While this semester has been filled with debates, discussions, and protests about the impending change to a Need-Aware admissions policy, the impacts of this change—both positive and negative—are enmeshed in much larger issues. These include the financial health of our university, the value we place on welcoming a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on this campus, administrative transparency with both faculty and students, and access to a Wesleyan education. Dr. Glenn, Professor Lim, Professor Long, Professor Rouse, and Professor Skillman will help us think critically about what a Need Aware policy might mean. The goal of this panel is not to propose an “ideal policy” but to create a foundation on which further conversation can be had. Feel free to come and engage these professors in conversation, or just sit back and listen!
If you have specific questions for the panel, feel free to submit them to ProfessorPanel@gmail.com. See you there!
“There has been a lot of transparency. There has been a lot of transparency.”
Wesleying wasn’t the only media outlet filming last Saturday’s need-blind protest, in which roughly 50 student activists stormed across the sidelines during the football game, waving a banner proclaiming “DIVER$ITY UNIVER$ITY?” and chanting that “everyone deserves to learn.” Recent grad Nemo Allen ’12, a video production fellow for independent global news hour Democracy Now!, was also at the ready. After filming the protest, Allen stuck around for interviews with engaged students, faculty, and one alumnus who was fiercely involved in the 1982 protests to preserve need-blind at Wesleyan.
But when Allen attempted to interview President Roth, he found himself caught in a bizarre confrontation with the camera still rolling. In the footage, the president walks away from Allen, turns around, insists that “there has been a lot of transparency,” pushes his face close to the camera, grabs Allen’s microphone, grins, continues walking, confronts a police officer, explains the situation, and is asked to return the microphone. (That is not a sentence I ever expected to publish on this blog.) My personal favorite exchange is probably “You have to give that back.” “I don‘t have to!”, but the part where Roth sticks his head into the lens is slightly more conducive to meme-tastic GIFs.
The footage aired towards the end of Democracy Now!’s program this morning. You can also watch it on YouTube (above) as a stand-alone segment. Here’s the full transcript, as narrated by DN! host Amy Goodman:
“We don’t care how much you earn! Everyone deserves to learn!”
When we first reported on definite changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind policy, I marveled at the lack of student protest or even discussion on campus compared to the events of 1992. “This is not the first time that the administration has proposed axing need-blind admissions to cope with a budgetary crisis,” I wrote. “This is merely the first time in recent Wesleyan history that students have permitted the decision to go forward.”
Around 3 P.M. today, between the third and fourth quarter of the Homecoming football game against Amherst, a shouting band of roughly 45 or 50 student activists swarmed the sidelines nearest Foss chanting and carrying a red-and-black banner proclaiming “DIVER$ITY UNIVER$ITY?” Beginning outside Fayerweather and marching across towards Olin, the group chanted “We don’t care how much you earn! Everyone deserves to learn!” in support of need-blind admissions.
Resident rabble-rouserBen “Doernbeard” Doernberg ’13 is at it again, and he needs your help:
This weekend is Homecoming/Parents Weekend, and there is no better time to make sure everybody is informed about the issue of need-blind/need-aware admissions! Tomorrow night (Thursday) at 9 pm we will begin preparations (folding flyers, decorating signs and banners, etc).
We need a big turnout! Attending this meeting doesn’t commit you to doing anything over the weekend if you’re really busy. It is simply to help prepare materials for distribution and display. This meeting is not just for activists; it’s for everyone!
Date: Thursday, October 18 Time: 9 pm Location: Usdan 108
Grinnell, like Wesleyan, is considering some fierce changes to its financial aid policies. As Kevin Kiley of Inside Higher Ed, the same writer who reported on Wesleyan’s policy change this summer, writes:
Grinnell College, which this year reported the fifth-largest endowment of any liberal arts college, announced Thursday that it would spend the next few months engaged in a conversation with campus stakeholders about changing its financial aid policies—including potentially, but probably not, going as far as making changes to need-blind admission.
Grinnell has about 1700 students and an endowment of roughly $1.5 billion. This puts their endowment per capita in the range of $800,000, or roughly four times that of Wesleyan. However, “the amount [Grinnell] spends on financial aid as a portion of its gross tuition revenue” is currently above 60%, while Wesleyan’s is only projected to be to be 37% in 2012.
As Kiley notes, Grinnell’s finances are in wonderful shape as compared with other top liberal arts colleges (including Wesleyan), and its announcement “could be a bellwether that the sector as a whole is reconsidering the model.”
We now have video footage of the entire forum, courtesy of Sam Barth ’13, Lucas San-Juan ’13, and Wesleyan’s ITS staff. It’s long (a little over an hour), but if you missed the forum and are nonetheless interested, it’s well worth the viewing. If you’ve only got 15 or 20 minutes to spare, definitely consider jumping towards the end of the conversation—it gets a bit heated, and some of the most noteworthy exchanges take place past the 40-minute mark.
There is also Wesleying photo and liveblog coverage of the event here, plus a fairly extensive Argus overview of the week’s events here. Additionally, I’ve taken the time to notate much of the video, including time stamps for significant questions and memorable exchanges (excluding Roth’s 15-minute introduction). Those notes appear after the jump.
Yesterday, at 1:20, concerned students met to plan an action to communicate the importance of need-blind admissions to the Board of Trustees, who were on campus this weekend for an official retreat. At 6:30, the meeting was reprised, with an extra dose of urgency: “Nobody has this covered; it’s not being taken care of by someone else. It’s just us, your classmates and neighbors, and as many of you can make it.” At noon today, students gathered outside of Usdan, wearing red and finishing up a banner while some brandished cameras. By 12:30, they were in a trustees’ meeting—telling them directly that students want to be included in the conversation.
The video at the top of this post includes much of the climax of the action; after the majority of students ended up going to the Daniel Family Commons, some unfurled the aforementioned banner—reading “BRING US INTO THE CONVERSATION”—outside the meeting room, while others attempted to enter. Public Safety guarded the main entrance while students sat in the open doorway, but a small group bypassed and made it inside the meeting, where they spoke to concerns about need-blind admissions and decision-making transparency.
Watch the video yourself to form your own take on the Board members’ responses to the latest installment in, as one trustee put it, Wesleyan students’ “long and storied” history of entering closed-door meetings. Because legendary camera operator Ben Doernbeard ’13was… held up at the door, the first couple minutes of conversation with the trustees are hard to catch, but a good portion of it is audible—turn up the volume, just to be sure.
Check out photos of the action (courtesy of our very own wieb$) on Facebook, or click past the jump to see them here, along with a couple extra shots of the banner by Zach.