Tag Archives: washington post

Today: Trustees Debate End to Need-Blind Admissions

Also: Roth discusses plan to link tuition increases with inflation, encourages three-year graduation.

Earlier this month, in the wake of the Affordability Forum with President Roth, I posted a brief history of need-blind activism at Wesleyan. In particular, I included an interview with Ben Foss ’95 about the 1992 occupation of North College following President Chace’s proposal to modify Wesleyan’s need-blind status. Wesleyan, I explained then, is today considering instituting a cap on financial aid, a policy under which the University would remain need-blind for 85%, maybe 90% of admitted students in the Class of 2017. Once that cap is reached, admissions would begin to take financial need into account in its acceptance decisions.

So Robert Alvarez ’96, a fellow activist and former member of Wesleyan Republicans, wrote in with additional reflections:

These were not exclusively “radical” undertakings by any means. Rather, they truly united the campus. [ . . . ] In fact, the Wesleyan Republicans that year wound up spending most of our budget faxing out press releases the day of the North College takeover (yes, go ahead  and snicker, but you didn’t email stuff like that back then and faxing was actually pretty expensive). That type of broad-based organizing is tons of hard work, but it is also powerfully effective when you pull it off. I truly hope that a similarly broad-based coalition can come together and protect Wesleyan’s proud financial aid tradition once again.

Turns out Judgment Day is sooner than I realized. Today, at 9:30 a.m. in the Daniel Family Commons, Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees will meet to discuss Roth’s budget proposals for the coming academic year. When the proposed budget passes, it will spell a short-term end to longstanding need-blind admissions practices at Wesleyan. It will also mean linking tuition increases with inflation and encouraging a three-year graduation route. The Affordability Forum hinted at a willingness to include Wes students in the ongoing discussion. So where is all the fanfare, the chanting, the debating?

AP Discovers Wesleyan’s Fancy Cheesiness

While The Onion has always subtly recognized Wesleyan’s appetite, it looks like the Associated Press has now caught a whiff of the cheese co-op:

Some, like Wesleyan University junior Nica Latto, prefer wedges of locally produced artisanal cheeses added to the mix, perhaps a gouda with a slightly nutty undertone or a Gruyere for a fondue party while studying with classmates.

So to satisfy palates that lean more gourmet than grub, Latto and several friends organized a co-op in which fancy cheeses from a nearby Connecticut farm are delivered each week to the Middletown campus and distributed to students, many of whom line up with baguettes — and meal cards — in hand.

While universities nationwide have updated their dining hall menus to meet the increasingly epicurean expectations of students like Latto, many students are also taking things a step further and bringing fancy fare to campus on their own.

Aside from using the word fancy four times, the article also quotes Nica and the president-elect:

“I think our generation or just people in general are becoming more conscious about the quality of what they eat, where it comes from and if it’s sustainable,” said Malter, 20, a sophomore from Irvington, N.Y.

BAMCO, meanwhile, is portrayed as a generous entity whose only wish is to appease student desires:

Vassar Embezzlement Scandal

Vassar has found itself embroiled in quite the legal morass(…er) — now that you’ve been sufficiently nauseated by that, you might be interested to learn of the comparably reproachable actions of former Vassar employee Arthur Fisher and his wife, Jennifer Fisher, who were arrested last Friday in connection with the embezzlement of approximately $1.9 million from Vassar College.

The good people of Mads Vassar have provided excellent coverage of the developing legal situation so far. For those of you not inclined to venture far afield in the blogosphere, here are the central details of the case:

  • Fisher, a construction project manager at Vassar, ostensibly managed to leech the money from the school’s construction capital budget under the pretense of funding a nonexistent project over the course of his five year tenure, which concluded last December.
  • Financial inconsistencies found during an examination of project reports tipped off administrators to Fisher’s withdrawals (no word has yet been issued on the precise methods used by the defendants to accrue the cash money flo’).
  • A search of the Fishers’ Ossining home turned up five vehicles whose total value hovers around half a million dollars, several Rolexes (appraised at around $50k), and perhaps most disturbingly, a staggering cache of unregistered firearms and forged government identification.

Links to further reportage (Washington Post, Huffington Post, Poughkeepsie Journal, Associated Press) can be found here.

[Photos credited to the Poughkeepsie Journal]

Panel to Study Gender Bias in College Admissions

college admissions

A panel of civil rights investigators plans to begin reviewing admissions data to determine whether “female students have become so plentiful in higher education that institutions have entered a new era of discrimination against them.” The investigation focuses on D.C. schools, but the Washington Post also mentions data from William and Mary, Vassar, Swarthmore, and—shocker—Wesleyan, which in 2008 admitted 30 percent of its male applicants but only 25 percent of females. No word on the discrepancy in last year’s applicants. From the Washington Post:

Over the past 40 years, women have gone from underrepresented minority to overrepresented majority on U.S. college campuses, where they outnumber men by a proportion approaching 60-40. Barriers that kept women from college have been swept away, and scholarly focus has shifted to the impediments facing men, who are more likely to drop out of school and more apt to go into the military, manual-labor jobs or prison.

It’s no secret that way more women than men apply to liberal arts colleges—after all, liberal arts are totally girly subjects conversely, men are incredibly overrepresented in engineering/technology schools’ admission—but the degree to which it reflects in admissions data at Wes is still pretty striking. Whether it should be questioned as a civil rights issue, or regarded as more or less valid than race-based affirmative action, however, is worth discussing.

Full article: Panel to Study Whether Men are Favored in Area Schools’ Admissions

Edit: Wesleyan’s data is not the subject of the study, but it is quoted in the article and obviously relevant to the discussion.