Sophie Massey ’15 is not tryna waste words right now (or time this Saturday):
Police brutality has been a growing problem in Middletown that people are dealing with every day. Come to express your support of a peaceful Middletown and hold police accountable. Meet at Union Park near Church and Main St.
Sponsored by RISE (Students of Color Resist Imprisonment for a Safer Existence).
Date: Saturday, May 11 Time: 1 p.m. Place: Union Park, near Church and Main St. Facebook:Event
About a month ago, in the aftermath of the megablizzard, Public Safety came under criticism for threatening to tow cars buried under mountains of snow that made it rather difficult for their owners to reach them. If retweets are endorsements, a handful of students echoed the complaint.
There’s not much that’s interesting about the history of Snow Parking Bans (side note: we’re more than midway through March and as I look out my window right now, it’s again snowing), but piecing through the Argives last week I was oddly enthralled by an Argus story that ran 30 years ago last month with the headline “100 Cars Towed as a Result of Snowstorm.” After this particular 1983 storm, Middletown Police Sergeant Wood was unforgiving: “If they’re not off streets, they’re towed. It’s as simple as that,” he told the Argus.
But as then-Argus reporter (and current literary agent) Linda Loewenthal ’85 tells it, the problem was that many students simply weren’t aware that the parking ban was in effect. Why would they be? In 1983, before email or Pinterest or Friendster or whatever, it was damn hard to get information out quickly on a college campus:
Yesterday, John Meerts, Wesleyan’s VP for Finance and Administration, sent an all-campus email with some sobering news, informing the community that an officer with Wesleyan’s Public Safety Department had been arrested for theft.
I spoke with Dave Meyer, Director of Public Safety, yesterday afternoon to clarify the situation, though our conversation was limited by the ongoing criminal investigation.
Meyer reported that he received information before Christmas regarding the thefts. Coordinating with the Middletown Police Department, Wesleyan began an investigation within two days that resulted in the recovery of a number of stolen items, at which point Wesleyan again contacted the police to have the individual arrested. The stolen items themselves—reported to be electronics and cameras—have so far consisted solely of administrative equipment, though there is the possibility that student property may be among the as-yet-unidentified possessions.
Declining to discuss the particulars of the tip or the discovery of the stolen material, Meyer stated that though the investigation was conducted internally, the school worked closely with the police department throughout.
“I don’t understand where they got it,” said Kyle Wright of Middletown. “I don’t know there’s any sheep in Middletown.”
A few weeks ago, a crew of Wesleyan students set about filming a horror movie in a foul-smelling abandoned house on River Road. Unbeknownst to them—or their director, Ethan Young ’13—the real horror lay in the black bags in the house containing entrails, fleece, and heads of 26 sheep and goats. Just another day in Middletown.
According to reports in the Courant, WSFB, andNBC Connecticut, it’s unclear how long the carcasses have been sitting at the abandoned property, but Connecticut’s Animal Control Division as well as the Department of Agriculture have been called in to investigate. The state’s veterinarian office has concluded that the bags were likely the renderings from a slaughter, which could bring about illegal dumping charges. In a video report on WFSB, a reporter nearly gags on scene while describing the putrid smell at the site:
The news reports claim that Wesleyan students called the police to report the awful stench. NBC Connecticutsuggests that the Wes kids actually discovered the carcasses. But when I contacted Ethan Young for details, that was the first he was hearing of the dead sheep.
As issues of race and diversity come to a head on campus, a disturbing account of a Public Safety assault on a student has emerged. As you may be aware, Paulie Lowther ’13 was found at the Freeman Athletic Center on Tuesday, October 30, and charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace. After being released from custody, Lowther, who is African-American, was diagnosed with a concussion.
Accounts of what transpired during the encounter vary.
According to the Hartford Courant, which sources its information from the police report, “Lowther tried to run away from public safety officers when found at 12:10 a.m.” Police say he appeared drunk when taken into custody. (Lowther says he was under the legal limit.) Public Safety claims he refused to identify himself and fled when found.
Wesleying Editor Zach Schonfeld ’13 visited Lowther’s house on Fountain earlier this week to get his side of the story.
According to Lowther, he was invited to a pool party in Freeman on the night of Tuesday, October 30th, which was during Hurricane Sandy. He entered through the side door, which had been propped open by the organizers of the party. When he arrived, other students were in the pool. Before joining them, he got in the sauna.
When in the sauna, “[he] heard a bunch of people yell ‘P-Safe’ and a lot of running.” He decided to not run. A female Public Safety officer arrived. Staying in the sauna, he told her his Wes ID number and that he was a student. The officer “said it didn’t match anything on file,” according to Lowther.
I just wandered around Main Street for a bit, and boy is it deserted. I mean, like, the desert deserted. Sorry for the shakiness of the photos; it is kinda windy.
In the 30 minute tour I just took of Main Street, ‘twixt rain and wind and leaves hitting me in the goddam face, I met not a single soul. Oh sure, there were a few lonely vehicles cautiously crawling hither and thither, but not one other deigned to trod gingerly down the dreary lane on foot like myself.
I have decided to rename Main Street, if only temporarily, as Desolation Aisle. Much like the oft-neglected pet-product aisle at the grocery store, Desolation Aisle seemed to offer delights on every side, but instead greeted me with harsh, unappetizing dimmed lights and locked doors.
“There has been a lot of transparency. There has been a lot of transparency.”
Wesleying wasn’t the only media outlet filming last Saturday’s need-blind protest, in which roughly 50 student activists stormed across the sidelines during the football game, waving a banner proclaiming “DIVER$ITY UNIVER$ITY?” and chanting that “everyone deserves to learn.” Recent grad Nemo Allen ’12, a video production fellow for independent global news hour Democracy Now!, was also at the ready. After filming the protest, Allen stuck around for interviews with engaged students, faculty, and one alumnus who was fiercely involved in the 1982 protests to preserve need-blind at Wesleyan.
But when Allen attempted to interview President Roth, he found himself caught in a bizarre confrontation with the camera still rolling. In the footage, the president walks away from Allen, turns around, insists that “there has been a lot of transparency,” pushes his face close to the camera, grabs Allen’s microphone, grins, continues walking, confronts a police officer, explains the situation, and is asked to return the microphone. (That is not a sentence I ever expected to publish on this blog.) My personal favorite exchange is probably “You have to give that back.” “I don‘t have to!”, but the part where Roth sticks his head into the lens is slightly more conducive to meme-tastic GIFs.
The footage aired towards the end of Democracy Now!’s program this morning. You can also watch it on YouTube (above) as a stand-alone segment. Here’s the full transcript, as narrated by DN! host Amy Goodman:
There are no less than four Middletown Police cruisers parked behind one suspicious looking vehicle on Church Street right outside the Rises. An officer is searching the vehicle, and there are three (civilian) people sitting on the ground by the cruisers (no handcuffs visible). There’s a K9 unit, and one of the dogs is barking incessantly. Some people are yelling rude things from a clearly identifiable apartment in Hi-Rise: “you in the uniform, you’re ugly! You suck!”
Memo: just because we have a sexuality magazine on campus doesn’t mean your hallmates want to be covertly photographed while taking a shower. A Wesleyan sophomore learned this unfortunate lesson today and was promptly arrested, according to a Public Safety alert fresh from your inbox:
At approximately 8:30 this morning, Public Safety and Middletown Police responded to a complaint from a student that another student had covertly taken pictures of her while she was in the shower. The alleged incident took place at a student residence on High Street. As a result of the investigation, the accused student was arrested by Middletown Police and has been removed from campus pending a judicial hearing.
Both Middletown Police and Public Safety consider this an isolated incident. The University is not releasing further details in order to maintain the privacy of the individuals involved. A report will appear on the Campus Climate Log later this week.
The Middletown Police Department’s Narcotics Unit along with the Special Investigations Unit initiated a warrant sweep to combat the quality of life issues in Middletown, specifically in the North End of the city where the sale of narcotics has severely diminished the quality of life for the Middletown citizens in that area.
In total the officers were looking to serve a total of 27 narcotic arrest warrants for 19 suspects. Eight of the warrants were for five people that were already incarcerated. A Habeas will be issued so that the warrants can be served in court.