From the activist folks you love/hate/ignore (or love to hate, hate to ignore, and ignore to love?):
The Board of Trustees is on campus this weekend, and their Executive Session is tomorrow (Sunday).
Following an open community meeting this evening, we have decided to gather outside Usdan tomorrow at 12:00 PM to communicate to the Board that Need-Blind matters to all students and call for increased transparency concerning the issue. We would like our voices to be heard, and show the administration that there are viable alternatives than those which have been implemented without student input.
While we recognize that need blind admissions is a complicated issue, we believe we have a vital obligation as students to demonstrate to the board of trustees and the administration that Need-Blind matters to students.
Happy “Why is Water on Everything Outside?” Day, dear readers.
Sunday’s informational and planning meeting concerning the upcoming need blind policy changetotally happened. To briefly summarize: the meeting began with a summary of the proposed rollback and the logic behind it, and was then followed by elaborations, connections, and a range of perspectives from students involved at the end of last semester. Then things transitioned into a brainstorming phase for potential routes of action, documented using the high-tech methods seen in the photo above. Afterwards, the group hashed out loose main categories – Outreach, Media, and Direct Action – under which future work should be divvied out. Each of these groups has a couple point people charged with coordinating those areas at the moment – for their contact information, or to find out how to get involved in general, click past the jump for the full post.
If you want to know exactly what was said, you might want to try watching (or just listening to)video of the meeting, recorded by established campus beardBen Doernberg ’13. Skip to 1:20 into the first video if, for some strange reason, you don’t want to hear several dozen people recite their names in rapid succession.
If you’d prefer to just read up, click through the jump for selections from the notes dutifully taken by Campus MenaceWesleying Zach ’13, information on how to get involved, and photos of a bunch of college kids sitting around a table on a Sunday night.
Did you know that President Roth has proposed to scale back need blind admissions?
Come learn about the proposed changes to need blind policy and discuss ways to ensure the student voice is heard on the matter. The student meeting, co-sponsored by the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) and the University Organizing Center (UOC), will be this Sunday, September 2 at 9pm in Usdan 108. Open to students from all class years, the meeting will be both informational and an opportunity to plan campus activism.
Date: Sunday, September 2 Time: 9:00 pm Place: Usdan 108 Facebook event: Link
A few months ago, before the explosion of discussion regarding Wesleyan’s need-blind policy, I posted an interview with Ben Foss ’95about financial aid-related student activism in 1991 and 1992. Specifically, Foss took leadership in a group calling itself SFAE (Students for Financially Accessible Education), which organized a series of protests against a proposal that wouldtake into account financial need when accepting students from the wait list. What began as a silent vigil and muted protest in 1991 erupted into a full-scale North College occupation in 1992.
In that interview, Foss described significant news coverage of the protests, including “a loud verbal argument with [former dean of admission and financial aid] Barbara-Jan Wilson on the steps of North College in front of TV cameras.” Naturally, I scourged the internets for that footage. Naturally, I came up empty. As far as I could tell, it was lost forever.
In case you haven’t gotten enough RothNews, here’s some more! Last Friday, June 8th, President Roth wrote a book review for the New York Times on College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, a book by Columbia University professor and 2011 National Humanities Medal recipient Andrew Delbanco. It discusses the history of American colleges and warns readers that higher education is increasingly becoming a privilege for the wealthy.
In his book, Delbanco claims that the “traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.” In Roth’s own words:
At a time when many are trying to reduce the college years to a training period for economic competition, Delbanco reminds readers of the ideal of democratic education.
Roth explains some aspects of this “ideal” by highlighting colleges’ original role in character formation and offering a communal learning experience to its students. In reiterating Delbanco’s points, Roth further claims that “the so-called meritocracy in admissions is increasingly an excuse for reproducing economic inequality” in today’s elite institutions.
When President Rothmet with concerned students last month regarding Wesleyan’s move away from need-blind admissions, he expressed a firm willingness to consider student proposals and hear out alternative solutions. In a provocative recent post on the WSA blog, President Zachary Malter ’13 accepts the challenge, calling on Roth to rise “beyond token transparency”—in short, to give students a legitimate voice in policy-making before finalizing any measures. At the heart of Malter’s proposal is the creation of a student task force—the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—to take on the role.
Malter begins by outlining Roth’s proposal, then articulating the core reasons so many oppose it: in short, “how can Wesleyan criticize and challenge socio-economic inequality, if its admissions policy reinforces that very inequality by offering an advantage to students from wealthier families?” The popular retort is that it is merely a “necessary evil,” that there is no better alternative. Malter, among others, is not so sure—in large part because the budgetary details have not been made available:
Whether there is more room for cost-savings and revenue generation that does not significantly compromise the quality of education remains an open question. President Roth claims that the administration has already made all the possible cuts of inessentials and has already explored all the possible revenue generating options. But what if students had the chance to brainstorm cost-saving measures and give direct budget input?