Before I start I’d like to note that this article contains information about the redesign mixed with my own personal opinion all in one beautiful logo stew. If you’d like to read an article that keeps opinion at bay I recommend you check out this article from our friends over at the Argus first.
So Wesleyan got a new logo. You’ve probably heard about it. You probably also saw the all-school email President Michael Roth sent out where he described the redesign as, “Putting forward Wesleyan’s best self.” Needless to say, there weren’t many around who would agree it achieved that goal.
This redesign is so big there’s no clear place to start. So maybe we can start by noting how Roth told the school in the state of the school address that he doesn’t consider it a logo.
Wes is known for its history of activism. Rage update outlines all public activism that occurred on campus in the past academic year. It seems to have become an every other year sort of thing for us with our first article in 2014, our second in 2016, and now our third in 2018. All articles are definitely worth a read and although 2017 didn’t get an article, it was certainly a year worth remembering so I’ll leave some links to further reading in the end.
Rage update wouldn’t be complete without the words of alt, the author of our first rage update:
You’ve now arrived on campus, and we hope that you find your time here enriching and transformative. In that hope, we feel that it would be ill-advised to allow you to not have at least a foundational understanding of the things that have forced us as a community into dialogue, disagreement, and action.
This is not to scare you or to give you a negative impression of the University. However, we are certain that most if not all of you were told about the “passion” that Wesleyan students have and the issues that we care about on campus are at the forefront of those passions. While there is certainly no requirement to take an activist stance on any of these issues and it is in fact easy to sink beneath the radar on these issues and all the others not covered here, we would plead with you to be engaged in the community that you are now a part of.
Read this, ask questions, and reach out to students and faculty that have been here before you. We hope that as you begin your time here, you fully invest yourself as a community member committed to making Wesleyan as good as it can be for you and for those after you. Caring about Wesleyan does not foreclose critique on Wesleyan and as you read this, and other things like it, we hope you understand that too.
You have worked, implicitly and explicitly, directly and indirectly, to make Wesleyan a hostile environment for people of color, students with disabilities, trans students, survivors of sexual assault and pretty much any student who does not fit into your image of the “conservative oppressed by the liberal arts.” What’s more, you have repeatedly refused to engage with students in any meaningful way about the ways in which you’ve created this hostile environment. So I have resorted to engaging with you on your own terms: in a blog post.
This afternoon, President Michael Roth ’78 sent out an email informing the campus community that DKE has won its lawsuit against the University. The trial, which was public, began on June 6th, and President Roth testified on June 7th.
The original suit was filed by DKE and Kent Literary Society, which is DKE’s alumni chapter. DKE accused the University of discrimination and deceptive practices in its handling of DKE after the decision that all fraternities on campus must be co-educated. DKE had submitted plans for co-education that did not meet the University’s requirements.
The University has not said what will happen with DKE’s house, or whether it will re-achieve program housing status. Roth states that the University is searching for further legal avenues to pursue, and the University must also decide what to do in terms of its plans for coeducation.
The full text of the email is below:
“Through our alumni networks, we are also putting together legal resources for members of the Wesleyan community with questions concerning their immigration status.”
Last week, in solidarity with walk-outs around the country to demand college campuses declare themselves sanctuary campuses, over a hundred students walked out of class and gathered in Usdan to read a petition demanding that Wesleyan become a sanctuary campus. The petition garnered over 1300 signatures within just a few days. You can read more about what a sanctuary campus is and the recent efforts at Wesleyan here.
Several students who organized around the petition met with the Board of Trustees and President Roth this weekend to discuss the possibility of Wesleyan becoming a sanctuary campus. On Wednesday, President Roth said in a blog post (that was cited by CNN and Quartz) that he would be discussing the petition with the Trustees this weekend. Tonight, in another blog post entitled “Wesleyan University a Sanctuary Campus,” President Roth said that Wesleyan will be dedicating resources to provide legal support to undocumented students, and declaring that Wesleyan will not voluntarily assist federal officials in deportations.
“I think it’s a starting point. Even with the center, it will hopefully be an immediate resource that people can turn to and will be a lot more reliable than the administration has been in the past.” – Justina Yam ’19
The creation of a Gender Resource Center has been a long time coming at Wesleyan. Students have been lobbying for identity-based resource centers as far back as 1969, when a group of students demanded the university create cultural center dedicated to black students. In the 1980s the first iteration of a gender-based center emerged in the form of a Women’s Resource Center at 190 High Street (now the University Organizing Center). Unfortunately the center had a touch and go existence. Within two decades of its creation, the center dissipated, went through a period of revival, and dissipated again. Here is some of that recent history and the current status of establishing a permanent Gender Resource Center at Wesleyan:
Earlier today, posters appeared in Fisk calling out various facets of the Wesleyan administration, ostensibly in reaction to the recent revelations about the perpetrator status of Scott Backer. The posters call out University Relations, Michael Roth, and Antonio Farias.
Here are photos of the posters:
This isn’t a thinkpiece. This isn’t #realjournalism. This isn’t a tortured artist declaring that “objectivity is dead!” I know what you’re thinking: if not these, than is this article even Wesleyan? Is this article even real?
Perhaps more pressing a question is: “Is this day even real?” Johnny Lazebnik ’16 thinks so maybe (or at least thinks we should celebrate it). Let me tell you, it isn’t. Today is more extra than the random ass beach volleyball court behind Bennet (but less extra than the GODDAM TUITION INCREASE THAT THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY VOTED ON). The folks over at the Career Center see today as “24 extra hours to do something productive.” See Instagram post below:
In the midst of reading period, President Roth printed a message to students around the country, and especially those that take his classes, in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
The article focused on the fact that in many classes, students are often quick to criticize authors and point out seeming contradictions while missing the point of the piece as a whole. As Roth explains:
In campus cultures where being smart means being a critical unmasker, students may become too good at showing how things can’t possibly make sense. They may close themselves off from their potential to find or create meaning and direction from the books, music and experiments they encounter in the classroom.
To criticize this piece would be an ironic twist of fate. However, shunning insightful criticism is not Roth’s point either. It is fair to criticize the author, Roth explains, so long as it is taken in the context of the piece as a whole.
There are new developments from the ongoing controversy around President Roth’s denunciation of the American Studies Association’s recent resolution supporting the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Alums began circulating a still-growing petition earlier this month expressing support for the ASA decision and criticizing Roth for poor argument and hypocrisy.
Current Wes students, it seems, have followed suit. A separate petition has been making the rounds on email and social media in recent days and has already garnered over fifty signatures. Echoing the alumni declarations of support for the ASA’s boycott, the document also calls on the WSA to divest its own holdings from “companies that directly profit from or materially contribute to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories”.
If such a resolution is adopted, Wesleyan will be following a long and growing line of universities who have endorsed the BDS movement. Read the full text of the petition after the jump or sign here: