Category Archives: News

Sexual Violence, Spaces, and Privilege

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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.

Silence is Violence

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I will preface this post with a few undeniable facts as reminders to this campus regarding sexual violence. First, rape culture does exist throughout campus, thus sexual assault occurs throughout campus—and it is not limited to any part of campus. Second, addressing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility—as a member of the Wesleyan community, this issue is your issue.

Recently, Mari Jarris ’14 and Chloe Murtagh ’15 have made bold moves in addressing sexual assault. In a fantastic post here on Wesleying, entitled “Don’t Assume ‘She’s Lying’”, they remind us:

We need to show that we take this issue seriously by combating rape culture on campus. We need to speak up when we hear responses such as “it seems like she’s creating a problem out of nothing” or “but she went home with him.” These reactions reveal three dangerous misconceptions. First, that there is a likelihood of false reporting (in reality, there is the opposite problem of significant underreporting). Second, and closely related to the first, is the tendency to blame the survivor. Third is the misconception that sexual assault is always perpetrated by strangers in unfamiliar places and accompanied by other physical violence (in fact, 90% of sexual violence on college campuses is perpetrated by someone the survivor knows).

This past week, the two launched a website, silence-is-violence.org, which serves as one online community for survivors to anonymously speak out about their experiences. The site also features quotes, submitted by any member of the Wesleyan community, that demonstrate how rape culture is perpetuated on campus through language. I highly recommend you check the site out—but this recommendation also comes with a strong trigger warning, as the site archives survivor testimonials and direct quotes.

Room Selection Begins Tonight

Senior Housing Options

From Kate Cullen ’16 and the WSA:

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t checked your email or heard the nervous chatter around campus, room selection begins tonight! To give you a better sense of where your grade will actually live (cough… not all Seniors live on Fountain and not all Juniors live in LowRise/HighRise) Mika Reyes ’17 and Fred Ayres ’17 of WSA put together a few maps (rising Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores) for you. Also check back to Wesleying’s “Housing Options for Room Selection Guide” for any last minute questions about different dorms.

To all the best of luck!

Kate Cullen ’16 and WSA

Map Links:

Rising Seniors
Rising Juniors
Rising Sophomores

LIVE HOUSING SELECTIONS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

Wesleyan Joins “Open Hillel” Movement

logoIn recent months, colleges around the nation have started challenging Hillel International over their policy surrounding Israel discourse. The movement first started at Harvard, where the local Hillel was barred by the national organization from co-sponsoring a discussion with a Palestinian student group.

Swarthmore became the first “Open Hillel” in early December, declaring that they will no longer abide by the guidelines presented by Hillel national. In their official statement, Swarthmore’s Hillel declared that, “All are welcome to walk through our doors and speak with our name and under our roof, be they Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist, or non-Zionist.”

Hillel’s official guidelines specify that groups or speakers that deny the right of Israel to exist, support the BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) movement or, “delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel” will not be hosted by the organization.

The movement has been met with backlash, especially from the national Hillel organization. As quoted in the New York Times, Eric Fingerhut, the president and chief executive of Hillel, responded to the movement by stating that, “ ‘anti-Zionists’ will not be permitted to speak using the Hillel name or under the Hillel roof, under any circumstances.”

The College Bubble: A Higher Ed Round-Up

The recent news that a Wesleyan student is suing Psi  U due to rape allegations has sparked debate over the role of fraternities in sexual assault, and their presence on college campuses. Zach Schonfeld ’13 has written two in-depth articles on the matter. The first explores the history of various universities that have decided to get rid of their fraternities, and the follow-up wondering if Wesleyan will be the next to do the same.

A recent piece in The Nation explores the worrying fate of publically engaged academic intellectuals in the university system, reflecting on the recent firings of two Columbia professors.

Local Round-Up: ACA Outreach and the New Minimum Wage

The deadline for enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is March 31, and members of the Wesleyan Young Advocates have been working tirelessly since September 2013 to ensure that Middletown residents have the information and resources necessary to enroll. WYA and the Community Health Center are hosting an ACA Celebration Brunch to recognize contributions toward CT enrollment on Saturday March 29 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the CHC (675 Main Street), and then they will distribute information materials to businesses in New Britain until 3 pm. Shuttles will be provided from Usdan until 11:30, and volunteers do not need extensive knowledge of the ACA in order to participate. For more information, contact Marshal Lawler ’16 at plawler[at]wesleyan[dot]edu and Sagar Parekh at ParekhS[at]chc1[dot]com

OPEN FORUM: Middletown Detention Center

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A very important open forum notice from Ashe Kilbourne ’14:

Decarcerate CT (link here) is organizing an open forum to discuss the new juvenile women’s locked detention center being built in Middletown (article here).

Community members and Middletown students are invited to come to the Malcolm X House basement at 5:30 this Thursday to listen to community organizers talk about prison abolition activism in Connecticut and to discuss organizing against the new facility and the expansion of the prison system in our state.

 

Date: Thursday, March 27th
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Malcolm X Basement
Cost: a raising of your consciousness

Method Magazine Needs an Online Staff

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Those badass folks over at Method Magazine sent us this:

Method Magazine is looking for writers, copywriters, photographers and videographers for their new website (launching April 17th).

To read an old issue of Method, click here.

For applications, click here.

Apps due Wednesday, March 26th to methomagainze[at]gmail[dot]com

Contact Ben Romero at jromero[at]wesleyan[dot]edu or Sophia Jennings at msjennings[at]wesleyan[dot]edu with any questions.

Date: All of time until March 26th
Link: above!

Local Round-Up: Obama, Artists & Cougars Visit CT

Middletown Public Schools Art Exhibition

If you’re on or near campus for break, now is a great time to check out the various cultural venues around town. The Buttonwood Tree’s calendar is well-stocked with music and art shows – such as the ongoing “Through Her Eyes” Collective Women’s Art Show and the Sean Clapis concert on March 15 – in addition to free yoga and a Poetry Potluck. You can also support the city’s budding artists by touring the Middletown Public Schools Art Exhibition at the CFA’s Zilkha Gallery before Sunday March 16. If you’re looking to impress someone after break with a few new dance moves, Vinnie’s Jump and Jive offers everything from Ballroom to B-Boy/B-Girl.

mountain lion (or a bobcat or some other beautiful, terrifying creature) has been spotted in Durham! This is particularly surprising since mountain lions haven’t been native to Connecticut for at least a century, although one expert suspects that Canadian cougars could be traveling south to feast on the area’s booming deer population. Be extra wary of strange sounds in and around your house at night because, for once, it might be something worse than your drunken roommate rummaging through the fridge.

In much more upsetting news, a Middletown resident had her car vandalized with a racial slur for a third time since November this Monday. Removing the spray paint has cost Ms. Perry thousands of dollars, and she is particularly upset that her children, ages 8, 9, and 15, have had such an appalling introduction to the neighborhood. 

Lawsuit Filed Against Psi U

Read on for several community responses, including from Students for Consent and Communication and from President Roth.

From Wikipedia Commons. Where else?

A student filed a lawsuit against Psi Upsilon, the Wesleyan Xi Chapter, and several Psi U members on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the defendants regarding a sexual assault perpetrated last spring against the student in the Psi U common room. This lawsuit does not name Wesleyan University itself as a defendant, unlike the previous lawsuit against a Wesleyan fraternity regarding a sexual assault. Instead, the lawsuit states that Psi U and its members violated its contract with Wesleyan which requires the fraternity to manage its events and keep its guests safe.

Wesleyan has, however, emailed all of us an official statement just this afternoon. President Roth’s email notes that the perpetrator of this particular sexual assault was dismissed from the University after disciplinary proceedings, in addition to sanctions against Psi U. President Roth’s statement in full: