Almost three years ago exactly, I showed up to my first Eclectic concert, as a wide-eyed, naive pre-frosh, a total stranger to the “college music scene.” There was loud, thrashy music coming from the ballroom, where a small crowd was gathered. While dancing wildly around with all these strange older cool college kids, I thought to myself, “Wow! I am actually doing this. I am a skinny, lanky dude moshing! And it feels great! And I should totally come here and do this more!” And the rest was, as they say, history.
Unless you shut yourself off from the world this past week, you probably read, or at least heard mention of, The Atlantic’s feature story on fraternities and their dangers, which highlighted Wesleyan University and Beta Theta Pi. The article explores the role of fraternities on campuses, especially in the crafting of party culture and the rise of sexual assault. The article is long, but well worth the read, and has reopened space for dialogue on these issues.
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:
Andrew Trexler ’14 writes in on a subject that has been unfortunately relevant on campus in recent weeks and months:
To the Wesleyan community:
As you are all (hopefully) aware, sexual violence continues in our community with a tragic and alarming frequency. In an effort to promote awareness of the importance of consent, we have launched what we are calling the Wesleyan Consent Pledge. The pledge is simple:
“I pledge to actively seek and obtain legitimate consent with any and all partners, to look after the safety and well-being of my peers, and to actively combat a culture of rape acceptance in my community.”
To date, over 500 Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have taken the pledge. We hope that every member of our community will take the pledge soon, and we hope that all will keep the pledge indefinitely.
I hope that you will join me in taking the Wesleyan Consent Pledge here.
Together, we can eliminate sexual violence in our community.
Here’s the link to the pledge.
As issues of race and diversity come to a head on campus, a disturbing account of a Public Safety assault on a student has emerged. As you may be aware, Paulie Lowther ’13 was found at the Freeman Athletic Center on Tuesday, October 30, and charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace. After being released from custody, Lowther, who is African-American, was diagnosed with a concussion.
Accounts of what transpired during the encounter vary.
According to the Hartford Courant, which sources its information from the police report, “Lowther tried to run away from public safety officers when found at 12:10 a.m.” Police say he appeared drunk when taken into custody. (Lowther says he was under the legal limit.) Public Safety claims he refused to identify himself and fled when found.
Wesleying Editor Zach Schonfeld ’13 visited Lowther’s house on Fountain earlier this week to get his side of the story.
According to Lowther, he was invited to a pool party in Freeman on the night of Tuesday, October 30th, which was during Hurricane Sandy. He entered through the side door, which had been propped open by the organizers of the party. When he arrived, other students were in the pool. Before joining them, he got in the sauna.
When in the sauna, “[he] heard a bunch of people yell ‘P-Safe’ and a lot of running.” He decided to not run. A female Public Safety officer arrived. Staying in the sauna, he told her his Wes ID number and that he was a student. The officer “said it didn’t match anything on file,” according to Lowther.
“Given the size of our campus and our openness to visitors, each of us must make a personal commitment to promote safety and security for ourselves and others.”
Good thing your usually paranoid WesParents were kept busy this weekend. Otherwise they might have heard through the grapevine about the inordinate number of P-Safe reports students received. Ranging from the awkward to the truly menacing, each report detailed an account of students approached at night by men, and all of them ended in shouting or physical confrontations. The first one, from Friday night (or Saturday morning, depending on how you operate), seems merely socially awkward:
Public Safety would like to inform the community that on Saturday 10/20/12 at 2:44am a female was walking on Church St and was approached by a male subject who put his arm around her and asked her to walk with him. The male removed his arm and tried to start a conversation with the student. Several other students walked by and the female walked away from the male and into the Exley Science Center. The male shouted out to her but did not follow her. The male then left the area and the student later notified Public Safety of the incident. The student was not injured and declined to speak with Middletown Police.
The student described the suspect as an African-American male, 5″ 6″ tall, medium build in, his late 20’s or early 30’s, short hair, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and carrying a backpack.