Questions about queer activism? Wondering what’s up with sexual assault? Curious about campus history?
Come join us for a teach-in and skill-share on recent activist history at Wesleyan.
We’ll give a brief tour through the now-updated activist timeline and have time for Q+A :)
Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time: 8-10 PM
Place: 200 Church
On Monday, posters like the one above were put up all over campus, including on most (if not all) senior house doors. The posters call for the removal of Daniel Handler ’92 as Commencement Speaker after repeated instances of racism and sexual harassment. They also call attention to the fact that Dr. Anita Hill, who is known for speaking out against workplace harassment, will receive an honorary degree (a lesser honor and a shorter speech) at the same event.
The poster also links to Wesleying’s Write-In: “Commencement 2018: Lemony Snicket, Anita Hill, and Silencing Women of Color in the Age of #MeToo” and a recent article in Pacific Standard by David M. Perry ’95 detailing Handler’s history of sexual harassment.
[Updated, 4/2/17, 10:34PM] The post was updated to correct an error in authorship. This post was written by kitab and edited by wilk.
This February, the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) visited Wesleyan to assess our Title IX policies and procedures. Students were notified of their consultation in an all-campus email sent out by Antonio Farias on January 31st. There were three primary goals of the consultation, according to this email:
VRLC are charged with gathering information about the strengths and weaknesses of Wesleyan’s response to reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct, particularly:
- The clarity of resources for students, faculty, and staff;
- The accessibility of the process to all students, faculty, and staff, including underrepresented minorities, first-gen, low-income, and LGBTQ populations;
- The collaboration between the Title IX Office and other first responders.
Their 22-page final report was released on March 23 and emailed out in a classic Roth “Campus Update” this Wednesday. See after the jump for a summary of the report and some commentary.
Some early procrastination fodder comes our way from Noah Korman ’15, whose video FISK TAKEOVER has now been released by Rebel Empire Productions on YouTube.
Fisk Takeover tells the story of February 21, 1969, when leaders of Wesleyan’s Black Student Union marched into Fisk Hall and barricaded the doors behind them, demanding that their concerns–specifically that classes be cancelled in honor of Malcolm X, who was assassinated four years earlier–be addressed by the administration. The takeover was a success, resulting in the creation of Malcolm X House, the Center for African American Studies, and Ujamaa.
Student activism has led Stanford‘s Board of Trustees to vote to stop investing in coal-mining companies. This action is a significant step in the ever-growing fossil fuel divesment movement on campuses across the country.
In the growingly visible national conversation on sexual assault on college campuses, including a recently launched campaign by the White House to confront the issue, many local movements have been getting increasing attention.
This past Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities. The 6-to-2 ruling allows for the passage for similar measures in seven other states. The New York Times has an informative set of infographics showing the effects of such bans on affirmative action for minorities throughout the country.
Highlighting the results from a recent study on public college finances, Slate explores the increasing privatization of public colleges. Today, public university students cover almost half the cost of their own educations, on average.
A Brown University student, Lena Sclove, has begun an activist movement to make the campus a safer space for her and other survivors of sexual assault.
In the growing movement of campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns, not everyone is on board. James Lawrence Powell has written a piece on why rejection of such policies is so problematic, inspired by recent dismissals of divestment action from the presidents of Brown and Harvard.
Newsweek used this photo in their article to contrast the liberal values
that the school likes to think it has with the conservative mindset it actually practices.
Maybe Wesleyan University learned a lesson today: Not all press is good press.
Today’s in-depth and certainly unflattering Newsweek article by Katie Baker (who wrote that Jezebel piece in May ridiculing the administration for its medieval Tour de Franzia threats) asserts that “Wesleyan seems to be slinking away from its weird and activist roots to attract rich students and even richer donors.” What could the school have done to deserve this sort of criticism?
As we are quite aware, the answer is: a lot. Baker’s article (following on the heels of two Autostraddle and Youngist articles) begins with the issues over degendering bathrooms, with several trans* students speaking up about their not-so-welcome experiences on campus, both from other students in the bathroom (“Wrong bathroom, fag!” one gender nonconforming student heard) and from the administration as a whole. After the group Pissed Off Trans* People organized students to remove gendered bathroom signs and replace them with “All Gender Restroom” signs, the Student Judicial Board singled out three trans* students (claiming they were the only identifiable ones) and charged them with property destruction, at the cost of $157 per sign— $5,245 total.
After a four-and-a-half hour hearing, the board lowered the fine to $451 and gave each student three disciplinary points (10 earns a suspension or dismissal). “The SJB action was taken because vandalism occurred,” Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Whaley said in a statement. “The board does not strive to determine the legitimacy of a protest/action, only whether such protest/action is done in a manner that violates our community’s standards.”
The three students tell Newsweek they feel they were unfairly singled out for actions committed by many but were most concerned with the symbolism of it all: This was the first time anyone knows of that the administration had punished individuals for LGBT activism.
“We’re talking about economic sanctions on activism at a school that profits off a reputation of being a progressive, activist-friendly space,” says Ben, a Wesleyan junior. “Being trans and fighting for trans justice is not profitable or shiny or appealing.”
Maya McDonnell ’16 invites you to a film screening:
The world faces accelerated climate catastrophe. If the fossil fuel industry has the most to gain – the youth have the most to lose.
But as the fossil fuel industry profits, students nationwide are taking on the fossil fuel industry head on. Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, Students & Goliath follows the divestment campaigns of five schools: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts. Eight students lockdown and are arrested inside an energy company’s office to protest a devastating pipeline proposal. 40,000 gather in Washington, DC to demand action. Students & Goliath is the story of a generation waking up, becoming empowered, and taking the climate crisis into their own hands.
Come watch the film, meet the director Alex Leff, and join Wes, Divest for a discussion about the fossil fuel divestment movement!
Date: Saturday, November 9
Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Place: PAC 002
Alicia Gansley ’15 and Democracy Matters managed to dig themselves out of that corporate snow pile:
Democracy Matters is a nationwide student movement focusing on eliminating the effect of big corporate money on the American political process and putting power back in the hands of the people.
Come join us to discuss plans for this semester including speakers, film screenings, and demonstrations. We are very open to collaborative events and new ideas!
Please note that this event was rescheduled to Tuesday afternoon due to snow-based complications on Monday evening. Email agansley(at)wes with any questions or comments.
Date: Tomorrow, February 12th
Place: Albritton 004
Cost: No cost – only the benefits of a free democracy!