When the three trans* activists charged with participating in the direct action campaign against gender segregated bathrooms last month went before the SJB on Wednesday, they didn’t go alone. Alongside them stood more than 40 of their friends and allies who packed the lobby of North College in a display of solidarity and support. This energetic but civil crowd included students, professors, and even two supporters from New Haven who had read about the hearing on the Internet and drove up to condemn the University’s response to the actions.
The official SJB protocol allows those accused to invite witnesses to give testimony. Many of those assembled at North College had prepared statements wherein they intended to creatively ‘bear witness’ to the injustice of the proceedings, while refusing to give incriminating testimony in direct relation to the events themselves. In effect, supporters successfully staged a sort of filibuster of the hearing which ultimately lasted a grueling 4.5 hours.
Aside from the massive display of solidarity, which over the course of the afternoon transformed the North College lobby into a temporary encampment of snoozing, snacking, card-playing, homework-doing, carpet-lounging supporters, many things about the proceeding were irregular. For one, the administration had stationed a particularly burly PSafe officer to stand guard at the door. Furthermore, Dean Scott Backer insisted on being present throughout the hearing, the questioning, and the witness testimonies. Reports from inside indicate that he repeatedly interrupted or attempted to cut short the witness testimonies, and at one point threatened to table the hearing entirely despite the fact that dozens of witnesses were assembled outside waiting to testify.
The Middletown May Day Committee writes in with your daily dose of revolutionary direct action:
The long chill of winter has lifted and spring is stirring in our hearts. Join us this May Day (Wednesday, May 1st), as we joyously take to the streets in a roving festival of resistance!
In a world where vacant land stands idle while countless go without food or shelter, we will reclaim space from private interests and cultivate it in service of our community. Come together at 10:30 AM on Washington and Pearl to help revitalize a community garden that is under threat from the proposed strip mall construction.
In a world where learning and knowledge is greedily hoarded behind the high walls of the ivory-tower academy, we will gather to learn democratically and accessibly. Join us at 2:30 at Middlesex Community College for a May Day Teach-in featuring speakers from the War Resisters League and the Middle East Crisis Committee. A group bike ride will be meeting outside 190 High St, the UOC, at 1:45 to bike to the Community College. A van from the Wesleyan Office of Community Service will be available at Parking Lot C on Church St, leaving at 2:15 and returning at 3:50.
Yesterday, at 1:20, concerned students met to plan an action to communicate the importance of need-blind admissions to the Board of Trustees, who were on campus this weekend for an official retreat. At 6:30, the meeting was reprised, with an extra dose of urgency: “Nobody has this covered; it’s not being taken care of by someone else. It’s just us, your classmates and neighbors, and as many of you can make it.” At noon today, students gathered outside of Usdan, wearing red and finishing up a banner while some brandished cameras. By 12:30, they were in a trustees’ meeting—telling them directly that students want to be included in the conversation.
The video at the top of this post includes much of the climax of the action; after the majority of students ended up going to the Daniel Family Commons, some unfurled the aforementioned banner—reading “BRING US INTO THE CONVERSATION”—outside the meeting room, while others attempted to enter. Public Safety guarded the main entrance while students sat in the open doorway, but a small group bypassed and made it inside the meeting, where they spoke to concerns about need-blind admissions and decision-making transparency.
Watch the video yourself to form your own take on the Board members’ responses to the latest installment in, as one trustee put it, Wesleyan students’ “long and storied” history of entering closed-door meetings. Because legendary camera operator Ben Doernbeard ’13was… held up at the door, the first couple minutes of conversation with the trustees are hard to catch, but a good portion of it is audible—turn up the volume, just to be sure.
Check out photos of the action (courtesy of our very own wieb$) on Facebook, or click past the jump to see them here, along with a couple extra shots of the banner by Zach.
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to contribute to the Need-Blind campaign? Do you have hands? Then come to the Exley lobby Friday at 2:30pm to help turn 12 yards of felt into 2,800 red squares raising awareness about Need-Blind! You can stay for five minutes or for five hours (although we’ll be long gone by then).
Red squares are a worldwide symbol of accessible education; here at Wesleyan students have been writing their own messages about Need-Blind in black sharpie (school colors dontcha know).
We’ll provide the red felt, some safety pins and a few sharpies, but we could really use more safety pins and sharpies.
See you at 2:30,
Some people who might not be here without Need-Blind.
Was this sent in by Maxwell Hellmann ’13, or Llama Lawman Hex Kelvin ’13? I can never tell with these things. Anyway:
You’re a good person. You don’t want your WesWings paycheck to help fund mortgage fraud or foreclosures, but you have to keep your money somewhere. Every time you hit the Usdan Bank of America ATM you know you should feel guilty or something, but what choice do you have? Well, you can join the Community Banking Working Group, and help to make ethical banking easier for the Wesleyan community!
Come to PAC 104 at 5:15pm on Thursday, February 16th to find out more (and eat snacks). Hear how instead of paying for investment bank bonuses, the Wesleyan community can use local banks and credit unions, keeping our money in Middletown and supporting local residents and businesses. It will take some work, but it’s absolutely doable, and you can help!
1. Organize a Bank Transfer day, where students can make the move to community banking
2. Replace the Bank of America ATM on campus with an ATM from a community bank
3. Convince the Wesleyan administration to move its money from Bank of America to community banks
Welcome back, nerds. I wish to take this occasion to welcome you into a Joyous New Apocalyptic Year of 2012, one which probably no longer feels very New at all. It’s just more school. School’s a drag. Also, the whole 2012 thing is bullshit. Regardless, we carry on with classes starting tomorrow, and I’m totally gonna get trashed December 21st regardless. I hope you understand.
Anyway. You might recall last semester’s announcement that students were planning a student forum on the subjects of direct action and radical social theory, inspired by the recent Occupy movement and what was seen as a lack of institutional attention to alternative social theory. Using a syllabus based on the one anthropologist David Graeber drew up to teach a course on the same subject, we’re planning on having the participants themselves teach the course – each week, students will put together a discussion of the reading, viewing, and other material everyone will be engaging with.
Interested? Do one or both of the following: a) Show up to the interest and application meeting tomorrow, Thursday, at 7 PM in the UOC, where we’ll discuss our vision for the course and give out the application questions for all those interested. b) Contact someone involved in the planning of the forum – say, Jon Lubeck ’14 (jlubeck at wesleyan dot edu), Dan Fischer ‘11.5 (dlfischer at wes), or Maxwell Hellmann ’13 (mhellmann at wes) for more information and an app, when it’s ready.
Date: Thursday, January 26 Time: 7 P.M. Place: UOC (190 High St., in between Beta and Eclectic)
Click through for a little more information about applying:
Happy Monday afternoon, studentfolk. For any of you looking to next semester in a desperate attempt to avoid paying much attention to the current one, you might be interested in the news to follow.
About a week ago, Maxwell Hellmann ’13 and Dan Fischer ‘11.5 sent out an email message asking if students might be interested in a course concerning direct action, activism at large, and the radical social theories associated with both. The idea seemed popular and many students expressed interest, especially in light of all that OccuPie stuff you may have heard about this semester.
At the moment, students are planning on basing much of the course off of a syllabus by the anthropologist and anarchist David Graeber, who taught a graduate seminar in “Direct Action and Radical Social Theory” his final semester at Yale.
To da best of my knowledge, this student forum is likely going to be taught under the official banner of the Anthropology department, though what makes up the bulk of the course is largely to be determined. Want to have a hand in that? Just interested in seeing if this is a course you might want to take? Skeptical that “direct action” even qualifies as action? Check out the meeting tonight – as numerous and wide a range of voices as possible would be appreciated.
Date: Today’s Date Time: 11 P.M. Place: UOC (190 High St., twixt Beta and Eclectic)
If you’re interested in a little more background or logistical information, click past the jump.