A message for incoming freshmen
As college decision time approaches, it is important to realize that the community that you choose will inevitably influence you beyond your college career.
You don’t come to Wesleyan or any college with the primary goal of developing the institution; while it’s important to acknowledge where you are and the micro-community you are a part of, you will also leave it after four short years. Wesleyan, and college in general, is about self-development, so that we as young adults can fight against the problems mentioned in “To the admitted students” that go way beyond this place. The authors of that article emphasize closed-mindedness, and systemic oppression by the Wesleyan administration. But they wrote a wespeak, and the student body knows about it, they care, and in turn they are questioning the validity of the article’s claims. “To the admitted students” paints a pessimistic picture of our university, a picture that is proven to be false in many ways by the student body’s reaction to it. Our response hopes to offer another idea, not better or worse, to be questioned too.
Most of the criticisms lodged against our school are not specific to us, nor are they specific complaints addressing individual events or circumstances here. We, as individuals, propose a few broad (optimistic) strokes of our own.
1. Wesleyan is a liberal arts college, and all colleges are subject to societal truths.
2. Colleges are small samples of national society, which perpetuate class divisions through federal policies and a history of oppression (race, gender, sexual orientation, individual expression, regionalism, et cetera). Wesleyan is a place that acknowledges that truth, accepts that it exists inside society, and allows for vocal activism of all kinds.
3. Colleges bring together students of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Wesleyan is a place that engages these differences and considers how they might enrich the whole student body. It does so through facilitating spaces for collaboration that utilize these differences for creation – art, music, poetry, dance, etc.
4. Colleges can harbor a disregard for those who maintain living spaces, communal spaces, and campus greens. Mob mentality dissolves individual responsibility and is rampant throughout all of the nation’s 3,000+ colleges and universities. Wesleyan is a place is not exempt from mob mentality; it is also a place however, where students are conscious of the struggle for workers’ rights. We are also an environmentally concerned campus.
5. Some colleges are run more efficiently than others. Wesleyan is often disorganized and forgetful. Special permissions don’t go through the necessary channels, doors that need to be unlocked are not, classrooms are double-booked, and getting access to spaces can be long, unexpected waits as Public Safety brings keys. Rather than oppression it should be called incompetence.
This is not a dark hole of unbearable oppressive forces. It’s a college. There are happy students here, thoughtful and engaged and interesting students.
Wesleyan students go outside of the classroom to call for thought and look for ways to apply our ideas to our growing selves, community, and world. So please do not be discouraged by “To the admitted students.” It illustrates only one point of view, and there are many others co-existing within Wesleyan.
Keep Wes Weird. Keep Wes Diverse. Keep Wes an Activist University. Let Wes own its multi-faceted identity and face its flaws with an optimistic view on how to improve upon them. The saving grace of Wesleyan is not activism, it’s that we have not only a stage for this discussion, but also an audience.
Welcome, Class of 2018.
Castrigno and Stanton are members of the class of 2015.