Author Archives: Zach

About Zach

I am sitting in a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, different from the one you are in now. Follow me here and read more of my work here.

2013-2014 WesBAM! Instructor Application Now Available

,Renee Dunn ’14 writes in:

Certified and interested in being a member of the WesBAM! team? Take a moment to check out the instructor application, found here.

Applications are due by August 16 at 5 p.m. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to shoot us an email at wesbodyandmind(at)gmail(dot)com. You can also reach manager, Renee Dunn ’14, directly at rdunn(at)wesleyan(dot)edu.

Deadline: August 16
Contact: rdunn(at)wesleyan(dot)edu

“Where Are They Now?”: An Interview with Former President William Chace

Our second (and maybe final) presidential interview is with William Chace, president from 1988 to 1994.

William Chace was only president of Wesleyan for six years, but between firebombings, racially charged graffiti, student occupations, and hunger strikes, he probably dealt with enough strife and campus unrest to fill two decades of Wes history. Twenty years later, Chace, a literature scholar and former Stanford administrator, still wrestles with his Wesleyan experience. “Those were the hardest years of my life,” President Chace told Wesleying. “It was a tough place for me.”

“Perhaps some of the problems were of my own making,” he conceded, “but I didn’t bomb my own office.”

Back in the fall, we contacted President Chace, who left the presidency of Emory University in 2003 and now lives in California, for an interview. “Well, of course,” Chace soon replied. “But please keep in mind that I left Wesleyan in 1994, some 18 years ago, and I do not have with me records of the time. So it will be memory, all memory, a facility at once pregnant with apparent certitude and often quite erroneous.”

“Where Are They Now?”: An Interview with Former President Colin Campbell

Wesleying finishes off the year by catching up with the presidents who used to run this place.

President Colin Campbell's portrait on the main floor of Olin.

President Colin Campbell’s portrait on the main floor of Olin.

At 35, Colin Campbell was the youngest president in Wesleyan’s history, and after 18 years at the helm, he became one of its longest-serving leaders. Though he wasn’t a Wesleyan alum and has never earned a Ph.D., President Campbell succesfully presided over some of the most immense change in the University’s history, from coeducation to the construction of the Center for the Arts and the Williams Street apartments. Beloved by a wide range of alumni and faculty, Campbell got to hang out with everyone from Joss Whedon ’87 and Michael Bay ’86 to Bill Belichick ’75 in the process. He left academia in 1988, but if you try to schedule a phone interview with him today you’ll learn that Campbell is Wesleyan’s busiest former president: he serves as president of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which is funny considering a lot of Wesleyan alums end up in Williamsburg, but usually not that Williamsburg.

Back in the fall, Wesleying rather ambitiously set out to catch up with each of the three surviving former occupants of South College and give them a chance to reflect on their time in office. We weren’t entirely successful (we couldn’t get President Bennet ’59 to reply to our emails), but President Campbell enthusiastically replied within the hour to express his delight at the idea. pyrotechnics and I called him up one morning in February and chatted about everything from South African divestment to Das Racist to the time he nearly got pied in the face. Oh, and he also told us about the time a young Michael S. Roth ’78 occupied his office in protest in the 1970s. We found President Campbell to be a remarkably friendly dude. Read on for the interview.

Report: Running For Board of Trustees Sort Of Like Running for the WSA, But For Old People

Reveal yourself, Trustee-Candidates-Who-Didn’t-Make-It-Onto-The-Ballot. We know you’re out there.

Andrew Bleeker ’07 was one of 40 nominees for the Board of Trustees—and is now one of six candidates on the ballot for the Board of Trustees.

You know what it’s like to run for the WSA (it’s okay, we were all freshmen once), but do you know what it’s like to run for the Board of Trustees, Wesleyan’s most elite secret society?

According to a recent post on WesConnect, six alumni are in the process of finding out, each vying for a chance to spend sunny weekends in September, November, and May perched up in the Daniel Family Commons sipping Dom Pérignon, Making Important Decisions About Relle Important Stuff, and occasionally asking Public Safety to kick out uninvited student activists. (Or maybe they’re just running for the opportunity to kick it with West Wing star and Wesleyan trustee Bradley Whitford ’81.) The candidates on the ballot, as they present themselves on WesConnect, include:

“The Funniest Prank Ever,” Part Two: An Interview With the Guy Who Put a Mummy in his Hallmate’s Bed

Last year I interviewed a guy who found a mummy in his bed. Meet the guy who put it there.

A little more than a year ago, I posted an interview with a guy who returned to his Nics dorm room one night in early 1990 to find a rotting, 3,000-year-old mummy occupying his bed. Both the victim, Tim Abel ’93, and the perpetrator went on to champion the incident as the “funniest prank ever.” But what happened after the prank unexpectedly revealed quite a bit about Wesleyan in the early 1990s, the interconnected campus community, disciplinary confusion, mass media, the stranger side of alumni gift-giving, and perhaps even Egyptology. (Okay, maybe not that.)

For months I’ve wanted to talk with the perpetrators of the prank, who remain unnamed in news accounts and faceless in a TV interview. When one of them posted a comment (since deleted) on the post, I managed to get in touch. Let’s call him Craig Smith ’93. Smith (not his real name) is now a professional musician and a dad. But he’s not sure he’ll ever top the prank he pulled in the Nics 23 years ago this month.

As I wrote in 2012, the Middletown Mummy Mystery was more than just a good prank. I was an intergenerational legend that has “solidified its place in the lore of early 1990s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.”

And here’s the other side of it. 

Tonight on WESU: Documentary Trolls Premiere

The Formidable Mickey Capper ’13 needs no snarky introduction:

The first ever WESU Radio Documentary Trolls special will air tonight on WESU Middletown 88.1fm and wesufm.org online. Join us for experiments in audio storytelling! Musical weapons on the subway! Roommate drama in the old folks home! More encounters between people, art, sounds, love, and each other. Don’t miss it!!!

Date: Tonight (tomorrow morning?) at midnight
Time: 12:00 a.m.
Place: WESU Middletown 88.1

Unlocked Magazine is For Sale and NSFW

Miriam Olenick ’13 writes in about the campus publication most likely to elicit amusing reactions from your parents this weekend (yes, that’s the cover pictured above):

Unlocked, Wesleyan’s art and sexuality magazine, is HAWT off the press and ready for purchase. Copies are $5 a piece, but if you can show me where your work/sexy modeling is you get a free copy!

Sam Maldonado ’13, Stefan Skripak ’13, and I will be selling copies from our respective homes until we get kicked out of this place on Monday. If you’re not here for senior week, Unlocked will be selling again at the beginning of next semester. We’re sorry for the delayed gratification — we had a bit of a struggle with our printers.

For now, contact me at (917) 371 8501, Sam at (413) 328 5406, or Stefan at (215) 527-9002 and we’ll figure out a time/place to get you a copy.

Contact: Sam Maldonado ’13, Stefan Skripak ’13, or Miriam Olenick ’13
Cost: 
$5 an issue

The Trustees Are Coming, The Trustees Are Coming

Here’s how to contact them to talk about your feelings or whatever.

Pictured: Joshua S. Boger ’73, chairman of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees.

Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees will be arriving on campus tomorrow for their annual three-day Buffy marathon Senior Week meeting, which traditionally takes place in the days leading up to Reunion & Commencement. Got a concern that you’d like the Board to address? Want to talk to them about your feelings? Just curious who is on that committee that makes all those decisions about campus in the first place? You can access a full list of the names, class years (nearly all are alumni), home states, and job titles of the Board members here, but unfortunately no contact information is provided, which is kind of weird when you really think about it. We’ve taken the liberty of amassing the Board members’ names and email addresses so you can contact them with thoughts or requests in advance of their meeting, which begins tomorrow:

Senior Voices Ceremony

Imam Adeel Zeb, Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain, writes in about the annual Senior Voices ceremony:

Dear Seniors,

Please save the date of May 25th 6PM for an integral part of the graduation weekend.

Senior voices is a ceremony in which a faculty member elected by members of the senior class, delivers a short talk addressed directly and specifically to graduating seniors. This year, we are delighted that Professor Elvin Lim has agreed to speak. In addition, three graduating seniors (Glenn Stowell ‘13, Jacob Eichengreen ’13, and Isaiah Sypher ‘13) will share their experiences before ending their Wesleyan career and beginning a new chapter of their lives. They will reflect, share and recap some of their unique and transformative moments from their years at Wes. Olivia May ’13, will be performing as well. Seniors will receive a red rose as a parting gift.

The event will take place in Memorial Chapel and will conclude by 7PM. This event is non-ticketed.

Please share this with friends and families as they will enjoy being part of the celebration as well.”

Date: Saturday, May 25
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Memorial Chapel
Cost: Free

Guest Post: Wesleyan Needs To Be On The Correct Side of the Climate Change Fight

“For almost 40 years I have been so proud of Wesleyan students and alumni. But I am not seeing the level of activism that is necessary for this existential fight.”

Pictured: Lauren Steiner '79 speaks at the Los Angeles Tar Sands Blockade Solidarity Action in March, 2013.

Pictured: Lauren Steiner ’79 speaks at the Los Angeles Tar Sands Blockade Solidarity Action in March, 2013.

Several weeks ago, members of a student group calling themselves Wes, Divest! put together a petition calling on President Roth and the Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuels. The petition has since amassed more than 250 signatures, many with accompanying messages of support. President Roth hasn’t yet publicly responded. When asked about the possibility of divestment at a WSA meeting in March, he suggested that it was highly unlikely—and argued that Wesleyan’s endowment shouldn’t be a “vehicle for social change.”

As the push for divestment first starts to heat up at Wesleyan (as it already has at Tufts, Amherst, and much of the ‘Cac), we’re presenting a guest perspective by Lauren Steiner ’79, an environmental activist and Wes alum who urges all Wesleyan students to take up the fight now, before it’s too late:

“Plant trees, create recycled art, tour a chestnut orchard, work on an organic garden and much more during Earth Month at Wesleyan!” So reads the first sentence of an article in the latest edition of The Wesleyan Connection emailed to me in April. As an environmental activist who attended the first Earth Day celebration 33 years ago at age 12 and who planned an LA solidarity rally to the D.C. Forward on Climate Rally this past February, I found this quite dismaying. When I was at Wesleyan between 1975 and 1979, when we hadn’t even heard of climate change, we were actively protesting threats to the environment and human health. In 1976 and 1977, activists from Wesleyan joined the Clamshell Alliance protesting the construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire. Where is that activism now when environmental threats are so much worse?