As you may know if you read the Argus or are just generally more well-informed than the slackers over at The Wesleyinger, the WSA recently passed a resolution advocating for an end to the chalking ban that’s been in place since 2003. Read the article itself for a quick-and-dirty history of the events that inspired the 25-2 vote a couple weeks ago. You can see the resolution itself here, courtesy of sponsor and WSA member Scott Elias ’14, until the WSA uploads it to their website, but be warned – there’s a prominent date error at the top of the document that may or may not irk you. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see the typical format for WSA resolutions, by the way, you may find the writing here amusing, infuriating, or both. Oh well!
WSA resolutions, if you’re wondering, have no binding “legal” force on the University, but as presented to administrators often are used to further discussions or enact real policy changes in accordance with the resolution (yes, real changes do actually happen because of resolutions). So, y’know, optimism and all that. Check out some words from Elias (you may recognize the style) on why this matters to some people (continuing under the cut):
I think most students when they hear that there is a chalking ban think its insane. So our purpose was to create a consistent communications policy that won’t preemptively restrict student speech, that will be more consistent with our institutional priority of advancing social justice, and that will put an end to the exorbitant cost of enforcing a broad ban– an easy and logical way to curb costs in an era of austerity in which we terminated need-blind admissions.
It is incumbent upon the Wesleyan Student Assembly to reflect the fervent desire of many for a more inclusive campus culture and improving areas in which we, as a community, have fallen short. And our policy on chalking is one example of an area in which we can improve. So it will be interesting to see what kind of leverage this resolution will have with the administration. I’ve met with various administrators and they definitely understand where we are coming from, but they fear that past concerns will manifest again, which, as I understand it, is their main reservation. But let’s not kid ourselves. The chalking ban isn’t the last bastion of social justice the university wants us to think it is. It brushes oppressions and micro-aggressions that occur at Wesleyan under the rug and is thus inconsistent and antithetical to our university’s institutional goal of advancing social justice.