Author Archives: Xiaoxi

No playboy for Wesleyan?

“I’m trying to stay away from really earthy schools… Like, I wanted to apply to Bard, but from what it said, it was a really granola school. Wesleyan is, like, academically rigorous.

–Marston Hefner, son of Hugh. from here. 

Earlier we heard that Marston wanted to come to Wesleyan. I can’t tell if the above quote is meant to put Wesleyan together with Bard as a “earthy” school to stay away from or in contrast to Bard as a non-granola. Thoughts? 

We are so cool.

Most of the coverage has focused on Obama and that’s all great and interesting, but for me, no one has summed up the day better than Colin McEnroe of the Hartford Courant: 

“In the main, though, it was a refulgent day, and Obama seemed less like the center of the universe and more like a perfect ornament to the occasion, which is meet and right. The processional music was many minutes of Wesleyan taiko drummers, dancing and pummeling and pounding out Japanese rhythms, and I had to agree with the president, Michael Roth, who strode to the podium and said, “Wesleyan, you are so cool.” It was impossible not to envy all those young souls who had just spent four years studying vodou and gamelan music and Wallace Stevens and Dante and the images of gunplay in American mass culture and expressionist painting and the history of the civil rights movement and Goedel’s theory of uncertainty and the life of the cell. And now they were headed to Brooklyn and San Francisco and Boston to love and scramble and stumble and catch themselves; and who wouldn’t want to be one of them?”

Full Article Here. 

More Divestment Info

We got this email from Emily Caffery, Lucas Guilkey, Jennifer Michtavy, Adam Jacobs, Ashley Casale, and Kathy Stavis: 

“We are as much in the dark as most of campus about divestment. We know that the trustees rejected SEWI’s proposal to divest from Raytheon and General Dynamics. The draft they rejected can be found here. 

We know that they voted for the creation of the Committee for Investor Responsibility. We don’t know if the trustees accepted the proposal in full, but the complete WSA drafted proposal can be found here. 

As far as we understand, these were two separate solutions and both votes were unanimous, which apparently is normal. A word of warning is that our sources are anecdotal and not official. 

We have emailed the trustee working group members, who are Michael Klingher, Karen Freedman, Karl Furstenberg, along with chairperson Jim Dresser, President Roth, and the WSA representatives who have sat in on the board meetings. 

We have requested that the trustees provide public explanation for their decision. So far the trustees have not provided nor responded to this request for an explanation. 

We encourage people to contact our president, trustees, and student body representatives and urge them to promptly release a public statement concerning this decision.” 

The saddest thing to come out of this whole debacle

Read the comments on the Hartford Courant article. Read the recent shout-box banter. Here are two examples:

“I hope each of the students arrested winds up with a felony conviction that ruins their hopes and chances of gainful employment after graduation.”

“Not all of us are silver spooned rugrats and probably come from similar environments as you do when we didn’t have the same privilege as others. But guess what. We weren’t crunching on potato chips and managed to pass algebra I as well as excel tremendously to get to Wesleyan. Don’t hate us.”

What the Fountain incident has highlighted more than anything is all the resentment, disrespect, and tension between us. The comments from residents make me sad, but the comments from students make me sick. I am more disappointed than I have ever been with Wesleyan when I read these. Several students at the forum yesterday said that we should be unified with Middletown residents, who also suffer (no doubt on a much more regular basis, since they don’t have PSafe as a buffer) from state violence. Was it too naive to think that something, anything, could bring us together? Too idealistic to think that we could take something positive away from Thursday night and finally begin to heal old wounds?

Usdan Forum: the Wesleying transcript

Very good student turnout, but Where is PSAFE?!?!? why aren’t they here to answer questions and explain things to us?
Mike Pernick president-elect gives an introductory speech.
Izaak Orlansky moderates.
Saul Carlin reads concerns from people who are off-campus, including concerned parents.

Question directed at PSafe: what’s the policy for crowd control?
no answer from Psafe or administration. (PSafe not here, neither is Middletown Police)
Student recalls asking a police officer what they’re doing and if we’re supposed to be intimidated by their presence. The reply was “yeah, I guess so.”

Parties: not to let this hinder future parties and senior week.

List of Issues at the meeting (no answers, though):
media bias— portrayed as necessary violence by the police.
Communication: No communication between students and police. Student was threatened by tasers while he was trying to communicate and ask why they were there.
Why were the police called? Not sure why THIS night was different from every other nights– past parties have been larger with larger crowds. Paranoid Conspiracy Theory: this night was at the end of the semester when it would be harder for us to organize a response
Magnitude of the force: Student was attacked by a dog on the living room floor of a friend’s house. Knocked to the ground, begging police to get dog off, the police hit his head, started bleeding, still didn’t call the dog off.
Disrespect: Went to the police station, ask for copies of the police reports. Wouldn’t give it to them until they got a camera and began recording. People at the police station were laughing and making light of the situation. Also, history of PSafe and Police using students as target practice.
Videotapping: what’s with the videos? what are they for? No one knows.
Police brutality doesn’t just affect Wesleyan students: general concern for everyone living in Middletown. Not an isolated incident.
Alex Gelman delivers a beautiful speech about love, dehumanization, and how proud he is of the Wesleyan community.
16 police cars: took an ambulance half and hour to get here after being called– it was impossible for paramedics to get to the wounded because of the 16 police cars blocking the street.
Next Steps: archived collected documentation, someone should talk to the freshmen next year at orientation, committees should be set up,
Engaging alumni and trustees who will be here next week, etc
Getting the cops riled up: whoever threw that beer can at the police car screwed it up for the rest of us
Officer Clark: “how many people do you have to abuse before you get thrown out?”… and officers in general being very excited to shoot some students.
Party was Not a Riot: the riot procedure was misapplied and police officers were not responsive and threatening, students felt paralyzed and voiceless, violated.
Conflicting policy: people apparently couldn’t be in the street, or the backyard, or the houses.
Increased police presence on campus over the last few years, and tension and animosity between police and Wesleyan students (privilege and resentment?). Dean Mike agrees that there is increased police presence on campus, due to us hiring them to help us for burglaries and assaults. (of course the ultimate irony is that they’re now assaulting us.)
Not only was the police force excessive, it was ineffective: they didn’t actually break up the party. We watched them leave.
Know your rights: they will try to intimidate you out of them.

Past action against similar incidents and meetings with PSafe and the MPD: those meetings were very silencing, and very small. If this group of people had been there, things might’ve been different already.

Wesleyan Parent says: really concerned and emotional. This whole group was radicalized against the police– that should not have happened, that is not their job. Wants the university to have an ongoing relationship with the MPD, to make clear that it does not want a repetition of this event under any circumstances.
Call to show PSafe’s video publicly, or on the film series.

Dean Mike is sorry he wasn’t able to give answers, but hopefully will answer them soon. Repeat: more firsthand accounts! Send your pictures to Argus for the special issue tomorrow (and Wesleying!)
Mike Pernick wants everyone to send everything to WSA (However, it’s been my experience in the past that the WSA is really bad at archiving– this better change. Pernick, this is a warning: we won’t just “trust you” like you tell us to. Don’t screw up)


Henry Brant 1913-2008 and Meteor Farm

Composer Henry Brant, famous for pioneering spatial music, died last weekend. Wesleyan has commissioned several compositions from him, including a really cool one in 1982 written for all the world music ensembles here at Wesleyan that I can’t remember the name of. He received an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan in 1998 for his 85th birthday.

Edit: it’s called “Meteor Farm” for the Wesleyan orchestra, gamelan (this part was composed by Professor Sumarsam), jazz band, West African chorus, West African drummers, two other choruses, some South Indian musicians (if I remember correctly, this includes professor David Nelson), and a lot of percussion. It can be streamed here. 

WSA and its "Uniquely Wesleyan" endowment

The WSA and president Matt Ball ’08 got a rave from the Hartford Courant:

(Edit: to clarify, this refers to the endowment that is being set up by the WSA with unspent SBC funds, not the Wesleyan endowment.)

“Investment funds or endowments partly overseen by students are nothing new. But endowments managed entirely by them are rare. And experts said Wesleyan’s– set up and run by a student government– could be the first of its kind in the country…In other ways though, the endowment is uniquely Wesleyan. For instance, the assembly [WSA] will vote on any change in endowments. And it hopes the general student body will chime in too.”

for what it’s worth,

Paul Auster remembers Vietnam and student activism:

“…We at Columbia were powerless, and our little revolution was no more than a symbolic gesture. But symbolic gestures are not empty gestures, and given the nature of those times, we did what we could.”

From here.