Yes, that’s President Roth chilling in Korea’s Namsan Park with William Choi ’89. According to the @WesConnected Twitter, Roth is wandering through Asia between now and January 18 on a mission to
find himself meet with “alumni and friends” for official Wesleyan business purposes:
You can follow along with Roth’s visit at this Facebook album, which also includes an image of Roth meeting with the Wesleyan Korea (WesKo) alumni group for a discussion of how Wesleyan can “continue to strengthen its global network, raise its visibility among prospect students in Korea, and make curricular advances while working in a more sustainable model.” Apparently more Presidential Receptions are planned in Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and Bangkok. If you live in one of these cities, please go to one of these events and then send us a selfie with Michael Roth.
In other Roth Dog news, the president’s latest blog post comments on Wesleyan’s impossibly long winter breaks and hints at possible plans for “new January programs” that could definitely get in the way of your day-long Boys Meets World Netflix marathons:
Trustee: “Students barging in is a long and time-honored tradition at Wesleyan.”
On Sunday, a coalition of about 40 students occupied a closed Board of Trustees meeting in support of need-blind with a sign reading “BRING US INTO THE CONVERSATION.” The action was brief, it was respectful, and—most impressively—it resulted in a pretty thoughtful exchange between occupiers and occupied, all caught on video. “Just to be clear, students barging in is a long and time-honored tradition at Wesleyan,” one trustee opines about six minutes into the footage. “Some of us did it ourselves!” another chimes in. (Maybe even during the myriad of need-blind protests that took place in 1992, if any of them are on the younger side.) (By “younger side” I mean under 46.)
Turns out the Student Judicial Board isn’t quite as enamored with the time-honored Wesleyan activist tradition. According to tips, at least five students have received SJB notices in association with the 15-minute occupation. These students were captured on Public Safety’s camera (in the video, one P-Safe officer calmly asks students to exit the doorway and not “disrupt the meeting”), and their actions have been described as “failure to comply” and “disruptions.” It’s a pretty harsh follow-up on a protest that spurned more thoughtful dialogue than it did mutual resentment, but who’s surprised? Here’s what the charges look like:
Last week, members of Wesleying and The Argus’s editorial staffs collaborated on a joint editorial regarding the whole need-blind thing. The piece appeared in Friday’s Argus, and while it’s not quite as poetic as Martin Benjamin ’57’s latest (which uses the phrase “fat-fannied corps of social engineers” and refers to President Roth as “Mike the Ripper”), it nonetheless appears below. If you don’t think opinion pieces belong on Wesleying, go ahead and skip this one.
Next week, Wesleying will host a live forum with President Roth regarding the need-blind issue and general concerns. Check back for details later in the week.
As the editors of the two most prominent news publications on campus, The Wesleyan Argus and Wesleying, we’d like to make public our support for the movement to preserve need-blind admissions at Wesleyan University. Though we have never written a joint editorial before, we think it is now imperative that we use our platforms on campus to show solidarity with this cause. We’ve been concerned with how few details we have been provided regarding financial considerations and administrative decisions. We’ve been more concerned by the alarming shortsightedness of this decision—one that severely compromises the value Wesleyan places on socioeconomic diversity.
WSA president calls for student task force on need-blind changes, blasts “Token Transparency”
When President Roth met with concerned students last month regarding Wesleyan’s move away from need-blind admissions, he expressed a firm willingness to consider student proposals and hear out alternative solutions. In a provocative recent post on the WSA blog, President Zachary Malter ’13 accepts the challenge, calling on Roth to rise “beyond token transparency”—in short, to give students a legitimate voice in policy-making before finalizing any measures. At the heart of Malter’s proposal is the creation of a student task force—the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—to take on the role.
Malter begins by outlining Roth’s proposal, then articulating the core reasons so many oppose it: in short, “how can Wesleyan criticize and challenge socio-economic inequality, if its admissions policy reinforces that very inequality by offering an advantage to students from wealthier families?” The popular retort is that it is merely a “necessary evil,” that there is no better alternative. Malter, among others, is not so sure—in large part because the budgetary details have not been made available:
Whether there is more room for cost-savings and revenue generation that does not significantly compromise the quality of education remains an open question. President Roth claims that the administration has already made all the possible cuts of inessentials and has already explored all the possible revenue generating options. But what if students had the chance to brainstorm cost-saving measures and give direct budget input?
As you’re sobering up from R&C, the school year might already be a distant (read: hazy) memory, but President Roth reminds us that Wesleyan must go on. On the immediate level, the “school’s out for the summer” mentality is misleading—there is still plenty going on over on our handsomely manicured 316-acre campus, and administrators are still at work. On the long-term level, we kinda have to make sure the school doesn’t die of financial ruin…
President Roth has published a blog post titled “Sustainable Affordability,” found here, that finally explains
his the administration’s reasoning on the changes you may have heard murmurs about. There was strong student outcry about losing need-blind admissions, and Roth seems to respond indirectly to it. The explanations are now out there, though it is disappointing that these decisions are only coming to light in blog posts during the summer when students are less likely to see them. I summarize below, but I encourage everyone to fully read and comment on Roth’s original blog post.
Ol’ Dougie B. ’59 finally gets a building.
Looks like commencement speaker Senator Michael Bennet ’87 isn’t the only Bennet Wesleyan is honoring in the coming weeks. His father, Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94—better known on this campus as Wesleyan’s fifteenth president—will be receiving some attention as well. As Roth slyly announces in the middle of a blog post titled Check Out SWERVED and Good Luck on Finals, “We’ll also be honoring President Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94 and his family by re-naming Fauver Frosh Bennet Hall.” Well, hey. What would former athletic director Edgar Fauver think? The guy personally vaccinated the entire student body during the smallpox outbreak of 1914. Fauver Field was dedicated in his honor in 1959.
Despite a fairly shaky relationship with the student body towards the end of his term, Bennet was no sloucher himself. As Wikipedia sums it all up:
He was the fifteenth president of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, from 1995 to 2007. Before that, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton Administration (1993–95) and Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Carter administration (1977–79), was the President and CEO of National Public Radio (1983–93), and ran the U.S. Agency for International Development under President Carter (1979–81).
It’s been a few days since April Fools’ Day, but if you haven’t seen President Roth’s prank blog post, you should read it. Inspired by the ongoing internet debate that culminated in an announcement from the WSA promising faster internet, Roth posted a blog post under the title “Let’s Reduce the Bandwidth and Read More!” Click past the jump for the full text of the post.
“I want to thank the vocal Wesleyan undergraduates for reminding their president to be more careful in his use of language, and to be more attentive to student culture. Of course, I should have known this already, but hey, I try to keep learning.”
In a new blog post, President Roth finally directly addresses the housing policy controversy after tiptoeing around the issue and perhaps spending a bit of time off campus.
Roth begins by outlining the original intention of the policy, which relates, obviously enough, to recent issues regarding Beta’s off-campus status:
Our goal was to remove a dangerous ambiguity that has existed for more than five years: the Beta Fraternity seems to be a Wesleyan organization, but the university has no oversight over the house. We wanted to accomplish two things with this change: 1. to encourage Beta to join the other fraternities and societies in working together with the school; 2. to prevent similar situations from arising in the future with private homes adjacent to campus.
But the policy itself employs dangerously vague, overreaching language [key quote: “students will be prohibited from residing in — or using for social activities — houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University”] that many have interpreted as a direct threat to student liberties. Here, Roth is refreshingly clear in addressing the issue, taking responsibility on multiple levels, and assuring that the policy will be clarified and amended:
Quiet rumors about our administration working on a major shake-up of Wesleyan’s departmental structure ought to start getting louder: in his most recent Roth on Wesleyan post, President Roth suggests he likes the idea of dissolving departments.
“Liberal Learning and the University of the Future,” President Roth calls the January 31st entry, and he keeps the tone safely theoretical. It’s Mark C. Taylor, not Roth himself, who suggests “moving from silos to networks, abolishing departments and tenure,” in his book, Crisis on Campus. But President Roth likes much of what he sees. He writes,
“[Taylor] is right on the money in attacking the powerful, long-term trends toward specialization in university culture, trends which have a decidedly negative impact on undergraduate education. At many schools this has led to a fragmentation of intellectual life, with powerful departments defending their own interests without regard to the welfare of the institution as a whole. Who is going to articulate a holistic vision for undergraduate education when only specialized success is awarded professional prestige?”
Roth’s answer? It might be the next word in his post: “I.”
This irresistable, if a tad bit grainy, image of our fearless leader, like, totally shredding down Foss makes me appreciate all over again the joys of a blog-savvy president:
Everyone needs to blow off a little steam in between fund-raising nationwide, lecturing a class of 160, and writing for Huff Post. (Oh, yeah—and appearing at the gym right when you happen to be there.) The president writes . . .