News to Know from the Past Year
Campus Mourns the loss of Nora Miller ’12 (9/24/10)
Last fall, the Wesleyan community was rattled when Nora Miller '12 died tragically of severe self-inflected burns. Members of the community filled the Memorial Chapel two weeks later to honor Miller in a service that included friends and family sharing memories of her.
College of the Environment Officially Launches (10/23/10)
On Saturday, Oct. 23, the College of the Environment (COE) was officially opened at the seventh annual “Where on Earth Are We Going” symposium held in Tischler Hall. COE Director Barry Chernoff, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Josh Boger ’73, and President Michael Roth were present to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Though the college had been functioning since the beginning of Fall 2010, the event marked its formal introduction. The academic component of the COE comprises the Environmental Studies Linked Major and the Environmental Studies Certificate. During the ceremony, President Roth likened the commencement of the COE to the visionary beginnings of the College of Social Sciences (CSS) and the College of Letters (COL) in the 1950s.
Affirmative Action Bake Sale Goes Sour (11/9/10)
A bake sale held in Usdan by the Cardinal Conservatives last fall set off a flurry of angry Wespeaks and debate over the group’s presentation of their anti-affirmative action stance. The sale charged students for baked goods based on their race, ranging from "free" for Native American students to $2 for white students. Students enraged by the bake sale organized a rally and a forum in Usdan where they debated affirmative action at the University and called for the Cardinal Conservatives to acknowledge students who were offended by the sale. Shortly after the bake sale controversy boiled over, President Michael Roth introduced the Making Excellence Inclusive initiative, which includes the implementation of new programs to promote awareness of diversity on campus.
Health Care Costs Spike for University Staff (12/3/10)
Last fall, the administration announced that medical insurance premiums for faculty and staff would increase by 14.5 percent in 2011, upsetting many university employees who were concerned that the rising costs could lead to a net decrease in wages. The United Student Labor Action Coalition (USLAC) organized a rally to protest the rising cost of healthcare, which included a reading of statements written by clerical workers. President Roth responded by saying the University would look into decreasing health care costs for University employees on the lower end of the salary scale, but changes were not made to the system.
Beta Housing Agreement Debate Sparks Protest (2/18/11, 3/1/11)
Following a period of strained relations between the University and the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity surrounding the fraternity’s autonomy, last February the administration announced an amendment to the housing agreement that banned students from visiting or living in “houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” Though the amendment was intended to restrict student visitation only to Beta, students protested, claiming an infringement on their freedom of association with the “private societies” cited in the amendment. President Roth later revised the wording of the amendment to “Greek organizations,” admitting that the original language used may have been too broad. In March, the Argus reported that negotiations for Beta to re-join the University were underway. On June 16, an e-mail was sent out to students and staff announcing that Beta had been formally recognized by the University.
Alleged Sexual Assault at Beta (2/18/11)
In January, a 21-year-old non-student male from Yorktown, CT was charged with first degree sexual assault and first degree unlawful restraint following an anonymous student’s allegation of rape at Beta last October. The incident, along with at least one other alleged incident of sexual assault at Beta, prompted Dean of Student Affairs Mike Whaley to send an e-mail warning the Wesleyan community against visiting the Beta house. The suspect pled not guilty in February and elected to have a trial by jury. The alleged sexual assaults at Beta exacerbated tensions between the University and the fraternity during the housing agreement debate this past spring.
Roth Signs for Second Term (3/1/11)
In a March 1 campus-wide email, Chair of the Board of Trustees Joshua Boger ’73 announced that President Michael Roth signed a new contract to stay on as the University’s President for seven more years. Roth’s first term as President began during the 2007-2008 academic year.
Students “have sex” and Rally for Planned Parenthood (3/25/11)
Following a vote by the House of Representatives to defund Planned Parenthood and a subsequent student rally in the Exley Science Center in February, a group of students known as “Wesleyan Uncut” uploaded a video to YouTube in support of Planned Parenthood entitled “I Have Sex.” The video features students holding signs with slogans such as “I have sex,” “My friends have sex,” and “I use birth control.” Students at other colleges, such as Bard, Oberlin, and Skidmore, created similar videos soon afterward, and the video received attention from national news outlets and spurred commentary from both pro-life and pro-choice groups. The video currently has over 355,000 views.
Rho Ep Sorority Formed (4/15/11)
Last semester, a group of female students established the Rho Epsilon Phi (Rho Ep) sorority on campus, attracting more than 130 students. Though President Roth said he had no plans to grant the sorority members a house, the group still held events during the second half of the semester, including a formal held off-campus, and partnered with other fraternities on campus. This fall, they plan to hold a formal rush and pledge process for new members.
Matisyahu Debate Leads to Re-evaluation of Booking Process (4/25/11)
Controversy arose last April surrounding the concert booking process and price of bringing Matisyahu and Chiddy Bang to perform at the Spurrier-Snyder Hockey Rink. The concert cost a total of $55,000, $30,000 of which was was provided by the Campus Initiatives Fund, $12,500 by the Student Budget Committee, and $7,500 by the Concert Committee. Many students were frustrated by the allocation of so much funding for one event, preferring to bring more small-name acts for less money each. Debate heated up alongside accusations that funding was not allocated according to proper Concert Committee protocol. These debates led the Concert Committee to hold an open forum for discussion of the issue, which resulted in changes to the Concert Committee bylaws.