Tag Archives: claire potter

“Teachers Are Not Soldiers”: Tenured Radical on Sandy Hook, Wesleyan Shooting

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, should teachers be armed?

One week after the Newtown shooting, the NRA has ended its social media blackout and the national gun policy debate is as bitter as it’s ever been. Thousands of Americans are demanding gun control now, and if you’re reading Wesleying, chances are you agree. But on the gun-owning side of the lobby—the sort of people who follow NRA’s Twitter account in the first place—conservatives demand the opposite: more guns, more concealed carry, more self-defense. (Don’t believe these people are real? Read a few NRA Facebook comments. Go ahead; I’ll wait.) In one heated exchange, Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America appeared on Piers Morgan and suggested that gun control advocates are responsible for the massacre. “Since we have concealed carry laws in all of our country now, people can get a concealed firearm,” Pratt argued. “And yet, we have laws that say not in schools.”

Should teachers be armed in the classroom? Could guns in school have saved the lives of 20 children and six teachers? Should America combat guns with—err, more guns?

Over at Tenured Radical, in a post titled “Teachers Are Not Soldiers,” Professor Claire Potter has a response for the pro-gun lobby. In a phrase: “Uh, no.”

Professor Potter describes learning about the Sandy Hook massacre after having just read Jeffrey Goldberg’s December Atlantic piece in favor of more guns. The bulk of her argument revolves around an experience at Wesleyan following the shooting of May, 2009, when a gunman remained on the loose after murdering Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 in Red & Black Cafe. Wesleyan’s campus went into lockdown, and Potter waited for hours in the Center for the Americas:

A Decade Without Chalking, Part Three: An Interview with Claire Potter

The Tenured Radical reflects on Bennet’s moratorium, student activism, and the meaning of chalking today.

Wesleying’s multi-part retrospective on the 2002 chalking moratorium continues with a faculty perspective: a conversation with Claire Potter, Professor of History and American Studies at Wesleyan from 1991–2011.

In the wake of President Bennet’s moratorium announcement in October, 2002, Wesleyan faculty from across the disciplines spoke up to register their views. Some authored a Wespeak supporting the ban, arguing that the “free exchange of ideas . . . is not facilitated by the hostile, racist, or sexually explicit slogans” reportedly contained in chalkings. Others expressed dissent, culminating in a 44-8 faculty vote asking Bennet to overturn the moratorium. Perhaps no faculty member, though, argued for free speech as forcefully and passionately as Professor Potter.

According to the Argus, just before the vote, she spoke up at a faculty meeting on chalking:

Chair of the American Studies Program Claire Potter also spoke at length to the faculty. She cited the Constitution and Bill of Rights as upholding free speech and said the 1st Amendment of the Constitution also holds true for obscenity.

“No one has the right not to be offended,” Potter said. [ . . . ] Addressing some of the comments from faculty members who viewed the chalkings as an inept way of expressing themselves and talk of helping students better express their views, Potter asserted that it is not the faculty’s place to interfere with student expression.

“The End of Multiculturalism and the Persistence of Racism”

Ethnic Studies Week proudly presents keynote speaker Dr. Vijay Prashad, academic badass:

Professor of International Studies and Chair in South Asian History at Trinity College, Vijay Prashad is the author of 11 books, including The Darker Nations (2007), Keeping up with the Dow Joneses (2003. Two of his books, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2002), and The Karma of Brown Folk (2000) were chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year.

He will be coming to Wesleyan October 3rd to speak on “The End of Multiculturalism and the Persistence of Racism,” as part of Ethnic Studies Week. There will be a quick Q&A session afterward, and food and refreshments will be provide. We hope to see you there!

This event is sponsored by the Adelphic Educational Fund.

  • Date: October 3rd (tomorrow!)
  • Time: 8pm
  • Place: Allbritton 311 (top floor
  • Cost: He’s a Marxist

Claire Potter Shows Us How it’s Done

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a couple of articles on long-distance interviews.  As with pretty much every other industry, institutions of higher education are now conducting fewer face-to-face interviews than ever.  Instead, they’re increasingly using telephone calls and even Skype.  As many of us already know, not all faculty members are at ease with modern technology, so a Skype conference call can be a nerve-wracking challenge.  Not for tech-savvy Claire Potter, however, who blogs over at Tenured Radical:

Claire Potter, a professor of history and American studies at Wesleyan University, was thinking along those lines [the lines of being aware of what’s in the background—and using that to your advantage] when she had a Skype interview in February for a dean’s position. “I set the scene as if I were on the Lehrer NewsHour,” she says. “I assembled a group of books from my research and put them right behind me.” She also wore a button-down shirt, a jacket, and some earrings, but since the camera only pictured her only from the waist up, she could wear her comfortable blue jeans.

So seniors, you know who to go to be like a boss.  Good luck trying to get the internet to work if you have a Skype interview on campus though.


The Person You Think You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence

This should be interesting. FOX News comes to Wesleyan in the form of a corporate-sponsored forum on relationship violence.

Brought to you by the Hartford Courant, FOX News CT, and Wesleyan University:

“The Person You Think You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence”

Almost half of college students have experienced abuse in a relationship, according to a 2008 study. Abuse can range from cyber-stalking to beatings and rape. Four experts will look at relationship violence on campuses, how to recognize danger signs and get help.

The four panelists will be:

  • Jaclyn Friedman ’93, a performer and co-editor of Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (check out her recent article on the topic and the Yes Means Yes blog)
  • Connie J. Kirkland, director of sexual assault services at George Mason University in Virginia and a national expert on campus stalking
  • Janet Peckinpaugh, a broadcast journalist who has been a victim of stalking and domestic violence
  • Claire Potter, professor of American studies here at Wesleyan University, whose research includes the study of violence against women

The panel will be moderated by Laurie Perez, of FOX News CT.

Don’t let the scare tactics in the title throw you off. I think this is going to be a really interesting opportunity to hear different perspectives on violence on college campuses, of which there are, unfortunately, far too many examples. The effectiveness of our university’s sexual assault prevention and response policies have been called into question by students and alumni as of late, and it’s worth it as members of this community to weigh in. Changes in administrative policy would affect huge numbers of our campus’ population. That’s just my two cents.

Date: TOMORROW, Tuesday April 27
Time: 6 – 7:15 pm
Place: Beckham Hall

Professors on the Election

Several of our professors have been called upon by the mainstream media in the past few weeks to talk about the election:

  • Anthropology/AFAM Professor Gina Ulysse on Michelle Obama as an exceptional model of a professional black woman in the Hartford Courant.
  • Psychology Professor Scott Plous on how biases affect perception, as evidenced in this year’s election season, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Government Professor Elvin Lim and History/American Studies Professor Claire Potter suggesting what President-elect Obama should add to his reading list, in Inside Higher Ed.