Category Archives: Alumni

Julius Lester’s Day of Tears Performance

Gabriela De Golia ’13 writes in:

First Church of Christ in Middletown will present a riveting performance of Julius Lester’s Day of Tears, a novel centered on the largest slave auction in American history told from the perspective of the husbands, wives, and lovers on the auction block. Witness their stories as they desperately cling to one last hope of staying together.

Written and directed by Laurie Maria Cabral and produced by Tom Raines, this performance is offered with the permission of Julius Lester and his family. It will take place at First Church of Christ, located at 190 Court Street in Middletown, CT, on Saturday, May 18th at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM.

First Church of Christ, a pro-racial justice and Open & Affirming congregational church in the United Church of Christ, is proud to bring Day of Tears into its space for the first time and raise awareness about an important event in American history. Through a conversation with the actors, director, and producer after the performance, audience members will learn more about how racism continues to manifest in the present-day and how individuals and communities can address systemic oppression.

“We at First Church are committed to healing the wounds of racial injustice and furthering social equity. Offering this play to the community free of charge is one of the many ways we are living into those commitments,” shared Gabriela De Golia ’13, a Deacon at First Church of Christ.

This performance is a free community event, open to all. Please be advised that strong language and allusions to violence are present in the production and may not be suitable for certain audiences, including young children.

Date: Saturday, May 18
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: First Church of Christ, 190 Court Street, Middletown, CT

CAAS Distinguished Lecture: Saidiya Hartman

An exciting event happening this week!

CAAS Distinguished Lecture
Saidiya Hartman ’84
Commencement Speaker for the class of 2019

Saidiya Hartman ‘84, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, is a scholar with interests in African American and American literature, cultural history, slavery, law and literature, and performance studies. She is the author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (2019), Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2007), and Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (1997).

Date: Thursday, March 28
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Place: Beckham Hall

2019 Honorary Degree Recipients Announced: Hartman ’84, Carby, & Sanders ’69

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 Hillknown 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:

2018: A Very Wesleying Year in Review

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: 20122013201420152016, 2017.

Info Session for Quaker Voluntary Service

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
Time: 12:15-1:15
Place: Career Center Olson Commons

WesAlums, Democrats Victorious in 2018 Midterm Elections

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.

All Campus Email: Daniel Handler Withdraws as Commencement Speaker, Anita Hill to Speak

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:

#CancelHandler18 Posters Appear All Over Campus

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.

Lunch with Rabbi Jonah Pesner ’90

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
Facebook Event

Write-In: “Commencement 2018: Lemony Snicket, Anita Hill, and Silencing Women of Color in the Age of #MeToo”

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: