Content warning: This posts discusses sexual assault/predatory behavior towards minors and contains images/video of Scott Backer
Former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer was arrested today in West Hartford for soliciting sexual conduct with a minor over Yik Yak. The Hartford Courant reported the arrest and Fox61 confirmed that the Scott Backer arrested was indeed the same Scott Backer that was fired from Wesleyan after the university learned from the Boston Globe that he had previously been fired from Vermont Academy for sexual misconduct.
And then she said I had performed a sort of quintessential act of human appropriation of the nonhuman.
In my never-ending quest to conjure up new forms of procrastination, I posted a status on Facebook last Friday asking if anyone wanted to be a part of a Wesleying feature that was quite simply about two things: (1) people, (2) flowers. The feature would go like this: I would take photos of people being ‘unapologetically happy’ with flowers somewhere in the mix.
The idea gained a lot more traction than I thought it would, so I spent my entire Sunday not doing homework and taking pictures of my friends instead. And, as promised, they’re going up on Wesleying.
Two weeks ago, USLAC released a statement highlighting unfair hiring practices by management at RJ Julia Booksellers, the managing company of Wesleyan’s new book store, which is scheduled to open later this year. Specifically, USLAC brought attention to workers being promised interviews at the new bookstore and having to wait months for an interview. According to the statement, several nonwhite employees were told that they didn’t fit the “RJ Julia Experience.”
USLAC made three public demands of RJ Julia and the Wesleyan administration in response to these accounts:
1. Give all current bookstore workers the opportunity to keep their jobs if they wish to.
2. Guarantee that returning workers will receive at least the salary and benefits they had been receiving before the move.
3. Inform workers immediately about any changes in their workplace and allow them the chance to discuss these issues freely without fear of losing their jobs.
Monday afternoon, a delegation of students voiced their concerns to the RJ Julia general manager outside of North College after a meeting between two students and the general manager was interrupted by a fire alarm.
Earlier today, I received a tip from a friend that yesterday (April 23), a group of older white “protesters” were demonstrating in the 100 block of Washington Street (between High Street and Main) around 2-3PM, and were displaying signs with messages like “White America is the real America.” After I updated today’s post with that information, Wesleying received several anonymous tips confirming that there was indeed a white nationalist demonstration on Washington Street yesterday afternoon.
Those submitting the tips said that they overheard the group of white nationalist demonstrators planning an “anti affirmative action” demonstration outside of the Office of Admission at 9PM tonight. But that’s not exactly how it panned out.
Zonker Harris Day (fka Ze Who Must Not Be Named Day (fka Zonker Harris Day)) is tomorrow. The holiday in honor of the notable Doonesbury character features a yearly springtime music festival in the West College Dormitory courtyard. Whey Station and Falafel will be there. This year’s theme is ‘TIP THE ICEBERG’ according to the Facebook event description:
[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.
“At the end of each week, ask yourself: ‘Have I done this much this week as I did during the week of January 20th?'” – Chris Murphy
Last Thursday, February 2, at midnight, I got an email saying that U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy was coming to hold a meeting on environmental policy on the morning of Saturday, February 4 and that there weren’t that many seats left at this late stage. The town hall was sponsored by the College of the Environment and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. The senator, notable for his Twitter takedowns of Donald Trump, took many questions on everything from general political engagement in these fiery times, to specific measures on the preservation of federal lands, and the precarious nature of environmental data in the Trump administration. He also answered a question on whether he would be considering a Presidential bid for 2020. Read past the jump for more on the town hall:
[UPDATED, 2/6/17, 1:06PM] With another video!
Isaiah Rashad came to Wesleyan and it was magical. If you were one of the hundreds who stood in line for two hours on a particularly frigid Friday, I hope you had as wholesome of a night as I did. A few days before the show, my friend Meghana Kandlur ’18, who helped book and put together this whole thing, sent me a video of Isaiah where he calls his mom his best friend. It was a really good video. And it was a really good concert. See look, Isaiah even said it was really cool:
Read past the jump for some videos!
“You can hate me for being muslim, or for being a refugee, but I will show you that your hate is ill founded by my appreciation for your voice and your perspective.”
Today, many in the Wesleyan community are in uproar in the wake of the news of Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 majority Muslim countries. Many students attended demonstrations at Bradley International Airport that protested the order. President Roth sent an all-campus email in response to the ban.
Ahmed Badr ’20 is closer to these issues than most. He moved to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee with his parents when he was 10 years old. He is now a U.S. citizen and student, entrepreneur, youth leader, writer, poet, and photographer. He also founded a global storytelling platform called Narratio. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted a statement about Trump’s Muslim Ban and has given us permission to republish his words here.
We know that this executive order (and the no doubt numerous to come) is having immediate effects on many in the Wesleyan community. If recent actions by the Trump administration are impacting you or your family and you have something to share, feel free to email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.
“Our international programs, our financial aid policies and employment programs comply with all applicable Federal and State laws. However, we will object to and oppose administrative dictates that violate the law and the Constitution and, if necessary, we will work with others to do so in court.”
This morning, President Roth published a piece entitled “We Are All Immigrants!” on his blog, which detailed Wesleyan’s continued support for its “students, faculty and staff, regardless of their country of origin or their religious beliefs.” The post re-affirmed Wesleyan’s status as a Sanctuary Campus and reiterated what that means for current and future students. The post also included a continued commitment to treating undocumented students the same as U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the admissions process. This comes after yesterday’s reactions to Trump’s now-infamous ban on immigration from 7 majority-Muslim countries.
Shortly after publishing the post on his blog, President Roth sent out an all-campus email with the same text, saying that Wesleyan is confident in the legality of all its policies with respect to its international programs, financial aid policies, and employment programs, and is prepared to work with others to challenge unconstitutional dictates by the Trump administration in court. Read past the jump for the full-text of the email: