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.”
Video from the event is here.
Last night, hundreds (by my count, 400+) students, faculty, and staff piled into Beckham Hall for what became an over-three-hour long panel/discussion on issues of diversity and community at Wesleyan. By the end, as the clock approached 11:00 PM, there were still at least 200 attendees remaining. By all accounts, the forum was an immensely powerful and public out-letting of emotion and outrage at our community’s collective failings to address intense ruptures in Wesleyan’s identity as “Diversity University.”
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sonia Manjon moderated the discussion, leading a panel that included President Michael Roth ’78, Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer, students Jalen Alexander ’14, Dorisol Inoa ’13, Chantaneice Kitt ’13, and Evan Okun ’13, Professor Alex Dupuy and Professor Elizabeth McAlister. The original intent of the forum was to address diversity in light of recent events, most notably hateful and racist comments on the ACB after Homecoming Weekend, the use of race in Public Safety reports, and allegations of unnecessary use of force by Public Safety, but the conversation touched on many, many more areas of community dysfunction.
There were a few things that were made amply clear to everybody last night, if they weren’t clear already:
From the super awesome Izzy Rode ’14:
Join us for a community forum about the racial climate on campus in the wake of offensive ACB posts, the recent Public Safety alerts, and incidents of racial profiling and brutality.
The forum will feature a panel of speakers:
President Michael Roth
Public Safety Director David Meyer
Chantaneice Kitt ’13
Dorisol Inoa ’13
Evan Okun ’13
Jalen Alexander ’14
Professor Liza McAlister
Professor Alex Dupuy
This event will be moderated by Wesleyan’s Chief Diversity Officer. Sonia Manjon. If you have any questions for the panel, please submit them here. The moderator will pose questions and concerns submitted anonymously, and field questions and concerns directly from the audience.
SEE YOU THERE.
Date: Monday, November 12
Place: Beckham Hall