Category Archives: Causes

Michael Roth, Protest, and Free Speech (Part 1 of 2)

 

Many students, myself included, feel that Roth’s advocacy and authority on free speech and campus protest do not line up in reality given his record of activity concerning these topics at Wesleyan, using his perceived advocacy to both profit himself (such as the release of a book that addresses his advocacy for his brand of free speech), as well as Wesleyan itself. Let’s take a look at his and Wesleyan’s record in recent times.

Leaked Documents Reveal New Information on Potential China Campus

Wesleying has obtained access to documents concerning the University’s announcement that it is considering establishing a campus in Hengdian, China. These documents were sent to Wesleying by a student source, and the validity of the documents have been confirmed by the University. 

These documents include a presentation made by the University outlining the motivations behind the joint venture with Hengdian Group, the Chinese corporation that would partner with the University, the costs and benefits of opening the campus, and the financial opportunities associated with the venture. The University seems to still be in the preliminary planning process, and as far as we know, the Hengdian joint venture proposal has not resulted in any concrete commitments as of yet.

The second document included here is a draft presentation by Ernst & Young-Parthenon, a strategy consulting company, detailing the University’s performance in the higher education market. Parthenon, which joined EY in 2014, has been advising in the education industry since 1991.

The last document included here is an email from Heather Brooke, Administrative Assistant to the President, to the members of the Board (presumably the Board of Trustees) sent on September 10, 2019. She mentions that Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a dean at the Yale School of Management, would be presenting during the first session of the retreat. She directs the email recipients to a series of news articles that Mr. Sonnenfeld had sent along for review prior to the retreat. The materials include an article in the New York Times titled “Don’t Dismiss ‘Safe Spaces’”, “The Coddling of the American Mind” from The Atlantic, and “How Megadonors Could Rescue America’s Universities” from Fortune.

The release of these documents exemplifies a unique instance where we can observe the inner workings of the Administration’s mindset as it looks towards the future. The Hengdian presentation tells us about the University’s interests and goals in regards to this particular venture. Perhaps of greater importance, the EY-Parthenon presentation opens the door to an entirely different conversation, and provides some context as to why the University is considering pursuing the Hengdian campus in the first place.

The EY-Parthenon presentation describes the challenges facing higher education across the board. The information included in the presentation is in some respects unprecedented; it tells us a lot more than what American universities might currently be willing to reveal when it comes to the challenges that they are perceiving in a rapidly evolving world.

In publishing these documents, Wesleying’s main priority is to ensure that the entire Wesleyan community has equal access to information concerning the challenges the University is facing as it sets its sights on future growth. The Hengdian campus proposal seems to be just one example of potentially many new ventures the University will be pursuing in the coming years.

Four documents are included at the bottom of this post. The first is the original Hengdian proposal presentation. The second is an updated version that was presented to faculty on October 15th, 2019. The third is a draft copy of the EY-Parthenon presentation. The last document is Ms. Brooke’s email to the board.

Hit the jump for a summary of the documents.

 

Art+Feminism: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Bad-ass sophomore Rebecca Rubenstein ’21 writes in:

There is massive gender inequity in Wikipedia – both in terms of topics/people represented, and contributors. We can change that! Come learn the basics of Wikipedia editing to increase representation of/boost access to the work of marginalized artists, activists, and game-changers.

THERE WILL BE PIZZA Y’ALL.

Date: Thursday, May 9
Time: 12:30-1:30 PM
Place: Boger 115

Students and Custodians Allege Labor Violations against Wesleyan

Wesleying stands in solidarity with our custodial workers in their fight to be treated with dignity and respect as they clean and care for our campus. We affirm their demand for Wesleyan to hire five more workers, and offer our platform and support to the workers and students who are organizing to achieve this.

Tomorrow (Friday, April 26), at noon, students, campus workers, and community members will join together at North College to rally for Five More Workers: Support Good Jobs at Wes. Students, other Wesleyan workers, community organizations, labor unions, artists, and even two sitting Congresspeople (Rep. Pramila Jayapal WA-07 and Rep. Andy Levin MI-09) have expressed their support for Wesleyan’s custodial workers, and Friday’s rally is anticipated to be the largest action yet.

This comes just two weeks after United Student/Labor Action Committee (USLAC) organized a series of protests and disruptions during WesFest to call attention to the unreasonable workloads of our school’s custodians and to demand that Wesleyan hire five more workers. (If you want to know more about the WesFest actions, the Argus did a great job covering them.)

Since WesFest, the administration has failed to take action on (or take seriously) the protesters’ demands and workers’ testimonies, citing data shared in an all-campus email from Chief Administrative Officer, and Treasurer Andy Tanaka on Wednesday, April 24 as justification. USLAC responded by sharing a point-by-point rebuttal of the “facts” presented in Tanaka’s email.

A graph compiled by USLAC to explain perceived flaws in the administration’s data analysis

As mentioned in these documents, there have been new developments with regard to the legality of Wesleyan and SMG’s employment practices. On Friday, April 19, Wesleyan students and custodians worked together to file a National Labor Relations Board charge against Service Management Group (SMG), a custodial services subcontractor, and Wesleyan University as joint employers. This occurred after custodians and students reviewed SMG’s corporate handbook and identified several violations of federal labor law.

Read on to learn more about the violations, their significance, and to view the full redacted complaint.

WRP’s Advocacy Week: “Art and Migration”

Caroline Kravitz ’19 writes in:

Join us for Wesleyan Refugee Project‘s second annual ‘Advocacy Week’! Throughout the week, various artists and activists will be visiting campus to perform and speak about storytelling through art. Events include film screenings, panels, fundraisers, and performances by local artists. This week is intended to spark conversations both on and beyond Wesleyan’s campus about art as a form of activism, empowerment, or other times as exploitation. By raising these questions, we hope to re-examine our definitions of crisis, activism, art, and agency. We also hope to think critically about how we frame and engage with one another’s voices.

A brief outline of the lineup of events is as follows:

Mon. April 22nd:
‘Greening the Camps’ Conference call and lunch: 12-1pm
‘Another News Story’ Film screening: 7-8:30 pm

Tues. April 23rd:
‘Know Your Rights’ Training: 12:15-1pm
‘Art & Ethics’ Panel and dinner: 5:30-7pm

Weds. April 24th:
Film-Aid Short Film Screenings & Fundraiser Dinner: 6-8pm

Thurs. April 25th:
‘Matangi/Maya/M.I.A’ Documentary Screening: 7-8:30 pm

Fri. April 26th:
‘Post Advocacy Week Round Table Discussion’: 12-1pm

**Be sure to check out our flyer, in addition to individual facebook event pages/posts as next week approaches!**

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Date: Monday, April 22 – Friday, April 26
Time and Place vary per event. Check out the Facebook Event for more information!

Divest Now: Wesleyan University’s Institutional Obligation to Address Climate Injustice

Written by Ben Silverstone ‘22 and Ernest Braun ‘22 on behalf of WesDivest, Climate Action GroupWesDems, Sunrise, and a coalition of other sustainability groups, this guest post addresses climate injustice and what Wesleyan must do now to ensure our planet’s future:

“12 years from now, in 2031, Wesleyan will celebrate its bicentennial anniversary. In 2030, the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warns that we will reach environmental tipping points that will speed up the pace of the climate crisis. The catastrophic warming resulting from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels which has already begun to ravage our planet will be irreversible for millennia. As the students, faculty, and administration reflect upon Wesleyan’s accomplishments over the past 200 years, perhaps they will wonder what Wesleyan may look like in another 200 years, or even in 50. Unless we take drastic actions to reduce our emissions now, we already know the answer to that question.

We are WesDivest. We formed to urge the administration to divest our endowment from the fossil fuel industry, to commit to renewable energy and reduced consumption, and to lead by example in the fight for the futures of our generation. We formed because all of human civilization is implicated in the same challenge for the next decade: to stop greenhouse gas emissions before we make the planet uninhabitable. With this challenge in mind, any institution that ignores the reality of climate change is contributing to its own demise and doing a moral disservice to humanity. Therefore, all people who are invested in Wesleyan’s enduring success – and that of its students  – should seriously consider divestment from fossil fuels and begin building a more sustainable future.

Read the rest of this guest post after the jump:

Take Action for North End Youth: Meeting TONIGHT, Email, & Petition

Important event and action happening TONIGHT at 5:30 PM:

ATTENTION WESLEYAN STUDENTS AND GREATER PUBLIC: YOUR ACTIONS ARE NEEDED TO SUPPORT THE YOUTH OF THE NORTH END & MIDDLETOWN

*IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND THIS MEETING, THERE ARE OTHER IMPORTANT STEPS YOU CAN TAKE (see: Email Banking & Petition instructions in the Facebook Event)*

MEETING: On February 27th, there will be a community meeting during which the proposed resolution will be considered by Finance & Government Operations Commission about which organization that will be given access to the building formerly occupied by the Green Street Arts Center will be announced. Currently it is between the Middletown Green Community Center (MGCC) and St. Vincent de Paul. We are urging that the building go to MGCC for the reasons listed in the email banking script. This City decision is crucial for ensuring the well-being of the youth of the North End and Middletown!!! Attend this community meeting to show your support for MGCC.

Date: Wednesday, February 27
Time: 5:30 PM
Place: Middletown City Hall (245 Dekoven Dr, Middletown, Connecticut 06457)
PETITION
Facebook Event

Bernie Sanders Town Hall Watch Party

From Wesleyan Democratic Socialists:

Join Wesleyan Democratic Socialists to watch Bernie Sanders give his first town hall of his 2020 presidential campaign!

All are welcome, whether you knocked doors in 2016 or are just curious to hear more about his policies and democratic socialism!

Snacks will be provided!

Date: Monday, February 25
Time: 8 PM
Place: PAC 001
Facebook Event