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.
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.
Kate Taylor’s New York Times article, “Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too” has been on my mind. I do not like the article. I have talked with many different women who also found the piece flawed and annoying. It has taken me about three weeks to gather my thoughts because initially I did not know how to articulate what I disliked.
Taylor briefly describes six different commentaries of sex on campus, an economic approach, a get married or die trying approach, a depressed single lady approach, a celibate approach, a romantic approach, and a small segment about consent on campus (about which there is toomuchtosay). Despite the array of experiences, Taylor’s article is reductive.
At first I thought my problem was the opening anecdote about “A,” some Wharton-going, high-achieving, Wall Street exec-to-be, who used financial terms to explain her romantic life or lack thereof. I study English, not Econ, I thought, maybe I just don’t get it. Then I remembered my love for Jane Austen’s commentary on the economics of love in Pride and Prejudice. So the fiscal slant was not my main problem.
Then I realized that my distaste came from the fact that there are a handful of disparate narratives in the article and yet A’s story still dictates the overall tone of the piece. Taylor’s introduction implies that women only want casual hookups and high GPAs, even though her examples show that some women want different things. And even though there were different voices, I did not identify with any of them. I felt excluded from whatever sexual zeitgeist Taylor attempted to explain. I could not see myself—a cisgendered woman whose generation Taylor purported to describe—in any of these stories.
“Farming appeals to me, and probably to other people, because it’s simple and straightforward work outdoors with literal fruits from your labor,” Abe Bobman ’11 said. “It doesn’t feel like you’re a part of an oppressive institution.”
Yesterday, the New York Times published a piece about the growing trend among young college graduates to pursue the age-old profession of farming. Two Wesleyan alumni, Abe Bobman ’11 and Jordan Schmidt ’08, are featured, along with a number of other Northeastern liberal arts college graduates.
The article sets the tone at the beginning with an image of well-educated young people who, moved by their ideals and values, have chosen to work the land from dawn to dusk, “elbow deep in soil for $10 an hour.” It focuses on young farmers on two small organic New York farms and makes a point of emphasizing that none of these young graduate farmers come from farming backgrounds. Through snippets of these farmers’ mishaps and misadventures and statements of how their parents feel about their profession, the article looks into the issues of coming to agriculture from a well-educated, non-farming background.
Given the rate at which the stacks of New York Times seem to be disappearing these days, Roth’s opinion piece yesterday might be old news to many of you. For those who didn’t spot it, our esteemed/reviled/misunderstood president (I know Wesleyan students are students of diverse opinions) offered some choice words about the state of education in this country today, while simultaneously sidestepping the debates about access and affordability that continueto rageat Wesleyan (chiefly with regards to need-blind admissions).
Our Dear Leader frames his argument for an expansive, diversified system of higher education around the words and ideas of the nineteenth-century philosopher John Dewey, emphasizing the primary responsibility of schools as “[teaching] us habits of learning” and “[cultivating] freedom within society.” He ends with an assertive appeal that “higher education’s highest purpose is to give all citizens the opportunity to find ‘large and human significance’ [quoting Dewey] in their lives and work.”
Editorial update, 4:06am: For those who haven’t been frantically reloading the livestream over and over again the past 2.5+ hours like me, I thought I would contextualize the situation a bit. Around 1:15am or so I received a text from the emergency mass text number warning of the impending raid (incidentally, I had received texts earlier in the evening regarding nonviolent action workshops in preparation for an eventual eviction action).
Unlike the evictions that have occurred at other #occupy sites around the nation, this one came without warning or official statement, and appeared carefully crafted to prevent a counter-protest like the one that prevented the previous eviction attempt in mid-October (with closures of the subway and the Brooklyn Bridge, for instance). After calling everyone I know in New York and going a bit apeshit with the facebook updates, I found my way to the livestream, along with 25,000 other viewers (at the peak).
Tensions have run high all night since the police first arrived, with complaints centering on the harassment/obstruction of journalists, the blatant disregard for the property of the protesters, and, of course, the legitimacy of the eviction itself. Apparently, via texts from friends (and friends of friends)–who arrived by cab due to the blockade of public transportation–police officers were witnessed indiscriminately pepper-spraying crowds, who massed outside of a 2-4 block radius established around Zucotti Park/Liberty Square. Various gatherings have sprung up in the vicinity.
So far, according to accounts from protesters, among those arrested are at least one journalist and one city-councilman, who suffered a head injury; in addition to pepper spray (and possibly tear gas?), a sound cannon/Long Range Acoustic Device may have been deployed. No confirmation yet on the fate of the 25-100 demonstrators corralled within the park, though I assume they have all been arrested (@JoshHarkinson reports “all around me, protesters were being pepper sprayed and zip cuffed”).
“Were it not for his tenured post at Wesleyan, where he has taught for more than 20 years, ‘maybe I would be driving a taxicab or something,’ he said.”
With Professor Lucier’s long anticipated retirement finally taking effect, who takes up the mantle of the avant-garde in the Wesleyan music department? Who leads the way, towards seniority and distinction and towards the Arts pages of the New York Times?
“When in doubt, we follow Braxton,” comes the reply—from Taylor Ho Bynum ’98, MA ’04, cornetist, composer, bandleader, and former student of Braxton. He is conducting the group of vocalists that comprise the Syntactical Ghost Trance Music Choir; they are rehearsing Braxton’s “Composition No. 256,” preparing for a four-day festival of Braxton’s career and works that begins today in Brooklyn. “Encompassing unorthodox works and concepts from across his prolific career,” NYT‘s Nate Chinen writes, the festival is to be “as broad a survey of Braxtonia as has been presented in this country.”