Category Archives: News

University Plans to Conduct Title IX Assessment With Victim Rights Law Center

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This morning at around 9:15, Vice President for Equity & Inclusion and Title IX Officer Antonio Farias sent out a campus-wide email, announcing that the University will be conducting a Title IX policy review this semester in partnership with the Victim Rights Law Center. Three representatives from VRLC – Lindy Aldrich, Amanda Walsh, and Candi N. Smiley – will be on campus February 8-9 to host panel discussions and Q&As with faculty members, class deans, and student representatives (you can view bios of the representatives and a full schedule of the panels here). A full report is expected to be completed and made publicly available by late March or early April.

The news follows several months of high-profile controversy surrounding Scott Backer, the former Associate Dean of Students, whose history as a sexual predator was only made public due to an investigative report by the Boston Globe. Last semester was marked by multiple student protests over how Wesleyan handles sexual assault cases and faculty accountability; at an open forum, students expressed their wish for Farias and President Michael Roth to be removed from office. A number of faculty members expressed their own disappointment at the University’s Title IX policy by sending an open letter to the Argus, demanding that faculty sexual harassment cases required independent review by an outside party.

Read Farias’ full email and more information on the VRLC after the jump:

Guest Post: Former Iraqi Refugee Ahmed Badr ’20 on Trump’s Muslim Ban

“You can hate me for being muslim, or for being a refugee, but I will show you that your hate is ill founded by my appreciation for your voice and your perspective.”

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Today, many in the Wesleyan community are in uproar in the wake of the news of Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 majority Muslim countries. Many students attended demonstrations at Bradley International Airport that protested the order. President Roth sent an all-campus email in response to the ban.

Ahmed Badr ’20 is closer to these issues than most. He moved to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee with his parents when he was 10 years old. He is now a U.S. citizen and student, entrepreneur, youth leader, writer, poet, and photographer. He also founded a global storytelling platform called Narratio. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted a statement about Trump’s Muslim Ban and has given us permission to republish his words here.

We know that this executive order (and the no doubt numerous to come) is having immediate effects on many in the Wesleyan community. If recent actions by the Trump administration are impacting you or your family and you have something to share, feel free to email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.

Students, Alumni React to Trump’s Muslim Ban

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Earlier today, thousands gathered at JFK International Airport to protest the detaining of 12 people from the list of seven majority-Muslim countries covered in Trump’s executive order from yesterday. This order has suspended all immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia for the next 90 days, regardless of visa and permanent resident status. The order also bans entry of all refugees for the next 120 days and the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Among those at JFK earlier today was Casey Smith ’17, who gives more information about what’s going on there:

At least a dozen refugees and immigrants from the now-banned Muslim-majority countries were detained by Customs and Border Patrol inside JFK and more–unclear how many–were detained at airports around the country. The protests were posted on Facebook by immigrants’ rights and human rights activists, including Linda Sarsour. Lawyers from the International Refugee Assistance Project and the ACLU were inside the airport, by the arrivals gate, working to get in touch with the detained refugees. At the time of writing one Iraqi refugee had been released but the others were still detained. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-7) was inside the airport and at the protests all day to advocate for CBP to release the refugees. Protestors shouted “no ban, no wall” and that immigrants/refugees/Muslims are welcome here.

Smith also said that it is important that those who are directly affected by the ban be centered in conversations about the policy. Read past the jump for reactions to the news:

Wesleyan Students Protest Dakota Access Pipeline in New Haven

Photo Credit: Liberation News

Photo Credit: Kirill Lebedev for Liberation News

On Friday afternoon, a cohort of Wesleyan activists drove down to New Haven’s financial district to protest three major banks’ investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Students from Wesleyan Democratic Socialists and Fossil Fuel Divest joined other protestors on the march, which began at Wells Fargo, moved to Bank of America and the Federal Courthouse, and ended at TD Bank. At each stop, organizers and indigenous activists made speeches and led chants demanding a halt to pipeline construction and that the banks divest from the project. Read past the jump for more information about the march and specific calls to action from the protest’s organizers.

The New York Times Is Still Out of Touch When It Comes to College Campuses

a NYT takes a photo of a Stanford party from outside

A NYT photo of a Stanford party from outside.

Wesleyan is no stranger to out-of-touch New York Times journalists writing about ~campus life~. In March of 2015, Tatiana Schlossberg (JFK’s granddaughter) wrote an absurd piece about trying to investigate the drug scene at Wesleyan. In 2003, now-fancy-and-serious NYT Correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a piece on WestCo, “The Naked Dorm,” about “how one well-choreographed rite of passage from high school to college life went unexpectedly awry.” In 2007, bizarrely, they also published a fashion shoot of Wesleyan students wearing designer clothes.

"high fashion"

“high fashion”

While Wesleyan has mostly avoided coverage this fall (though MRoth hasn’t), today the NYT is at it again, with a simultaneously laughable and unsettling piece about responses to college drinking and sexual assault across the country. While both alcohol consumption and especially sexual violence on campuses (and elsewhere) is indeed a big deal, journalistic coverage of these phenomena tends to be stilted and ridiculous. Much can probably be said about this coverage, and how it fits in to broader patterns of cultural representations of college students. For now, though, I’ll let the article speak for itself, after the jump:

Wes Students Join Area Residents in Action Against Dakota Access Pipeline

“Our politicians are turning a blind eye to the protesters and to the native peoples as a new tyranny of oil is taking over our government” – Josh Nodiff ’19

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On Friday, September 9, Dragonfly Climate Collective, a local anti-capitalist environmental justice group, organized an action outside of TD Bank on Washington Street to protest the bank’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Over 125 people from Wesleyan, Middletown, and greater Connecticut area turned out in response to a call for solidarity actions from the Camp of the Sacred Stones and the Red Warrior Camp, the two camps that have been leading the resistance against the DAPL. The Dragonfly Climate Collective report on the action can be found here.

Rutherford Chang ’02 is the Second Best Tetris Player in the World and Also a Total Boss

 

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While most of us can’t say that our claim to fame is beating Steve Wozniak at something, Rutherford Chang ’02 has achieved this distinction. As a Guardian article last month reported, he’s the second best Tetris player in the world – four places ahead of Wozniak with a high score of 614,094.

But Chang doesn’t play Tetris for mere procrastinating pleasure; as a visual and performance artist, he views the strategy of Tetris as mirroring the corporate workplace where repetition and competition dominate (as he told The Guardian): “Every 10 lines you complete, you advance one level and the pieces fall faster,” he says. “Eventually they fall so fast that you can’t keep up and you die… You can’t ever beat the game. It’s about squeezing in as much perfection as possible in this limited time before your inevitable death.”

If his Tetris skills and creative capitalist critique weren’t enough, Chang made news back in 2013 as the primary collector of first pressings of The Beatles’s The White Album. His installation “We Buy White Albums” displayed 100 of the staggering 1,394 copies he now owns. I decided I’d have to investigate Chang’s awesomeness further so I hit him up for a quick chat about Tetris, The White Album, and his art. Hit the jump for our interview on all things Rutherford.

Holly Wood on Hope, Feminism, Bernie, and Owl Shit

Barn Owl flying in winter sunlight Tyto albaIf you’ve been paying attention lately, especially if you’re a young woman who doesn’t support Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, you may have noticed that your political choices apparently indicate complacency about your reproductive rights, good ol’ heterosexual boy-craziness, and that you’re headed straight for hell. While the arguments are somewhat more nuanced, you’re certainly not alone if you object to the idea that the right way to be a feminist (“right way to be a feminist”) requires voting for Hillary.

Wesleying’s very own co-founder, Holly Wood ’08, has voiced her own objections, explaining in the Village Voice Why One Millennial Woman Would Rather Go to Hell than Vote for Hillary. Check it out for an argument about hope in the face of “the Great American Trash Fire,” framed by an extended metaphor about barn owls swooping about and pooping on us delusional snake people young women.

Procrastination Destination: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Fox News Interviews

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Some people watch TV or Netflix or random Youtube clips for the instant gratification that these forms of procrastination provide. You get to be brain dead for a couple of minutes or hours, almost hypnotically transported from the sweaty, nightmarish, hell-scape of your work (maybe that’s just me). The pure pleasure that you get is almost unmatched. This is the way I feel when I watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert go on various Fox News programs (usually it’s Bill O’Reilly).

Take this video of Stephen Colbert entering the No-Spin Zone (lol) for the first time in 2007.  While Jon Stewart actually attempts to engage O’Reilly in serious conversation, it’s almost comical the lack of fucks Stephen Colbert gives about this interview. It’s a serious drought of fucks. It’s a situation so devoid of fucks, it almost makes you nervous for Bill O’Reilly, who definitely gives a fuck, and does not quite understand how to act in a situation where very little fucks are required for entry.

The Lemony Snicket Roundup

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In case you missed it, Daniel Handler ‘92 (aka Lemony Snicket) came to Wesleyan last week to speak in promotion of his new novel We Are Pirates. Handler’s visit has been covered by multiple campus publications, and the discord surrounding his visit, in other words, the racist joke he made last year when he was presenting the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature to Jacqueline Woodson, has been dissected endlessly by the press and members of the Wesleyan community. This includes Sonya Bessalel’s ’18 measured and nuanced defense of Handler in this week’s edition of The Argus (seriously go read it).

Provided here are selected questions from Handler’s Wesleying interview with astag_rocky before his lecture in the Chapel (scroll down for these). In addition, we will share one tense moment from a meeting Handler attended with students at Downey House earlier that day: