Wesleyan isn’t really known for its athletics, despite our sports teams being pretty good. (I think… why–when I know nothing about sports–do I keep doing this?) This year’s scheduling probably isn’t helping matters: homecoming has been conveniently scheduled during fall break. In any case, in honor of tomorrow’s homecoming game against Amherst, wherever you are to experience/ignore it, here’s a look into Wes Football’s (pretty embarrassing) early history, including a spectacular 136-0 loss to Yale and a triumphant 26-0 win… against New Haven High School.
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.
Leafing through the Argus archives earlier this month for information on past WSA presidents, my comrade A-Batte happened upon this bodaciously amusing nugget from a “University Convocation” in the fall of 1975.
On Thursday, September 4, President Campbell gave a thirty-seven-minute address, during which he called for a reevaluation of the grading system and noted that “diversity and innovation were ‘expensive qualities’ that Wesleyan may no longer be able to afford” (sound familiar?). Apparently Campbell also called for the establishment of a generalization requirement (sup, gen-eds) and a “coordinated multi-disciplinary program for freshmen” (spell check seems to want to make that “mulch-disciplinary”).
No, not in 2000. The article’s from 1992, when Al Gore was the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the headline refers to the elder Bush, then running for reelection. If you’re confused as to why Gore would bother campaigning in the middle of Connecticut, consider that this was 1992; the red/blue state divide as we know it today wasn’t quite in place, and Connecticut swung right for Bush in 1988 and for Reagan in both 1984 and 1980.
So, on October 30, 1992, the VP candidate made his way to the relatively new Freeman Athletic Center, where he spoke for 35 minutes, “mostly criticizing President Bush, but also highlighting the ticket’s stance on the environment, healthcare, jobs and the Head Start program.” According to the piece, Gore spent the bulk of his speech attacking Bush in light of claims that the president knew about and was involved in the 1986 Iran-Contra Scandal. (Why these charges didn’t play a greater role in the election, I can’t say.)
“The Argus was also cited as a possible instigator for suggesting to one freshman early in the evening that a riot would be useful for filling up extra space in its pages.”
If you’re in Clark tonight, take a minute and pour out a water bottle on the north stairwell. Maybe pour out a whole handle of water. It’s the least you can do to commemorate the ferocious water fight that raged in the dorm on the night of Sunday, September 30, 1962—50 years ago tonight.
According to a story on the front page of the October 2 Argus, the commotion began around 10:30, shortly after President Kennedy’s address concluded on television, when “hoots and gobbles flung from the upper floors of Clark were met with blasts from record players and sirens.” Twenty minutes later, about 75 freshmen banded together and began the historic Siege of Clark as upperclassmen cheered from the library terrace. (Note that Clark only years later became an all-frosh dorm.) Meanwhile, a dean of students “watched grimly as Jim Dooney ’63 tried to comfort him with remarks to the effect that ‘it can’t last much longer,’ as water, wastebaskets, soggy toilet paper, and foul screams continued to rock the sandstone walls of Clark Hall.”
“Please, pick up your mail Anna, you’re missing so many great events.”
On Monday, our investigative report on the new WesBox squeeze (in short, a number of students are now sharing mailboxes but were never informed—oops) touched off a controversy in the comments. For some, it’s a basic privacy issue. “A lot of sensitive things come through the mail,” a mailbox-sharer argued. “There is a reason why mailboxes come with locks on them instead of remaining open cubbyholes.” For others, it’s hardly worth bitching about. “The envelope is surprisingly effective at securing privacy as is,” wrote one commenter. Finally, one irate alumnus huffily pointed out what may not be obvious to current students: in the Dark Ages before Usdan, everyone shared a mailbox. And everyone was happy about it, because Clinton was president and there was no Twitter or Pinterest or WesDicks or whatever to bitch about it on. Right?
But one potential issue has gone unstated: what if your boxmate never picks up hir fucking mail?
In a Wespeak published October 6, 2006 (only a year before Usdan forever changed the Wesbox Industrial Complex), Stephen Morris ’07 illustrates the frustrations of sharing a mailbox with a neglectful party. In fact, he publicly urges his boxmate, Anna Mendes ’10, to check out all the mail she’s missing:
Handler: “I’m aware of the fact that I’m a semi-pretentious liberal arts student. I don’t think anything I feel is terribly important to anybody else.”
Continuing our recent slew of notable alumni coverage (never change, Das Racist, Joss Whedon ’87, bear-fighting Vermont governor Peter Shumlin ’79), here’s one I recently stumbled upon in the archives. On February 21, 1992, The Argus profiled a student poet, a senior at the time from California. His name was Daniel, and he had made it to the Connecticut Students Poet reading. He even skipped his Chaucer class to save his raspy voice. Today, he is Daniel Handler ’92—or Lemony Snicket, as the case may be.
Tickets to Justice Scalia’s Hugo Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression went on sale this past Thursday, and what a madhouse it was: tickets were snatched up in minutes, and the real debate ought to concern whether or not more than 175 seats should have been reserved for students. (As one disgruntled commenter opined: “Students should have been allotted at least half of the tickets. We go here.” I can understand the need for quotas, but in terms of numbers I can also strongly concur.)
I posted that Scalia, whose lecture will be simulcast all ’round campus, is the first Supreme Court justice to speak at Wesleyan in recent memory. By which I apparently meant 19 years: turns out the late Justice Harry Blackmun gave the second Hugo L. Black in Crowell Concert Hall on January 27, 1993—one week after Bill Clinton took the oath of office (Blackmun expressed open optimism) and three days after Thurgood Marshall succumbed to heart failure (Blackmun conveyed great sadness).
The Hugo L. Black Lecture series was initiated by Leonard S. Halpert ’44 in the early 1990s; Blackmun’s speech was the second such lecture. Scroll on for extensive Argus coverage of the speech.
“As the din of war gradually subsides on the campus and vague and various rumors float about, it may not be out of place to look a few weeks into the future and prophesy a bit about the athletic situation.”
It’s the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour (sort of) of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year. It’s also the 93rd anniversary of Armistice Day, on which the Allied powers made peace with Germany in Compiègne, France, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the—well, 1918.
I clawed through the Argus archives seeking the volume on that day, or week, wondering how the news reverberated in Harriman Hall or the Alumni Gymnasium. What I found was different: with few exceptions, it appears the Argus did not print regular volumes in the fall of 1918, I assume as a wartime-related measure. (Wes historians or alums, feel free to correct me.) There was, however, a December 13 issue, featuring a sort of apology for the slow publishing schedule:
“It’s a costly idea and I don’t think that many people are going to bring their laptops to the library because when you’re doing research, it’s faster to just write your notes with a pencil and paper, to keep up with your thoughts.”
If you’re reading this in Olin or SciLi (on a personal, laptop computer, no less), pump your fist in the air and jump up and down. This week (or last, close enough) marks the tenth anniversary of a seemingly indispensable tool: wireless internet in the libraries. “Anyone with a laptop equiped [sic] with a Cisco wireless network card can bring their computer to Olin or the Science Libraries and access the internet,” reported contributing writer Emily P. 05 on November 2, 2001. The wireless speed ran at 11 megabytes per second, “compared to the Ethernet’s 10 Mbit connection.” Too bad the wireless card cost freaking $125 at the computer store.
The article is packed with student testimonies—and they’re almost unanimously skeptical of the development (and the cost of the card). What makes it especially worth the skim is the quotes from students who can’t possibly fathom that wireless internet is useful in the library: