Category Archives: News

UPDATED: University Librarian Pat Tully Fired Due to Provost Disagreement

tully

On Tuesday, August 26th—the day before freshman orientation—University Librarian Pat Tully was suddenly and unceremoniously fired. Tully has been at the school since 2004; she began as interm university librarian in 2009, before being promoted to Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian on March 1, 2010.

In an email to the faculty listserv last Tuesday, September 2nd, Tully explains the administrative disagreement behind her firing. As she did not sign any severance contract requiring her silence, we are luckily able to understand her side of the story. This is not a privilege afforded to us or many other teachers and administrators who are let go or fired—especially those who are, by all means, a respected and much-loved part of the school community.

Wesleying has acquired a copy of the letter, which was posted in full online, and has placed it below. We have also confirmed the authenticity of this letter as it was sent to the faculty. The University declined to comment on matters of personnel. Wesleying also reached out to Tully for further comment on the situation, as well as looked into University policy behind employment termination.

We will continue looking into this matter, as well as other recent firings, in the coming days.

What the University Says (And Doesn’t Say) About Firing Employees

erhard_020

After Wesleying learned of the reasons behind Pat Tully’s firing on August 26, and subsequently posted her letter of explanation, I reached out to a number of administrators to ask for more information about the situation.

In light of the subsequent termination of another University mainstay, Ed Chiburis, Facility and Events Manager for the Memorial Chapel and ’92 Theater, I had some questions how—and why—employees are fired. According to Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Whaley, “Generally speaking, all students should know that (except in egregious situations) a progressive coaching/discipline system is in place to address any performance issues with any employee.  Only after that system has been exhausted would an employee be terminated.” He recommended me to talk with Human Resources about that system.

Director of Human Resources Julia Hicks, after receiving my questions about university policies, referred me instead to the staff handbook, as she could not comment about matters relating to individuals.

Assembled by the Human Resources department, the handbook does explain policies and procedures for administration, faculty, and employees. But it did not nearly answer my questions about how “termination,” as it calls it, is considered, pursued, and justified in a liberal arts university setting. Obviously the points gone over in this handbook aren’t going to be revelatory to any University staff, or really anyone out of college who’s held a real job. Students, however, probably don’t know such things—the handbook is pretty much all we have to understand the University’s side.

So let’s go through it and see what we can dig out and make sense of.

Salon Loves Our Sex Parties, But Is Salon Liberated and Free?

 The first image that came up when I googled “hispter party.”  C/o The Peanuts Gang

7699112786_4bd97f5e37_z

Benjamin Winterhalter ’07 really wants you to know that he’s cool—but not, like, Pitchfork-Modest-Mouse-hipster-on-a-bicycle cool. No, he was cool before cool even knew it was cool. That, I assume, was the point of his Salon article “What I learned at the hipster sex party,” which asks important questions in its subtitle, like, “The place was so hip even the guy from MGMT was there. But were we liberated and free? I guess so.”

He explains up-front what he’s about to share with us: “What follows is my best reconstruction of the events of a party that took place in 2003 on the campus of Wesleyan University, one of the most hipster colleges in America.” Actually, not according to the Huffington Post, or Her Campus, or College Magazine. We’re still getting over the rejections. “It’s a good illustration of certain facets of hipster culture.” Fascinating. “It involves a minor brush with fame.”

I don’t feel like recounting what he says in this story. Read it, or don’t. It’s fun to note, though, that the author was a Philosophy and French double major, did crew, and wrote his honors thesis on The Edge of the World: Facts, Solipsism, and Self-Knowledge in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.

Unofficial Orientation Series ’14: Rage Update

WesleyanProtest19 051214-L

(Image: Catherine Avalone, The Middletown Press)

You’ve now arrived on campus, and we hope that you find your time here enriching and transformative. In that hope, we feel that it would be ill-advised to allow you to not have at least a foundational understanding of the things that have forced us as a community into dialogue, disagreement, and action.

This is not to scare you or to give you a negative impression of the University. However, we are certain that most if not all of you were told about the “passion” that Wesleyan students have and the issues that we care about on campus are at the forefront of those passions. While there is certainly no requirement to take an activist stance on any of these issues and it is in fact easy to sink beneath the radar on these issues and all the others not covered here, we would plead with you to be engaged in the community that you are now a part of.

Read this, ask questions, and reach out to students and faculty that have been here before you. We hope that as you begin your time here, you fully invest yourself as a community member committed to making Wesleyan as good as it can be for you and for those after you. Caring about Wesleyan does not foreclose critique on Wesleyan and as you read this, and other things like it, we hope you understand that too.

Wesleyan Creates New College of Integrative Sciences

On Wednesday, the Faculty voted overwhelmingly to approve a proposal for a new college, the College of Integrative Sciences (CIS), to join the College of Social Studies, College of Letters, College of the Environment, College of Film and the Moving Image, and the College of East Asian Studies. Students in CIS would have pursue a CIS Linked Major to complement an additional primary major in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). According to the proposal, the new CIS aims to “offer Wesleyan students a curricular and research framework that enables new ways of thinking at the frontiers of science.” 

BREAKING: #AFAMisWhy is Marching on Wesleyan

2014-05-12 12.37.54

Beginning at noon today from the Science Library, students have been marching across campus in protest of the administration’s lack of support for African American Studies. This comes at the heels of a massive petition campaign, where other members of the Wesleyan community were encouraged to add their names to a resolution calling for the Provost to prioritize faculty hires in AFAM, to fill the empty lines that are in AFAM currently, as well as demanding a response from President Roth or Provost Ruth Striegel Weissman.

This resolution previously passed the Wesleyan Student Assembly on May 4th, when the WSA decided to suspend their bylaws (in which they are not allowed to vote on a resolution introduced that same day) to vote on the resolution the day of. The resolution passed unanimously and within a week’s time, has garnered over 850 additional signatures from the community.

The March today, entitled “March on Wesleyan,” moved from SciLi into Olin, then across Foss, through Admissions and Usdan, then through North College and ending at South College. Along the way, everyone chanted various phrases, as well as singing the following version of the fight song:

’14 Commencement Speaker: Theodore M. Shaw ’76

maxresdefault

About two months ago, President Michael Roth sent out an email to the entire campus announcing the honorary degree recipients for 2014, as well as the commencement speaker for the Class of 2014. This year’s commencement address will be given by Theodore M. Shaw ’76, a leading proponent of civil rights, previous Wesleyan trustee (twice!), and also a prior recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan. You can read the entirety of Roth’s email below.

Shaw’s dedication and work to civil rights and human rights is indeed impressive. Currently a professor at Columbia University, where he also received his J.D. in 1979, he was previously an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for over two decades. What’s most notable about Shaw’s work—that perhaps most directly affects us as college students—was his involvement in creating University of Michigan Law School’s controversial affirmative action policy in the early 2000s, something that has been controversial again just last month. 

WSA Passes Resolution 11.35: Wesleyan Divestment from Companies Profiting from or Contributing to Illegal Occupation of Palestine

West-Bank-barrier-007

A few days ago, on Sunday, May 4, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) passed Resolution 11.35: Wesleyan Divestment from Companies Profiting from or Contributing to Illegal Occupation of Palestine. This resolution has two operative clauses. The first calls upon Wesleyan University to divest from companies that a) provide weapons, security systems, prisons, or military support for the occupation of Palestinian land; b) build or maintain the wall between Israel and Palestine and the demolition of Palestinian homes; and c) help build, maintain, or develop Israeli settlements, outposts, roads, and transportation systems in occupied Palestinian territory (defined in the resolution as the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem). The goal of the resolution is to remove the financial incentive to participate in the occupation of Palestinian land. The resolution’s second clause recognizes that the University will likely not divest from Israeli companies, and thus calls upon the WSA to divest its own endowment from the University’s endowment to avoid supporting the occupation by the transitive property. 

Traffic Jam Outside Usdan

trafficjam2

Some breaking news from aspiring student reporter Tim Tim ’16:

Earlier today, beginning at approximately 12:30pm, a multi-car traffic jam on the path between Albritton and Usdan left drivers and pedestrians alike stranded. While the sound of honking car horns and road rage fueled argumentation was easily audible from Foss Hill, the cause of the unusual jam remains unclear. Public Safety reportedly moved to open extra pedestrian lanes on College Row in order to ease traffic flow, but the office was unavailable for direct comment. One student bystander observed, “Man, these kids are going to be really late for brunch if this traffic doesn’t clear out soon!”

Sexual Violence, Spaces, and Privilege

priv

Amidst the celebration and festivities that are the end of theses this past weekend, a conversation surrounding sexual violence continues to rage through our community, a topic this publication has covered many, many times before. These last few weeks, however, the discourse has intensified and fraternities, or more importantly the spaces in which they occupy, has become the center of attention and controversy.

There are a lot of angry people on campus right now, including me. More specifically, however, what bothers me the most about the way this conversation has taken place is that people continue to talk right past each other, and many times seem to completely disregard what others have to say.

So let’s talk about privilege for a little bit. Buzzfeed recently had another one of their typically useless quizzes going viral lately, this one asking, “How Privileged Are You?” It might be worth taking a look at the 100 point quiz and the contents of the criteria. Or go ahead, to take the quiz. “I went to an elite college,” for example, is something pretty much all of us should be checking off.

It may be kind of useless and just internet-buzz material, but for me, the quiz reminded me of two things: all of us have some form of privilege, and that sometimes we forget what privilege we hold. More importantly, however, it reminded me that some of us have significantly more privilege than others.

Hold on just a second. I hope you do not think I am digressing from the issue of sexual violence in this post, because privilege is an immense component of how we speak, what we say, and even how we say it. It shapes our views and beliefs, and those with privilege typically have a much easier time getting what they want compared to those who have much less. And in the discourse surrounding sexual assault at Wesleyan, privilege plays a huge role.