Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, Connecticut
Website: http://www.wesleyan.edu/
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Wesleyan University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Wesleyan University: Violation of Freedom of Association

    February 14, 2011

    Wesleyan University promises freedom of association to its students. Yet, in order to force a private fraternity to seek official recognition, Wesleyan has prohibited all students from “participating in social activities” on the property of any unrecognized private association. The policy is scheduled to go into effect in August 2011. FIRE has written Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth advising him that this new policy violates Wesleyan’s moral and legal obligation to its students dating back to 1969, namely its promise that “As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right of petition that other citizens […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- Responsibility of the University to Its Members

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    a.Wesleyan University is fully committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. b. Also prohibited is any form of discriminatory harassment performed by a member or members of the University against any other individual or groups. Discriminatory harassment may include any action or statement intended to insult, stigmatize, or degrade an individual or group on the basis of the categories of discrimination listed in 2a.

    The right to abstain from performing acts and the right to be protected against actions that may be harmful to the health or emotional stability of the individual or that degrade the individual or infringe upon his/her personal dignity.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- The Code of Non-Academic Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    Harassment and abuse, intentionally directed toward individuals or groups, may include at least the following forms: the intentional use or threat of physical violence, coercion, intimidation, and verbal harassment and abuse. Wesleyan University’s commitment to nondiscrimination means that intentional discriminatory harassment may be punished more severely than nondiscriminatory or unintentional forms of harassment.

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  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    According to the State of Connecticut, unwelcome sexual advances, requests of sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, learning, or work environment.  The effect of sexual harassment will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of a complainant.

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  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- Posters, Banners, Announcements, and Other Forms of Communication

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    The University’s nondiscrimination and sexual harassment policies prohibit conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

    Messages that violate these community standards are not permitted. Concerns about any posted messages should be forwarded to the director of affirmative action. The director will appoint a team who will review the posting in question, and the message will be removed if a reasonable person might perceive it to be intimidating, hostile, or offensive. The director of affirmative action will maintain a record of postings that are removed.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- The Code of Non-Academic Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    [P]icketing, demonstrations, sit-ins, or student strikes, provided they are conducted in an orderly and non-obstructive manner, are a legitimate mode of expression, whether politically motivated or directed against the college administration, and should not be prohibited.

    Students should be free, and no special permission should be required, to distribute pamphlets or collect names for petitions concerned with campus or off-campus issues.

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  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- Responsibility of the University to Its Members

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    It is the responsibility of every member of the University to respect the rights and privileges of all others in the University as enumerated below.

    1. Freedom of assembly, speech, belief, and the right of petition ….

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  • Student Handbook: University Standards and Regulations- Statement on Academic Freedom

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 5, 2016

    In accordance, then, with the ideals of academic freedom, every member of the Wesleyan community should feel that he or she can enter into controversy without fear of being silenced or constrained. This community’s commitment to the free exchange of ideas and pursuit of knowledge requires a wide range of protections for speech and expression, even when noxious or offensive.

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  • Campus Free Speech Has Been in Trouble for a Long Time

    January 4, 2016

    By Greg Lukianoff at Cato Institute 2015 will be remembered as a year in which campus free speech issues took center stage, receiving extensive coverage in outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate,Vox, and Salon. Even President Obama voiced concerns about the lack of debate on college campuses. … Read more here.

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  • School Reminded What Free Speech Is All About

    December 21, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow.com Dozens of former editors of the student newspaper at Wesleyan University have signed an open letter in defense of the publication’s free-speech rights. Earlier this month, more than 50 former editors of The Wesleyan Argus sent an open letter urging the student association to restore the funding cut from the newspaper’s budget in October. Ari Cohn with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says students were offended by an editorial critical of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “The shared experience and the lessons learned from more than 50 former editors should be a wake-up call to the […]

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  • Why Students Don’t Want Free Speech on Campus Anymore

    December 16, 2015

    By Heather Sells at CBN News CHICAGO — More and more, today’s college students want professors and administrators to make them feel safe and will protest if they don’t. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit educational foundation that tracks speech on college campuses. The foundation recently captured cell phone video of a Yale University student publicly cussing at and denouncing Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor and master of Silliman College, a residence hall, at Yale. “You should step down,” the student screamed at Cristakis. “It is not about creating an intellectual space. It is […]

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  • Looking for a College With Political Diversity? Here’s a Few Options and Ones to Avoid

    December 5, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Universities and colleges often make rapt headlines for political radicalism, but a diverse, well-rounded higher education may be more available than you think. Backlash against liberal institutions have essentially been on the rise since conservative giant William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale in 1951. The National Review founder and publisher lamented the worldview of his alma mater in the famous book declaring, “The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.” Heterodox Academy, whose mission is to “increase viewpoint […]

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  • College President Blasts Millennial Students for Being Overly-Sensitive

    December 2, 2015

    By Vinnie Rotondaro at National Catholic Reporter The president of an evangelical Christian college is making news for writing an open letter that berates “our culture” for teaching American youth to be “self-absorbed and narcissistic.” “Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims,” he wrote. “Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’” Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, wrote the letter after a student told him he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13 — “If I speak in […]

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  • How Parents can Avoid Spending Thousands on Colleges that Host Student Storm-Troopers

    December 1, 2015

    By Thomas Sowell at New York Post Storm trooper tactics by bands of college students making ideological demands across the country, and immediate pre-emptive surrender by college administrators — such as at the University of Missouri recently — bring back memories of the 1960s for those of us old enough to remember what it was like being there and seeing firsthand how painful events unfolded. At Harvard back in 1969, students seized control of the administration building and began releasing to the media information from confidential personnel files of professors. But when university president Nathan Pusey called in the police […]

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  • To Learn or Not to Learn

    November 27, 2015

    By Dave Trecker at Naples News Some thoughtful people are asking a thoughtful question, one perhaps long overdue: What is the real purpose of higher education? Is it to learn the basics of math, writing, literature, science, history? To learn to think and reason? To prepare for employment? Or is it to try to change the world — whether you can spell or not? Is it to force changes on universities terrified of offending liberal students who may or may not be able to write a coherent paragraph or balance their checkbooks? Or is it to do both, if you […]

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  • Can Colleges Protect Free Speech While also Curbing Voices of Hate?

    November 10, 2015

    By Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post College campuses across the country have plunged into an intense debate that pits free-speech advocates against those who want to rein in insults, slurs and other offensive expressions. Student uprisings at Yale, the University of Missouri and elsewhere show a passionate desire to confront racism and bigotry in all its forms, from the disgustingly overt — a fecal swastika smeared on a bathroom wall in Columbia, Mo. — to the subtle or even unintentional offenses known as “micro-aggressions.” But the drive to combat hurtful and hateful speech is colliding in […]

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  • Free Speech on Campus at Risk

    November 3, 2015

    By Staff at The Virginia Gazette  Open debate or ideological conformity? This question is among the free speech issues facing institutions of higher learning nationwide, including William & Mary. To address this topic, the Society for the College, an independent non-profit alumni organization and the SFTC Student Association has engaged speaker Catherine Sevcenko, noted authority on legal issues affecting student rights, to discuss how W&M students can defend the first amendment and academic freedom on campus. Sevcenko, associate director of litigation at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, will also present some wide legal challenges affecting free speech and academic […]

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  • When Race, Israel and Free Speech Roil Campus

    November 2, 2015

    By Jane Eisner at The Forward A debate over race and free speech is roiling my beloved alma mater, and in it I find unmistakable parallels to the fraught conversation about Israel that is the subject of so much Sturm und Drang — and so much communal spending — on college campuses across the country. The analogy isn’t exact. The harassment some students say they experience when expressing views advocating for Israel or criticizing it cannot be equated to the structural racism that African Americans confront in the course of daily life. We Jews can’t forget that most of us […]

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  • Fighting for Free Speech on College Campuses

    November 2, 2015

    By Thor Benson at ATTN: Recently, the topic of free speech on college campuses has sparked a fair amount of conversation. In fact the University of California system faced backlash for holding seminars about avoiding microaggressions; this was the topic of an October discussion held by Southern California Public Radio at the University of California, Irvine. The issue at hand? Microagresssions versus free speech. Micgroagressions according to a University of California memo are “slights, snubs or insults…that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target people based solely on their marginalized group membership.” Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for […]

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  • It’s Free Speech Week, and Why Some Colleges Hate It

    October 29, 2015

    By Hoppy Kercheval at WV MetroNews This is Free Speech Week, a time to, according to organizers,“raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in our democracy and to celebrate that freedom.” College campuses are perfect forums to exercise free speech, to stretch the limits with contrasting, provocative and even revolutionary ideas, allowing them to rise or fall based on their merits. Unfortunately, too many colleges and universities are headed in just the opposite direction. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports at least 240 instances within the last decade where students and/or faculty made concerted efforts […]

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  • Wesleyan’s Possible $17,000 cut to its Student Newspaper Sparks National Outrage, Debate

    October 26, 2015

    By Madeline Will at Student Press Law Center  Wesleyan University, a small, private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut, has become the face of a national debate over freedom of speech, censorship and to what extent offensive speech should be tolerated. In mid-September, a student and Iraq War veteran Bryan Stascavage wrote an opinion piece for the Wesleyan Argus criticizing Black Lives Matter. Since then, students have stolen newspapers, publicly shamed Stascavage and launched a petition demanding that the Argus be defunded if it does not meet certain measures to increase diversity. In the most recent development last week, the […]

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  • Student Newspaper Says ’Emotional Injury’ Justifies the Squelching of Unpopular Speech

    October 23, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix  The fall term just started and student newspapers across the country are already reeling from actions that threaten their ability to publish controversial and unpopular speech. We’ve covered several here, particularly the kerfuffle that Wesleyan University’s Bryan Stascavage provoked when he wrote a (mildly) critical column about the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundreds of Argus copies were stolen, its staffers (including Iraq war veteran Stascavage) intimidated by activists, and its funding source potentially threatened by the student government. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education offers this rundown of the year so far: Brown University’s Daily Herald apologized […]

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  • Defunding for Diversity

    September 23, 2015

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed Students at Wesleyan University are urging the student government there to defund the campus newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, after it published an opinion essay written by a writer for the newspaper criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement. Calling the effort a boycott, the organizers also encouraged students to toss out copies of the newspaper that they find on campus. About 170 people have signed a petition supporting the boycott. Most of those signing were students, but the petition also included a handful of alumni and staff members. As of Tuesday, no faculty members […]

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  • The Debate At Brown

    November 23, 2014

    By KC Johnson at Minding The Campus There are two certainties from the current crusade against due process for students accused of sexual assault. First, in coming years, there will be a higher percentage of convictions, since colleges must use the preponderance-of-evidence and are strongly discouraged from allowing accused students from cross-examining their accusers. Second, because so few due process protections exist in campus tribunals, more of these convictions will involve innocent students—who in turn will pursue legal actions to redeem their reputations and salvage hopes of a post-college career. Several recent developments illustrate both points. First: as FIRE reported, […]

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  • New Wesleyan policy bans student use of unapproved houses

    February 24, 2011

    A new student housing policy at Wesleyan is drawing ire from students and other protestors. University administrators say it’s designed to make sure students follow the university’s rules, but many students say it interferes in their private lives. The policy, which goes into effect in August for the next school year, specifies that students cannot live in housing “owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” Many protestors say the rule is targeted at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at the corner of High and Church streets. The fraternity is not formally affiliated […]

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  • Wesleyan University Students Complain New Housing Policy Exerts Too Much Control

    February 21, 2011

    Students at Wesleyan University say their social lives are being taken over by their schools administration. They fear new language in a housing policy coming into effect in the fall tells them where they can and can’t hang out off campus. “It feels like you are still living with mom and dad,” said Tom Miceli, a junior at the small Middletown, Conn., college.  They say the wording of the policy is unclear, and the college has gone too far under making the new revisions. “Students want to be treated like they are adults,” junior Jeff Tanendaum said. David Pesci, Wesleyan […]

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  • Dozens of Former Wesleyan Newspaper Editors Sign Letter Defending ‘Argus,’ Free Press

    December 8, 2015

    More than 50 former editors of The Wesleyan Argus have signed onto an open letter expressing “deep disappointment and concern” over the decision by Wesleyan University’s student government to defund the paper over a controversial op-ed. The former editors, whose combined presence at the paper spans nearly five decades, urge the Wesleyan Student Association (WSA) to reconsider a plan approved on October 18 that would slash Argus funding and significantly reduce its print presence on campus. Outraged students called for a boycott and defunding of the paper after it printed Bryan Stascavage’s September 14 opinion piece criticizing the Black Lives […]

