Editor’s note: This article was written before Thursday’s announcement that the University would be returning to its previous monogram.
Assuming that you haven’t been holed up in your room for the past week doing bio homework, you’ve presumably heard that Wesleyan’s logo has changed. And, again making a few assumptions here, if you know about the new logo then odds are you figured it out because everyone is complaining about it. From the WesAdmits groups to Soggy We$ Memes to dorm floor GroupMes, hate for the new logo is rampant. But it’s not just empty hate: the student body has begun banding together to push back against this unwanted change through means such as angry Facebook posts, online petitions, and protests at Usdan.
While it’s always great to see a community full of passion and energy, the problem here is that this passion and energy is being channeled in the wrong direction. While I agree that the new logo is not exactly “aesthetic” or even pleasing to look at, putting your effort into changing it just because it’s ugly is a waste of time. Even though the school has re-branded, it doesn’t mean that all of the old icons are gone. It’s not like the administration decided to ban the crest or that one big “W,” they’re just adding some new symbols into the mix.
More importantly, however, a different logo doesn’t mean a different school. Some students have voiced fears that the re-branding process will lead the college down a new, undesirable path, changing it from the quirky place that they love to a rigid, callous institution. While I understand where these people are coming from, I still have to heartily disagree with their argument. Regardless of what logo the administration chooses to push on us, I know that the student body will still be the same group of creative, intellectual, and most importantly, weird people that it is today. We are the ones who make Wesleyan the great institution that it is, and as long as we stay who we are, so will Wes.
However, in order to maintain Wesleyan’s reputation as a place of activism and justice, it is essential that we turn our attention to issues that are actually consequential. While it’s not great, the change to the logo doesn’t really matter. What type of “W” we use isn’t important because it doesn’t affect anyone’s lives. Nobody is suffering nor thriving based on how the logo looks, and therefore it’s not worth your time to change it.
One aspect of the new design that does affect people’s lives, however, is the fact that the administration spent actual money on the re-branding process. Instead of putting that money towards problems that legitimately impact students’ lives, the administration decided to use it on moderately awful graphic design. Now that is something worth protesting.
Unfortunately, while the cost of the re-brand is worthy of student outrage, I remain steadfast in my opinion that fighting it is useless. The University just spent a lot of money on something that wasn’t totally necessary, which is bad and should be contested. But since the University just spent a lot of money on something, it’s unlikely that Michael Roth will go, “I know we just spent two years and a bunch of cash on this design, but since the students are unhappy we’re gonna totally scrap it,” while comically throwing his hands in the air.
However, even though the administration is unlikely to budge on this issue, there are still plenty of problems that can be addressed. Take the minimum wage, for example. A while back Roth promised to raise it to $15 on campus by 2019, but now he’s reversing course and only promising to raise it to $11 by 2021. That is some class A weaseling, and needs to be called out. This, and other issues just like it, are what the student body should be directing their energy towards. The outward face of Wesleyan may have changed, but it’s up to us to ensure that the spirit of Wes remains inspiring.
As many of you know by now, the administration apparently has the backbone of a chocolate eclair, and therefore decided to change back the logo, which is fantastic. While I clearly underestimated the power of student input, that only reinforces my other arguments more. We learned this week that our voices are capable of pressuring the University into rolling back an expensive two year project merely days after unveiling it. Now that we know we have such power, it is our duty to continue to use that power to move Wesleyan forward. Who knows, maybe if we post enough memes they’ll actually put A/C in all of the dorms.
Daniel Knopf is a member of the class of 2020 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.