Ever wonder who picks up that cigarette butt that you stomped into the marble steps of Olin?
Katherine Bascom grew up on a farm in New Hampshire, moved to Vermont, draped herself in leaves for last year’s Unlocked centerfold, and went trekking in Nepal amidst a violent populist uprising this summer.
On Tuesday night, the WSA sent a memorandum to members of the administration criticizing the University’s current meal plan on a number of fronts.
Whether he’s servicing you at the Olin front desk, schooling you on the basketball court, or sweet-talking you at the frat house, Job Ogutu ’12 is a charmer through and through.
After five years as the Associate Director of Fire Safety, Barbara Spalding has left the University. According to Associate Vice President for Facilities Joyce Topshe, the position was eliminated at the end of last semester.
Wesleyan University has brought a lawsuit against former Vice President of Investments and Chief Investment Officer Thomas Kannam and nearly 20 other defendants, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, civil theft, breach of contract, fraud, statutory forgery, and unjust enrichment, among other charges.
After 46 years of teaching, Pomper, Wesleyan’s William F. Armstrong Professor of History, will retire at the end of this semester. He says he looks forward to having more time to write and play tennis.
Wesleyan University has brought a lawsuit against former Vice President of Investments and Chief Investment Officer Thomas Kannam and nearly twenty other defendants, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, civil theft, breach of contract, fraud, statutory forgery, and unjust enrichment, among other charges.
Some of the comments on the Blargus have accused me of being “biased” and “like Fox News” in my editorial, for taking a strong position against Politico.
Friends and relatives described Gero as a person who led others through the sheer force of his own energy.
Cruising around campus in his purple and green ice cream truck, vendor Paul James is always keen to spot a familiar face.
AIG’s recent collapse appears to be harming philanthropist Mansfield Freeman’s last gift to Wesleyan, the 15-year-old Freeman Asian Scholar Program.
In early December, Dean Mike Whaley sent an e-mail to top Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) officials informing them that the annual goal of inspecting every dorm on campus had been accomplished months earlier than usual.
When activists consider about how to improve the conditions of life in Africa, they tend to approach the continent’s vast problems in a number of ways. On Wednesday, around 70 students and staff in Usdan heard two experts, Samuel Watulatsu and Kennedy Odede ’12, espouse a relatively similar attitude toward addressing East African poverty—one that stressed self-reliance over outside relief. Although the presenters were generally of the same mind, Odede’s dynamic and deeply personal address provided a stark contrast to Watulatsu’s straightforward PowerPoint-based speech—a difference that highlighted the generation gap between the two.
In the last year, according to comScore.com, The Huffington Post was the most-visited “Political Blog and News Site,” gathering as many “unique visitors” as the two runner-ups—Politico and the Drudge Report—combined. In early October, President Michael Roth joined Huffington’s swelling army of (mostly celebrity) bloggers, and has since logged four entries on the election.
Over the course of last year, amidst the arrival of a new president, a new student center, and a controversial new dining company, several student campaigns figured prominently in the unraveling of events. There was USLAC’s fight for better union wages and benefits; the Environmental Organizers Network’s (EON) negotiations with the administration for a greener campus; and most memorably, Students for Ending the War in Iraq’s (SEWI) extended brawl with Tom Kannam and the Investment Office over the University’s investment in weapons contractors Raytheon and General Dynamics.
Relatively stable only days before, Kibera, the home of Kennedy Odede ’12, suddenly became ground zero in the violent conflict between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga in late December, 2007. Having barely escaped across the country to the coastal city of Mombosa, Odede and his friends sat in shock, watching their homes burn on the television screen.
After the incident last semester on Fountain Avenue, The Hartford Courant covered the event heavily, featuring a story on the front page. Rick Green, a local columnist and former Middletown resident, wrote an opinion piece that was critical of what he described as Wesleyan students’ misguided sense of activism.
For the three years after he graduated high school, Kennedy Odede ’12 of Kibera, Kenya carried rocks between a train and a factory for a dollar a day. The work was tiresome and unrewarding, yet Odede’s parents — like some 80 percent of the citizens of Kibera — could not find jobs, and so Odede was also responsible for feeding his seven younger siblings.
While many students were startled by the violent altercation on Fountain Avenue last semester, public violence is nothing new for Kennedy Odede ’12. Hailing from the Kenyan slum of Kibera, Odede comes from a place where there are no police, a place where violence is the law.
When Timothy Shiner, the current director of Student Activities and Leadership Development, became director of Orientation Programs last spring, he initiated a conversation among Orientation staff on whether to change, or even end, Foss Cross: the University’s annual cross-dressing party now known as “Bend it at Beckham.”
As the student body has settled into its chaotic embrace with the information age, the ever-popular blog Wesleying has tapped into college life in a way that would most certainly seem alien to past generations of college students.
After all the votes were tabulated this weekend, Student Activities Chair Mike Pernick ’10 soundly defeated Student Budget Committee member and former Wesleyan Democrats President Chris Goy ’09, 65 percent to 31 percent, to secure the spot as the next President of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA).
The University community’s web dependence became clear last Tuesday, when the Internet shut down for several hours due to a hacker, leaving many students and faculty waiting anxiously for unfettered access to return. Fortunately, it did. This brief technical glitch, however, underlines a long-term Internet issue that has been pestering the community over the last several months: a very slow streaming of online videos. This problem has especially affected those who use on-campus wireless Internet connections.
Last week, it looked as though Mike Pernick ’10 had the race for president of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) locked up. “Vote Pernick” signs, Facebook groups, Wespeaks and even websites (www.wsaprogress.com) were hard to miss, and it appeared that the WSA was heading toward another uncontested election. Then on Friday, moments before the five o’clock deadline for submitting candidate applications, Chris Goy ’09 announced his campaign and filed papers for his own candidacy.
When visiting prospective students wander into the WestCo courtyard on Saturday afternoon, they will most likely be confused when they see an event called “Ze Who Must Not Be Named Day.” Unless they regularly read the blog Wesleying or check the Argus website, they will have little idea that only two months ago the event was called “Zonker Harris Day,” a decades old name alluding to the “Doonesbury” comic strip character that functions as a not-so-subtle reference to the pervasive drug use so characteristic of the festival.
While walking to a party on Washington Street in the wee hours of last Friday morning, Al Fertig ’10 threw a Sour Patch Kid candy into the street. It was a decision he soon came to regret as he noticed a Middletown Police car quickly approaching.
On March 26, the University announced that five professors—Christiaan Hogendorn, Allan Isaac, Andrea Patalano, Aradhana (Anu) Sharma, and Gina Ulysse—had been granted the esteemed honor of tenure. “The Wesleyan community is fortunate to have in its midst vibrant and esteemed junior faculty,” wrote President Michael Roth in a campus-wide e-mail.
As contract negotiations with the University enter their ninth month, fed-up Physical Plant union members are breaking the silence by denouncing an offer that will double their insurance expenses and, in their view, insufficiently compensate for the added costs.
Cupcakes and several schmoozing Cardinal mascots formed part of the hoopla last Wednesday in Usdan, as the Red and Black Calling Society Tuition celebrated its first ever Tuition Transition Day. The experimental event was meant, in part,to raise awareness among students that much of their stay at Wesleyan is funded by alumni and other donors.
As applications roll in and the annual WesFest ceremonies approach, Residential Life, with President Michael Roth’s consent and the Admissions Office’s encouragement, is threatening to cut funding for Zonker Harris Day unless the festival is renamed. The annual celebration references a perpetually-stoned character in Gary Trudeau’s "Doonesbury" comic strip, inspiring University participants to emulate Zonker Harris’s drug habits.
As I looked over WSA midyear reports last week in preparation to write the standard Student Budget Committee allocations story, I noticed something odd: the SBC seemed to have $356,000 left for the second semester of this year, an unprecedented amount in comparison to past the two years.
Despite working with a substantially larger budget, the Student Budget Committee (SBC) has allocated less this year than it did last year, when the group was financially hamstrung by a much tighter budget.
Right before Super Tuesday, News Editor Ezra Silk spoke to Ned Lamont about 2008’s heated presidential primary. Lamont, angered over Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman’s support of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq, ran against Lieberman for his U.S. Senate seat in 2006. Lamont won the primary and became the Democratic candidate, but ultimately lost to Lieberman, who was forced to run as an independent.
News Editor Ezra Silk caught up with actor Kal Penn, star of such films as “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” and “The Namesake,” after Friday’s rally to talk about candidate charisma, Obama’s unifying potential, and the importance of pronunciation in international relations.
Last Friday, on the heels of endorsements from two Kennedys and victory in the South Carolina primary, Obama-mania touched down in Middletown. State Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams, former Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont and Kal Penn, the actor most widely known for his role as Kumar in the 2004 movie, “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” all spoke on campus to endorse presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
At the peak of lunch crowds on Thursday at about 12:10 p.m., the Usdan University Center was evacuated when the smoke alarm went off. The problem had to do with an over-grill hood, the piece of stainless steel that sucks greasy air away from the grills.
The excitement of the 2008 Presidential race swooped down on Middletown last weekend, as partisan voters and dignitaries flocked here from across the state to participate in a straw poll. Most of the votes were cast online prior to the event, which was marked by speakers battling for their respective candidates. The poll yielded some surprising as well as unsurprising results.
Late last semester, dining staff were required to sign a form that appeared to charge a deductible on their health insurance in order for them to receive coverage–a condition in violation of their stated agreement with Bon Appétit. Their worries were allayed after top union members examined the fine print and found that there would be no deductible. Later, though, an error in the forms’ delivery left the workers with no health insurance for five days, leaving many workers in uncomfortable medical situations.
According to State Representative Carlo Leone, a Democrat of Stamford, movie productions provided a total of $1 million to the Connecticut economy before 2006. Now, after the passing of a July 2006 law that gives film production companies a 30 percent tax credit, that number has risen to $480 million, and the likes of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Uma Thurman and have flocked to Connecticut, or as some would now have it, “Hollywood East.”
Claudia Hill, the Summerfields cashier who was fired by Bon Appétit in late October without explanation, has been rehired under similarly unclear conditions.
Around 50 student, faculty, and citizen protesters met on Tuesday to march on the Army recruitment office in Metro Square, where they were confronted by four police officers and a security guard. Because the recruitment station had closed for the day in anticipation of the protest, protestors were unable to carry an act of civil disobedience as originally planned.
In recent days, the circumstances surrounding the Oct. 28 firing of Summerfields cashier Claudia Hill have become the subject of increasing inquiries from the UNITE-HERE Local 217, the dining workers union. Hill and union representative Len Nalencz believe that the firing was a retaliatory measure aimed at Hill’s husband, Jeff Hill, a union steward who has worked at Wesleyan for 28 years and vocal critic of Bon Appetit’s management practices.
This Thursday, legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams will sit down in Memorial Chapel to be interviewed by Jeanine Basinger, Chair of Film Studies, and Wally Hays ’10, the head of the Beta Lecture Series, who managed, through a family connection, to persuade Williams to visit campus.
Olin Library staff members think that they have identified a new trend in the continuing shortage of senior thesis carrels, which has in recent years become one of the most hotly contested competitions for space on campus, second only to the dramatic General Room Selection process. Staff members said that in a preliminary tally, conducted several weeks after carrels were assigned, one of every five carrels showed no sign of serious use.
Many seniors are feeling less at home in their woodframe houses recently, after Public Safety (PSafe) issued a number of $20 tickets to students who had parked unregistered vehicles in driveways. Unregistered cars that were parked on the street, which is under the jurisdiction of Middletown police, were not ticketed.
On Sept. 6, when Ian Pearson ’11 woke up in his Butterfield B single to go to another day of football practice, he suddenly started getting cold feet. Literally. "I woke up at 8:30, put down my feet and ‘splash,’ " Pearson said. "They were submerged in water." Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, the sinks and showers of two adjacent Butt B bathrooms were clogged up with toilet paper.
It was either the Spring of ’60 or ’61. No one can quite remember. Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road" had just been published, and terms like "cat" and "dig" were making their way from Manhattan literary circles up to Middletown, Connecticut, where they soon began slipping into the everyday lexicon at the men’s college up on the hill. The previous summer, says Paul Dickson ’61, a former president of Alpha Delta Phi, everyone had started scrounging up money to go to California, inspired by Kerouac’s legendary travel novel to hit the road without looking back.
As of late, the issues surrounding the sushi employees at the new Usdan University Center have been largely regarded as a result of Bon Appétit’s policy practices. But according to Wesleyan Dining Union Representative Len Nalencz, that may not be the case. Nalencz is now accusing the Wesleyan administration, namely University Center Director Rick Culliton, of shirking responsibility in investigating the Advanced Fresh Concepts’ (AFC) sushi franchise.
Left with a number of unclaimed items that were confiscated over the course of last year’s controversial student dorm sweeps, the University Office of Fire Safety held an internal "confiscated items free give-a-way" to all Physical Plant employees last Wednesday.
Every day, behind the first floor Usdan Center Café, several Asian workers who recently arrived in America and barely speak English roll sushi for the students of Wesleyan University. These non-union workers, who are paid by Advanced Fresh Concepts (AFC), a California-based food contractor, work side by side with union-backed Wesleyan dining employees. The union workers are now alleging that these employees are not receiving health benefits, are being forced to lie about their conditions, and are receiving their salaries in the form of non-documented, under-the-table transactions.
Dissatisfied with decisions made by Bon Appetit, the Wesleyan Dining Union has accused the dining service company of violating the agreed upon contract and has responded in a number of dramatic ways. On Aug. 15, 68 campus union workers walked over to the temporary Bon Appétit headquarters to confront Delmar Crim, Bon Appétit’s Resident District Manager.
Aside from several minor inconveniences, Freshman Move-In Day 2007 was a smooth operation that was capped off by an ebullient speech from President Roth (or “Rothie” as he referred to himself) that held the class of 2011 in rapt attention.
Although new dining services provider Bon Appétit has yet to make an appearance on campus, at least one current dining service employee is already angry with the company. He criticizes Bon Appétit for leaving workers unsure about where on campus they will be located, if they will have their normal health insurance, and whether they will even have a job at the University next year.
The General Dynamics Corporation, one of two weapons contractors that campus group Students for Ending the War in Iraq (SEWI), and now the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), have demanded the University divest from, is the sixth-largest defense conglomerate in the world, with $24.1 billion in earnings last year, according to BusinessWeek magazine online.
After another week of heated debate over the merits of divesting from weapons contractors, the WSA voted 17-7 on Sunday night to approve a modified resolution proposed by Erik Rosenberg ’08 and Students for Ending the War in Iraq (SEWI) that calls for divestment from the defense companies Raytheon and General Dynamics.
The past several weeks have seen a considerable amount of attention to the question of whether or not the University should divest from three weapons contractors. Yet outside of the raging debate, most of the campus might know very little about the companies beyond their role in weapons production.
The push to divest the University from three weapons contractors, only a few weeks ago a twinkle in the eye of campus anti-war activists, has now garnered attention from students and administrators alike. The developing controversy, expressed in clashing Wespeaks, negotiations with investment officers, and protests in front of the Office of Admissions, came to a head in an unusually heated WSA debate on Sunday concerning a resolution submitted by Erik Rosenberg ’08, the leader of the divestment campaign and a member of Students for Ending the War in Iraq (SEWI).
Campus Fire Safety, under heat from students and the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) regarding stringent new regulations, has responded. Beginning next year, students charged with safety violations will be able to appeal their fines through a board and may also lower or eliminate their fines by attending one-hour fire safety seminars.
For seventeen years, the University’s Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Prevention has provided resources for students to encourage responsible drinking. Through its recently unveiled website, the AOD hopes to educate within a multimedia format.
John Brush, Middletown’s new conservative blogger, doesn’t bring to mind stereotypes of Bud-drinking, pickup-driving, gun-wielding, liberal-hating red-staters. In fact, decked out in hiking boots, brown corduroys, big glasses, and a broad gray beard that is tied together at the bottom, the founder of the blog "Right of Middle" looks like he’d fit in better at a hippie commune than an NRA convention.
With Michael Roth ’78 announced as incoming president, the campus is cautiously celebrating the choice of an academic candidate and reflecting on the occasionally controversial legacy of departing president Doug Bennet. Though at present most only have an initial impression of Roth, his long intellectual background in art, history, and psychology has given many people high hopes for an era focused on core academic issues.
Professor of Theoretical Physics Ronald Mallett thinks he knows the key to making a time travel machine. And as ridiculous as that may seem, Mallett’s efforts are not going unnoticed. The visionary University of Connecticut professor, who has been approached by the Defense Department and is currently funded by venture capitalist David Zinn, has been featured in a Learning Channel documentary, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NPR’s "This American Life," and the BBC, among other media outlets.
A diverse group of concerned citizens gathered on Saturday in Shanklin 107 with the intention of building a cohesive anti-war movement with a unified message. In particular, energy was focused on organizing and publicizing the March 17 anti-war protest to be held at the Old State House in Hartford.
Recent measures taken by the new Campus Fire Safety Department have aroused scrutiny and anger from students. The department, which was created last year, has collected a total of $40,700 in fines since Sept. 2, 2006. One fire safety inspection led to the arrest of a female sophomore in WestCo for possession of half an ounce of marijuana, as well as drug paraphernalia.
Thursday, the Psi U fraternity welcomed dozens of Middletown fire and police workers into its house for a public service dinner, and to honor recently deceased Fire Captain Joseph Pagano, Jr. "He was a firefighter with a big heart," said President of the Middletown Firefighters Union Matt Scarrozzo, who worked the same shift as Pagano. "He was a big union guy who always looked out for us firefighters."
Tuesday’s Dean’s Colloquium, "A Conversation on Campus Climate and the Educational Mission," featured the diversity officers from several nearby colleges. The conversation focused on how to foster diversity at highly selective, residential, co-ed institutions.
Legendary comic Bill Cosby P’87 headlined the University’s gala benefit on Jan. 17 at the regal Pierre Hotel ballroom in New York City. The event raised $2.5 million for the University’s scholarship funds, with almost 500 alumni and other friends of the University attending to see Cosby’s stand-up act.
Last Saturday, an angry, banner-wielding mob forged its way through a bustling crowd of anti-war protesters, stopping for no one—except, that is, fawning passers-by who demanded a picture. The tightly-knit group surged through the streets of Washington D.C., circling the Capitol building as they shouted catchy slogans like "money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation."
If any academician has a right to deny the "ivory tower" stereotype, it is Jeff Farrell. A former tenured professor at Northern Arizona University, Farrell quit his job and spent eight months exploring the world of dumpster diving. Last Friday in the Public Affairs Center, he spoke to students about his findings from both a sociological and, surprisingly, an existential perspective.
The panel on Tuesday entitled "Social Marketing: Can Consumer Marketing Work on Social Issues," left me with a number of unanswered questions. Essentially, the panel was advertised as a referendum on whether or not we can really change anything through the standard activist campaign. I attribute the extremely large draw, around 200-300 people, to the promised posing of that question.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students packed into SCI150 to attend a panel on the effectiveness of social marketing, an ideology that has defined Wesleyan since the war in Vietnam. Social marketing is the idea that society can be changed for the better via publicity and awareness campaigns.
When the clock strikes noon on every third Thursday of the month, a number of students and faculty assemble to honor the victims of the war in Iraq. Yesterday was no exception.
Last Thursday, about 70 students, alumni, and faculty kicked off Latino Awareness Month by throwing a well-attended convocation ceremony at La Casa, the Latino program house. The University’s Latino community, represented by several student and alum speakers, presented a message geared toward social consciousness and action.
It looks as though the Nicolson 7 dormitory is the new front in the chalking controversy that has swept the campus of late. The personal and common doors of the sophomore hall retain chalk messages, jokes, and drawings—for which the University has charged residents a total of $1100 for vandalism.
In August, the University hired Pat Melley as the director of Faculty Benefits, a position overseeing an area of recent controversy. Melley will help design plans with insurers and perhaps ameliorate the heated issue of faculty salaries.
The Sept. 26 election of the new Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Japanese politics almost American in style, according to Visiting Professor of Government Jun Saito in a lecture on Friday at the East Asian Studies House.
When you talk about the men behind the missions to Mars, you will probably mention Dr. R. Stephen Saunders. A former Peace Corps geologist with a degree from Brown University, Saunders has worked as a program scientist on a number of missions to the Red Planet, including Mariner 9 (1971), Viking 1 (1975), Viking 2 (1975), and now, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which was launched last year.
The University’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Sciences (PIMMS) has cemented a partnership with the Connecticut Science Center. Together, the two institutions hope to improve the already functioning Institute for Inquiry, a program designed to guide Connecticut educators towards progressive methods of teaching math and science.
On Monday night, Harris Friedberg, professor of English, delved into the topic of nature’s deepest, darkest orifices in his lecture, "Making Nature Afraid: Sodomy and Usury in Dante’s Inferno." The talk explored the connection between the two themes in the classic work and identified some possible reasons behind its inclusion.
The Wesleyan sciences have received a $500,000 challenge grant for research equipment from the Kresge Foundation, a $3 billion national foundation for non-profits based in Troy, Mich. The grant was awarded to be shared by all of the science departments and will be spent on a number of instruments, including a Gel Permeation Chromatograph, a YAG/Dye Laser, and a $203,000 ICO-mass Spectrometer.