From the lovely Mira Klein ’17:
Come join Wesleyan Fossil Fuel Divest (soon to be renamed Students Against Fossil Fuels??? Who knows…help us decide) for our first meeting of the semester. This meeting is especially for ~new people~ because we are all old and want new friends! If you are interested in a) fossil fuel divestment, b) stopping pipeline infrastructure, c) not leaving our future in the hands of fascists, or d) love bothering Michael Roth…come hang out!
Check out these articles if you want to learn more about the cool stuff we have done in the past:
Date: Wednesday, February 8
Time: 9 PM
Place: University Organizing Center (190 High St.)
Students march to South College as part of ISTHISWHY Campaign
Content warning: This article discusses issues of sexual assault. Community and official support resources can be accessed here, here, and here.
This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.
For some reason, this post was not included in last year’s Unofficial Orientation Series, even though we had some major student activism occurring during the 2014-2015 school year. Before I link to some of that history and go more in-depth as to some actions occurring this past year, I want to start by quoting alt‘s incredibly well-written intro to the 2014 Rage Update:
Wesleyan Fossil Fuel Divest held an action directed at the board of trustees Friday evening. Students gathered in the UOC at 6pm to go over the details of the symbolic action, which would force the board of trustees to informally vote on divestment from fossil fuels.
The board, among other university administrators, were gathered in Allbritton for a naming ceremony for Wesleyan’s Jewett Center for Community Partnerships. Just as the ceremony was ending, demonstrators formed a semi-circle around the front of Allbritton with two openings, one marking a “yes” vote and the other a “no” vote. Board members gradually filtered out of Allbritton. Almost every single board member, including chairman of the board Joshua Boger ’73, walked through the “no” gap. Boger can be seen looking smug as hell here:
So what is the deal with our endowment?
Here’s some basics. As of June, our endowment rests at around $840 million. See this most recent endowment report. University endowments are accumulations of various assets that work to serve as “perpetual capital.” The yearly returns on these assets and investments, ideally, would cover all operating costs for the University for the academic year. For certain schools (corporations?) like Harvard and their $36 billion endowment, this is not a problem. But little old Wesleyan, for one administrative reason or another, has had to draw from the endowment for decades to help cover yearly operating costs. So naturally, we’ve been under pressure to offset that spending, which can be done in two major ways: fundraising (see entire ThisIsWhy campaign) and “better” investment of endowment assets. The latter of the two raises the question of where and how our investments are made, which have been the focus of numerous campus activist groups for some time.
Recall WesFest 2015. The Wesleyan Coalition for Divestment and Transparency staged a sit-in in President Roth’s office to push for divestment from the fossil fuel industry, the prison-industrial complex, and companies involved in the Israeli occupation, which members of the coalition saw as intersectional and inherently inseparable from one another.
Guys, here’s the deal. We’re all feeling really old again because 2014 is over now, and that’s what happens each time you celebrate another year having come and gone. But before we can settle into 2015, which a previous year tried to warn us about (????), it’s time for your annual Wesleying Year in Review. Frosh writers astag_rocky, Caro, and Jackson put together the ten biggest moments on campus (#tbt style), links to relevant Wesleying posts that help you brush up on each of those topics, and lots of fun honorable mentions.
Some really weird, interesting, amazing, magical stuff happens at Wes, and this post serves to remind us to take those memories with us as we go forward. (Looking at you, “New Year, New Me” people.)
Now, a disclaimer: Not everything that happened this year is covered because even with help, frosh only get some of the things right some of the times. Feel free to leave your personal favorite/weirdest/coolest Wesleyan moments in the comment section. Also, note that the events that do get covered are not placed in any particular order of importance or severity.
Read after the jump to see who wore it best.
(Image: Catherine Avalone, The Middletown Press)
You’ve now arrived on campus, and we hope that you find your time here enriching and transformative. In that hope, we feel that it would be ill-advised to allow you to not have at least a foundational understanding of the things that have forced us as a community into dialogue, disagreement, and action.
This is not to scare you or to give you a negative impression of the University. However, we are certain that most if not all of you were told about the “passion” that Wesleyan students have and the issues that we care about on campus are at the forefront of those passions. While there is certainly no requirement to take an activist stance on any of these issues and it is in fact easy to sink beneath the radar on these issues and all the others not covered here, we would plead with you to be engaged in the community that you are now a part of.
Read this, ask questions, and reach out to students and faculty that have been here before you. We hope that as you begin your time here, you fully invest yourself as a community member committed to making Wesleyan as good as it can be for you and for those after you. Caring about Wesleyan does not foreclose critique on Wesleyan and as you read this, and other things like it, we hope you understand that too.
So maybe you’re a freshman, nervous and overwhelmed by all the information coming at you about classes, housing, what to bring from home – and are feeling like you can’t even begin to think about bigger issues on campus. Or maybe you’re a senior and feel like you’ve gotten this far and never really involved yourself in any social/political engagement on campus, so now it’s way too late and where would you even begin if you wanted to. Wherever you might stand, activism at Wes can seem like a huge, widespread and unnavigable thing.
Thankfully, some very committed students are trying to change that sentiment and make activism within the Wesleyan world an approachable and cohesive community. This past week, the Disorientation Guide was released through the University Organizing Center site to bring together the wide-ranging issues affecting us into one document. The entire Disorientation zine can be downloaded here, and I strongly recommend that everyone take a look at it.
Student activism has led Stanford‘s Board of Trustees to vote to stop investing in coal-mining companies. This action is a significant step in the ever-growing fossil fuel divesment movement on campuses across the country.
In the growingly visible national conversation on sexual assault on college campuses, including a recently launched campaign by the White House to confront the issue, many local movements have been getting increasing attention.
Abby Cunniff ’17 is at it again.
****HEY PREFROSH!****(this is for you)
Are you concerned about the climate crisis? About communities affected
by the climate crisis or fossil fuel extraction? About the ecological
impacts of the climate crisis?
Come talk to the crazy passionate folk of Wes, Divest! in the Westco
courtyard on thursday at 3:30pm!
When: Thursday, April 17th. 3:30-5
Where: West College Courtyard
There are new developments from the ongoing controversy around President Roth’s denunciation of the American Studies Association’s recent resolution supporting the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Alums began circulating a still-growing petition earlier this month expressing support for the ASA decision and criticizing Roth for poor argument and hypocrisy.
Current Wes students, it seems, have followed suit. A separate petition has been making the rounds on email and social media in recent days and has already garnered over fifty signatures. Echoing the alumni declarations of support for the ASA’s boycott, the document also calls on the WSA to divest its own holdings from “companies that directly profit from or materially contribute to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories”.
If such a resolution is adopted, Wesleyan will be following a long and growing line of universities who have endorsed the BDS movement. Read the full text of the petition after the jump or sign here: