Everyone knows that Wes students get outraged over ridiculous things. Even The Huffington Post featured Wes as one of their 10 most politically active colleges. As freshmen, it is your obligation to get outraged over these issues immediately, in order to be cool and a true activist student. Every year Wes students chose one issue to get abnormally upset about, so keep your heads up and make sure to shed a tear every time MoCon is mentioned.
Tour de Franzia
Arguably one of the best cam- pus-wide events of the year, nearly a thousand students (no kidding, the Facebook event listed 950 in attendance) chose teams of three, bought a box of Franzia, dressed up in matching costumes (I was a pirate) and ran around campus taking pictures drinking wine in front of numerous locations. The event, which has become more ridiculous than Halloween, resulted in nine students being sent to the hospital last April. If one box of Franzia is the equivalent to nearly six bottles of wine, and three people are splitting a box, things are going to get out of control. Because the University had no control over the event (yeah, there were Public Safety (PSafe) officers posted outside of Roth’s house but they don’t count), they decided to punish the creators’ of the Facebook event. The residents of 1 Pearl Place were fined $2000 payable before graduation, or their diplomas would be withheld. Not only is that a lot of money to pay for an event for which they provided neither a venue nor any alcohol, but the administration made the decision without any student input and during Senior Week when half the campus was already gone. A website was created to collect donations for the scapegoats of Tour de Franzia, but it is unclear how much was raised.
The controversial chalking ban in 2003 instituted by then-President Bennett (pre-Roth) is still a hot- button issue on campus—provoking a pro-chalking petition signed by 600, as well as a “Chalking
Revolution” in the spring of 2007. Chalking was seen as a form of continued student resistance against the administration and a form of “self- expression, spontaneous creativity, communication, public awareness, and a differentiation from our less audacious fellow institutions” as an Argus editorial piece wrote eloquently in April 2007. Currently, chalking is used mostly for shock statements directed towards pre- frosh during WesFest, such as last year’s National Coming Out Day chalking campaign (“I <3 queer sex”), and towards parents during Homecoming Weekend, such as the chalking campaign against Bank of America and mountaintop removal two years ago. So freshmen, if you are feeling outraged about any particular issue, run down to Rite Aid, buy a box of chalk and draw your message across campus in protest to the administration.
Even though you have all entered Wesleyan post-MoCon—as this era shall be forever known— it is important that you are furious about the demolition of one of Wesleyan’s greatest landmarks. The last class to ever eat at “the flying saucer” just graduated. Yet we know that Miles Davis, Steppenwolf and Joni Mitchell all performed at Mocon and Joan Crawford and Martin Luther King Jr. both spoke in its hallowed halls. In its prime, shortly after its completion in 1962, the amphitheater cafeteria, with the grand staircase used for announcements daily, was classified as “a historically and architecturally significant expression of Connecticut modernism.” If the idea of making announcements from the balcony, dropping your cups in disapproval, or being one of Grandma Laverne’s “babies” invoke thoughts of what could have been, join the facebook group (“Save Mocon”). Start a flash dance party. Make sure that you al- ways speak of MoCon with glowing nostalgia.
Wesleyan has never been known for its Greek life, yet the Fraternities that are on campus have certainly made their presence known over the past few years. DKE (the one across from President Roth’s house on High St.) is currently under probation until Spring 2011 due to a variety of non-academic incidents, including noise complaints; alcohol-related problems; and hosting unregistered parties. Yet the DKE brothers last year made a concerted effort to change their image on cam- pus, by hosting PNK @ DKE as well as co-sponsoring Ze-Who-Must- Not-Be-Named Day with WestCo. Similarly, Eclectic (the house with the big white pillars) was banned from hosting all concerts, parties, and events in March 2009 due to many noise complaints. After they appealed the decision, President Roth overturned the SJB’s decision and instead placed Eclectic in a temporary probation period. Last March, an email was sent to the en- tire campus (and parents) warning students from entering Beta because of many cases of hospitalization due to alcohol consumption. Beta is technically off-campus, so PSafe has no jurisdiction over the house. Beta has recently signed an agreement to allow an off-duty MPD officer into the house during parties to prevent future incidents such as the ones mentioned in the email.
Fountain Ave. Riot
You may have seen the YouTube clip or read about it in the paper, but the 2008 Fountain Ave. Riot has had a lasting effect on campus. On May 15, PSafe officers, Middletown police officers and Connecticut state officers broke up an outdoor party behind 64 Fountain Ave using pep- per spray, dogs, and taser guns. Five students were arrested and several went to the E.R. for bite wounds inflicted by police dogs. 60 students arrived at the MPD office at 3 a.m. to file a civilian complaint. A formal report was written over the summer and in the fall a Fountain Avenue Commission was formed as a WSA subcommittee to come up with recommendations for diverting such a disaster in the future. After several community forums, the commission submitted proposals to encourage more conversations between PSafe, MPD and students, as well as to have event registration during reading and finals week, and regulate the use of hand cameras by PSafe.