“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.
The world is a scary place right now, but one thing is for certain: we’re going to need a lot of organizing these next four years, and especially these next few months, while there’s still so much momentum for grassroots movements. National groups such as Planned Parenthood and Democratic Socialists of America have already made their intentions to resist against Trump’s proposed policies clear. And however you may feel towards the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches, they did encourage millions to take the first step in any sort of activism: showing up.
Here at Wesleying, we’d like to ask: how do you plan to resist, get involved, protest, sit-in, or show up this semester? Your plans can be as menial as making a few calls to representatives, or as grandiose as organizing a large-scale rally. They can be a cohesive schedule or just a rambling brainstorm of causes you’d like to get involved with. We’re especially looking for ways to help right here in Middletown with local groups, but whatever your cause may be, we want to hear from you!
Share your ideas here, or below. Responses may be recorded anonymously, if you so choose, and there’s also a box to check if you’re okay with your responses being published on Wesleying. Depending on how many responses we get, we’re hoping to post a bunch of them throughout the semester, in the hopes of generating discussion of how others can get involved.
Monday night, students gathered in the DFC to attend What’s next: an open town hall about campus organizing, a discussion dedicated to discussing campus organizing and community action. The open town hall was organized by Jordan White ’19 and Kazumi Fish ’19. In the Facebook event description, the organizers said that the event was an intentional space for people new to campus organizing and others who have been involved in campus activism for longer to come together and learn from one another. Part of the description read:
Drawing on the impact of last month’s WhoRunsWes community meeting, we want to hold a similar space for people to vent and share their ideas about campus organizing and community action. We want to bring together those who have always done this work with those who wish to begin.
The description also listed clear goals of what the town hall hoped to accomplish:
From the Friends of the Wesleyan Library:
Co-editors Jordan Camp and Christina Heatherton will trace the global spread of the broken-windows policing strategy that was first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton and how it led to Black Lives Matter. There will be an open house of Special Collections & Archives materials related to the history of incarceration and policing both before and after the talk, from 4:00-4:30 pm and 6:00-7:00 pm in the Davison Rare Book Room, 1st floor Olin Library.
Jordan Camp is a postdoctoral fellow in Race and Ethnicity and International and Public Affairs at Brown, co-editor of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), and author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016). Christina Heatherton is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Trinity College, co-editor of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), and author of the forthcoming book The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century (University of California Press, 2016).
Sponsored by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library. For more information, email libfriends[at]wesleyan[dot]edu.
Date: Wednesday, November 9
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Smith Reading Room, 1st floor Olin Library
Anna Fox ’19 writes in:
Susya is a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank that is currently under threat of demolition in order to expand the Israeli settlement next door. Join J Street U to learn how you can take action in your communities and stop the demolition of Susya!
This event will discuss the relationship between Israel, Palestine, and the settlement enterprise and their connection to Susya. This is a great opportunity to gain a nuanced insight on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All voices, backgrounds, and perspectives are welcome and encouraged.
Date: Sunday, October 30
Time: 1:00-2:00 PM
Place: Albritton 304