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  • College Students Should Be Scared to Celebrate Halloween

    October 30, 2015

    If you’re a college student gearing up for Halloween tomorrow, we hope you’re scared. Not of the usual frightful fare—ghosts, haunted houses, terrible people who put their babies in pumpkins—but of the fact that your costume could get you in serious trouble. If this warning sounds freakishly familiar, it is. Over the years, FIRE has amassed a veritable witches’ brew of horror stories in which colleges and universities demand that students refrain from wearing “offensive” costumes. Public institutions violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression when they do so. Courts have held that offensive—even racist—costumes and party themes are […]

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  • Wesleyan University President on ‘Argus’ Debate: ‘There Is No Right Not to Be Offended.’

    October 26, 2015

    Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth penned an editorial in Saturday’s Hartford Courant criticizing student-led calls to punish the campus newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, for publishing a controversial op-ed that questioned the Black Lives Matter movement. That student op-ed was met with outrage and calls to defund the paper by students who said the piece contributed to “institutional racism” on campus. President Roth wrote that while the controversy over “the ongoing marginalization of a sector of our student population” merits debate, calls to punish newspapers “can have a chilling effect on future expression.” Roth goes on to say that “[h]istorically […]

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  • It’s Already Been a Remarkably Bad Year for Student Press

    October 21, 2015

    Many student journalists are being taught an unfortunate lesson by college administrators and their fellow students lately: Don’t publish anything that might offend anyone. That this advice is antithetical to a free press, and that journalists cannot be held responsible for how their readers react to opinions they publish, doesn’t seem to matter all that much to the people demanding they be censored. These themes have played out at a number of colleges and universities recently. Wesleyan University As you have probably heard by now, student newspaper The Wesleyan Argus faced a petition last month calling for its defunding and […]

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  • UPDATED: FIRE Writes Wesleyan Student Assembly in Defense of ‘The Wesleyan Argus’

    October 9, 2015

    If you’ve been following the controversy at Wesleyan University that erupted after The Wesleyan Argus student newspaper published student and staff writer Bryan Stascavage’s op-ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement, then you know the Argus’ staff was met with a petition from offended students demanding the paper be punished. This Sunday, the Argus’ staff will learn whether the petition succeeded and whether it could lose a significant portion of its funding. The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports that the paper could lose over half of its $30,000 budget, a cut proposed during the Wesleyan Student Assembly’s (WSA’s) last […]

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  • Wesleyan University Students Want to ‘Boycott’ Student Newspaper by Destroying and Defunding It

    September 23, 2015

    Last week, Wesleyan University’s student newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, published an op-ed by staff writer Bryan Stascavage criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and questioning its approach to activism. Now, Wesleyan students are attempting to punish The Argus, one of the nation’s oldest college newspapers, for making the terrible mistake of using its Opinion section for its intended purpose: sharing students’ opinions. Specifically, critics are circulating a petition to boycott The Argus. But in this case, “boycott” means “recycling the Argus” until its demands are met. You might more easily recognize this kind of “recycling” if we use the correct […]

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  • Town’s Mayor Tries to Fine Wesleyan University for Student Speech

    December 23, 2014

    Cases where university administrators charge students activists unconstitutional security fees are not at all new to FIRE. But Mayor Dan Drew of Middletown, Connecticut, has put a new spin on the idea, sending an invoice to Wesleyan University for the police presence at an off-campus protest that Wesleyan students organized and in which they participated. Wesleyan itself does not appear to have sponsored or organized the protest, so how can it be fined for the activities of its students in this case? College students are adults, and universities do not act in loco parentis. Adult college students are responsible for […]

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  • Amherst Bans Fraternities, Sororities, and Similar Organizations On and Off Campus

    May 9, 2014

    Amherst College’s Board of Trustees sent out an email Tuesday announcing that it was reaffirming its 1984 ban on the college’s recognition of fraternities and sororities—and that it would be taking things a step further this summer in a move that will take a significant bite out of Amherst students’ ability to freely associate.

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  • Reform Wesleyan’s Speech Code to Maintain Caliber of Academic Discourse

    July 30, 2013

    Shafaq Hasan is a FIRE summer intern. Earlier this year, FIRE identified Wesleyan University as its February 2013 Speech Code of the Month. Listed under responsibilities shared between each member of the university, Wesleyan maintains a problematic policy that prohibits “actions that may be harmful to the health or emotional stability of the individual or that degrade the individual or infringe on his/her personal dignity.”  Wesleyan University has yet to alter this policy to address FIRE’s concerns about the code’s vagueness. FIRE has previously commented on the idiosyncratic nature of what can be considered emotionally “harmful” or “degrading” to each individual. […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Wesleyan University

    February 5, 2013

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2013: Wesleyan University. Although Wesleyan is a private university, it claims to value free speech. Its Student Handbook states that (PDF) “Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals.” Moreover, the handbook also contains a statement (PDF) on the “Responsibility of the University to Its Members” which explicitly provides that It is the responsibility of every member of the University to respect the […]

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  • Partial Victory at Wesleyan University: Freedom of Association Restored, But New Policy Continues to Discriminate Against Greek Organizations

    May 9, 2011

    As the press release FIRE sent out this morning details in full, Wesleyan University has reformed a policy that would have punished students for “participating in social activities” on the property of any “private societies” not under Wesleyan’s control. The policy was intended to force the Beta Theta Pi (BTP) fraternity to officially affiliate with the university under an agreement that the fraternity had found unduly burdensome, so BTP came to FIRE for help. After we intervened and the policy generated an overwhelmingly negative response from Wesleyan students as well as national media outlets, Wesleyan altered the policy. Unfortunately, the […]

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  • Wesleyan University Partially Restores Freedom of Association, But Continues to Discriminate Against Greek Organizations

    May 9, 2011

    MIDDLETOWN, Conn., May 9, 2011—In a partial victory for freedom of association, Wesleyan University has reformed a policy that would have punished students for “participating in social activities” on the property of any “private societies” not under Wesleyan’s control. The policy was intended to force the Beta Theta Pi fraternity to officially affiliate with the university under an agreement that the fraternity had found unduly burdensome. Beta Theta Pi came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. After FIRE intervened and the policy generated an overwhelmingly negative response from Wesleyan students as well as national media […]

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  • FIRE Still Waiting on Wesleyan to Do Right on Student Rights

    March 10, 2011

    As Robert wrote here a couple of weeks ago, Wesleyan University has started to back down from its earlier intention to institute a new policy (effective this fall) that—in an effort to force the Beta Theta Pi fraternity to seek official recognition from Wesleyan—would have prohibited students from engaging in any social activities on the property of any unrecognized off-campus organization. After a groundswell of student protest and a swarm of national media, spearheaded by FIRE’s efforts, Wesleyan President Michael Roth promised to reconsider the policy and admitted its overbreadth. As he wrote in his official university blog on February 24: […]

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  • Wesleyan Realizes its New Housing Policy is Too Prohibitive

    February 25, 2011

    Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, has been in an uproar lately about a new policy promulgated by its administration aimed at forcing an independent fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, to submit to Wesleyan’s rules or watch as Wesleyan bans its undergraduates from having anything to do with the organization. Considering that the fraternity, known as “Beta,” has been at Wesleyan for 121 years, I am not sure why the Wesleyan administration is in such a rush to either absorb the fraternity or destroy it by this fall, but I am sure there’s a back story that Wesleyan students or alumni might […]

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  • This Week in the News: Wesleyan Housing Policy Revision Receives Necessary Criticism

    February 25, 2011

    A recently implemented revision in a housing policy at Wesleyan College forbids students from “using houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” This revision is especially troublesome for members of Beta Theta Pi, which must now choose between becoming a recognized program house or having its members face suspension from Wesleyan. Fortunately, this policy has received a lot of negative press from both inside and outside of the college. Three articles about the policy revision were printed in The Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan’s student newspaper. Sid Isaar argued that FIRE is […]

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  • Local Paper Quotes Will on Wesleyan’s Policy Denying Freedom of Association

    February 24, 2011

    The Middletown Press of Middletown, Connecticut, home of Wesleyan University, is the latest news outlet to draw attention to Wesleyan’s overbroad policy restricting students’ freedom of association. In an article published today, Press writer Claire Michalewicz gets FIRE’s Will Creeley’s take on the policy. As we have covered extensively here on The Torch in recent days, the policy, scheduled to take effect in August 2011, will flatly prohibit Wesleyan students from “participating in social activities” on the property of any and all private organizations that are not recognized by Wesleyan. As Will says in the article, that just won’t do: […]

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  • ‘FOX News’ Highlights Wesleyan’s Student Rights Abuses

    February 22, 2011

    FOXNews.com is the latest to draw scrutiny to Wesleyan University’s overbearing treatment of its students with its new policy prohibiting them from “participating in social activities” on the property of private organizations unrecognized by Wesleyan. Unsurprisingly, the front-page FOXNews.com story by Patrick Manning detects a decidedly sour mood among Wesleyan’s student body: “It feels like you are still living with mom and dad,” said Tom Miceli, a junior at the small Middletown, Conn., college. They say the wording of the policy is unclear, and the college has gone too far under making the new revisions. “Students want to be treated […]

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  • Wesleyan Pretends There’s Nothing to See Here

    February 18, 2011

    A national news organization just spoke with me about Wesleyan’s very recent policy banning students from engaging in social activities on the property of any private association that is not officially recognized by Wesleyan. Apparently, Wesleyan is saying that the policy isn’t really new—that only the enforcement with disciplinary consequences is new—and that it really is only about university housing. (Perhaps this is not what Wesleyan is saying, but the journalist repeated Wesleyan’s statement to me a few times.) If that’s what Wesleyan is saying, Wesleyan is lying. Here’s verbatim what the policy actually says: Policy addition to take effect August, 2011: […]

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  • Wesleyan Students Rally at Noon Today for Freedom of Association

    February 18, 2011

    As Peter wrote on Wednesday, Wesleyan University has imposed a breathtakingly broad policy (to take effect in August 2011) restricting students’ freedom of association rights, violating Wesleyan’s moral and legal obligation to its students dating back to 1969. The new policy effectively bans students from participating in social activities on a vast amount of off-campus property including churches and other houses of worship, the Middletown Elks Lodge, the Italian Society of Middletown, and a wide variety of private societies throughout Connecticut. It substantially violates Wesleyan’s promise that “As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right of petition […]

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  • New Policy at Wesleyan University Makes a Mockery of Freedom of Association

    February 16, 2011

    Today, FIRE sent a letter to Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth, along with several senior faculty members and administrators at Wesleyan, after the college imposed a breathtakingly broad policy (to take effect in August 2011) restricting students’ freedom of association rights. Here is the campus-wide e-mail sent by Vice President for Student Affairs Michael J. Whaley on or around February 14: Dear Students: I write to notify you of a revision to Wesleyan’s residency requirement designed to clarify the University’s rules concerning off-campus housing. In brief: beginning Fall 2011, Wesleyan students will be prohibited from residing in – or […]

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  • Student Defends Fraternity, Blasts Speech Code in ‘Wesleyan Argus’

    April 7, 2010

    Student Mytheos Holt, writing in Wesleyan University’s student newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, cites a recent campus-wide e-mail sent by Dean Michael Whaley asking students to avoid the Beta Theta Pi fraternity because the fraternity did not officially affiliate its chapter with the university. The administrator implied that somehow this must mean that the fraternity intended on violating school policy and local ordinances. But according to one recent news story, the fraternity actually implemented a new policy requiring that an off-duty MPD officer oversee their parties in the future. The officer will be hired to patrol the door and walk through the […]

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  • Wesleyan Columnist Decries School’s Speech Code

    September 30, 2008

    Writing for The Wesleyan Argus, columnist Mytheos Holt has this to say about Wesleyan University’s speech code: The Orwellian name of this document is not accidental—it is nothing less than a document regulating what students can and cannot say without serious consequences, and if you actually take the time to read the document, you find that we can say very little indeed. For instance, the passage detailing what “Discriminatory Harassment” is defines its subject as follows: “Discriminatory harassment may include any action or statement intended to insult, stigmatize, or degrade an individual or group on the basis of […] race, […]

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