Because we haven’t posted enough chalking-related updates from the past few weeks, an anonymous tipster writes in to let you know about an amusing (or frightening, depending on who you are) happening on Church Street late last week:
I have a tip for Wesleying but would like to remain anonymous. Earlier today someone wrote the names of the Mystical 7 — a Wesleyan student secret society — out in chalk on the sidewalk on Church St near Olin. Later in the day, a bunch of the people whose names had been written were seen standing over the writing, looking fairly panicked, and then after that someone crossed the names out with more chalk. Here’s a photo of the names crossed out. FUCK SOCIAL HIERARCHY!!!!
According to one Wesleying staffer, “It’s intact in at least two places right now (beginning of CFA path and College Row near Zelnick).”
Short answer: It sometimes seems that way, but it’s a bit more complicated than judicial points.
Image via Jezebel, because they have an art director and we don’t.
Last Friday I published an FAQ about some of the questionable means by which Wesleyan’s administration is trying to block Tour de Franzia from happening this year. Since then, the post has attracted well over 4,000 views, thirty-odd mostly heated comments, and yet another Jezebel feature, this one headlined “Wesleyan’s Tour de Franzia Meltdown Reaches Ridiculous New Levels.” (It has even attracted the attention of the Brian Lehrer Show, which questioned whether Wesleyan was right to warn parents about “the annual Tour De Franzia drinking-while-biking event.” Don’t give us any ideas, Brian Lehrer.) In addition to pointing out fairly obvious infringements on student rights, much of the discussion has centered on a minor point in my post, which I only learned by way of a tweet from @WesUnity: the minimum number of judicial points assigned for participating in Tour de Franzia this year (six) is higher than the minimum number of judicial points assigned for committing sexual assault or misconduct (five). Here’s how some people are responding to this data point:
Officers “were using a cell phone to take pictures of the student where they live through a window.”
WFSB 3 Connecticut
Though details are scarce, students have been understandably shaken by the recent news that two Public Safety officers have been fired for “the surreptitious viewing and possibly the video recording of a female student in her residence.” The fact that this follows closely on other alleged cases of Public Safety misconduct, ranging from theft to physically assaulting a student, certainly doesn’t help.
A WFSB Eyewitness News video report on the incident offers some clarity as to how this took place. According to the report, the officers were using a cell phone through a campus window to record the student:
Sources told Eyewitness News this was not a sophisticated setup. In fact, they were believed to be using something that most of us already have – a smartphone.
The public safety officers were using a cell phone to take pictures of the student where they live through a window without that individual knowing it.
Here’s how they were caught:
Wes alums Jared Keller ’09 and Phil Ross ’12 are tweeting live as the story develops.
Police scene at MIT, via MSNBC.
We usually stick to Wesleyan-centric news, but it’s hard not to be alternately captivated and terrified by the news coming out of the Boston region right now, in Watertown, on MIT’s campus, and within miles of Tufts. Several hours ago, MIT posted an alert about an active shooter on campus and later reported that a campus police officer was shot and killed. Meanwhile, in nearby Watertown, there have been “reports of violence and an extremely heavy police presence,” according to NBC. Witnesses have been reporting gunfire, loud booms, and a police chase. You can listen to the Boston Police Scanner here, though it remains entirely unclear if the situation in Watertown is related to the shooting at MIT or, as some have speculated, the Boston Marathon bombings:
The situation seems to have culminated in a massive police standoff. As the Times reports:
According to the New York Times, Boston Globe, and just about any other major media outlet, there has been a major explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this afternoon. BloombergTV has a live feed of the scene. From the New York Times:
The Associated Press reported that the authorities were helping injured runners leave the scene and bloody spectators were being carried to a medical tent that was being used for runners.
The A.P. said that a loud explosion was heard on the north side of Boylston Street, near a photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion was heard several seconds later.
Details are slowly emerging, but journalists and witnesses are reporting major injuries and possible casualties on social media. (Warning: Some of the images are graphic.) (Update: the Boston Police Department is reporting two deaths and 23 injuries from the blast. A third explosion was heard just before 4 p.m. President Obama is being briefed, and security is being increased at nearby hotels and “prominent locations in New York.”)
Because bringing Joss Whedon ’87 to campus apparently wasn’t enough, Wesleyan’s capital campaign website reports that everyone’s favorite Dresden Doll, Amanda Palmer ’98, will also be making an appearance for a “concert and conversation” during Reunion & Commencement weekend. Fittingly, this May marks the 15th reunion of Palmer’s glory days living in the Eclectic basement and schmoozing it up with Momus. Curiously, however, Palmer has made no secret of how much she disliked being a student at Wesleyan. In fact, she once wrote a fantastic song about burning Wesleyan to ash. But everyone knows fundraising is boring without a little conflict, right?
