A few weeks ago, commenting on the New York Times’ coverage of Wesleyan’s financial aid woes, we wrote that this was likely the first many alumni were hearing of changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind status. Following a Q&A with the Board of Trustees in November, chairman Joshua Boger ’73 assured A-Batte and me that the great majority of alumni are aware of cuts to need-blind and enthusiastically approve. A new petition by Lana Wilson ’05 suggests otherwise.
“I don’t think any program, building, or department is worth sacrificing an economically diverse student body,” writes Wilson in the petition, which is personally addressed to President Roth via Change.org. “I and everyone who has signed this letter hopes that you will do the right thing, and continue Wesleyan’s practice of admitting the best students possible, rather than those with the most personal wealth.”
“My intent was originally for alumni to sign it, but I’m fine with current students signing it as well,” Wilson explained to me in an email. “Then my plan was to send President Roth a hard copy of the letter with all the signatures at the end.” According to Wilson, Roth receives an email for every signature the petition receives, including any personal message that’s attached. As of writing, the petition has amassed some 246 signatures, ranging from current students to a diverse scattering of alumni, including Beasts of the Southern Wild producer Dan Janvey ’06. The individual messages are particularly affecting. Many speculate that they wouldn’t have been able to attend Wesleyan without need-blind admissions. “Wesleyan falls far short in alumni giving of its competition and this is an issue those of us who love Wesleyan feel strongly about and would impact upon giving,” writes one alum. “Stop being assholes,” chimes in another:
Earlier today, Evan Bieder ’15 and A-Batte, the two students documented by Public Safety in last Saturday’s confrontation with President Roth over “legal chalking,” received confirmation that their actions were totally kosher and not in violation of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. In celebration, Daniel Plafker ’15, the student who filmed (part of) the incident, invites you to chalk about the passion up and down Church Street sidewalks, with no fear of disciplinary action. Facebook event here, more info below:
Wesleyan rejoice! This Friday, a massive legal daytime chalk-in will take place on the Church Street sidewalks outside Pi Cafe at 12:30 pm. Join your community for a carnival of free-expression, resistance, and art. Demonstrate that administrative intimidation won’t silence student voices being exercised in a civil, legal manner, on public streets where chalking is not banned. Wanna protest the lack of administrative transparency, give a shout-out to that cutie in your Anthro class, oppose class discrimination in our admissions process, do a lame Banksy imitation, raise questions about our rapidly crumbling relationship with this city, get high and draw flowers? Let’s do it together! Let’s make Church Street beautiful!
This is not about any single cause or issue. This is about reclaiming the right to shape our public space democratically as a community.
Chalk will be provided. Bring it if you got it.
#YOHNBAO: You Only Have Need Blind Admissions Once
Though the above picture might appear, at first glance, to be an elaborate illustration of the considerable confusion a freshman might have had, had ze missed yesterday’s building code post, that confusion remains undocumented. In actuality, those scrawls of gypsum mark the debut of chalking for the class of 2016 and the first in what promises to be a series of actions by students opposed to the administration’s proposed changes to Wesleyan’s long-standing need-blind admissions policy (be sure to check out the bottom of A-Batte’s post if you care to read up on the need-blind battle thus far).
An enthusiastic group of 60 or so students assembled last night on Foss (many of them freshmen) to partake in the action, drawing and writing messages from Foss to the Butts. While it remains uncertain whether the chalk was swept away by rain or by the mighty arsenal of power washers that the University retains for such shenanigans, it’s clear that Wes students will not be taking the new admissions policy lying down (unless, perhaps, it involves blocking the entrance to a building).
Many more pictures after the jump.