Six months ago, I posted that a newly conceived Student Budget Sustainability Task Force, the brainchild of WSA President Zachary Malter ’13, would be forming in the fall of 2012 and eventually articulating formal recommendations to President Roth and the Board of Trustees. Malter pieced together the concept quickly in the wake of widespread opposition to a need-aware Wesleyan.
As promised, the student-run committee has “worked extensively to evaluate the suitability of the recent move to a capped financial aid budget and need-aware admissions policy,” and the members have formulated a memorandum to the committee explaining their process thus far and the specific proposals that are under consideration. These aren’t their formal recommendations. Rather, the task force writes, “it is meant to spark conversation and debate before our final report.”
On President Malter’s request, I’m reposting the memorandum in full. You can also find it in PDF form here.
Following on approximately 157 years (rough estimate) of complaints by generations upon generations of Wesleyan students, you can now get to SciLi from Church Street without having to loop all the way around the stupid Exley lobby. (Edited correction: you can get to the 24-hour study room, not SciLi itself.) Instead, thanks to the year-long efforts of WSA big dogs Austin Dong ’15 and Zachary Malter ’13, you can just waltz through the SciLi Emergency Exit with Wescard access, where you’ll find yourself in a brand new “24/7 Quiet Study Lounge” that will remain in place throughout next semester. (Okay, the lounge isn’t actually new at all; it just has a new name and 24/7 accessibility.)
We posted the news on Facebook, where it quickly garnered 29 likes, as well as an official explanation from WSA President Zachary Malter ’13:
This was the product of a WSA initiative to get a 24 hour study space. We will do an official launch in January.
I asked Malter if the room will remain the same after finals week. “The room will remain in place for all of next semester and beyond,” he told Wesleying.
“NAPS OF THE FUTURE. TIRED IS A THING OF THE PAST!“
They went ahead and replaced all the rickety old chairs in Olin, but what are they doing to help you take power naps in the library and get your required six hours? A lot, in turns out. In fact, there are now nap machines in Olin and SciLi. Your friends aren’t messing with you—this is for real.
An anonymous tipster writes in with the fantastic news:
There is a nap machine being installed in Olin!! Take your robot naps now! 20 minutes with lights and soothing vibrations. It’s on the main floor and the guy installing it seemed to think it was permanent. NAPS OF THE FUTURE. TIRED IS A THING OF THE PAST!
They’re called “Energy Pods,” as it turns out, and they were created about ten years ago by two ’90s alums, Christopher Lindholst ‘97 and Arshad Chowdhury ’98. The machines were chronicled in a 2004 Courant article, which describes them as “disconcertingly futuristic-looking” (well, yeah, they’re called “energy pods”). In the article, Chowdhury boasts about their “visual and audio privacy,” because more privacy is precisely what is demanded in the Olin stacks.Photos below, interview with the installer after the jump.
“These actions, which can be clearly identified as a demonstration and sit-in, are protected as a legitimate mode of expression under Regulation 12.”
Last week, we reported that a handful of the students who participated in the Board of Trustees Occupation received SJB summons for violating Regulations 14 and 15 of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. On Friday, charged students received confirmation of the charges and notices of their Simplified Hearing dates. (The occupation and its subsequent disciplinary action are also the subject of a Middletown Press piece by former Argus editor-in-chief Justin Pottle ’13. The Hartford Courant has also gone public with an article. More on this press coverage soon.)
A few of the charged students, including Oliver James ’14, have had their ResLife jobs threatened by the disciplinary action. “Both Yona and I were threatened last week with termination of our positions at Res Life for participating in the Need Blind Trustees Action,” James explained to me a few days ago over email. “We both heard today that we are not going to be fired but that we are being put on probation for the rest of the 2012-2013 academic year. Essentially, any further deviation from our duties as Res Life Staff, regardless of the nature, is now grounds for being fired. We hear this as the administration’s way of saying ‘Stay in line, or else.'”
Fair? The University was just following through with disciplinary policy by charging these students, right?
Back in June, WSA President Zach Malter ’13 proposed the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—his means of involving more student voices in the debate surrounding need blind admissions. Thanks to Malter’s efforts, the task force will be proceeding as planned, and it is now seeking highly motivated members:
As many of you know, President Roth has proposed to scale back need blind admissions. For more information, check out here, here, or here. In response, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) has decided to form the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force, composed of WSA representatives and non-WSA representatives alike in the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015, which will make recommendations to the administration and identify budget cuts, cost savings, or new revenues to offset the cost of need blind admission.
Between Commencement demonstrations, meme blogs, and emergency task forces, it’s been a busy summer for need blind-related activism. WSA President Zach Malter ’13, who has made the issue a public priority, invites you to celebrate the start of classes with an informational meeting, co-sponsored by the WSA and the UOC:
Did you know that President Roth has proposed to scale back need blind admissions?
Come learn about the proposed changes to need blind policy and discuss ways to ensure the student voice is heard on the matter. The student meeting, co-sponsored by the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) and the University Organizing Center (UOC), will be this Sunday, September 2 at 9pm in Usdan 108. Open to students from all class years, the meeting will be both informational and an opportunity to plan campus activism.
Date: Sunday, September 2
Time: 9:00 pm
Place: Usdan 108
Facebook event: Link
“Given the deep student concern and the significant consequences related to scaling back need blind, I see tackling this issue as my single greatest priority.”
A few weeks ago, we updated you on a post by WSA President Zach Malter ’13 regarding the University’s shift towards need-aware admissions and the concern it has generated among students. Malter argued for more legitimate student input in Wesleyan’s financial decisions: he proposed forming a “Student Budget Sustainability Task Force” to identify areas for cuts and seek alternatives to cutting need-blind. The group would present its recommendations to the administration in November—and, Malter stresses, “no need-blind related decisions should be finalized until then.”
new more recent posting, Malter says the task force, which he suggested to President Roth’s office on June 18, will form as planned “within the first three weeks of classes.” Malter managed to speak with President Roth himself about the plan, which Malter calls his “top priority”:
I had several conversations with the President’s office and one with the President himself about the task force. President Roth is willing to work with the task force—to meet with the group, share documents, and answer questions—so they can be sufficiently informed and provide meaningful recommendations. He will also ask other administrators to cooperate. As a result, we will be moving forward with the task force, constituting the group within the first three weeks of classes.
WSA president calls for student task force on need-blind changes, blasts “Token Transparency”
When President Roth met with concerned students last month regarding Wesleyan’s move away from need-blind admissions, he expressed a firm willingness to consider student proposals and hear out alternative solutions. In a provocative recent post on the WSA blog, President Zachary Malter ’13 accepts the challenge, calling on Roth to rise “beyond token transparency”—in short, to give students a legitimate voice in policy-making before finalizing any measures. At the heart of Malter’s proposal is the creation of a student task force—the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—to take on the role.
Malter begins by outlining Roth’s proposal, then articulating the core reasons so many oppose it: in short, “how can Wesleyan criticize and challenge socio-economic inequality, if its admissions policy reinforces that very inequality by offering an advantage to students from wealthier families?” The popular retort is that it is merely a “necessary evil,” that there is no better alternative. Malter, among others, is not so sure—in large part because the budgetary details have not been made available:
Whether there is more room for cost-savings and revenue generation that does not significantly compromise the quality of education remains an open question. President Roth claims that the administration has already made all the possible cuts of inessentials and has already explored all the possible revenue generating options. But what if students had the chance to brainstorm cost-saving measures and give direct budget input?
Good Saturday, folks! Just checking in this afternoon to wrap up a plot-line that’s been developing here on Wesleying for about a week now: it would seem that, as of 12AM this morning, presidential incumbent Zach Malter ’13 has succeeded in his efforts for reelection with a whopping 654 votes. A hearty congratulations to you, Mr. Malter.
In addition, Mari Jarris ’14, Malter’s running mate, secured vice presidency with (also whopping, perhaps even more whopperific) 702 votes. Which is curious, of course, given that it’s almost 50 votes more than the president. One of our in-house analysts suspects that this cultivates ripe conditions for a Machiavellian-style altercation at some point in the future. Hearty congratulations to you as well, Ms. Jarris.
Arya Alizadeh ’13 and his running mate Sam Ebb ’13, the only other organized duo, came in second place with 355 and 310 votes respectively.
Dark horse write-in candidate Anwar “Cornelius” Batte ’13 came in third by bagging 138 votes in the presidential bracket, firmly establishing his brand as Wesleyan’s equivalent of a green party/socialist candidate. Batte ran a notable campaign in that he didn’t run it at all; in fact, he actively sought to neuter it. Congratulations on your non-efforts, Mr. Batte.
More information about the election results (the full data of which can be found here), as well as about fan-favorite Giant Joint ’54, after the jump.
Incumbent candidate Zach Malter ’13 also writes in with a statement on behalf of himself and VP candidate Mari Jarris ’14:
We’re Zach Malter ’13 and Mari Jaris ’14, and we’re running for WSA President and Vice President.
As President and Academic Affairs Chair, we stood up to the administration to introduce Academic Minors, establish a Sustainability Staff Position, and increased Dining Points by up to 130 points per student.
Other Major Results:
- Saved financial aid from budget cuts and organized forum on Wesleyan’s affordability
- Launched WesProfessor Evaluation Website and affordable online Text Book Exchange
- Revitalized transportation with RideGPS, M*Link Buses, and DC & Philly shuttles
- Defended student rights on Tour de Franzia, blackout response and preventing shortening of Drop/Add
- Founded Middletown Relations Committee, Substance-free Space and Spring Student Groups Fair
- Increased WSA accessibility through Office Hours, Cabinet, and Suggestion Box