You have worked, implicitly and explicitly, directly and indirectly, to make Wesleyan a hostile environment for people of color, students with disabilities, trans students, survivors of sexual assault and pretty much any student who does not fit into your image of the “conservative oppressed by the liberal arts.” What’s more, you have repeatedly refused to engage with students in any meaningful way about the ways in which you’ve created this hostile environment. So I have resorted to engaging with you on your own terms: in a blog post.
At 9:45am today, Michael Roth sent an all-campus email announcing this year’s Commencement speaker as well as the 2017 Honorary Degree recipients. Poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine will deliver the 185th Commencement address on May 28, 2017.
Additionally, Wesleyan will honor Jo Handelsman, a former Associate Director for Science at the White House, and Cristina Jiménez, the executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration organization in the country. The Alumni Association’s Baldwin Award will be presented to John Driscoll ’62 and Gina Driscoll.
Here’s the full text of the email:
I would really love to know who’s behind the name “Wes Annoucement” that sent out an all-campus email this afternoon. In this message, they critique several problems with Wesleyan by mimicking the format of those lovely “you’re going to have to trek through the snow unless we text you at 6:45 AM” emails. I think a lot of the points are right on, but I’ve got to address my concerns with the last paragraph of the email. If you have any (non-sexist, non-racist, non-classist) thoughts on the content of the message, go ahead and sound off in the comments.
If your thoughts on receiving this email are “feminists suck,” then, well, bye Felicia.
Roth to Wes: “It was difficult last night to realize that we have fallen short, and that I have fallen short, of my aspirations for making Wesleyan an inclusive campus.”
Within minutes of pyrotechnics’ post about last night’s lengthy, heated, and utterly startling forum about race and inclusion, President Roth sent out an all-campus email summarizing his reflections and plan for action. In brief, the president describes the forum as “an intense, disturbing and enlightening experience for me”:
It was difficult last night to realize that we have fallen short, and that I have fallen short, of my aspirations for making Wesleyan an inclusive campus for progressive liberal arts education. But it was good to be reminded of those shared aspirations. It was difficult (terribly difficult) to hear the accounts of disappointment, anger and pain. But it was good to see the solidarity and affection of members of our community as they reached out to comfort one another — with snapping fingers, with applause, with hugs.
Roth goes on to acknowledge two other upcoming forums—one with the WSA Committee on Inclusion and Diversity, another with Invisible Men, Asian American Student Collective, Ujamaa, and the WSA Committee for Inclusion and Diversity—and vows to follow up on concerns raised last night by developing a list of the most important policies to improve, assigning staff to work with students and faculty, and giving a “progress report to the campus community.”
Around 11:50 last night, while walking across campus with another student, I noticed two guys in hooded sweatshirts following us from a significant distance near College Row. We walked faster. They pursued. We turned a corner. Eventually, they were out of sight.
I put the incident out of mind until today, when this Public Safety Alert appeared in my (and your) inbox. I’m reposting it here as a casual PSA for anyone at Wes over the summer: stay alert at night. Campus gets pretty desolate after 10 p.m., and if you’re traveling solo, consider yourself vulnerable to this sort of thing:
Public Safety would like to alert the community that on Sunday June 17 at 12:18AM a male reported that he was robbed on Church St. The victim stated that he was approached by two males as he walked alone along Church St in the vicinity of Olin Library. He stated the males displayed facsimile handguns, knocked him to the ground and kicked him. He stated that the suspects took his cell phone and ring before fleeing on foot. The victim declined medical attention.
Here’s P-Safe’s report on the armed robbery in the Nics, which took place around 7:00 tonight:
Public Safety would like to alert the community that on Saturday 4/7/12 at 7:00pm a student reported being robbed in their room. The student stated that while he and another student were in the room they let a non-student who was known to them into the room. The non-student then displayed a handgun and detained the students leaving after he took a computer, cell phones and cash. The students were not injured.
The suspect is described as a heavy set Caucasian male, approximately 5′ 8″ tall, in his early 20’s wearing a black knit cap, grey hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, sneakers and carrying a backpack with red and black markings.
This incident is under investigation By Middletown Police and Public Safety. Anyone with any information is asked to call Middletown Police at 860-344-3200 or Public Safety at 860-685-2345.
According to the P-Safe staff I spoke to, students should use common sense and travel in groups, but “there is no active reason to be concerned that is not mentioned in the report.” The police investigation is ongoing.
More coverage here and here, as well as stories from NBC Connecticut and the Middletown Press. You can also contact Wesleying at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org with any other relevant information. WFSB has also updated its story, which you can read in full after the jump.
No, not Weiner. Beta Theta Pi has formally signed Wesleyan’s revised housing policy and will rejoin the university in the fall as an on-campus program house. This concludes a year of particularly icy Beta–administration relations—culminating last February with the announcement of a housing policy widely interpreted as a threat to student liberties. Time, how it flies.
Here’s the announcement in full:
We are pleased to announce that Beta Theta Pi, 184 High Street, has agreed to join Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and Psi Upsilon as participants in program housing beginning this fall. As such, Beta has been formally recognized by the University.
The agreement, that all of the historic Greek houses have recently signed, clearly outlines expectations for both residents and for University officials.
Remember the administrative aftermath of last year’s Tour de Franzia? Here’s the short version: the University fined the residents of 1 Pearl Place $2,000 in campus damage for having “organized” the event–and threatened to withhold diplomas if they didn’t pay up. Their charge: creating the Tour de Franzia Facebook event. Here’s the Wesleying post extolling students (particularly Franz-participants) to “Help Out the Innocents of 1 Pearl Place” and throw some dough in their online donation page. (Oh, and a 62-response comment thread. Happy studying.)
This year, P-Safe director Dave Meyer announced plans to “take some precautionary measures and deal with any organizers ahead of time.” But there was no such action: Tour de Franzia was “organized” (read: a date was declared) from an anonymous Facebook profile, which was deactivated immediately post-Franz. Good thinking.
But the administration knows what’s up, and there apparently will be “judicial charges against those students who may have violated Wesleyan’s Code of Conduct.” No word on how those individuals will be identified–or what the charges will entail. (Does “all available documentation of the event” refer to P-Safe’s apparent video footage of streakers and partiers on Fountain?)
Here’s Dean Mike Whaley‘s thrillingly ambiguous all-campus announcement in full. Offer up your interpretations in the comments.
I hope that your final projects and papers are going well. In addition to my good wishes for a successful conclusion to your academic work, I also wanted to send a note to register my concern about the “Tour de Franzia” event this past weekend.
. . . except when there’s a professor involved, apparently. In what is surely one of the best all-campus emails I’ve received all semester, Dean Mike Whaley announces a new program:
In order to promote informal faculty-student interaction outside the classroom, I am pleased to announce the Daniel Family Commons Free Lunch Program. We have provided each faculty member with vouchers that enable them to take small groups of students to lunch at the Daniel Family Commons in the Usdan Center. My office is making these same vouchers available directly to you! Each voucher covers the cost of lunch for a faculty member and up to three students, and vouchers will be good for the remainder of the current academic year.
Please consider inviting your favorite faculty member to lunch, and stop by my office (220 North College) to pick up a voucher.
As a wide-eyed prefrosh reading about schools like Wesleyan (and in guidebooks like Jordan Goldman ’04‘s awesome Students’ Guide to Colleges), I was always charmed by stories of professors having small groups of students over for dinner, and other interactions well outside the sharp high school student/teacher divide. At Wes, while professors frequently are approachable and sociable and more than willing to continue academic discussions after class, that scenario has never quite come true for me.
Suffice to say, the program outlined above seems like a fantastic push in that direction. And you’ll even get to subvert the meal plan in the process.
But will professors actively make use of the vouchers? Or will Wes students take the initiative and finally invite that insane Philosophy prof out to lunch at Usdan? (It’s the third floor, remember—mad classy.) I hope so. Provide some thoughts in the comments.