As more Division I athletes and their supporters call for payment for players and even consider unionizing, it raises the question of the purpose of college athletics and perhaps of institutions of higher education themselves. Is it exploitative for universities to profit off of their student-athletes if it is indeed to the detriment of their education, finances, and health? Are athletically-based admission and scholarships unfair – if so, for whom? – or are they a means of expanding college access and diversifying student populations?
In this session of Allbritton Talks, we’ll examine controversies surrounding Division I athletics while also pondering what compels us – as a University, as a society, and even as a species – to care about sports. Athletes, fans, and NARPs are all welcome. There will be pizza!
Date: Friday, March 27
Time: 12 – 1 PM
Place: Allbritton 311
Hello. President Michael Roth is about to give a talk in the Chapel. Which I checked this morning for Wifi. Update: It has Wifi. Thank god. And we’re giving our loyal readers a treat: Wesleying is drunk-sober-high live blogging Roth’s talk. p-safe will be sober. gettincrunkman will be drunk. giantepgoynte will be high. Hilarity shall ensue. Bye.
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.
In the growing movement of campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns, not everyone is on board. James Lawrence Powell has written a piece on why rejection of such policies is so problematic, inspired by recent dismissals of divestment action from the presidents of Brown and Harvard.
President Roth joined another university-led initiative on Thursday, when he attended a summit at the White House to promote greater accessibility to higher education. Along with 100 other universities and 40 non-profit groups, Roth discussed Wesleyan’s commitment to increase access to the university among historically underrepresented minorities.
“At the summit, I learned that ninety percent of low-income people who get their B.A. will move out of poverty,” said Roth. “Access to education truly has an effect on inequality.”
Wesleyan’s commitments are focused on low-income and first generation students, STEM minority students, and veterans. Most of these plans, some vaguer than others, are focused on enrolling students from these groups, but there is not much commitment to providing support for them once they are at Wesleyan (more about that here). Here is each proposal, broken down, with a lengthier discussion afterward:
1. Enroll more QuestBridge scholars in the coming years
QuestBridge is a scholarship program that matches high-achieving, low-income students with partner universities. Wesleyan pledges to bring in more QuestBridge scholars in the coming years, “more than doubling its earlier numbers.” There are approximately 30 Quest Scholars enrolled at Wesleyan every year, so an increase in Quest Scholars would mean more than 120 total.
Why are we in here and not out there? How can we reconcile the intellectual merits of the Academy with its role in perpetuating class divisions? What is the role of education in our daily lives and in society as a whole? Is struggling for need-blind enough, or do we need to go beyond offering “equal access” to alienating, repressive, and reactionary institutions?
If you’ve ever found yourself pondering these questions, this event on Saturday is a can’t-miss. Rumor has it a covert collaborator from inside the Wesleyan sociology department might make an appearance. Dan Fischer ’12 with the deets:
How can we defend our schools at the same time as we work to radically transform or even abolish them? This roundtable aims to find areas for collaboration between teachers’ union, student anti-austerity, deschooling, unschooling, horizontal pedagogy, and free school movements, among others.
12:00 – 12:30 Remarks by Daniel Long, Professor of Sociology
12:30 – 1:30 Schooling and Austerity: The Public School Dilemma
1:30 – 2:30 Unschooling: Opting Out and Overcoming Barriers to Access
or Resisting the Neoliberal Academy: Beyond Need Blind
2:30 – 3:30 The School-to-Prison Pipeline in CT
or Technology and Survelliance: Impacts on Schools
3:30 – 4:00 Open Discussion
“If we want to abolish prisons, then in a sense we’re going to have to abolish schools in the way they currently reproduce the prison and disciplinary technologies.” -Angela Davis
A few weeks ago, a former Wesleyan student filed suit against the University, as well as the national Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, its Mu Epsilon chapter here at Wesleyan, and the Baird Society that owns the building and grounds occupied by Mu Epsilon. In a nutshell, the suit alleges that the University and the other parties did not take sufficient action to prevent the rape of the former student at a Halloween Party at Beta in October of 2010. The coverage of this lawsuit, by Wesleying and by local and national news sources, involves a Brobdingnagian array of diverse but connected issues. I’m going to try to touch on as many as I can. I will inevitably sound preachy at particular points, and for that I apologize in advance.
I really hope that these statements are unnecessary, but here goes: sexual assault, like pretty much any kind of assault, is problematic and unacceptable. The environment in which sexual assault remains possible is likewise problematic and unacceptable.
This post attempts to make those things a little bit clearer, comments on the subject in light of recent events, and includes many of my own opinions tying this particular issue to broader and equally terrifying patterns of college/youth/generational/human attitude that underlie the culture of permissible rape. This post is long. You should read it anyway.
Let’s start with some facts:
- Millions of rapes occur every year, both forcible (as noted in the image above) and non-forcible. The vast majority are perpetrated by men against women, though still significant numbers of rapes are perpetrated by women against men and by men against men or women against women.
- About one in four women will be subject to a sexual assault in their lifetimes. About one in six men will be subject to the same. [United States Department of Justice]
- About one in five women at a college or university will be subject to a sexual assault during their years at school.
- A 1991 study found that 76% of boys and 56% of girls in high school believe that forced sex is acceptable under certain conditions. These “certain conditions” typically included ‘if those involved had been dating for at least six months’ and/or ‘if he spent a lot of money on her.’ [Parrot & Bechhofer, 1991]
- Sexual assault survivors are typically acquainted with the perpetrator beforehand, oftentimes being friends or even in a long-term relationship.
- Both individuals have typically consumed alcohol or other substances (about three in four perpetrators and one in two survivors). [Abbey et al., 1998]
- In most studies, large percentages of survivors interviewed that described an incident meeting the study’s definition of rape would not themselves term the incident as rape.
Do you desire…holistic training for the mind, body, and spirit? Do you excel…in the art of extreme creepiness? Are two heads…better than one? Are you…
Monsters University (MU), “famously located” near Monstropolis, appears to be quite the legit institution. As Chloe Murtagh ’15, who sent me the link, said, “Wow, their website is better than ours!” But in case you’re wondering: no, this is not a parody of Wesleyan specifically. The “Go MU!” and “Show Your Pride” boxes on the homepage above are anything but Wesleyan. A little deceptive, of course, since that athletic field is so reminiscent of Corwin Stadium.
The robust college website is a promotion for Monsters University, a prequel to everyone’s favorite Monsters, Inc. While the film was originally set to come out this November, it’s been pushed back all the way to June 21, 2013. In it, we are taken ten years back in the lives of protagonists Sulley and Mike, to when they first meet and are members of the same frat. In a classic tale of frenemiehood, they start off as rivals before becoming (as anyone who watched the first film knows) BFFs.
The similarities between the Wesleyan and Monsters University sites can be quite detailed, at least in structure. Take, for example, the “At a Glance” pages:
The word “dip” is typically getting a bad rep these days, what with it being operationalized quite prominently as the characterizing descriptor of the pessimistic trend we see permeating across a variety of economic/societal indicators. This, unfortunately, overshadows the other glorious attachments of the word: “guacamole-,” “-shit,” “a – in the pool,” and something presumably offensive as utilized in Urban Dictionary to describe the reverse cowgirl.
This recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, quite unsurprisingly, may give us yet another opportunity to further scorn the word. However, it would behoove us to reassess the validity of this almost reflexive inferential outcome, as the situation described by the new Council of Graduate Schools report may not exactly be a bad thing – at least, for some of us (for example, the some of us who are genuinely interested into going into academia as a calling, among others).
The major findings are as follows:
Photo credit: New York Magazine
A couple of weeks ago I posted a brief comment regarding libertarian, entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s mission to rip the universal fabric of higher education’s importance to education, job prospects, and the rate of winning at life.
It comes, I think, at the spear’s tip of an emerging wave of skepticism over whether or not whippin’ out around $200,000 for a college education (or incurring the Wrath of Debt in that magnitude) is worth the investment. There seems to be a steadily rising number of popular written material on this issue in the past couple of months, and only time can tell whether the raised awareness of it all will ultimately change things before American society hits some sort of economic pressure point and explodes.
And while most of these writings say generally the same things (like this whole university thing is a bubble like the housing thing was, kids don’t actually learn shit in school, etc. etc.), this recent article in New York Magazine – entitled “The University has no Clothes” – has particular appeal enough to warrant a Wesleying post for three reasons.
- It engages the Peter Thiel Project from a different angle.
- It comes with the above picture of naked people.
- And it has the following quotation:
“People come back to me,” he (James Altucher, a subject of the article) says over lunch at a crowded restaurant in Union Square, “very smart, intelligent people, and say, ‘Look, college teaches you how to think, college teaches you how to network, college teaches you how to write.’ Personally, I didn’t learn how to do any of those things in college.” What Altucher learned to do in college, he says, is what all young men—“with almost no exceptions”—learn to do: drink and talk to women.
According to the sloths we here at Wesleying hired to research the tastes and preferences of our readers, these are precisely the things that appeal to you folks. For the article, click here.
Happy Hangover Holiday!