Category Archives: News

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!

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:

Procrastination Destination: Google Alerts Round Up

Welcome to the second installment of Procrastination Destination, where Wesleying provides you #content to get you through finals!

At least once a day, we get a Google Alerts email in the staff inbox letting us know when Wesleyan is mentioned around the web. Lately, I’ve been collecting some of the more interesting links, but no one has gotten around to actually writing a full post about any of them. Instead of just sitting on this collection, I figured, what do millennials love more than a good listicle? So here we are!

Read below the jump for a collection of recent-ish alumni, student, professor, and Middletown news!

Furnace Fire at Lotus House Leads to Early Morning Adventures

 

Lotus House is located at 356 Washington Street

It’s 4:15 AM on Sunday morning, that period of time when it’s half super late on Saturday and half super early on Sunday, and the piercing sounds of Lotus House’s fire alarm startle me awake. At first I think this sound is my roommate’s alarm clock, which annoys me, but when the way-too-loud screeching persists for about a minute, I figure I should probably leave the room. I’m still too drowsy to realize that I’m forgetting a jacket, shoes, and my phone – a rookie mistake.

My hallmates and I head down the stairs, and contrary to our quick assumption that somebody was either cooking or smoking, we see a lot of smoke accumulating around the first floor that smells like either some crazy chemical or like somebody’s burning their hair. Anything is possible in Lotus House. We wait outside the house until the fire department comes, at which point we’re all like, Yay they can turn off the alarm and let us back in to sleep! But then after a couple minutes PSafe is basically like, Sike! This is gonna take a while.

It’s freezing outside, so they put us in the workshop-garage-annex-type building next to the house, and we wait for about an hour before conclusively being told that the furnace in the basement caught fire and that it ignited some of the house’s super old insulation, hence that chemically smell. Oh and by the way – it’s leaking carbon monoxide. Gotta love it. “It,” of course, being the act of getting poisoned while you sleep in the residential area you pay thousands of dollars per semester to sleep in. But I digress.

All-Campus Email: CAPS Update

In the never-ending CAPS saga, we’ve received another update from the powers that be in the form of an all-campus email. Some highlights include:

  • CAPS has received authorization to hire another full-time therapist in addition to the two full-time therapists have already been hired to replace the two full-time therapists who left.
  • There is still no APRN/prescriber, though they “hope to have this position filled very soon”
  • CAPS acknowledges that it is bad at connecting students to off-campus care (~understatement of the decade~), despite often claiming that students cannot continue using CAPS because they need “more intensive counseling and support than CAPS is able to provide.” To address this, they’re bringing in a consultant.

The full text of the email can be found below the jump:

Havdalah and Kaddish

From the Wesleyan Jewish Community:

Every week, the Jewish community comes together to do a short ceremony called havdalah, where we mark the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the new week. Today, we will also be saying kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, in honor of those who were killed in an act of antisemitism and white supremacy today in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. This will happen in the Bayit at 6:40pm. Please note that this ceremony will center the experiences of the Jewish community, including Jews by choice and Jews who don’t typically attend the havdalah ceremony.

Date: Saturday, October 27
Time: 6:40 PM
Place: The Bayit

Write-Ins and All Campus Email: Wesleyan Responds to Federal Proposal on Defining Gender

Editor’s Note: This post contains references to transphobia/trans-erasure. If you are upset or disturbed by this news and need support, please reach out to CAPS at (860) 685-2910 and alert the CAPS staff you are in need of a same day appointment. If you are unsure if your issue is a “crisis,” please contact CAPS to discuss.

Wesleying aims to provide a safe(r) space for trans voices, and we are very willing to listen if you feel there are things we can be doing better towards this goal.

Cover Photo from the Trans at Wes Facebook page

Upon returning from Fall Break, students were greeted with an email from Interim VP for Equity and Inclusion Debbie Colluci and VP for Student Affairs Mike Whaley about the federal proposal on defining gender. This proposed federal policy would eliminate protections for trans and gender non-conforming individuals under Title IX, which has in recent years been one of the sole policies guaranteeing trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) people rights within institutions like the university.

In the email, Colucci and Whaley attempt to quell fears about trans and gender non-conforming students losing protections by pointing to Connecticut State laws and University Policy which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity and/or gender expression. However, not everyone at Wesleyan lives in Connecticut full-time, and there are countless trans and gender non-conforming people in our wider community who don’t have the protections of the university, not to mention all of the trans/GNC folks who live in much more hostile environments.

We reached out to some trans/GNC members of the Wesleyan community to share their thoughts and feelings on the matter. Given the intent of the federal policy to literally erase trans and gender non-conforming people’s identities, we wanted to make sure we amplified trans/GNC voices in this post.

If you are trans/GNC and have thoughts or feelings you’d like to share (on this or any topic), please email them to staff[at]wesleying[dot]org and we can post them here at Wesleying! These can be published as anonymously or with your name, depending on your comfort level.

Read on for responses from members of the trans/GNC Wesleyan community, along with the full text of the email, below the jump:

Guest Post: Wesleyan, It’s Time to Rise Up for Custodial Workers

“Janitorial workers provide essential labor in our homes, dorms, classrooms and athletic facilities. Our failure to see, support and organize with these workers must end.”

María with her grandchildren.

Some of you may have seen students tabling with petitions in Usdan or sharing a GoFundMe on social media in support of María Sarabia this week. Students for Custodial Workers has written this guest post to explain the conditions of custodial workers at Wesleyan and what you can do to help! Read below the jump for their post: