In an email this morning, President Roth ’76 announced this year’s Commencement Speaker will be Saidiya Hartman ’84 (above). Reverend Edwin C. Sanders II ’69 (left) and Former Wesleyan Professor Hazel V. Carby (right) will also receive honorary degrees at the University’s 187th Commencement.
This seems to be the first time in a while that Roth has actually read the room when selecting honorees for Commencement. It’s certainly gratifying to see a Black woman being honored for her achievements on the 50th anniversary of the Vanguard Class of ’96 and the founding of the African American studies program (which has finally been received department status this year).
Certainly, this year’s honorees are a welcome variation from last year’s Commencement Speaker controversy. As many of you recall, Daniel Handler ’92, who has a history of racist and sexist harassment, was chosen as the 2018 Commencement Speaker, while Dr. Anita Hill, known for advocating against those very abuses, was relegated to a lesser position of honorary degree recipient. Handler later withdrew as Commencement Speaker following a flurry of student and alumni demands to #CancelHandler18. Notably, President Roth and the administration did nothing in response to concerns and complaints from survivors, students and alumni of color, and other members of the Wesleyan community. Dr. Hill graciously agreed to give the Commencement address in Handler’s stead.
Hopefully this year’s Honorary Degree recipients can become emblematic of the excellence that Wesleyan chooses to honor at future Commencement Ceremonies, rather than continuing a pattern of choosing powerful (and often problematic) white men who don’t represent the community or values that Wesleyan claims to strive toward.
If you have thoughts or feelings about this year’s selection of honorees, we welcome write-ins and guest posts! Just shoot us an email at staff[at]wesleying[dot]edu.
The full text of Roth’s email can be read below:
To say it’s been a wild year would be an insult to things that deserve the title “wild.” But, here we are, a month into reflecting and trying to understand what even happened in 2018, publishing this article to try to find some sense. And what other than to write about a year at an institution that makes no sense during any given year?!
Yes, friends, I am going to try to review this very confusing year––and bonus: I wasn’t even on campus for half of it! Because I am perpetually on the Internet, I have been filled in on the ~happenings~ last semester and will try my best to give 2018 the little justice it deserves.
Disclaimer: this is a subjective process, and things change at Wesleyan sometimes very quickly, but also sometimes veeeeery slowly. If I’ve missed something, let us know at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org. Send us your funny moments, your important moments…just all the moments.
Because this year was just…a lot…I’m going to do my best to organize this information as effectively as possible.
If you want to procrastinate because it’s been a week of classes, here’s some old content: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.
Check out this job talk with Wes alum Brenda Quintana ’18:
Wesleyan Alum Brenda Quintana ’18, and Recruitment Director Zenaida Peterson will be on campus Monday, Nov. 12 recruiting for the Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS).
Grounded in the Quaker faith tradition and open to people of all backgrounds, QVS provides a Fellowship opportunity for young adults who live in intentional community with their peers and work in professional settings that aim to change unjust social structures. QVS addresses racial, economic, and gender justice by helping our partner organizations increase capacity to fulfill their missions and we provide young adults with invaluable experience and training that equips them for a lifetime of social change work. QVS currently has houses of service in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), and Minneapolis.
Date: Monday, November 12
Place: Career Center Olson Commons
Campus this Wednesday was beaming with happiness and sunlight. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and it was a balmy 64º outside, which, frankly, is hardly an anomaly for New England weather in November. For those of us who were on campus the day after the 2016 election, we know that this is the exact opposite of the weather that descended upon Foss Hill the day after President Trump was elected to office. I can’t be the only person thinking that the difference in the weather feels reflective of how different the outcomes of these two elections have been.
Around 4 PM today, President Roth sent out an email update notifying campus that Daniel Handler ’92 has stepped down from delivering the Commencement Speech for the Class of 2018. Dr. Anita Hill will instead be delivering the address at the event.
This decision follows Sarah Chen Small ’18‘s write-in as well as the her leading a student response which involved #CancelHandler posters put around campus earlier this week. This is a great example of how student activism can pressure the administration to check their actions. Honestly, this is amazing.
