To the Editor, Wesleyan Argus,

Substantive questions can be raised about recent events at Wesleyan ranging from limiting free speech (recent Argus issue), the February, 2015, drug arrests and medical hospitalization, lower rankings compared to major small colleges, and interactions between the Wesleyan community and law enforcement. Clearly these events give an impression of a campus that appears to be borderline out-of-control. What drives it?

Have taught over a 34 year period in three research universities (Univ. of Pittsburgh, Univ. of Pennsylvanian, Univ. of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign (now Professor Emeritus there)), I learned from observation and experience the nature of administrative structure and form in higher education. To me the problems listed above suggest a loss of administrative control of the campus that potentially undermines the structure and integrity of Wesleyan University.

The solution? An intensive review of the administrative practices at Wesleyan is needed. If it reveals serious flaws as appear likely, perhaps it is time to remove the top-level administration and bring in new leaders who will move the campus to a higher standard.

I proposed such a review in a letter to the chairman of the Board of Trustees sent to his business address. I have yet to receive the courtesy of a response (very U-Wesleyan). Perhaps a new board may also help address these issues.

Klein is a member of the Class of 1954.

  • Letter

    Dear wesleyan:

    Your campus has turned into a joke.

    Signed: america

  • Debbie

    Reforming anything usually takes a long time when it takes place at all.

    Absent reform, daylight and ridicule can be very effective at making tiny-minded campus commissars and foot soldiers of political correctness back down from their more egregious antics.

  • Anonymous

    Thank You for caring George, there’s a significant lack of self discipline and responsibility at leadership and student levels here, Not healthy for Wesleyan’s reputation. If this is “breaking new ground” for whatever cause as I suspect would be the excuse, it’s clearly not in the interest of the students to continue. Restraint and a reboot is necessary.

  • Mike

    As a Wesleyan student I’d like to highlight that the media depiction of campus often is very far from what the community is actually like. First and foremost, Wesleyan receives extreme media scrutiny due to its reputation for being a whacky liberal school. I have visited many schools that have a culture of drug usage and party going that would put ours to shame, Tulane being a school that tops that list. Consider that in the past year they’ve had numerous students die and have received a fraction of the scrutiny that Wesleyan has. On campus nightlife has almost collapsed in its entirety since all frats have been closed, and while other schools maintain multi-hundreed person frat parties that come with spiked drinks (a surprisingly common practice at large schools) you’ll be lucky if eclectic has a fair number of people. The reality that is not reflected in the press is that our recreational habits are pretty tame compared to most schools. By and large the student body does not frequently partake in serious drug usage, and our drinking habits are in no way out of the ordinary. We did have a major drug incident last year, but that was the first one of its kind in well over a decade. It was this same event that caused the interaction between law enforcement and the community, and it should be noted that the actions of the middletown police were incredibly inappropriate. As a Wesleyan student I’m frankly fed up with how we are depicted in the media, its not only inaccurate but demonstrates how lazy they are about finding new stories: if they cared about how allegedly out of control college nightlife is they should investigate schools that aren’t already in the crosshairs, they’d be shocked by what they find. Woman at large schools openly admit there are certain fraternities you cannot visit because they will take advantage of you and almost always spike the drinks they give out, and despite this being a shockingly common phenomena it receives very little attention because the schools don’t have name recognition. What Wesleyan needs is not administrators that will crack down on the students, but administrators who still recruiting students because they are athletic and wealthy. If you look at most serious campus wrongdoing, they stem from Frats like BETA, not from your classic wesleyan community.

    • Anonymous

      Wes has earned its media scrutiny with drug overdoses requiring hospitalization of multiple students, arrests of on-campus dealers, and an assault on its own newspaper. No one is particularly interested in your views on partying habits or the prevalence of spiked drinks. If you’re fed up, stop blaming the administration for cracking down or admitting what you consider the wrong students, and take on real problems such as a systematic intolerance being passed off as justice, and a seemingly campus-wide childlike refusal to accept that actions have consequences.

  • Anonymous

    Are Wesleyan’s leaders failing to lead and cheapening the Wesleyan diploma? Student values are telling: When several students are hospitalized with life-threatening drug overdoses, it should not come as a surprise that on-campus drug dealers were arrested and face lengthy prison sentences. But no! Students circulated a petition condemning the “abduction of our classmates” and dubbed those arrested the “Wesleyan Five”. It is an affront to the Civil Rights movement (and reality) to wrap a dealer who touted the safety of his product or another who claimed 610 Xanax were for her personal use in the mantle of those who genuinely fought injustice. The fact that hundreds of students can’t see the difference speaks volumes.

    The Argus issue has been discussed at length, but again the values of some students are appalling and the Orwellian language is particularly troubling. Slashing Argus’ funding is “investment”, and destruction of newspapers
    deemed offensive is a “boycott”. Wesleyan must enable “safe spaces” for expression by quelling dissent.

    Does Wesleyan really value dissent? When the student government votes unanimously to slash the funding of its 150 year old school newspaper, there are only two possibilities: either the student government has universally poor
    judgement, or Wesleyan as built a culture of fear that made voting against the measure socially prohibitive. I’m not sure which is worse, but so much for “safe spaces”.

    One would expect the administration to be front and center in these issues, but that has not happened. Largely unnoticed in President Roth’s feeble op-ed defense of free speech was the admission that Stascavage and editors of the Argus had been harassed following the publication of Stascavage’s article. Here was a golden opportunity for the president to truly stand up for Wesleyan’s values and safety for all voices by condemning that harassment. It didn’t happen.

    True leaders must set tone and direction. They must foster independence without kowtowing to those who
    wrap naked power grabs in the language of inclusion. They must present consistent, constant, and unwavering values. There is precious little of that leadership in evidence at Wesleyan today.

    • GD Klein

      Men to that!

  • DKE Bro

    We should do an alumni donation drive with the funds going to Wesleyan only if Roth resigns immediately and accepts no severance payment. If we raise the money and the conditions are not met, we can send the money to Trinity College.