This post is the first in a small series of reflections on the recent events on campus, to be published over the next few days. If you have anything that you would like to contribute, please feel free to reach out to us.
I am writing this in response to the traumatic and overwhelming events that have happened over the past few days – the hospitalization of a dozen students and the arrest of four others, as well as the media and institutional reactions. I hope that this can be a space of positive dialogue and solidarity, where we share our thoughts and reflections with compassion and humanity. I hope to counter the intense and destructive negativity and inappropriateness of some of the language being used to address these events in our own community, in person and online, in the media portrayals and in the administration’s emails. These events remind of us of the importance of fostering a supportive community, one that we must build on our own, as the student body. These thoughts hope to help support that process of reconciliation, healing, and empowerment.
For anybody who was a fan of the bunny in the Nics last year or a certain cat on Home this year, a search through the Argives (Argus archives) has unearthed something for you. A short hop up to floor 3A in Olin revealed that in our past, pets were a welcome part of the Wesleyan community. In a series of articles and opinion pieces between 1973 and 1975, Argus writers covered not only the changes to the school’s pet policy but also the student outrage after the changes were made during summer break.
By the 1974-1975 academic year, having a pet was looked down upon by the administration. In the words of Dean Edgar F. Beckham, “when pet behavior is not carefully monitored and controlled, Wesleyan becomes a bad environment for many pets and a much worse environment for man members of the community.” Perhaps we can forgive the gendered language as a sign of times past.
The first article, “Beckham Defends Pet Policy” by Chris Mahoney ’76, exposes the controversy that would surround the pet policy for weeks. At the end of the 1973-1974 academic year, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) and administration refused to implement a new pet policy because they thought it would be “‘inappropriate’ to take such action over the summer without campus discussion.” Then, over the summer, the school asked the SAC to vote on proposed new pets restrictions via mail during the summer recess. The restrictions included a $30 registration fee and tags for all uncaged animals. The SAC members voted in favor of the proposal.
In the growing movement of campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns, not everyone is on board. James Lawrence Powell has written a piece on why rejection of such policies is so problematic, inspired by recent dismissals of divestment action from the presidents of Brown and Harvard.
Our second (and maybe final) presidential interview is with William Chace, president from 1988 to 1994.
William Chace was only president of Wesleyan for six years, but between firebombings, racially charged graffiti, student occupations, and hunger strikes, he probably dealt with enough strife and campus unrest to fill two decades of Wes history. Twenty years later, Chace, a literature scholar and former Stanford administrator, still wrestles with his Wesleyan experience. “Those were the hardest years of my life,” President Chace told Wesleying. “It was a tough place for me.”
“Perhaps some of the problems were of my own making,” he conceded, “but I didn’t bomb my own office.”
Back in the fall, we contacted President Chace, who left the presidency of Emory University in 2003 and now lives in California, for an interview. “Well, of course,” Chace soon replied. “But please keep in mind that I left Wesleyan in 1994, some 18 years ago, and I do not have with me records of the time. So it will be memory, all memory, a facility at once pregnant with apparent certitude and often quite erroneous.”
Reveal yourself, Trustee-Candidates-Who-Didn’t-Make-It-Onto-The-Ballot. We know you’re out there.
Andrew Bleeker ’07 was one of 40 nominees for the Board of Trustees—and is now one of six candidates on the ballot for the Board of Trustees.
You know what it’s like to run for the WSA (it’s okay, we were all freshmen once), but do you know what it’s like to run for the Board of Trustees, Wesleyan’s most elite secret society?
According to a recent post on WesConnect, six alumni are in the process of finding out, each vying for a chance to spend sunny weekends in September, November, and May perched up in the Daniel Family Commons sipping Dom Pérignon, Making Important Decisions About Relle Important Stuff, and occasionally asking Public Safety to kick out uninvited student activists. (Or maybe they’re just running for the opportunity to kick it with West Wing star and Wesleyan trustee Bradley Whitford ’81.) The candidates on the ballot, as they present themselves on WesConnect, include:
Here’s how to contact them to talk about your feelings or whatever.
Pictured: Joshua S. Boger ’73, chairman of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees.
Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees will be arriving on campus tomorrow for their annual
three-day Buffy marathon Senior Week meeting, which traditionally takes place in the days leading up to Reunion & Commencement. Got a concern that you’d like the Board to address? Want to talk to them about your feelings? Just curious who is on that committee that makes all those decisions about campus in the first place? You can access a full list of the names, class years (nearly all are alumni), home states, and job titles of the Board members here, but unfortunately no contact information is provided, which is kind of weird when you really think about it. We’ve taken the liberty of amassing the Board members’ names and email addresses so you can contact them with thoughts or requests in advance of their meeting, which begins tomorrow:
Short answer: It sometimes seems that way, but it’s a bit more complicated than judicial points.
Image via Jezebel, because they have an art director and we don’t.
Last Friday I published an FAQ about some of the questionable means by which Wesleyan’s administration is trying to block Tour de Franzia from happening this year. Since then, the post has attracted well over 4,000 views, thirty-odd mostly heated comments, and yet another Jezebel feature, this one headlined “Wesleyan’s Tour de Franzia Meltdown Reaches Ridiculous New Levels.” (It has even attracted the attention of the Brian Lehrer Show, which questioned whether Wesleyan was right to warn parents about “the annual Tour De Franzia drinking-while-biking event.” Don’t give us any ideas, Brian Lehrer.) In addition to pointing out fairly obvious infringements on student rights, much of the discussion has centered on a minor point in my post, which I only learned by way of a tweet from @WesUnity: the minimum number of judicial points assigned for participating in Tour de Franzia this year (six) is higher than the minimum number of judicial points assigned for committing sexual assault or misconduct (five). Here’s how some people are responding to this data point:
Military-style checkpoints, email campaigns, and Jezebel features, oh my.
Maybe you thought the administration would reign in its attempts to stop Tour de Franzia after being publicly skewered everywhere from MSN to Gawker-owned feminist snarkfest Jezebel to something calling itself “BroBible.” You were wrong. If anything, after begging your parents to stop the mayhem, the powers that be have only stepped up their game, going so far as to email all faculty, have RAs set up military-style checkpoints outside student dorms on the night of the Tour, and threaten to slap students with six judicial points for, uh, “wearing costumes.” Don’t be mad! They’re just trying to keep you safe! Tour de Franzia is dangerous!
Anyway, here’s your definitive guide to everything you’ve been wondering about What the Fuck is the Administration Doing About Tour de Franzia This Year.
Q: When’s Tour de Franzia? How will I find out about it? Is it even happening this year?
A: Who knows, but probably. There’s no fixed date, but in recent years it has occurred during one of the last weekends of the semester. It’s typically announced by an anonymous Facebook profile, “WesParty Guy” (which is deactivated when not in use), as well as via word of mouth and mass texts. There won’t be a Facebook event or whatever, especially after the Great Facebook Event Crackdown of 2010.
Have thoughts about recent incidents involving P-Safe? Head to the Daniel Family Commons right now.
As ehc reported less than half an hour ago, two Public Safety officers have just been reported and fired for apparently viewing and possibly videotaping a female student in her residence. This follows on a long chain of recent incidents involving and sparking tensions between students and Public Safety officers this academic year.
Meanwhile, the administration has hired a University Public Safety Review Committee for an independent review of P-Safe at Wesleyan. According to a recent email from Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts, “The assessment will explore whether the Office of Public Safety has adopted and implemented an appropriate campus public safety model, based on our environment and campus expectations.” The reviewer is Margolis Healy, a “nationally reputable firm that specializes in campus safety and security” that has “provided similar services for dozens of other universities and colleges throughout North America.”
If you’re a Wesleyan student, “you are cordially invited to meet with Margolis Healy representatives to share any thoughts or questions you might have about Public Safety at Wesleyan in an open student session to be held on April 30 from 7–8 p.m. in the Daniel Family Commons in the Usdan Center.” You read correctly: that’s happening right now. Talk about timing. In case you can’t make it, Lesanjuan, Solomon, and I will be liveblogging the proceedings. Click past the jump.