Read past the jump for the full text of the email:
On Monday, posters like the one above were put up all over campus, including on most (if not all) senior house doors. The posters call for the removal of Daniel Handler ’92 as Commencement Speaker after repeated instances of racism and sexual harassment. They also call attention to the fact that Dr. Anita Hill, who is known for speaking out against workplace harassment, will receive an honorary degree (a lesser honor and a shorter speech) at the same event.
The poster also links to Wesleying’s Write-In: “Commencement 2018: Lemony Snicket, Anita Hill, and Silencing Women of Color in the Age of #MeToo” and a recent article in Pacific Standard by David M. Perry ’95 detailing Handler’s history of sexual harassment.
Talia Kaplan ’18 writes in:
Join Rabbi Jonah Pesner ‘90 director of the Religious Action Center (RAC), for a conversation about why pursuing social and economic justice is core to Judaism and how Jews can join with people of all faiths and no faiths to combat white supremacy, systemic racism, and transform communities to effect positive change. Recently, Rabbi Pesner has been involved in calls for a clean Dream Act: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rabbis-arrested-daca-protest_us_5a5f8b13e4b046f0811c6213
This lunch is a collaboration between the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Wesleyan Jewish Community (WJC). All are welcome, regardless of religion and political views. Free, vegetarian food provided.
Date: Tuesday, February 27
Time: 11:50 PM
Place: Allbritton 311
On February 15th, President Roth emailed an announcement of this year’s commencement speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients. The 186th Commencement Address will be delivered by Daniel Handler ’92, also known under his pen name Lemony Snicket. Fellow degree recipients are Anita Hill, Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University, and Joshua Boger ’73, scientist and chair emeritus of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees. Commencement will be Sunday, May 27, 2018.
The decision has sparked conversation among students, both in light of Handler’s past controversial remarks and the ongoing #MeToo movement, for which Anita Hill laid the foundation when, in 1991, she testified against Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination on the basis of sexual harassment. Sarah Chen Small ’18 has written in with a response to the commencement decisions, which you view below along with President Roth’s original announcement email:
A recent Wes grad, Jesse Galganov ’17, has disappeared on a backpacking trip in Peru. Galganov left his home in Montreal on September 24 for an eight-month backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia. His family last heard from him on September 28, when he texted his mother to inform her that he would be hiking a 31-mile trail through the Cordillera Blanca Mountains and would be not be reachable until early October. (Sources differ on whether Galganov specified October 2 or October 4.)
Three weeks later, no one has heard from Galganov. According to close friends, all communication with him – including frequent texts and Snapchat updates on his trip – suddenly ceased after September 29. His mother has filed a missing persons report with the U.S. State Department, and his whereabouts are under investigation by the Peruvian National Police. The District Attorney that overseas Huaraz, Peru, is also now conducting a criminal investigation, as there are conflicting narratives surrounding his stay in Huaraz’s Kame House Backpacker Hostel, where he was last sighted.
Galganov’s family has set up a GoFundMe campaign, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an Instagram account. Any information regarding his whereabouts can be sent to helpusfindjesse[at]gmail[dot com].
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly spelled Huaraz as Huarez.
“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” -Steve Jobs (1998)
In the YouTube debut of esteemed Wesleyan alums Russell Goldman ’17 and Johnny LaZebnik ’16, we are introduced to Cummies®: “the world’s first ever jizz-flavored vitamin chew”.
The testimonials in this parody infomercial leave you with some pleasant mental images as to the accurate flavor of Cummies®. Lines describing the flavor include, “An almost empty glass of white wine with a little bit of ranch dressing plopped in”, “Three day old oyster water”, and “Black truffle that’s washed up under the Santa Monica Pier”.
The infomercial ends with an offer for a bonus bottle of Facielle by Cummies®, a lotion, and then a shot of Brent (played by Johnny) being splattered with the lotion in a rather suggestive way. Describing how many takes this shot took, Johnny said, “By the end, I looked like I’d just shot a bukake scene with 50 well-hydrated men.”
Watch after the jump: