The title of this post is not meant rhetorically. It’s a serious question: who killed Spring Fling’s vibe?
Was it the student attendees, some inebriated and inconsiderate, who jumped over the barrier when the floor of the rink was at capacity and allegedly behaved drunkenly and belligerently when asked to back up? (“Some students ought to be ashamed of themselves,” observed a witness who asked to remain anonymous.) Was it the massive security detail (Public Safety and CSC) who guarded every nook and cranny with the graveness of airport TSA agents and reportedly physically abused one student and verbally harassed another? Was it the organizers (Spring Fling Committee or otherwise) who neglected to inform students in advance that they would be turned away if they arrived late, even while other students were visibly exiting, and flipped on the lights shortly before Ab-Soul’s set, possibly to punish students for failing to obey orders that were largely unintelligible over the ice rink’s cavernous din? Or was it the fucking weather, or maybe Spurrier-Snyder Rink itself, which has never seemed like a less suitable venue for a free, unticketed performance by one of the fastest rising rappers in the world in 2013? At least it wasn’t Kendrick Lamar, who, despite subpar conditions and acoustics better suited to a high school gym, performed “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Money Trees,” and other highlights from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City with admirable energy and charisma, wooing throngs of adoring fans who knew precisely how to yell out “Drank!” or “Ya bish!” on cue and reportedly popping over to Warren after the show, decked out in a Wes sweatshirt.
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 Newsvideo 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.
As ehc reported less than half an hour ago, two Public Safety officers have just been reported and fired for apparently viewing and possibly videotaping a female student in her residence. This follows on a long chain of recent incidents involving and sparking tensions between students and Public Safety officers this academic year.
Meanwhile, the administration has hired a University Public Safety Review Committee for an independent review of P-Safe at Wesleyan. According to a recent email from Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts, “The assessment will explore whether the Office of Public Safety has adopted and implemented an appropriate campus public safety model, based on our environment and campus expectations.” The reviewer is Margolis Healy, a “nationally reputable firm that specializes in campus safety and security” that has “provided similar services for dozens of other universities and colleges throughout North America.”
If you’re a Wesleyan student, “you are cordially invited to meet with Margolis Healy representatives to share any thoughts or questions you might have about Public Safety at Wesleyan in an open student session to be held on April 30 from 7–8 p.m. in the Daniel Family Commons in the Usdan Center.” You read correctly: that’s happening right now. Talk about timing. In case you can’t make it, Lesanjuan, Solomon, and I will be liveblogging the proceedings. Click past the jump.
9 hours. 13 acts. Brochella. April 13th. 1pm-10pm. Butt(s)hole.
Come one, come all: ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, illegal pets out of their Weshop bags to enjoy the sun for once in their sad lives.
That is because tomorrow is Brochella, brought to you by Wesleyan’s Alpha Psi Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, the National(ly Renowned) Jewish Fraternity. This epically long music festival features 13 bands and is sure to rock your socks off, get your jimmies jangling, and what’s more, it is completely free. There will also be a barbecue. Our new deal is four patties for a box (of Franzia). Score some points with P-Safe.
This morning, we all received a Public Safety Alert informing us about a physical and sexual assault that occurred this morning at Beta Fraternity House on High Street. The survivor was able to escape during the assault, reported the assault to Public Safety, and was transported to Middlesex Hospital for minor injuries.
Additionally, Rachel Verner ’15 writes in about a gathering later in the evening and always-available resources for survivors and the community:
SART Intern, Rachel Verner, and Students for Consent and Communication would like to invite everyone to an open community meeting tonight. Our goal is to create a safe space to talk about sexual violence prevention, and what we can all do to rid rape culture at Wesleyan. We will be meeting in the University Organizing Centre (190 High Street) this evening (Sunday, March 7th) at 9pm. Please see below for a list of other available resources:
SART Members – Confidential Reporters
Larry Antosz, Counseling Center, 860-685-2910
David Leipziger Teva, Chaplain, 860-685-2278
Sandy Frimel, Health Services, 860-685-2470
Emily Daponte, Health Services, 860-685-2470
Jennifer D’Andrea, Counseling Center, 860-685-2910
I never had a plan for this movie. All I knew was that I wanted to make a documentary about Public Safety. After having gotten approval from the organization, my first instinct was to humanize P-Safe, as it is an institution that is generally maligned by the student body. A wave of on-campus assaults had just occurred within a single week, and I was interested to discover what P-Safe was doing to handle the situation and protect students. But the alerts P-Safe had sent out described the suspects as “African-American” and “male,” and unbeknownst to me at the time, these email alerts were met with a slew of racial hatred on Wesleyan’s Anonymous Confession Board. It was then revealed that a P-Safe officer had allegedly assaulted a black Wesleyan student. A week later, a forum on student diversity and equality was held in Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall.
These conflicts and contradictions form the basis of Billinkoff’s film, which largely speaks for itself. It’s only twelve minutes, so watch it after the jump.
“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.)
Fear not, Wesleyan. The deer head that appeared on the Church Street stop sign (in between Exley and Clark) two nights ago is taxidermic and not a “fresh deer head.” The origins of the stuffed deer are still unknown. It is currently in the possession of the Middletown Police, after being put into a doggie bag “like leftover brisket.”
P-Safe Director Dave Meyer tells it like it is: “It appears to have been a stuffed deer head. Someone put it on the stop sign in the middle of the street. The cops were alerted and picked it up. I don’t really know much about it.”
“All I can tell you is that the deer head is not real,” a different P-Safe officer told me over the phone. “Since it was on a stop sign in the middle of the street, the deer head is now in possession of the Middletown Police.” Whether a taxidermied deer qualifies as “real” or “not real” is up to you.
The appearance of the deer head (let’s call it Bambi) has resulted in a large amount of traffic for Wesleying—over 2,000 hits in less than 12 hours. Like other Wesleyan students, I feel that the only thing I can really say in a bizarre situation like this is keep Wes weird.
Following public comments by President Roth and the WSA, the discussion surrounding Monday night’s forum on race and diversity continues around campus—in online comments, in blog posts, but most of all in personal conversations I’ve overheard (or took part in) over the past few days.
If you missed the forum and still aren’t sure what all of the talk is about, Ben Doernberg ’13 (who livestreamed the event on Monday) has taken the liberty of consolidating his footage into one master YouTube video. It’s long (the forum began at 7:30 and continued well past 10 pm), and the video quality isn’t ideal, but you should easily be able to make out what’s being said. And you should watch it, too. Three hours is daunting, so split it into segments. Let the audio play while you’re doing work. Listen to it on your iPhone while running. But listen.
As one of the students on the panel remarks about thirty minutes in, “These are discussions that we must have, and not discussions that are silenced.”