President Roth’s supposedly been off campus lately on vacation, but it seems that he’s caught up pretty quickly. His latest Huffington Post piece definitely makes it seem that he’s aware of the activist events going on around campus lately.:
I was an undergraduate in the seventies, and my education included more than a little protest and activism. I was aware that my liberal arts school had a reputation for activism, and I was proud to be part of it. I returned to Wesleyan University as president more than four years ago, and even though now some of this activism is directed against me, I still take pride in this tradition of alma mater.
It’s subtle, but it seems like Roth might approve of activism even when he is the target of it (WSA Meeting @ Beta, Rally at Trustee’s Meeting). The statement is too indirect to tell whether that means Roth will respond positively to the student demands, but he seems to be actually encouraging the activism rather than shutting it down. So go put up your tents, sign your petitions, and rally in front of your trustees, ‘cuz Roth likes it.
Also, in case anyone was wondering how to explain their certificate program to their potential employers/parents, Roth sums it up as an “interdisciplinary minor.”
The rest of his post, focusing on the relationship between scholarship and public life, can be found here.
The Washington Post has just published an article on how college presidents will try “nearly everything to bond with undergraduates.” They even have pictures.
They mention everything from Facebook to pie-eating contests to canceling class because a snowball fight victory. But don’t worry, Wes has a mention in there too:
Wesleyan University President Michael Roth played piano at an open-mic night.
But hey, he does his part to reach out to us too. Roth has a blog, and then there’s ‘THE_REAL_MROTH” on Twitter (haha). You can spot him walking around campus (which according to the article, seems to take an effort for college presidents). And everyone knows he’s around to help with boxes on move-in day. But, wait–hold your sarcasm–you can’t help but to love the college president who dances at a tent party. This guy does everything. Just wait till the Washington Post sees that video.
You can read some amusing stories in the comments of this post from notorious Wesleyan-haters, Gawker.
Fueling, I’m 60% sure, what will become a descent into a student-vs.-administration back-and-forth in the comments, President Roth just posted about the incident on Fountain Ave. in an article titled “Disturbing Semester’s End” at his blog, Roth on Wesleyan:
I had anticipated writing a happy “Finals Are Over!” blog entry at the end of the week. Instead, we are dealing with the aftermath of the disturbing events that happened as law enforcement officers broke up a student gathering very early Friday morning.
… Mike Whaley (VP for Student Affairs) and I have received dozens of reports from eyewitnesses. I’ve spoken with some police officers and the Chief of Police. We are piecing together the most reliable account possible to understand what went wrong and why. We are reviewing all this information, and I will be meeting with Middletown authorities to follow up on the many complaints our students have made about the use of force. We will also be reviewing our own policies as well as the behavior of some members of the Wesleyan community.
I do not intend to host a debate on this blog about who was at fault. We continue to gather information, and I will consult with student, faculty and Middletown leaders about our findings. By better understanding what went wrong this week, we can greatly improve the chances that an event like this will not happen again in our community.
Regardless of his position on the issue right now (which makes sense to me, as an observer), kudos to President Roth for providing some insight into the administration’s position, over and above the standard University announcement that was sent out yesterday.
President Roth’s blog, Roth on Wesleyan, often provides a nice perspective on his interactions with the student body. Most recently, Roth blogged about his encounters with fraternities on campus.
At the end of the day, what’s his verdict? Fraternities are A-OK:
… As I’ve met with students around campus this year, I have visited with all the fraternities, including the Eclectic Society (which usually doesn’t see itself in this context). I have found them to be energetic, vital student organizations capable of making contributions to the campus as a whole…
And, while plans for expansion aren’t in the cards, it does look like a Roth administration won’t go out of its way to persecute Greek organizations:
… Fraternities have historic roots with alumni that are important to maintain, and I believe that the frats (including Eclectic) at Wes can continue to play a very positive role at the university. We will not be adding any new Greek societies because there are now many other ways for students to join together in residentially based groups. Wesleyan’s students have a rich choice of social organizations in which to participate, from the very traditional to the most avant-garde. I’m committed to keeping it that way.
The blog of our beloved Mikey Roth ’78 has some good advice:
The multiplicity of groups [“communities that make up the Wesleyan world”] is exciting, but it also creates challenges for bringing people together in shared purpose, study, even celebration. There are conflicts among our diverse groups over politics, economics, food, personal choices. But we should remember also what we have in common: a devotion to the freedom (and affection) in which education can thrive.
As your final exams wind down and your sleep pattern inches back to normal, let’s remember what unites us as students here at Wesleyan.
Have a great break!