To the admitted students:

You have an enormous choice in front of you: where will I go to college? Choosing can be hard. You may be unsure. How do you decide? Is Wesleyan right for me? Am I right for Wesleyan?

Here are our thoughts (with the caveat that school is not your only option):

Most colleges will spend a lot of time telling you what is so wonderful and unique and incredible about them — that’s what this literal “Wesleyan Festival” is designed for: to convince you all that this is the perfect place for you to spend your college years.

But here’s the thing: this is far from a perfect place.

This is a place where your legitimacy as a student might be questioned daily based on your race.

This is a place where, depending on how much money your family has, you might not even be offered admission at all. Take a good hard look around you while you’re here, and think about the fully qualified students who aren’t here.

This is a place where sexual assault happens, frequently, and is then dismissed.

This is a place where cultural norms permit violence against and violations of the space and well-being of women, trans* students, students of color, queer students, and many others marginalized groups.

This is a place where the administration targets trans* student activists for punishment.

This is a place that provides a lush material environment for its students with dividends from investments in coal and oil, weapons, agribusiness, and predatory banks.

This is a place that stands by and feigns helplessness as its subcontracted custodial firm is overworked and that intimidates the people (many of them poor people of color, women, immigrants) who maintain the campus.

This is a place that institutionalizes class divisions between students and between the university and the surrounding community.

This is a place where systemic oppression and unrelenting demands on students contribute to widespread anxiety and depression that goes unrecognized and unaddressed.

This is a place where students with disabilities are regularly locked out of the only accessible entrance to the library or questioned by faculty when they attempt to access classroom accommodations.

This is a place where institutional priorities ignore the inaccessible nature of our campus.

This is a place where students with mental health conditions and chronic illnesses contend with bureaucratic indifference and social stigma while on campus or on medical leave.

This is a place where breaking windows, smashing bottles on the sidewalk, trashing dorms, and abandoning food spills is done with little thought for who has to clean up those messes.

This is a place where the onus of fixing oppressive policies and structures often falls squarely on the shoulders of those who are oppressed.

This is a place where people ask each other the same few questions over and over again and give stock happy answers to prevent further and deeper conversation.

Fortunately (and this is Wesleyan’s saving grace), this is a place where some people care that these things are happening. This is a place where many students can and do take action to stop these things from happening. This is a place where students are willing to take the administration, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and our fellow students to task for transgressions against the community and to challenge anyone who says Wes can’t be better than it is. We can only do so much, but the passion and dedication and care we have seen our fellow students devote to improving this community and fixing inexcusable inequalities is continuously inspiring.

Wesleyan is an Activist University. Wesleyan is Diversity University. Wesleyan is Weird… At least that is what they tell us.

If you look closely these vital qualities have been on the wane in the past decade. But we haven’t lost them yet. There are always eruptions of regeneration and rebirth, sparks and flares of resistance and of coming to consciousness. We, activists at Wesleyan, fight constantly, seriously, joyously, to keep creative dissent and revolution alive.

You, who have been admitted to the class of 2018, will play an enormous role in deciding whether these aspects of Wesleyan grow and flourish, or atrophy and die.

If you choose to join this community, you will have the opportunity to learn about its serious and significant flaws, and you will have the opportunity to do something about them.

If the problems listed above anger, intrigue, or motivate you, please come here. If you want to contribute positively to this community through your presence, please come here. If you want to take a fierce and focused role in making desperately needed change happen at Wesleyan, please come here. If you couldn’t care less, consider picking another school. Now, more than ever, we need committed activists at our school. Now, more than ever, we need students who will care deeply about making this community the best it can possibly be, and perhaps changing it to be something else entirely. There’s a constant turnover of students on any campus, which presents a threat to the continuity and vitality of the movements for reform and revolution that go on here: the most knowledgeable and experienced rabble-rousers, strategists, and philosophers of liberation are always graduating and going off to change the world. But if we keep attracting new ones, we might really get something done.

We have all learned and grown at Wesleyan through being involved with activism. We have met amazing people who do so much to demand better from Wesleyan. Some are graduating and joining the proud ranks of Wesleyan alums. Others, thank goodness, will remain here for at least a little while longer, continuing to fight the good fight.

We hope you will be among them.
Catherine MacLean ‘14
Anya Morgan ‘14
Nina Gurak ‘16
Olivia Chavez ‘15
Christian Hosam ‘15
Joshua Krugman ‘14
Ben Guilmette ‘15
Alton Wang ‘16
Chris Caines ‘16
Olivia Alperstein ‘14
Taylor Dauphin ‘15

  • Dumb

    This article is pretty horrendous. You make it out like any of these problems affect wesleyan any more than they affect any other university, when in actuality the opposite is the case.

  • AR GUS

    go home Anya, you’re drunk

    • Anya

      Erm, I didn’t write this (just co-signed) but I obviously agree with it. Keep up the personal attacks though, makes y’all look great.

      • vibes

        Quick! unfriend them on Facebook so you don’t have to deal with their criticism.

      • U r A Bully

        FUCK OFF! Stop harassing Anya. I am disgusted that I go to a school that will treat a student this way.

      • U r A Bully

        FUCK OFF! Stop harassing Anya. I am disgusted that I go to a school we’re people treat another student this way.

    • U r A Bully

      FUCK OFF! Stop harassing Anya. I am disgusted that I go to a school we’re people treat another student this way!

      • Darth Sidious


  • Wesleyan Graduate

    I’m sorry, but this is in no way an accurate description of Wesleyan. The issues you have mentioned are in no way unique to our institution. If anything, they are only overblown at Wesleyan because we are so progressive, not because it’s any worse. Wesleyan students, you are actually privileged beyond what you can currently comprehend. You currently cannot fathom how privileged you are, to be in an environment that is so incredibly diverse, creative, and passionate. You’ll be in for a rude wake-up call when you graduate and face the real world and think they’ll be as sympathetic, that’s all I can say.

    • ’14

      Just because these issues are not unique to Wesleyan does not mean they are not issues at Wesleyan. Just because this school may in some ways be more “progressive” than the “real world” (though I’d say it’s not quite as progressive as it likes to pretend it is) does not mean we should just sit back and be satisfied with the inequalities that still exist. Of course we are privileged to be here, that is why we urge everyone to “think about the fully qualified students who aren’t here.”

      • ’15

        But here’s the problem: “If you couldn’t care less, consider picking another school.” Another school what? Another school with fewer issues or problems that aren’t as serious as Wesleyan’s? A school with no activism? There are no such schools. I agree that we should not be satisfied with inequality but saying that these applicants should choose a different school doesn’t make sense; every school is dealing with these issues.

  • Student

    Perhaps a more productive reading of this article is that “this is college.” Nowhere does this article say that these issues are more prevalent at Wesleyan than elsewhere. Rather, this article says that a student body which recognizes these issues and engages with them “is Wesleyan.” The issues themselves are not necessarily what sets us apart. What sets us apart is our refusal to accept the status quo of college–which this article describes–and act on this discontent to create change.

  • Speechless

    To be perfectly honest if I were an admitted student and I read this article then I think I would be scared away from Wesleyan before I even got to the part about Wesleyan’s “saving grace”. Many of those things are just so twisted and inaccurate that I don’t even know how to respond. Great job guys

  • WesStudent

    The worst part of this letter is the part that reads that students here “prevent further and deeper conversation.” Are you kidding me? Wesleyan is full of people ready to ask questions, discuss alternate view points, explore every side to the story… if anything, its the overly progressive students on this campus that can’t have a “deep conversation” because they refuse to listen to alternate viewpoints.

  • WesGrad/Check your privilege

    Activism through slander is cowardice. True activists would seize an opportunity like WesFest activities to further promote the activist agenda that is at Wesleyan in a higher concentration than nearly any other college in the country. I am a Wesleyan Graduate and was a Wes Admissions Dean. I admitted each of you to this school. That’s right, all of you ’14-’16. And I lived in and loved a University rife with flaws. But as a college counselor for Title I public school kids, your level of privilege is mind-boggling and your community is replete with socially-conscious citizens who have great values. Your article smears an admissions process and policy you know little about. You have very little concept of the thousands of kids who apply to this school seeking to break-out of truly narrow-minded, oppressive communities. Become a leader who promotes activism. You should feel fortunate for this opportunity.

    • Wes ’16

      We’re actually all leaders who promote activism.

      • WesGrad/Check your privilege

        I’d encourage you to channel your promotion of activism with a more constructive message. You talk about this institution as if it’s fallen off and isn’t worth saving. You don’t know about other collegiate experience, and you take yours for granted. Your negativity and misplaced gripes are counterproductive.

      • WesGrad/Check your privilege

        I’d encourage you to channel your promotion of activism with a more constructive message. You talk about this institution as if it’s fallen off and isn’t worth saving. You don’t know about other collegiate experience, and you take yours for granted. Your negativity and misplaced gripes are counterproductive.

      • Snail

        They talk about this institution as a place which they have higher expectations for then we do “other collegiate experiences. Their “negativity and misplaced gripes” are actually positivity and productive conversation. Your attitude is that which lets places decay, both literally and figuratively. Theirs is that which seeks to renew, and holds dear the special identity (and potential) of a place which they cherish. Sorry they strive to improve our surroundings and don’t sit silently when they see things they think are wrong. Sorry I’m not sorry.
        Class of ’15

      • WesGrad/Check your privilege

        Your first sentence is not a sentence, Snail. You misinterpret my message. I believe Wesleyan should be self-critical and seek to improve. I believe they should examine their identity and remain the school it was when I was there. I’m mostly convinced that the co-signers of this letter were and are entirely self-satisfied as the real banner-wavers. I actually worked for the university and sought to improve it through identifying students who would promote, cherish and preserve Wesleyan’s vibe. You have at least a year left. Put it to good use.

      • WesStudent

        I think many of the alum commenting on this blog need to spend a week back at wes, as it is right now. Things have been tense, awful, and reaching a tipping point for a while. Campus is almost divided and neither side can relate to or hear out the other. Not just the accused liberal side. I’m really unable to see what facts in this article aren’t true–maybe this article isn’t written to address the concerns of white, cis, straight mid-upper-elite class prospects who will not necessarily experience what is being described in this article [not assuming that you are that, definitely aware that many of the people who have problems with this article and any related protests are, i.e wesleyan’s frats–and please don’t tell me that dke has like three POC]. As for the rest of us–we don’t need the comments section to affirm that these are realities we experience every single day. That is not a hyperbole. Last week the president of dke and his girlfriend told a woman of color she was dancing like a whore, and couldn’t represent herself that way in dke–this is disgusting, but not surprising, in the slightest. This is our wes. Sorry yours was different.

      • DH’16

        As a relatively under-privileged (but still very privileged) student of color on financial aid who doesn’t fit into the elite-white-upper class characterization (that I so often hear) and a student who has dealt with many of the type of problems listed above, I still think this is a horrible representation of Wesleyan. While the division and tension is real and the school is riddled with problems that absolutely need addressing, this piece and opinions like it are not “progressive” or very useful. This outlook, as I am reading it, is just as divisive and unproductive as its opposing viewpoints. I don’t consider myself a liberal or a conservative, I don’t consider myself an activist or a passive observer, and I don’t consider myself or my interests more or less important than anyone else’s. I am a Wesleyan student that came to Wesleyan to get my own Wesleyan experience, just like everyone else. After attending WSA meetings and reading/hearing/talking to people about the state of Wesleyan, I’m honestly pretty sad at what’s going on. I have seen so many people (on every side of these debates) appear to veil their self-interested beliefs under the guise of the community’s best interest. The idea being promoted that “Wesleyan is an Activist University, Wesleyan is Diversity University, Wesleyan is Weird” is a waste of time. The idea that Wesleyan needs to become more “normal” or “traditional” is also a waste of time. Not everyone came here to be an activist. Not everyone came here to be an athlete. Not everyone came here to be what you want them to be. Wesleyan is a place of learning. Everyone, at the end of the day, came here to learn and have their own Wesleyan experience. Whether that means learning academically, learning skills, or simply learning how to grow up, we are here to make and learn from OUR OWN experiences. Every single person that comes through this place has their own reasons for being here and is privileged to be here in one way or another. It’s no one’s place to validate or invalidate the experiences of another. We’re all entitled to our opinions, but the people who signed their names to this have no authority to suggest what type of people should and shouldn’t “consider” Wesleyan or another school, especially not on such a formal platform as our school newspaper. If you love an aspect of Wesleyan, then I fully support any efforts to promote that experience. However, no one (sans admission, I suppose) should have the authority to determine what someone else’s Wesleyan experience should entail or means. In my eyes, this article prioritizes the interests of those who signed and support it over those who do not and that kind of bias goes against the very idea of equality and diversity of experience that it alleges to believe in. Why must a pre-frosh need to be an activist to consider Wesleyan? Why can’t we just be Wesleyan students? It’s a shame how so many conversations turn into an “us” vs “them” when, despite its flaws and places for improvement, we ALL chose Wesleyan to be our home. It would be nice if more people could acknowledge that.

  • Recent Alum

    this is really embarrassing, and makes you all look worse than you try to make Wesleyan look. Way to piss all over the incredible professors and brilliant peers that your parents shelled out a quarter million dollars to surround you with.

    Correction to the article above: Things aren’t perfect, and the administration has (recently) been more concerned with their PR campaign than they have been with meaningfully addressing a number of serious, systemic and difficult issues. Sexual assault, class-based discrimination, and casual, obnoxious behavior occur, and those things are pretty unacceptable. Students expect all of this to be fixed overnight, and are mad that it isn’t. Wesleyan is ONE OF the elite educational institutions in the northeast that has these problems.

    It’s also one of the few places where hundreds of people care about changing these things by being generally respectful to their peers, faculty, and administration, recognizing that massive, institutional change is a process, and NOT pretending that signing their name to astoundingly simplistic and misleading thinkpieces gives them a leg to stand on. It’s full of students who recognize that practicing these principles in real life on a daily basis is more important than railing against privilege in the classroom or in the school paper. It’s also full of genuinely thoughtful, extremely talented students with a deep knowledge and enthusiasm for an incredibly wide range of subjects, topics, and interests.

    So, to the idiots who authored this piece of crap: congrats on patting yourselves on the back in a public forum for your “open-mindedness” and “truly progressive” nature at the expense of everyone around you who, in all likelihood, are very decent and respectful people, and who have enabled and tolerated every half-baked, asinine thought that has popped into your heads. If I were the kind of student that Wesleyan should be attracting, this would have sent me running in the opposite direction, because I can’t imagine wanting to spend a minute around holier-than-thou sycophants who would throw their peers and friends under the bus like this. I’m embarrassed for you, but also as an alum of a school where people like you can graduate from.

    • Lil B

      Hey if you can’t handle my privilege then get out the way and stay based

  • Darth Sidious

    Good, let the hate flow through you

  • Contented Serf

    it’s nice to know that there is a saving grace to the mess that we’re in in the form of this god-sent bunch, these co-signers, to compensate for the rest of us sniveling half-wits who are either too unaware, unintelligent, or simply apathetic to even waste our meager brain power on thinking about these issues. Thank god we have all these wonderful co-signers to look out for us, when we, too backwards to know right from wrong, are running around raping, stealing from, and exploiting each other every day. Who knows what we would do without their sacred presence around campus, making lasting impacts every day, friends to all, voices of the people and hands of moral supremacy. My only hope is that they start some sort of mentorship program and take next years freshman under their wings, so we can continue this lineage of enlightened leadership.

    • lol

      My favorite response so far.

  • 2017er

    Yo this is toooooo chill

  • Cars4Dayz

    These cars rock!

  • Lol

    If you hate so much about Wes and are intelligent enough to write such a well thought out, insightful piece, just transfer. Any school will take you. Oh wait, any asshole high school drop-out could write a few paragraphs of slander unsupported by any evidence. Screw you, leave my school.

  • Excited Prefrosh!

    What if we’re coming here for the rape and misogyny?

  • Snail

    This Is Why. Thank you to all the authors of this.


    • NYChmu

      I’ve got a shell for any snail who wanders by

  • Excited Prefrosh!

    If I give you some bathroom signs and a knife to play with will you all leave? Pls and thank you

  • stdnt

    Wow, a lot of angry comments here. I’m not much of an activist–and I do think that some of this piece is hyperbolic–but overall, it’s not unreasonable. Wes students and administrators love to pat themselves on the back, but this school isn’t nearly as transgressive as it thinks it is. And while I’ve been here, there have been A LOT of affronts to it’s reputation as a liberal, activist haven: psafe beating up a black student, psafe profiling black students, need blind taken away, excessive punishment for trans-bathroom affair, multiple mishandled cases of sexual assault, mistreatment of cleaning staff, refusal to divest, excessive policing from Psafe and RAs, continued chalking ban…

    The fact that this stuff happens at other colleges is irrelevant. And Wesleyan should hold itself to higher standards than the “real world.” Truth is, this place is small enough that the “activists” among us should be able to hold loftier ideals for the kind of space they want to live in. And other commenters seem to be ignoring the fact that this letter closes on an optimistic note, encouraging students to come here and to become engaged in the community. I think that’s a fine message. Rather than just blocking your ears and reminding us all that Wesleyan is super awesome, it might actually be responsible to give incoming students a more critical lens with which to view their school.

  • Flynn

    You are asking for perfection, and the thing about perfection is that it it’s unknowable. It’s impossible, but it’s also right in front of us all the time

  • Zach


    call yourselves out as well, authors….

  • Friend

    As someone who was happy to leave wesleyan because of these issues, these consigners and the tireless work they did, because these are not just empty words, they are the reflection of tireless efforts on their part to improve things at this school, you are what made my wesleyan experience worthwhile. Thank you for this piece and all of the work you’ve done on a campus and continue to do.

  • Wesleyan Student

    Are you saying that if prefrosh do not agree with the aforementioned complaints, they should not come to Wes?
    I believe that what makes Wes so great is its diversity in opinion.
    However, you seem to be asking for a homogeneity of opinion, of people that all agree with what YOU think – and how you prioritize your beliefs.

    • Wesleyan Student

      I would also like to note that while I think some of the issues mentioned in this article ARE flaws of our institution that I am committed to changing, I LOVE Wes.
      I appreciate the money that my parents pay for me to attend such a wonderful institution.
      It may not be perfect, but Wes is incredible – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish others would appreciate what Wes has done for them, and criticize the institution in a more constructive way instead of the way the authors wrote this article.

      • Guest

        “….flaws of our institution that I am committed to changing” “I wouldn’t have it any other way” … you’re contradicting yourself here, my friend!!

  • Alumni

    “If you aren’t like us, you shouldn’t come here” is the basic vibe of this article. It’s unbelievable that these few students appoint themselves “True Wesleyan Students” while everyone else is a nobody. Part of the value of coming to Wesleyan is meeting a diverse array of people with different backgrounds and opinions. If we had a school full of students like the authors of this article, this school would be 1) Broke 2) void of any white male students 3) On second thought, it wouldn’t have any male students 4) Or White people
    I highly recommend each of these students take a few years off and work in a part of the world where they have none of the priveleges that Wesleyan inherently offers to all of its students.

  • ’15

    This entire article is actually beyond embarrassing, and the Argus should publish an apology for running it.

    • hi.

      they publish all wespeaks. submit one yourself if you disagree.

  • Prof

    Incredibly pessimistic and unappealing way to recruit the kinds of people the article intends to recruit. The best way to put it is the article is far too Wes-centric; the audience, currently admitted students, are reviewing their undergraduate career options and deciding where they want to get an education and a degree. Wesleyan is GREAT (not perfect, but pretty great) at offering these things, but this seems to have been glossed over in the article. Put yourself in their shoes: these admitted students want to find a university that will fit their academic and extracurricular needs, and for thousands of students, Wesleyan is that fit. No matter what, there will be a portion of the class of ’18 that will join WSA and work on said issues, and a large portion will play sports or live in a chemistry lab or smoke weed all day – no reason to scare everyone away before they can even consider going here! I understand the need for student activism, but this article fails because :

    1) Wesleyan needs to attract and bring students in and get these kids to love Wesleyan before anyone will feel invested in this University and want to make a change. Right now, Wesleyan is just a word on a notebook next to 10 other names, none of these admitted students have an emotional investment in the university or its problems.

    2) You guys (the writers) go here! Although it is implied, what you’ve really written is “Hey guys, we have an incredible privilege being able to attend one of the best liberal arts colleges in america and right now we’re using Wesleyan internet and eating a Wesleyan veggieburger sitting on a beautiful lawn and using words I learned in a Wesleyan english class – but WAIT YOU WANNA GO HERE?? YOU KNOW HOW MANY PROBLEMS WE GOT?? Stay away unless you wanna put in some HARD WORK.” The writers are screaming from inside a Wesleyan bubble where we think are problems are a)unique, b)dominant over the benefits we are receiving, and c) in the thoughts of current prospective students (all not true).

    On our problems being unique: find me another university, college, city, state, or country that has it totally figured out and has no problems as bad or as many as Wesleyan, and I will rescind my comments. Be careful of Wes-centricism.

    • Guest

      “join the WSA and work on said issues” LOL

  • Wes Student

    It’s not the responsibility of new students to make a plan for the university before even getting here. They’re supposed to be focusing on making a tentative plan for solidifying their own futures. To place the burden of wesleyan’s institutional future on current high school students is discouraging and completely unfair. As much as we are responsible for what goes on at Wes, Wes is also responsible for providing us with positive and informative experiences that we can use to determine our place in the world. Having such a combatant attitude undermines the point of a university – to broaden the perspectives of its students by encouraging them to receive and critically analyze a wide variety of opinions in an unbiased way. It’s like telling new students that they have to become more open-minded – but only to these specific ideas / this perspective, while criticizing the wrongness of all other opinions.

  • ’05

    You claim that Wesleyan is “diversity university” and base your entire piece on this claim while you clearly imply that if a prospect student is not an activist who’s willing to contribute to what you believe in and does not support you with how you envision this place to be, Wesleyan is not a place for her or him!!! No logic what so ever!

  • Wes student

    It’s not the responsibility of new students to make a plan for the university before even getting here. They’re supposed to be focusing on making a tentative plan for solidifying their own futures. To place the burden of wesleyan’s institutional future on current high school students is discouraging and completely unfair. As much as we are responsible for what goes on at Wes, Wes is also responsible for providing us with positive and informative experiences that we can use to determine our place in the world. Having such a combatant attitude undermines the point of a university – to broaden the perspectives of its students by encouraging them to receive and critically analyze a wide variety of opinions in an unbiased way. It’s like telling new students that they have to become more open-minded – but only to these specific ideas / this perspective, while criticizing the wrongness of all other opinions.

  • WesStudent

    This is ridiculous and irresponsible. I find it interesting that you would like to narrow the school’s diversity in the name of diversity in saying that if you do not believe these things then you shouldn’t come here. If that was the case, Wesleyan would not be where it is today, especially if you did research and KNOW where Wesleyan’s roots are. I do understand that these issues are not unique to Wesleyan, also that these are issues here at Wes but to come out with this letter in reaction to these issues is irresponsible.

    • Zach

      “I find it interesting that you would like to narrow the school’s diversity in the name of diversity in saying that if you do not believe these things then you shouldn’t come here”

      THANK YOU.

  • Student ’15

    Hey admitted students! Come to Wes! You’ll never be bored :)

  • Rediculous

    This is absolutely ridiculous and in no way true.

  • Anonymous

    “You, who have been admitted to the class of 2018, will play an enormous role in deciding whether these [positive] aspects of Wesleyan grow and flourish, or atrophy and die.”

    That’s right. Over 150 years of academic tradition, a distinguished faculty, thousands of alumni, a deep and broad array of intellectual choices, near lavish athletic facilities, hundreds of millions of dollars of donations over the years and the efforts of thousands of current students really matter nothing. Wesleyan will live or die based on you, approximately 500 college freshmen most just leaving home for the first time. Only your extraordinary talent, and your ability to discount all that has gone before you, stand between the weight of the oppressive and divisive forces of darkness, and a convulsive withering death of the soul of the institution we thought we loved.

    Have at it, noble frosh. And don’t say we didn’t warn you we are totally fucked.

    (Or would be if there were any truth to the drivel published above.)

  • gggg

    just leave and go to sarah lawrence you dirty hippies

  • ed quant

    Many excellent responses to this letter appear below. Anyone considering Wes should have a read through them to understand most of us love Wes and consider the letter above to be beyond ridiculous. Current and future alum will continue to generously support the school in ways the authors signing the letter cannot yet fathom.

  • Reads The Whole Argus

    Published the same day.
    This piece clearly takes a different approach so it’s not totally comprable, but it seems to have the same goal in some ways, just less…antagonistic.

  • justoneopinion

    Props to the people who had the guts to write, post, and sign this. No, Wesleyan is not perfect and, contrary to all the negative commentators, I don’t believe that the goal of this letter was to promote how perfect some activists at Wesleyan are. However, these ARE issues that Wesleyan is faced with, these ARE real experiences that occur on campus, and these ARE things that people, like the signers of this letter, strive to work and fix every day.

    To those of you commenting saying things like “this does not represent Wesleyan” and calling the signers of this names like “dirty hippies” and “holier than thou activists”, I am sorry you feel so aggressive towards these individuals, but honestly, they are a much better representation of what I see at Wes everyday than the putting down of fellow cardinals that you are exhibiting.

    Thanks again for the people behind this argus post/letter. Keep it up guys =)

  • Anonymous

    I’m a now 50-something Wes Grad, whose daughter was recently accepted to Wesleyan but chose another school. Her reasons had little to do with the issues raised in this article. But do I think reflect her sense that Wesleyan is no longer regarded nearly so highly as it was when I attended in the early the 80s. What’s more, had she been on the fence, I think the attitude expressed in this letter would have dissuaded her. Not because the issues it raises aren’t serious. They are. But because the tone is naively self-righteous and reflects an utter lack of awareness of the co-authors’ wealth and privilege (or proximity to it), which I assume applies to some if not all of them. Wesleyan was, is, and will like remain a progressive bastion of wealth and privilege — a fact for which I am grateful. It is also a bastion of wealth and privilege as is every college and university that has a list price in excess of $60,000. Indeed, I suspect that virtually all of them chose Wesleyan precisely because of its high-brow reputation and their (correct) perception that having a degree from an elite and expensive university will help them pursues their dreams — whatever those dreams may be.

  • jarsilver

    One small point of constructive criticism from a recent alum: I agree with absolutely everything in this, except for one piece: “Now, more than ever, we need committed activists at our school.” Maybe, maybe not. Wesleyan has a lot of activists, and being a self-conscious “activist” doesn’t make you any more or less likely to solve some of these issues that don’t have a simple answer. It is not the density of self-identified activists that determine if anything changes, nor does the sheer intensity of your personal passion, in which you invest your personal identity, make a difference in exacting the kind of change you. Wesleyan needs engagement from students who do not think of themselves as activists, including students that don’t hold all the same views as you. We need to rethink the centrality of the identity aspects of activism with regards to campus issues. The entire point is that we ought to foster an engaged civic culture where where students actualize the kind of change you’re looking for because they think genuinely is important as a member of a community, a culture that is not an us-vs-them battle that requires people to choose sides between activist student and apathetic student, or to agree to any given laundry list of positions in order to earned the title of Engaged Student.

    Self-identifying as “activists” embodies so much of what alienates the rest of campus, who in turn respond in the reactionist way you see in these comments. The commenters who are trashing this piece are, I believe, responding viscerally to a sense that such vocal criticism of the school in a public forum is self-aggrandizing posturing, of Caring More Than Thou, hence the accusations of unchecked privilege and whatnot. Even though this is, I’m sure, not really your intent, you need to be aware of this perception and think critically about your own framing of these issues in light of the reaction it provokes in people. None of their criticisms really contest the substance of your positions much. It’s unfortunate that the framing of “activism” so blinds people that they can’t see the true audience for this piece strategically speaking is probably not prefrosh necessarily but rather the administration, but thems the breaks. After four years of witnessing the dynamic of self-stylized activists shaming other students for just not caring enough, I am not too surprised at the backlash witnessed here. This is the challenge that the “activist” community needs to overcome most of all, because the idea that you have to draw lines in the sand between people who get it and people who don’t is ghettoizing. Ironically, it makes the issues that activists care about easier for the administration to ignore.