Palmer has been in the public eye constantly this past year, mostly raising conversation and controversy regarding her radical business model and crowd-sourcing tactics, which was the topic of her recent TEDTalk. Last time she was at Wesleyan, in 2011, she gave a surprise “ninja gig” in the Eclectic dining room, performing everything from Dresden classics “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Leeds United” to a radical reimagining of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” from the point of view of a truck stop hooker. Here’s video of that performance, via Will Feinstein ’13 at Aural Wes. Hope she includes it in her Reunion & Commencement set!
“Diversity and Inclusion” will be theme for next fall’s Orientation, fall Board of Tustees retreat
In an all-campus email update yesterday, President Roth sent word that Public Safety will no longer include racial identifications in its safety alerts, an issue that has become increasingly contentious since Homecoming Weekend, when a sudden rash of safety incidents all described assailants as “African-American males.” The move has been recommended by a Public Safety Review Committee, which consists of students, faculty, and staff members. From Roth’s note:
The committee has recommended that Public Safety modify campus safety alerts to provide descriptions of suspects without using race as a descriptor, and Public Safety has adopted this practice. The committee continues to review the department’s policies and protocols, web presence, and schedule of trainings. Ensuring that there is a clear path for reporting concerns to the department is important.
Roth’s attention to issues of diversity and racial profiling follows closely on November’s “Diversity University” forum, where the topic of alleged racial profiling took center stage, alongside claims of Public Safety misconduct (most notably, an incident involving Paulie Lowther ’13), hateful ACB remarks, and diversity sensitivity in general. A number of students of color took the microphone at that event, describing being singled out for suspicion and unwarranted hostility. “It’s your responsibility not only to protect us, but to get to know us,” a student demanded to Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer. A heated exchange followed between Meyer, who insisted that Public Safety is required by Connecticut law to include racial identifications in email alerts, and Visiting Professor of English and African-American Studies Sarah Mahurin, who claimed that Yale—where she completed her graduate work—does not include race in its reports. (Meyer disputed this claim; a current Yale law student later verified it in an email to Wesleying.)
Tons and tons and tons of young activists (including a handful of conservatives) descended on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court this week to express their support or opposition towards same-sex marriage as justices hear arguments that may well strike down the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. Of the many demonstrators, perhaps none are nerdier than a pack of students from the Georgetown University Law Center, who are predominantly peeved about the Court’s decision to “review the arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry using rational basis, the most lenient form of judicial review in the U.S. court system.” Haven’t been to law school yet? DCist’s Benjamin Freed, who dubs it the “Most Obscure Supreme Court Protest,” explains:
In a rational basis review, judges test if a law or other governmental action is in the reasonable interests of that government in a way that passes muster with the Fifth or 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The standard gives a wide berth to state laws, such as Proposition 8.
Spotted among the crew, second from the left in that photo, is former Argus editor, prolific soccer blogger, and all-around friendly dude Gabe Lezra ’11, who elaborates on his crew’s moral indignation:
“Rational basis means that the court will give great deference to any state law passed so long as that it is rationally related to government interests,” said Gabe Lezra, who was propped up one of four posters decorated to look like a court brief.
“We were going to do a table of authorities, but we ran out of time,” he said.
According to the Durham-Middlefield Patch, Laurel Appel, Adjunct Associate Professor of Biology, has passed away at the age of 50. In addition to her parents, siblings, and children, Dr. Appel, who lived in Durham, is survived by her husband of 20 years, Professor of Biology Michael Weir. The online obituary notes that Dr. Appel also directed the Ronald E. McNair Program at Wesleyan:
Laurel Frances Appel was born July 13, 1962, in Princeton, NJ, and grew up in Urbana, IL. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1984 and received a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993, when she moved to Connecticut. She married Michael Weir in 1993. At Wesleyan, she directed the Ronald E. McNair Program, which supports and nurtures first-generation college students and students in underrepresented groups for entry into graduate programs.
Dr. Appel most recently appeared in the news last month, when the Wesleyan Connection mentioned her as a speaker for “Innovations: Intersection of Art and Science,” a CFA symposium.
There will be a celebration of her life tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Chapel. Read the obituary here.
Have strong opinions on the tobacco resolution? Get ready to get polled.
Smokers, rejoice: Judgment Day hath been delayed. After much ado, ballyhoo, and brouhaha over a proposed resolution to ban the sale of tobacco on University-owned properties (read: Neon), the Wesleyan Student Assembly decided on Sunday night to table the
sequester cuts vote until polling the student body. No, this doesn’t mean the resolution is going away for good. It does mean that it’s postponed.
“We tabled the vote in order to poll the student body and engage more with the owners of Neon Deli,” explained Student Affairs Committee Chair Nicole Updegrove ’14, who first proposed the resolution, via email. “Many of us, myself included, weren’t willing to vote without more opinions from the student body.”
The proposal quickly sparked some loud, impassioned, and occasionally bizarre arguments in the Wesleying comments section (my favorite one notes that “addiction is the gift that keeps on giving—if we start selling cigarettes at Weshop, Pi, and Usdan, it’ll be a big help to the University’s endowment”), and Updegrove has been quick to respond to some of the angrier voices.