“The numbers are always underwritten by the real struggles against classism and the impactful activism of low-income students.”
[Updated 1/24/17, 9:45AM] The infographic has the minimum wage at Wesleyan listed as $9.60. This was the wage for 2016, but the state of Connecticut raised the wage to $10.10 effective Jan. 2017. Many thanks to Noah Kahan ’19 for catching this.
For countless cycles of matriculation, prospective Wes students have been concerned about our reputation on College Confidential. TBT amirite? This worry soon goes away (hopefully), for a variety of reasons. Despite our Forbes ranking of #9 in the country last year, I’d say most of us still don’t put much stock in college rankings.
The Forbes ranking system focuses on present value and return on investment. Basically, they tend to prioritize student satisfaction rates and alumni earnings, among other things. This system countered US News’ prioritizing of prestige measures like endowment size and “quality” of applicant pool (think SAT scores). In a similar vein to Forbes, the New York Times just released a host of rankings based on, you know, what you can actually expect to gain (financially) from college. Their rankings were released last Wednesday and focus on measures of upward mobility.
The rankings come from a study by The Equality of Opportunity Project in which the authors construct what they call “mobility report cards” for every single college in America. These report cards tracked student and parental income data from 1999-2013. The Times published some great interactive data visualizations from the study, searchable by college. As you can tell from the headline, we were curious about how Wesleyan stacked up. Let’s break it down:
A NYT photo of a Stanford party from outside.
Wesleyan is no stranger to out-of-touch New York Times journalists writing about ~campus life~. In March of 2015, Tatiana Schlossberg (JFK’s granddaughter) wrote an absurd piece about trying to investigate the drug scene at Wesleyan. In 2003, now-fancy-and-serious NYT Correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a piece on WestCo, “The Naked Dorm,” about “how one well-choreographed rite of passage from high school to college life went unexpectedly awry.” In 2007, bizarrely, they also published a fashion shoot of Wesleyan students wearing designer clothes.
While Wesleyan has mostly avoided coverage this fall (though MRoth hasn’t), today the NYT is at it again, with a simultaneously laughable and unsettling piece about responses to college drinking and sexual assault across the country. While both alcohol consumption and especially sexual violence on campuses (and elsewhere) is indeed a big deal, journalistic coverage of these phenomena tends to be stilted and ridiculous. Much can probably be said about this coverage, and how it fits in to broader patterns of cultural representations of college students. For now, though, I’ll let the article speak for itself, after the jump:
What’s a young reporter to do when he’s assigned to investigate a newspaper drug scene after a series of overdoses? Try to blend in. astag_rocky realized recently that it’s harder than one might think.
Late last month, 10 New York Times writers were hospitalized for drug overdoses, and a few days later, five employees were arrested on drug-related charges.
As I’ve passed the New York Times building several times in a cab, and have known several people who have written for the Times, my editors decided I should go up to New York, New York to see what I could find out about the drug scene. Since I have an I.D. that says I’m 24, and can grow a beard long enough to plausibly pass for a current Times writer, my editors realized I was the perfect person to gauge reactions from various Times employees and random people passing by on the street.
Paying tuition never looked so bucolic
Please put your iPhone back in your Patagonia sweatshirt pocket for a second. Apparently it’s time to rethink the idea that the Wesleyan student body is entirely made up of students from upper-class families, at least according to new data from the New York Times. In conjunction with an article on colleges recruiting from an increasingly diverse set of economic backgrounds, the Times has published a chart comparing the economic diversity of various schools. And Wesleyan has come out at number 13 on the list.
The chart ranks colleges according to a College Access Index, which is based on the percent of the past few freshman classes who came from low-income families (measured by the share receiving a Pell grant) and on the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families. The data states that 18% of freshman classes arriving 2012-14 have received Pell grants, and that the average cost for low- and middle-income students is $8,700 a year. This gives Wesleyan a College Access Ranking of 1.5, putting us below Amherst and above Williams, for reference.
This past Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities. The 6-to-2 ruling allows for the passage for similar measures in seven other states. The New York Times has an informative set of infographics showing the effects of such bans on affirmative action for minorities throughout the country.
Highlighting the results from a recent study on public college finances, Slate explores the increasing privatization of public colleges. Today, public university students cover almost half the cost of their own educations, on average.
A Brown University student, Lena Sclove, has begun an activist movement to make the campus a safer space for her and other survivors of sexual assault.
The recent news that a Wesleyan student is suing Psi U due to rape allegations has sparked debate over the role of fraternities in sexual assault, and their presence on college campuses. Zach Schonfeld ’13 has written two in-depth articles on the matter. The first explores the history of various universities that have decided to get rid of their fraternities, and the follow-up wondering if Wesleyan will be the next to do the same.
A recent piece in The Nation explores the worrying fate of publically engaged academic intellectuals in the university system, reflecting on the recent firings of two Columbia professors.
This begins a weekly[ish] piece presenting recent articles on college and higher education news and issues.
Just in time for the return of ridiculously expensive trips to Broad Street, U.S. PIRG has put out a study revealing the adverse effects of high text book costs on students’ (especially low-income students’) course decisions, and subsequently, their grades. There’s no other way to say it – this is a f****ed up system.
“[Fox Searchlight Pictures] received the benefits of their unpaid work, which otherwise would have required paid employees.” – Judge William H. Pauley III on the suit brought against Fox by Eric Glatt ’91 (below) and Alex Footman ’09
In September 2011, we posted about two Wesleyan alumni, Alex Footman ’09 and Eric Glatt ’91 who brought a class-action lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures. The two argued that, when they interned on the set of Black Swan, they performed menial tasks exclusively that had no educational value. By law, unpaid internships must provide some sort of educational experience and cannot simply be used to replace paid employees with unpaid labor. The two interns argued that they had not received the educational experience they should have gotten from the experience.
Just recently, Federal District Court Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that, as Fox Searchlight Pictures treated the workers as if they were regular paid employees and did not provide any sort of educational value to the internship, the interns should have been paid. The judge explained his logic to The Hollywood Reporter:
Joss Whedon ’86 won’t be the most controversial honorary degree recipient at Commencement this May.
A recent New York Times article, Hero of the Bronx is Now Accused of Betraying It, details the rise of our very own (and this year’s lesser-publicized Honorary Degree recipient) Majora Carter ’88. Carter founded the program Sustainable South Bronx, supporting local food production and urban revitalization in the South Bronx. Now she is consulting for corporations like FreshDirect, which has recently occupied a huge lot in the South Bronx, but serves clients mostly in Manhattan and none in the neighborhood around it. That’s not to mention the $500 fee Carter reportedly charges for initial consultations. Journalist Winnie Hu gives the overview:
Ms. Carter’s meteoric rise also made her a polarizing figure. Many former allies and neighbors say that Ms. Carter trades on the credibility she built in the Bronx, while no longer representing its interests. They say she has capitalized on past good deeds in the way that politicians parlay their contacts into a lobbying career, or government regulators are hired by the companies they once covered.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “Either you’re an honest broker and accountable to the community, or you’re working for a business interest and accountable to that.”
Carter is accused of betraying her ideals and becoming a fallen hero of sorts. (When Wesleying tweeted out a link to the article, South Bronx Unite and other critical parties were quick to weigh in on the situation as it’s perceived. Carter herself briefly joined in with a YouTube dedication of her own.) Some fellow alumni are making the connection to Wes:
Today, Jacques Steinberg returns to campus. We’re looking back at his classic book.
The man, the myth, the legend—Jacques Steinberg.
Jacques Steinberg’s The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College is pretty much indisputably the most illuminating and insightful book written in the past few decades about elite college admissions, which Steinberg terms a series of decisions made “behind a cordon of security befitting the selection of a pope.” Conveniently, it also happens to focus on Wes. Steinberg, a journalist and education expert, tracks a diverse group of high school seniors and a then-Wesleyan admissions officer (Ralph Figueroa, currently Director of College Guidance at Albuquerque Academy) as they navigate the 1999–2000 admissions cycle.
Along with a handful of other Wesleying staffers, I read the book in high school, around the time I decided to apply to Wesleyan, and realized what I had already suspected: college admissions is about as complex, random, and ultimately meaningless as—well, the selection of a pope. It also makes for more thrilling drama than any reality show on TV. Before the rise of CollegeConfidential, The Gatekeepers was the most intimate glimpse at the people on both sides of the admissions process that existed. In fairness, it still is, because CollegeConfidential is a hellish underworld.
Mr. Steinberg, who also founded the New York Times’ “The Choice” blog, where he recently announced his departure from the newspaper after 25 years, is on his way to Middletown yet again. This time, he’s not writing a book about us (we think). He’s coming to lead a talk and Q&A in the Chapel, which is being hosted by the WSA. In honor of this glorious occasion, here’s a round-up of six things we learned about Wesleyan from The Gatekeepers—before even setting foot on campus.