Questions about queer activism? Wondering what’s up with sexual assault? Curious about campus history?
Come join us for a teach-in and skill-share on recent activist history at Wesleyan.
We’ll give a brief tour through the now-updated activist timeline and have time for Q+A :)
Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time: 8-10 PM
Place: 200 Church
Most of this is recycled from my old post
Guess who came to the good-ol’ M-Town right before Spring break? If you guessed your hallmate’s mom (because like, let’s be real, your hallmate needs an intervention), then you are very close. This weekend, a rather eclectic (lol) bunch of folks arrived on campus via sky dive (I wish).
The Board of Trustees is had the first of their meetings this year! If you ever forget when the meetings are, just think about the weekend before Wesleyan goes on break, and the Board of Trustees are likely meeting. Their next meeting will be in May around Reunion & Commencement.
Well, as this semester has already started off with some extremely valid frustration, I thought it would be appropriate that we reminded everyone who the Board of Trustees are, what their job titles are, and how you might be able to contact them. Turns out, their names and jobs are publicly available on the Wesleyan website, and their emails are too (on Wesconnect, via the ‘Networking’ tab). Thanks Zach for doing this first when students were frustrated about need blind being axed a couple years ago.
On Monday, posters like the one above were put up all over campus, including on most (if not all) senior house doors. The posters call for the removal of Daniel Handler ’92 as Commencement Speaker after repeated instances of racism and sexual harassment. They also call attention to the fact that Dr. Anita Hill, who is known for speaking out against workplace harassment, will receive an honorary degree (a lesser honor and a shorter speech) at the same event.
The poster also links to Wesleying’s Write-In: “Commencement 2018: Lemony Snicket, Anita Hill, and Silencing Women of Color in the Age of #MeToo” and a recent article in Pacific Standard by David M. Perry ’95 detailing Handler’s history of sexual harassment.
Wesleyan solicits donations from alumni year-round to support the many fundraising campaigns that keep Wesleyan afloat (but somehow still not need-blind…). Over the summer, I spoke with Cade Leebron ’14 about her own campaign for alumni to speak up about the many issues that students and alumni alike see at the school. She began Text Wes Back to collect actual responses that she and other alumni sent back when Wesleyan texted them to donate money to the school.
Read below the jump for the full interview.
Content warning: This interview discusses sexual assault.
“There has long been an inequality of opportunity within the film industry, and we know diversifying the film industry begins within our education at Wesleyan.”
On March 28, students from the University’s College of Film and the Moving Image released a letter, along with a list of signatures and testimonies, expressing dissatisfaction with aspects of Wesleyan’s Film Studies department. The letter called for systematic changes to the ways in which the department operates, including hiring three tenure-track professors (prioritizing women and POC), offering more diverse courses within the department, and reforming disciplinary procedures so that they are less reliant on “blanket threats” to drop students from the major or drop their theses.
The letter, which has been in the works since February, was a collaboration between a group of current film students – both majors and minors – as well as prospective film students. Before it was put into wide circulation on March 28, the letter was shared amongst students and alumni of the Film Studies department, along with a call for signatures and personal testimonies to present to the CFILM faculty. (From email circulation and tabling in Usdan, the letter received 175 signatures and eight accompanying testimonies.)
Read the full letter and testimonies after the jump:
Students arriving back from spring break on Saturday were treated to a special release party for a long-awaited staple of Wesleyan activism: Disorientation, the annual guide compiled by campus activists to, in their own words, “serve as a resource for students looking to get involved with political organizing on campus.”
Disorientation is a tradition that has, in some form or another, existed since the 1970s. In addition to serving as a guide for student activists, it’s meant to 1) act as a counterbalance to the admin-approved information that new students and prefrosh receive during campus tours, WesFest, and the official Orientation sessions, and 2) keep a historical record of campus activism, protests, and organizing, as well as administrative failures from the perspective of students. The latter is especially important because, like most four-year universities, Wesleyan’s institutional memory is short, and keeping activist movements alive on campus is difficult when there’s a constant turnover of students. Disorientation acts, in part, as a reference for those wondering what issues have been central to campus discourse in the past, and what methods can be reutilized for future organizational efforts.
The guide’s most recent iteration formed in Fall of 2014, spearheaded by Abby Cunniff ’17 and Claire Marshall ’17. It’s primarily been presented as an online PDF, posted to WesAdmits around the beginning of fall semester, but also has been distributed as a paper zine. You can view the Spring 2017 issue (edited by Abby and Paige Hutton ’18), as well as our breakdown of what’s in it, after the jump:
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:
Looking to get organized? To help make this easier, Wesleying has compiled another roundup of events in NYC and Connecticut between now and the end of the year with help from other awesome calendars on the ENGAGE blog and Women’s March CT’s Twitter. Also many thanks to my woke Facebook friends who I cyber-stalked to find some of these events. Enjoy!
We want to keep this list up to date, so if you hear about any new event or know about one we missed send us the info by e-mail at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org or through Twitter/Facebook.
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:
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.