Category Archives: News

President Roth Calls for Affirmative Action for Conservative Ideas, Announces New Classes That Fit the Bill

“As someone who identifies with the political left, I welcome this intellectual diversity–and as a teacher, I know that education requires it. If you are on the right, you might call this a remedy for political correctness; if you are on the left, you might prefer to call it the ‘new intersectionality.'”

c/o the Wall Street Journal op-ed

In the haste of reading period and yesterday’s news, we missed big news from President Roth’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for affirmative action for “conservative, libertarian and religious modes of thinking” on college campuses. The op-ed generated quite the buzz on Twitter, and even received mild praise from notable conservative magazine the National ReviewRoth’s op-ed, entitled “The Opening of the Liberal Mind” was published in the Wall Street Journal behind a paywall last Thursday, May 11. Luckily, thanks to the Wesleyan Library’s databases, Wesleyan students have access to the op-ed.

[CONTENT WARNING] Scott Backer Arrested in West Hartford for Soliciting Minor on Yik Yak

Content warning: This posts discusses sexual assault/predatory behavior towards minors and contains images/video of Scott Backer

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Former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer was arrested today in West Hartford for soliciting sexual conduct with a minor over Yik Yak. The Hartford Courant reported the arrest and Fox61 confirmed that the Scott Backer arrested was indeed the same Scott Backer that was fired from Wesleyan after the university learned from the Boston Globe that he had previously been fired from Vermont Academy for sexual misconduct.

The College Bubble: A Higher Ed Round-Up

Back in 2014, ztevenz, a blogger before my time, started a series of posts entitled “The College Bubble: A Higher Ed Roundup” which gave digests of recent news events that happening at college campuses nationwide. Several events in the past two years, most notably the anti-racist demonstrations begun by Concerned Student 1950 at Mizzou and the nationwide sanctuary campus movement orchestrated by Movimiento Cosecha, have generated talks of rebooting the feature. And now it’s finally happening! So here’s a roundup of things that have been going on recently at various colleges and universities:

The 2017 Commencement Speaker: Claudia Rankine

At 9:45am today, Michael Roth sent an all-campus email announcing this year’s Commencement speaker as well as the 2017 Honorary Degree recipients. Poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine will deliver the 185th Commencement address on May 28, 2017.

Additionally, Wesleyan will honor Jo Handelsman, a former Associate Director for Science at the White House, and Cristina Jiménez, the executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration organization in the country. The Alumni Association’s Baldwin Award will be presented to John Driscoll ’62 and Gina Driscoll.

Here’s the full text of the email:

WesMaps 2017-2018 Is Live (Kind Of) (For the Most Part)

I thought I was going to get work done tonight, but the pre-reg deities had other plans. Welcome to WesMaps 2017-2018, your new form of future-building, stress-inducing procrastination.

Truth be told, we don’t usually post about fall WesMaps until spring pre-reg, but since the new WesMaps link is already spreading like wildfire on social media, we thought we’d make an exception. Most of the courses aren’t even up yet, so we’ll hold off on our “best of” list, but here are some initial observations:

In Depth: Wesleyan Refugee Project (Part 2)

Members of the Wesleyan Refugee Project

Libby Salzman-Fiske ’19, Caroline Kravitz ’19, and Sahar Shaikh ’17

Note: The information found in this feature was recorded in early to mid-February. Immigration and refugee policies in the United States are still in flux under the Trump administration, and the exact details regarding immigration laws and their enforcement may have changed since these interviews were conducted.

Since the Wesleyan Refugee Project (WRP) was founded in the Fall 2015, the volunteer organization has been hard at work in their contributions to resettlement programs, legal aid, tutoring services, and fundraising events. We spoke to one of the group’s founders, Casey Smith ’17, last September. Since then, it’s become even more difficult for refugees to enter the United States under Trump’s new immigration policies, and the future for refugee resettlement in the US is uncertain.

This semester, I spoke to several different members of the WRP, all in different leadership positions. I asked each of them how they got involved with WRP, what the group is focusing on this semester, and how other students can volunteer and participate. Read their stories after the jump:

Guest Post: What Happened to The Vagina Monologues?

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Last year’s directors of the Vagina Monologues, Jessica Perelman ’17 and Eileen Connor ’18 have taken some time to write about why the Monologues won’t be happening on our campus this year.

This post comes as a way to continue conversations about the main subject of the Vagina Monologues- womanhood. As there have been continuous discussions in recent years about whether the Monologues should persist, this post comes not as a defense to “why” or “why not,” but mostly just to inform the wider campus community.

I don’t think it is too difficult to find the problems with the Monologues portrayal of womanhood, as it equates being a woman to having a vagina, a notion which is widely understood to be false. If this idea comes as new to you…. ??¿?¿¿?¿ The discussion of the Dialogues on this campus have also culminated in the creation of a more accepting and accessible version of the Dialogues called the Shmagina Dialogues. But of course, the fight for equity is still ongoing.

In general, this is a conversation we can all continue to learn from, and use to understand gender and sexuality in larger social contexts.

Find the previous directors story below:

Senator Chris Murphy Visits Wesleyan for Town Hall on Environmental Policy

“At the end of each week, ask yourself: ‘Have I done this much this week as I did during the week of January 20th?'” – Chris Murphy

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Last Thursday, February 2, at midnight, I got an email saying that U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy was coming to hold a meeting on environmental policy on the morning of Saturday, February 4 and that there weren’t that many seats left at this late stage. The town hall was sponsored by the College of the Environment and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. The senator, notable for his Twitter takedowns of Donald Trump, took many questions on everything from general political engagement in these fiery times, to specific measures on the preservation of federal lands, and the precarious nature of environmental data in the Trump administration. He also answered a question on whether he would be considering a Presidential bid for 2020. Read past the jump for more on the town hall:

Guest Post: What’s Going On With Theater At Wesleyan?

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Some of you have probably seen on Facebook that there is something going wrong with the Theater Department, and might have further questions.  Maia Nelles-Sager ’17 wrote a piece explaining the state of the Wesleyan Theater Department and submitted it to Wesleying. We are deciding to post it because we think it represents an all-too-often occurrence where departments are neglected and visiting professors are overworked.

As with many things at Wesleyan, there are inner workings of the administration  to which students don’t have access. In the case of the post below, these things are having a direct impact on the formal education that we have come here to receive. As a prospective theater major, this post is something near and dear to me. I’ve seen a big cry for transparency in our community, and I hope you all will take time to see why many students are looking for it in the case of the Theater Department. Read past the jump for Maia’s post.

Data, Computing and Journalism

An invitation to an exciting presentation, courtesy of Joli Holmes ’17:

Increasingly, journalists are turning to tools that were once solely the domain of data analysts and computer scientists to create compelling visualizations and enhance their storytelling. Newsrooms are using accessible technology to process big and open data to assist in investigations, keep citizens informed, and help make institutions accountable— and they’re often following the tenets of data science, like making their work transparent and reproducible. It’s important, now more than ever, that data not be hidden by government agencies from the public so that it instead might be used to illuminate the truth.

Andrew, currently a Koeppel Journalism Fellow at the Center for the Study of Public Life (co-teaching QAC 250) is the senior data editor of Trend CT (http://trendct.org/about/ a CT Mirror affiliate). He was a founding producer of The Boston Globe’s Data Desk where he used a variety of methods to visualize or tell stories with data. He also was an online producer at The Virginian-Pilot and a staff writer at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He’s a Metpro Fellow, a Chips Quinn Scholar, and a graduate of the University of Texas.

Date: Monday, February 13th
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Place: Allbritton 103