Since George Floyd’s death just two weeks ago on May 25th, an outraged America (and world) took to the streets in an outcry against the racism that remains deeply ingrained in American society. Through protests, which in parts of the country have escalated to the point of violence, people are attempting to have their voices heard in a system that refuses to acknowledge them. In this article, Wesleying collects some of the responses from the Wesleyan community, both from students and the administration so that voices can continue to be heard today and in the future as we fight to make our country better for everyone living in it.
We hope everyone made it through finals alright (if you still need a little boost, check out our Procrastination Destination)! In a continuation of this semester’s trend of less-common illnesses showing up at/near Wesleyan, we received another all-campus email from the health center last week, this time about Meningitis B.
One student at Central Connecticut State University contracted the rare bacterial strain, which prompted this press release from the Connecticut Department of Health. While the risk is low, Dr. Tom McLarney, Medical Director at Davison Health Center, recommends students contact their primary care physicians over winter break to discuss possibly getting vaccinated against this strain (the Meningitis B vaccine is not one of the required immunizations at Wesleyan or most college campuses).
Read on for the full email that Dr. McLarney sent earlier this week:
Editor’s Note: This story is actively unfolding, and posts linked to in this article are being updated as more information becomes available. If you are upset or disturbed by this news and need support, please reach out to CAPS at (860) 685-2910 and alert the CAPS staff you are in need of a same day appointment. If you are unsure if your issue is a “crisis,” please contact CAPS to discuss.
After emailing Public Safety Director Scott Rohde at 2:11 PM, I received this update at 2:33 PM:
“Public Safety was in contact with MPD. It was determined there was no immediate risk to campus. The suspect is known to the police. No specific action was requested of Wesleyan by the police. The suspect was believed to have left the area going south, further distancing himself from campus. We choose to notify both child care centers on campus, and provided the information we had to the Physical Plant staff who work in the Long Lane area. I sent out a campus notice a few moments ago as an information item.”
At 5:31 PM today, Wesleyan sent out an email with the subject line “URGENT – Shelter in Place” to the campus. This occurred almost half an hour after many received weather alerts from various weather services on their phones, including the one in this tweet from WesWings:
Many students were surprised by the sudden appearance of the severe weather (this is Connecticut! We’re not supposed to get tornados in Connecticut!)(Except for when we do), as evidenced by the dozens of people I witnessed pour out into the Exley lobby to ogle at the strange-colored sky, high winds, and lightning. One of our editors captured this lightning strike from an upper floor window:
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.
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.