Yesterday, Joyce Walter, Director of Davison Health Center sent an all-campus email alerting the campus that DHC is moving forward with the search for a director of Survivor Advocacy and Community Education, ostensibly to replace Alysha Warren, who was the inaugural Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator/Therapist until she left Wesleyan earlier this fall.
Wesleyan solicits donations from alumni year-round to support the many fundraising campaigns that keep Wesleyan afloat (but somehow still not need-blind…). Over the summer, I spoke with Cade Leebron ’14 about her own campaign for alumni to speak up about the many issues that students and alumni alike see at the school. She began Text Wes Back to collect actual responses that she and other alumni sent back when Wesleyan texted them to donate money to the school.
Read below the jump for the full interview.
Content warning: This interview discusses sexual assault.
If you’re on campus, you likely received an all-campus email from Joyce Jacobsen, Wesleyan’s provost, earlier this afternoon with the news of University Librarian Dan Cherubin‘s passing after a battle with cancer. His passing is a tremendous loss to the Wesleyan community, and to almost all who knew him.
Dan came to Wesleyan at the beginning of last year and made explicit commitments to make the library a space for all. His Twitter, @skalibrarian, was like none other. We interacted quite frequently through the social network, and I came to know how committed he was to Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff. The full text of Provost Jacobsen’s email is after the jump.
You have worked, implicitly and explicitly, directly and indirectly, to make Wesleyan a hostile environment for people of color, students with disabilities, trans students, survivors of sexual assault and pretty much any student who does not fit into your image of the “conservative oppressed by the liberal arts.” What’s more, you have repeatedly refused to engage with students in any meaningful way about the ways in which you’ve created this hostile environment. So I have resorted to engaging with you on your own terms: in a blog post.
This afternoon, President Michael Roth ’78 sent out an email informing the campus community that DKE has won its lawsuit against the University. The trial, which was public, began on June 6th, and President Roth testified on June 7th.
The original suit was filed by DKE and Kent Literary Society, which is DKE’s alumni chapter. DKE accused the University of discrimination and deceptive practices in its handling of DKE after the decision that all fraternities on campus must be co-educated. DKE had submitted plans for co-education that did not meet the University’s requirements.
The University has not said what will happen with DKE’s house, or whether it will re-achieve program housing status. Roth states that the University is searching for further legal avenues to pursue, and the University must also decide what to do in terms of its plans for coeducation.
The full text of the email is below:
“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.
“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.'”
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 Review. Roth’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.
Two weeks ago, USLAC released a statement highlighting unfair hiring practices by management at RJ Julia Booksellers, the managing company of Wesleyan’s new book store, which is scheduled to open later this year. Specifically, USLAC brought attention to workers being promised interviews at the new bookstore and having to wait months for an interview. According to the statement, several nonwhite employees were told that they didn’t fit the “RJ Julia Experience.”
USLAC made three public demands of RJ Julia and the Wesleyan administration in response to these accounts:
1. Give all current bookstore workers the opportunity to keep their jobs if they wish to.
2. Guarantee that returning workers will receive at least the salary and benefits they had been receiving before the move.
3. Inform workers immediately about any changes in their workplace and allow them the chance to discuss these issues freely without fear of losing their jobs.
Monday afternoon, a delegation of students voiced their concerns to the RJ Julia general manager outside of North College after a meeting between two students and the general manager was interrupted by a fire alarm.
Earlier today, I received a tip from a friend that yesterday (April 23), a group of older white “protesters” were demonstrating in the 100 block of Washington Street (between High Street and Main) around 2-3PM, and were displaying signs with messages like “White America is the real America.” After I updated today’s post with that information, Wesleying received several anonymous tips confirming that there was indeed a white nationalist demonstration on Washington Street yesterday afternoon.
Those submitting the tips said that they overheard the group of white nationalist demonstrators planning an “anti affirmative action” demonstration outside of the Office of Admission at 9PM tonight. But that’s not exactly how it panned out.
According to multiple Facebook statuses and several posts on Twitter, posters like the one above appeared around campus likely sometime overnight. The posters read: “Illegal immigrants in your town? Do your part!” and figure a white woman stylized as a cartoon and present a phone number for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I’ve blocked out the number above so as to not reproduce this dangerous piece of information. According to accounts that have been circulating on social media, there are other posters around campus referencing “white genocide.”
Several people on Facebook have been calling for these posters to be removed, sharpied-out, and/or posted over by anyone who sees them. I want to reiterate these calls and say that whoever is responsible for these posters is absolute filth. In addition to bystander actions, Public Safety should be actively removing these posters around campus, as they are a threat to students and full time Middletown residents.
It is hard to say whether or not these were posted by a Wesleyan student, especially given the scope of national press coverage of Wesleyan’s sanctuary campus declarations last fall.