasts,” going on to hold positions at other institutions. Administrations keep quiet to avoid scandal, more concerned with image than the wellbeing of their own and other students. The article makes little mention of our own administration, however.

Interested in structures of accountability at Wesleyan, we looked into the timeline of Backer’s employment and his role in the institutional structures already in place for reporting and adjudicating sexual misconduct. What we found suggests that there are very few processes by which student and faculty complaints about administrative conduct can be heard or taken seriously.

That Wesleyan employed an offender for eight years–despite accounts from students that he was not doing his  job properly–and then failed to be transparent about his “departure” from the university is an example of a broader pattern. The problem is larger than Scott Backer.

We’re Selling Stickers in Usdan! So That We May Perpetuate Our Existence!

stickersHey campus, how’s it going? Grinding tension of the academic experience just starting to build up? Same. Well, we have stickers to solve your problems. You might wonder, what purpose does a blog without a brand have for merch?

Well, first of all: we think these stickers are really, really cool and we like them a lot. That should be reason enough. But, unfortunately, it’s not.

We need money.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wesleying, I thought you were on our side in the struggle against the pressures of capitalism?” We are, but existing on the internet isn’t free. Our servers cost $24/month (up from $5 a month) and we have domain name expenses.

Wesleying has existed for 10 years as the only student publication at Wesleyan that has not received a single dime from the SBC. We are not a registered student group and don’t intend to become one. We think it insulates us quite uniquely from a lot of institutional pressures, so we can say whatever the fuck we want, pretty much (without being assholes).

We’ve been a platform for student voice and #snarky #commentary and breaking news and party locations and orgasm stories and Seniors talking about their theses and frosh learning about Wes. More generally, we have been a vehicle for idea transmission. People, for some reason or another, have viewed the site over 6 million times and submitted thousands of events to the site in the past 10 years.

But, our bank account is running low. #Classic #College #Student

So, we’re selling stickers. We are going to be in Usdan TODAY, September 13th and TOMORROW, September 14th from 11:40-1:20PM selling these stickers on a sliding scale from $2-5. Come say hello! It will be a great time!

We’ll also be liveblogging here, because honestly it’s the first time some of us will have braved the Usdan lunch rush in a couple years, but especially because we want to be able to give shout outs to you, our lovely readers (provided you say nice and funny things). See you soon!