The University filed a $3 million lawsuit against former Vice President of Investments and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Thomas Kannam last November, after he was dismissed from his positions on Oct. 13. The suit alleges that, as a University employee, Kannam devoted most of his energies into personal “entrepreneurial ventures,” exploited his privileged access to Wesleyan’s financial information, and used the University’s funds for his own business and personal expenses. The legal proceedings were suspended on March 8, while an arbitrator decides whether the case will be resolved out of court.
Wesleyan Is Sued
The same day that Wesleyan filed suit against Kannam, Cornell Professor Dr. Stephen L. Morgan filed suit against the University for incorrectly releasing his photo in place of that of the alleged killer of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 on May 6, 2009 in the Red & Black Café, Stephen P. Morgan. Dr. Morgan’s photo appeared on news sources across the country, falsely identifying him as the wanted man.
Johanna Justin-Jinich Memorial Clinic of Kibera
Last semester, five Wesleyan students, Kennedy Odede ’12, Jessica Posner ’09, Ari Tolman ’10, Inslee Coddington ’10 and Leah Lucid ’10, began plans for the construction of a women’s health clinic in Kibera, Kenya. They received a $53,000 grant from the Newman’s Own Foundation, the grand prize of $50,000 from the Dell Social Innovation Competition, and Jessica Posner won the VH1 Do Something! Award and accompanying $100,000 grant. The clinic will be built under the organization Shining Hope for Communities, which Odede founded in 2005 and which also includes the Kibera School for Girls, built by Odede and Posner during the summer of 2009.
Pimp My Ride
The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) instituted a number of dramatic changes to The Ride this year after a student-created Facebook event led to an onslaught of criticism of the campus shuttle service. The changes included a revised route, the implementation of a GPS tracking system and more clearly designated stops. This year, The Ride will use a single new route with two vans making stops every 15 minutes, to replace previous years’ two separate routes.
The 2010 WSA Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections were heated and controversial races, culminating in the highest recorded voter turnout in Wesleyan history (55 percent). Sometimes scathing campaign propaganda bombarded the student body from all fronts, including student blog Wesleying, the all-campus e-mailing list and even via text message. Micah Feiring ’11 and Ben Firke ’12 emerged as the victors with 62 percent and 71 percent of the vote, respectively, and everyone else emerged with “Feiring. Firke. Refreshing.” bottle openers as souvenirs.
Over the course of last year, the WSA, student body and Board of Trustees all approved the creation of the Green Fund, a $15 per student bi-annual fee that will go toward supporting environmental initiatives on campus. The fund is estimated to raise approximately $70,000 annually, which will be allocated by a committee of five students and one University staff member.
Power Plant Explosion
On the morning of Feb. 7, the nearly completed Kleen Energy power plant on the Connecticut River, just miles from campus, exploded, killing five and wounding at least 26. Many students on campus felt the blast, and a student meeting was held the next day to organize volunteer efforts in the wake of the tragedy.
Spring Fling Controversy
Many students voiced concern when Spring Fling, an annual concert which featured the Black Lips, the Dirty Projectors, and Big Boi last spring, was scheduled for the same day as the anniversary of the death of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10. In March, a Wespeak signed by 130 students was published in The Argus condemning the administration’s decision to hold Spring Fling on May 6. Administrators said that by the time they became aware of the coinciding dates, it was too late to reschedule the concert. They instead delayed the festivities until the afternoon and worked with the Social Planning Committee and a group of Joanna’s close friends to plan events to commemorate her life on the evening of May 5 and the morning of May 6.
Stage Fight Accident
During the opening performance of “Shoot The Duke,” a student-written play sponsored by Second Stage, on April 15, a student actor was accidentally stabbed with a prop sword during a fight in the play. The sword was mistakenly switched with the dull prop swords that were intended to be used. The student was released from a hospital the following day.