Students arriving back from spring break on Saturday were treated to a special release party for a long-awaited staple of Wesleyan activism: Disorientation, the annual guide compiled by campus activists to, in their own words, “serve as a resource for students looking to get involved with political organizing on campus.”
Disorientation is a tradition that has, in some form or another, existed since the 1970s. In addition to serving as a guide for student activists, it’s meant to 1) act as a counterbalance to the admin-approved information that new students and prefrosh receive during campus tours, WesFest, and the official Orientation sessions, and 2) keep a historical record of campus activism, protests, and organizing, as well as administrative failures from the perspective of students. The latter is especially important because, like most four-year universities, Wesleyan’s institutional memory is short, and keeping activist movements alive on campus is difficult when there’s a constant turnover of students. Disorientation acts, in part, as a reference for those wondering what issues have been central to campus discourse in the past, and what methods can be reutilized for future organizational efforts.
The guide’s most recent iteration formed in Fall of 2014, spearheaded by Abby Cunniff ’17 and Claire Marshall ’17. It’s primarily been presented as an online PDF, posted to WesAdmits around the beginning of fall semester, but also has been distributed as a paper zine. You can view the Spring 2017 issue (edited by Abby and Paige Hutton ’18), as well as our breakdown of what’s in it, after the jump:
At around 1:45pm today, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Donna Morea ’76 sent out an all-campus email announcing the extension of President Michael Roth‘s contract. He will continue to remain President of the University through 2023.
Morea’s email highlighted the success of Roth’s “This Is Why” fundraising campaign; his launch of multiple academic programs during his nearly decade-long run as President; and his future plans for the “Beyond 2020” initiative (although the email doesn’t go into much detail on this front). It makes no mention of the fact that last October, over 200 students called for the removal of President Roth and Vice President of Equity & Inclusion Antonio Farias in a town hall.
Here is the full email text:
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.
Emily Furnival ’18 writes in:
Have you ever wondered whether the College of Letters just studies the alphabet for three years? Never heard of the College of Letters? Like reading, writing, OR talking? Come to the COL Open House to get answers to all (we do mean all) of your questions! Talk to students and faculty to understand what the major is and whether it’s right for you.
The College of Letters is the interdisciplinary study of European Literature, History, Philosophy & Foreign Language. Through this program you will study with a small cohort of peers and two professors each semester. It’s a three year major and applications are due March 27th, so come by with questions!
Date: Monday and Tuesday, February 27-28th
Where: College of Letters Library (41 Wyllys, 3rd Floor)
“In addition to reduced wait times for initial appointments, as well as more regular ongoing appointments, we expect the increase in staffing will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students and student groups through outreach activities.” – Dean Whaley
Yesterday afternoon, Dean Mike Whaley sent out an all-campus email informing the student body that an additional full-time psychotherapist will be joining CAPS in the fall of 2017. This comes after the announcement of the hiring of a full-time APRN after more than a semester without a prescriber (part-time or full-time) on campus.
According to Whaley’s email, the new hires “will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students.”
The email, however, leaves out any discussion of the student-organized campaign and WSA resolution from last semester that originally proposed expansions in CAPS. Read past the jump for the full text of Dean Whaley’s email and more context on the student efforts that made this new staff position a reality.
Lex Spirtes ’17 writes in:
Restore mind, body, and spirit in this 9 week support group for female-identified survivors of sexual violence on Wednesdays beginning February 15th from 5:30-7:00 PM!! Topics include: self-compassion, sleep, hygiene, sex and sexuality, body image, creativity and play, mindfulness, and healthy relationships. Sessions will include art, movement, and other activities! Email Alysha B. Warren, LPC, Therapist/Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator at awarren[at]wesleyan[dot]edu by 2/13 to sign up!!
Deadline: Monday, February 13th
Some of you have probably seen on Facebook that there is something going wrong with the Theater Department, and might have further questions. Maia Nelles-Sager ’17 wrote a piece explaining the state of the Wesleyan Theater Department and submitted it to Wesleying. We are deciding to post it because we think it represents an all-too-often occurrence where departments are neglected and visiting professors are overworked.
As with many things at Wesleyan, there are inner workings of the administration to which students don’t have access. In the case of the post below, these things are having a direct impact on the formal education that we have come here to receive. As a prospective theater major, this post is something near and dear to me. I’ve seen a big cry for transparency in our community, and I hope you all will take time to see why many students are looking for it in the case of the Theater Department. Read past the jump for Maia’s post.
NSM: (Natural Science and Mathematics)
With light to the recent NYT article about the
1% 17% that exists on Wesleyan’s campus, we’ve been focused on statistics. While analyzing Wesleyan’s financial assets is incredibly important and necessary to discuss class and privilege, we must also remember that there are many factors that affect student performance; the NSM Coalition—a combination of Student Underrepresented in STEM (SUSS), Wesleyan Women in Science (WesWIS), Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars Program (WesMaSS), and McNair undergraduate students partnering with graduate students, staff, faculty, and administrators—collected data specifically for students in STEM, and let me tell you, they are freaking terrifying.
The percentages, collected by the Office of Institutional Research, show how class not only affects our ability to even go to Wesleyan, but also how it affects our performance: it cannot be stressed enough how important this conversation is for the Wes community.
This morning at around 9:15, Vice President for Equity & Inclusion and Title IX Officer Antonio Farias sent out a campus-wide email, announcing that the University will be conducting a Title IX policy review this semester in partnership with the Victim Rights Law Center. Three representatives from VRLC – Lindy Aldrich, Amanda Walsh, and Candi N. Smiley – will be on campus February 8-9 to host panel discussions and Q&As with faculty members, class deans, and student representatives (you can view bios of the representatives and a full schedule of the panels here). A full report is expected to be completed and made publicly available by late March or early April.
The news follows several months of high-profile controversy surrounding Scott Backer, the former Associate Dean of Students, whose history as a sexual predator was only made public due to an investigative report by the Boston Globe. Last semester was marked by multiple student protests over how Wesleyan handles sexual assault cases and faculty accountability; at an open forum, students expressed their wish for Farias and President Michael Roth to be removed from office. A number of faculty members expressed their own disappointment at the University’s Title IX policy by sending an open letter to the Argus, demanding that faculty sexual harassment cases required independent review by an outside party.
Read Farias’ full email and more information on the VRLC after the jump:
“Our international programs, our financial aid policies and employment programs comply with all applicable Federal and State laws. However, we will object to and oppose administrative dictates that violate the law and the Constitution and, if necessary, we will work with others to do so in court.”
This morning, President Roth published a piece entitled “We Are All Immigrants!” on his blog, which detailed Wesleyan’s continued support for its “students, faculty and staff, regardless of their country of origin or their religious beliefs.” The post re-affirmed Wesleyan’s status as a Sanctuary Campus and reiterated what that means for current and future students. The post also included a continued commitment to treating undocumented students the same as U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the admissions process. This comes after yesterday’s reactions to Trump’s now-infamous ban on immigration from 7 majority-Muslim countries.
Shortly after publishing the post on his blog, President Roth sent out an all-campus email with the same text, saying that Wesleyan is confident in the legality of all its policies with respect to its international programs, financial aid policies, and employment programs, and is prepared to work with others to challenge unconstitutional dictates by the Trump administration in court. Read past the jump for the full-text of the email: