Category Archives: Featured

I Am Melanie: This is My Story

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Trigger warning: This post discusses sexual assault and harassment. Below is a direct response to the recent Buzzfeed article on the current lawsuit against Wesleyan University.

I’m Melanie. At least, that’s what “Kevin” called me on Buzzfeed. In his lawsuit against the University, I’m simply Jane Doe. Jane Doe #1, to be precise, one of three who came forward against him.

I could have told this story before—when it first happened, or when I reported Kevin, or when I first heard that he was starting a lawsuit. But it wasn’t a story I wanted to tell—I didn’t even want to report what he did. What he did to me was shameful, and felt like a reflection on me. But now, he has told his version of the story—his victim-blaming story, in which he did no wrong, but was instead the target of a secret conspiracy. I can’t speak for the other women who reported him, though he lied about them, too. I speak only for myself.

On Buzzfeed, Kevin writes off what he did as drunk texting. He notes that when he texted me that night after midnight, drunk out of his mind and trying to hook up, he called me “babe” and “slut.” He says that, afterwards, I told him “we can definitely put it behind us.” Those things are true, but they’re not the whole story.

Male Student Files Title IX Lawsuit Against Wesleyan

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Earlier today, Buzzfeed writer Katie J.M. Baker posted an article about how students found guilty of sexual assault by their universities are hurt by the judicial system too. The article features an unnamed male Wesleyan student now suing the college under Title IX. According to the lawsuit, which can be read in full here, the student is suing:

…due to the actions, omissions, errors, and the flawed procedures, and/or negligence and overall failure to provide Plaintiff with an expected standard of due process, concerning the wrongful allegations of sexual misconduct made against John Doe, a male, graduating senior student at Defendant Wesleyan in good standing, and a respected member of the Wesleyan Student Assembly and a fraternity brother, with an otherwise unblemished record.

The article also makes it clear that the unidentified male student is not suing the women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault, but rather suing the university itself for a poorly conducted hearing and lack of due process.

#ThrowbackThursday: Victor Dreams of Foss

Photograph of item held by Wesleyan University, Special Collections & Archives, Middletown, CT 06459

Butterfield

“A man watching his ideas becoming reality.” For a special Wesleyan #throwbackthursday, Wesleying brings you this beautiful, beautiful gift: a little bit of majesty, a little bit of history.

Make fun of the Butts as you will, but in 1965, they were a revolutionary addition to Wesleyan University, and the dream of Wesleyan’s longest-serving President, Victor Lloyd Butterfield. Originally constructed to house the College of Letters and College of Social Studies in an academic-residential cohabitation, the Butts didn’t become the dorms you see today until a 2012 complete renovationButterfield, as pictured above, also dreamed up the Foss Hill Dorms, which include WestCo, Nicolson, and Hewitt (which is why they’re numbered Foss 9, Foss 7, etc.)

But this photo from an Wesleyan Argus issue dated Saturday, February 5, 1966 was a throwback itself, because that day, the newspaper announced Butterfield’s resignation to the community and ran a retrospective of the president’s 23 years of service. Butterfield had announced in January to the Board of Trustees his plan to retire his post by June of 1967, and to the rest of the faculty in early February. So the Argus reflected on all the changes Butterfield had made to the campus, including these new dorms, creating the Center for Humanities (formerly the Center for Advanced Studies, which will be the subject of an upcoming Wesleying feature), building the Ph.D. programs, and making the school’s endowment skyrocket.

More importantly, whoever took and captioned this photo had a serious flair for the dramatic. Much thanks to the folks at Olin Library’s Special Collections & Archives for preserving this for us, some 50 years later. Now go out, fine classmates, and make the Foss of your dreams a reality.

In the Pit for In the Heights

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A pit-picture (piture?)

This semester, I had the pleasure of being one of the keyboardists for Wesleyan’s Theater and Music Department production of In the Heights – and, to be honest, I’m still not sure what happens in the show. All I know is that there’s a sassy hairdresser, a hilarious abuela, and a whole lot of frustrated people who really need just one thing to go right in their world to make their lives great. Like I said, I really don’t know what happens. From the pit, all I can tell you is that the cast has really great voices and incredibly rad shoes. But there are some other cool things I can tell you, considering I’m an In the Heights ~insider~, so here goes:

Abuse is Abuse: Students for Consent and Communication Demand Policy Changes

Pictured: Nina Gurak ’16, co-president of Students for Consent and Communication.
"Shaming you for your sexuality"

TRIGGER WARNING: The following discusses emotional and psychological abuse, and the issue of sexual assault at Wesleyan, and may be triggering for some readers. Community and official support resources can be accessed herehere, and here.

Students for Consent and Communication have had a busy semester so far. After staging a “How Much Longer Will We Carry That Weight?” demonstration, confronting the Board of Trustees about the alarming frequency of sexual assault on campus, SFCC brought their latest campaign online. With an “Abuse Is Abuse” photo campaign, showing students holding up signs describing forms of psychological and emotional abuse, the group looks to push the administration into action about creating a definition and policy about that abuse. (Photo campaigns in general are having quite the week, and for good reason.) Their petition, which you can read and sign online, has over 90 signatures at the time of publishing:

We, the community of Wesleyan University, believe that emotional and psychological abuse poses a direct threat to the health and safety of our students and community.

We as a school stand in solidarity with survivors of emotional and psychological abuse.

We strongly believe that the Department of Education got it wrong and that we can do better.

We demand a strong and clear policy that defines emotional and psychological abuse and advocate for its inclusion in Wesleyan’s existing Sexual Misconduct Policy.

I reached out to Nina Gurak ’16one of the co-presidents of SFCC, about the campaign. Below, you can see a few of the photographs from the campaign, which are also on Facebook and Twitter. On a related note, there is a forum to discuss Title IX policy and procedure tonight at 7PM in the Daniel Family Commons, which will inform policy changes for next semester.

How Many More?

Trigger Warning: This article reproduces a detailed account of a sexual assault that was originally published in The Wesleyan Argus. It quotes other published stories of rape and sexual assault. It may be triggering for some readers. Community and official support resources can be accessed herehere, and here.

I wish I could say that stories of sexual assault are a thing of the past. But this past isn’t dead. It’s not even past.

It is present. I was reminded of this fact when I read The Argus on Friday afternoon.

It is future unless we do something.

How many more stories have to be told before real change happens?

Terp Fall ’14: Sunflowers, Suspenders, and Sex Goddesses

“A sunflower is born and dies while Bjork sings lullabies.”—Eriq Robinson ’15

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Terpsichore is a student-run and student-choreographed dance show that happens once every semester. There’s a variety of dance genres, from breakdance to weird art concept dance, and a range of dancers from the non-experienced to trained. This semester’s dance features both Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and a Bjork-soundtracked dance about sunflowers. There are over 100 students participating (probably the reason why Terp sold out a week ago), so you definitely will recognize some of the dancers.

There are two Terp shows tonight, one at 7PM and one at 10PM (the drunk show), and a show at 1PM on Saturday in the World Music Hall. You will probably still get in if you show up early and put your name on the waitlist.

In order to find out a bit more about the choreographers and the choreographing process, I asked this semester’s Terp choreographers about their experience with the show. There are 12 dances in the show, and not all of their choreographers are represented here. Check out the show to see them for yourself!

Who Cares If It Snows? A Weekend Roundup

It ain’t much, but it’s something! Image c/o Wesleyan University
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So, it snowed for the first time last night.  I’m assuming this means that winter has started, which is a little scary, but the events of this weekend are making it easier to process. There are many awesome things going on, including cultural shows, dancing shows and performing bands.

Here’s a roundup of some of the things happening:

Where are you REALLY from?: Asian American Student Collective Challenges Micro-aggression

“Your assumptions about my ethnicity do not trump my lived experience.” (photo from wesaasc.org)

The Asian American Student Collective has launched a photo campaign answering the question “So where are you really from?” to highlight the discriminatory undertones of such seemingly innocent questions. Look below the jump for more about the campaign and the rest of the photos.