Thoughts for Mexico and the Caribbean

What a horrific season we have seen, with hurricanes and floods ravaging towns, cities and entire communities…and now this massively destructive earthquake killing and injuring so many in and around Mexico City. Our hearts go out to those afflicted, and we search for ways to support those who succor to the distressed.

As Dean Mike Whaley recently wrote to the student body, “Our goal in Student Affairs is to reach out to students whose family and friends may be impacted by these events (as the class deans have already done with those students who we know are from south Texas, Louisiana, the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida) and/or who may be studying abroad in these areas. Today we will add those who may be impacted by last night’s earthquake in Mexico to our outreach. …The entire Student Affairs team looks forward to working with our caring student body to find ways that all of us can together help the many communities who will need our support in the coming months.  Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with the many who have lost so much and who are in harm’s way.”

What a horrific season we have seen! And still the season turns. Among those who celebrate Rosh Hashanah this week, there will be prayers for those whose lives have been overturned in recent weeks. As the new year begins, we will turn ourselves toward healing and toward peace.

 

 

 

We Must Not Turn Back the Clock on Sexual Assault

The following is cross-posted with the Washington Post.

When I was a student in the 1970s and 1980s, it was not uncommon for male professors to use their classroom authority to initiate sexual relations with their students. Of course, teachers didn’t see it quite that way, thinking their evident charms just encouraged their young charges to act on their desires. But once activists and authorities put these abusive relationships in the spotlight, it became clear that the sexual attention from those with power to grade them could be an important restriction on students’ educational opportunities. Sexual pressure from those in official positions on campus was often a type of harassment, and in its most blatant forms a civil rights issue.

Building on this activist work, one of the Obama administration’s most significant legacies in higher education was its use of Title IX and the Office for Civil Rights to deal with sexual harassment assault on campus, especially by other students. “Students across the country deserve the safest possible environment in which to learn,” Vice President Joe Biden declared in the spring of 2011. “That’s why we’re taking new steps to help our nation’s schools, universities, and colleges end the cycle of sexual violence on campus.” Three years later, President Barack Obama made this work even more personal in launching notalone.gov, a website to help survivors of sexual violence: “We need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

The Trump administration has made no secret of its disdain for strict prohibitions on sexual assault and harassment. As President Trump famously said, “when you’re a star … you can do anything.” Such an attitude coming from our national bully pulpit, combined with a blanket critique of campus disciplinary proceedings, threatens to undermine much of the progress of the last decade. There is, of course, room for improvement in campus proceedings, and strong criticism may be warranted in the handling of particular cases. Many have questioned the lower evidentiary requirements for finding someone responsible for assault (“preponderance of evidence” rather than “clear and convincing”). Although this standard of proof parallels requirements in many civil cases, it can be problematic when one considers the profound effects of a false conviction.

At my university, we regularly review procedures to ensure that adjudication is supportive of those who come forward with reports of being attacked, and that the process is fair in assigning any responsibility to a particular individual. We will pay close attention to the reports filed with the Department of Education in the coming weeks, and we hope to learn from them. It is clear that universities must continue to protect the presumption of innocence and due process for anyone facing serious allegations, even as they protect the rights and well-being of those who have been assaulted.

Of course, easier said than done. Given the ambiguity that often exists around consent, some critics claim that colleges and universities would be better off not dealing at all with the sexual behavior of their students. But what happens when that behavior becomes violent? For many critics there is a basic bottom line: sexual assault is a crime. Use the criminal-justice system and not the code of student conduct, they say, to determine if a crime occurred and what the consequences should be.

This criticism is simplistic and out of touch with the realities of student lives and the criminal-justice system. At Wesleyan, we work closely with local law enforcement so that if a survivor of sexual assault wants to pursue a criminal complaint, she or he has a clear, workable path to do so. But those who point to the criminal justice system as an arena of fairness for rape victims are at best being naive. Cooperating with the criminal-justice system should in no way ease the burden on colleges to create a more equitable campus culture. Federal officials in the Obama years were right to remind us of this burden in case the voices of often vulnerable student groups were not coming through clearly enough.

Adjudication guidelines and the spectrum of a college’s responsibility in regard to sexual harassment and assault will doubtless continue to evolve, but it would be a huge setback if new policies discouraged victims from reporting and schools retreated to smug satisfaction about the lack of sexual assault complaints on their campuses. Colleges should make it easier for students to report assaults and to have confidence in a process of adjudication.

Higher education must not be allowed to return to a time when schools could turn a blind eye to sexual assault without fear of consequences. As survivors came to realize that they “are not alone,” they forced colleges to take sexual assault seriously as a civil rights issue. Part of this was just shining a bright light on the problem — for example, requiring the publication of assault statistics. At my own university, there was a sharp increase in the number of reported sexual assaults. This is a painful, painful process — but a necessary one. Colleges that have few to no reported incidents of sexual assault are today viewed not with admiration, but with suspicion.

The Obama administration was not “authoritarian” in insisting that colleges and universities have a responsibility to try to correct abusive aspects of student culture that often prevent women (and members of LGBTQ communities) from having access to the same benefits of higher education that most men do. Accusations of overreach should remind us of complaints decades ago about the federal government’s so-called excessive role in promoting desegregation, and they dovetail alarmingly with pleas from today’s polluters (and their new friends at the Environmental Protection Agency) who grumble about the government’s “overreach” in trying to combat climate change.

Clearer expectations and better disciplinary procedures are being developed at many universities, and we must calibrate campus disciplinary proceedings so as to protect the innocent. But we must also resist the urge to turn back the clock to a time when those who were raped were greeted with mistrust and worse. Lately the public has been treated to a litany of cases of men whose parents complain about their innocence, of sexually detailed stories of murky encounters that are subsequently recoded as assaults, and of tribunals that use murky pseudo-science to understand trauma and memory. These stories should not obscure the fact that sexual assault destroys lives and undermines a university’s ethical obligation and educational mission. We in higher education must protect the rights of the accused without relaxing the civil rights imperative to eliminate sexual assault as a part of campus culture. It’s our job.

Free Speech and Inclusion

Now that the academic year is underway, I am often asked about how Wesleyan handles controversy – from government policies that affect higher ed to campus speakers who take unpopular positions. Sometimes those positions, in addition to being unpopular, incite action that can harm individuals or groups. What to do?

Wesleyan students, faculty and administrators alike have made clear their commitment to making our campus inclusive, and that commitment starts with wanting people to feel free and safe. That said, the imperatives of freedom and safety are sometimes in conflict. For everyone to have equal access to our educational resources, the campus must be without violence and intimidation; at the same time a campus without challenge would be anti-educational. Although it is crucial to pay attention so as to eliminate subtle forms of harassment, we must also be vigilant in respecting broad rights to speak freely. Beware of those who offer protection! Historically marginalized groups have the most to lose when authorities limit freedom of expression in the name of civility, safety or security. We must not protect ourselves from disagreement; we must be open to being offended for the sake of learning, and we must be willing to risk giving offense for the sake of creating new opportunities for thinking.

At campuses like Middlebury, Claremont McKenna and UC Berkeley, we’ve seen incidents in which protestors shut down a speaker whose views they found anathema. At Wesleyan, we recognize the rights of protestors; at the same time, we ensure that those invited to speak on our campus get a hearing. This usually proceeds without problems because invitations go to scholars or other public figures accustomed to engaging in dialogue based in evidence and reasoning. At campuses where purveyors of hate, or celebrities famous only for their viciousness have been invited to speak because of their ability to provoke, it is hardly surprising that some people have, in fact, been provoked. But attempting to shut down speakers only plays into the hands of those who in the long run want to undermine the ability of colleges and universities to expand how we think and what we know.

I consider it my duty as university president to ensure that students, faculty and staff have opportunities to make their views heard, and to learn from reactions that follow. I have and will continue to defend freedom of expression – cognizant that not everyone has equal access to the tools for making use of that freedom and adamant that “freedom of expression” never be allowed to legitimize persecution. I will continue to support the right to speak out with views that may be at odds with the campus mainstream, but I will not countenance harassment. That’s a commitment to free speech, and I view it as core to the educational enterprise.

Events at Charlottesville underscored the problems that arise when exercises in intimidation are permitted under the guise of promoting dialogue and discussion. Our obligation to eradicate harassment entails a commitment to stop those who would bully the disenfranchised, to stop those who would terrorize others for their own purposes. That’s a commitment to equity and inclusion – also core to the educational enterprise.

Engaging with difference, including intellectual diversity, is essential for learning at the highest level. We learn from one another through our differences as well as our commonalities, and, in so doing, we can build meaningful solidarity – learning to care for one another.

I look forward to a year full of learning, engagement and care!

Thinking About Those in Peril

Today Mike Whaley, VP for Student Affairs, sent the following message to students.

As you complete your first week of classes here in Middletown, many of us are thinking about those impacted by what seems like an endless stream of natural disasters around the country and the world.  Our goal in Student Affairs is to reach out to students whose family and friends may be impacted by these events (as the class deans have already done with those students who we know are from south Texas, Louisiana, the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida) and/or who may be studying abroad in these areas. Today we will add those who may be impacted by last night’s earthquake in Mexico to our outreach.

As we try to keep track of all of these global events, we are mindful that media outlets in the US may not sufficiently (or at all!) cover disasters abroad and also that we cannot anticipate the possible connections that members of our community may have in areas affected by such events.  In short, we may not be aware that these or future events may impact you.  Still, we hope to provide support and referrals if you or someone you know is struggling with these or other issues.  Please be in touch with your class dean when we can be helpful to you and your friends.

Recovery from these disasters will likely take a long time and will be most difficult for the poor and marginalized in the affected areas.  The entire Student Affairs team looks forward to working with our caring student body to find ways that all of us can together help the many communities who will need our support in the coming months.  Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with the many who have lost so much and who are in harm’s way.

We have been reaching out to students from various affected areas. Our thoughts are with all members of the Wesleyan community impacted by the earthquake in Mexico and in the path of this horrendous storm.

 

On Liberal Education and the New Economy

This week the Wall Street Journal published my review of two new books celebrating how a liberal education prepares one for the new economy. I repost it here.

A PRACTICAL EDUCATION

By Randall Stross
Redwood, 291 pages, $25

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING

By George Anders
Little, Brown, 342 pages, $27

 

College students returning to their campuses for more reading, writing and ’rithmetic may find they’re not doing all that much of the first two—unless you count messages that come in 140-character chunks or disappear soon after finding their recipient. Breadth of study and deep critical thinking, once thought to be the crowning achievements of American higher education, now strike fear into the hearts of many parents and policy makers, who view them as luxuries or distractions. Instead they clamor for a greater emphasis on quantitative reasoning, involving ever increasing amounts of data. Students and families worry less about being on the “right side of history” than about being on the wrong side of the great economic divide between winners and losers.

Undergraduates today often crave narrow specialization in fields that they imagine will be of immediate interest to employers. Although many still sign up for classes in literature, history and philosophy, the percentage choosing to major in the humanities or social sciences (apart from economics) has been declining. Looking at these trends, a contrarian might conclude that this is an especially good time to choose a major that allows for the development of skills and experiences that set one apart from the hordes clutching STEM degrees. Buy low, sell high.

Randall Stross’s “A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees” is meant to persuade recruiters to hire liberal-arts grads, while George Anders’s “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education” is meant to inspire students to recognize how a multifaceted undergraduate experience can aid them in the workplace. Both books are filled with stories like that of Josh Sucher, a Bard graduate who translated lessons from cultural anthropology into market research for Etsy. Mr. Anders calls him an “anthropologist in action,” who uses his skills of observation to more effectively connect artists and potential buyers.

Mr. Stross’s book is based on a narrow sample: Stanford alumni with degrees in the humanities and social sciences. This elite university is among the most selective in the country, admitting less than 5% of those who apply. Sure, one might say, its graduates will do pretty well no matter what they study in school. If they have trouble landing in the very best private-equity firm or start-up, they can use the school network to make connections that lead to good jobs. Even the wealthy neighborhood is a resource. One story features Jessica Moore, who cultivated influential connections for jobs by baby-sitting in affluent Palo Alto, Calif.

Mr. Stross is well aware that his sample is narrow but presents his anecdotes about non-engineering Stanford grads as being meant to show “the skeptical what is possible.” Interspersed among these stories of enterprising young alumni are short chapters on the history of Stanford, highlighting the institution’s longstanding struggle to offer both a practical education and a broad, flexible one. People interested in the history of education will find these sections illuminating, but for many readers this, too—like the rest of the book—will prove too parochial.

That said, it’s certainly true that many people find ways to add value to enterprises that at first glance seem to have little to do with their undergraduate majors. They have learned to learn, to productively reframe stories, to cultivate teamwork and to communicate in compelling ways. Skills like these—“power skills,” in business-speak—are what students in the liberal arts develop, and this is why Messrs. Stross and Anders find so many examples of young people translating their studies in history, philosophy or political science into value for others—and impressive career trajectories.

Adventurous possibilities abound in today’s economy, says Mr. Anders. Sure, technology is eliminating jobs, and increased automation can be scary. But innovation creates the need for even more people who can imagine the ways in which technology can be put in the service of individuals and communities. “The big societal challenge for the modern world doesn’t involve how rapidly engineers create new technology,” Mr. Anders writes. “The great point of strain involves how rapidly the skeptics and the hesitant can absorb each new wave.” Liberal-arts grads, he suggests, will be especially adept at helping translate technological innovation into everyday uses because they have studied and practiced the “nuanced feat of changing people’s minds.”

Mr. Anders wants his book to be a practical resource and, like Mr. Stross, provides many instructive examples. Readers should feel permitted to sample them rather than plow through them all. And though I suspect that the authors would agree with bromides about the importance of failure, there are no real failures here. Instead they emphasize that the intensity students bring to their studies—combined with the ability to translate that intensity into other areas—is more important than choosing a so-called practical major. And it remains important for a lifetime. “Strong grounding in the humanities or social sciences,” Mr. Anders writes, “doesn’t have an expiration date.” As another academic year begins, these books are salutary reminders that what is learned on campus should have its greatest value beyond the university.

“Fellow Humans,” Defend DACA!

News reports over the past several days indicate that President Trump may be contemplating the elimination of the program that supports hundreds of thousands of young people living in this country brought here without documentation by their families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) has helped so many continue their education, find work and, perhaps most importantly, live without fear of deportation. Eliminating DACA would be a terrible step backward, making more vulnerable young people who should instead be given every opportunity to make the most of their lives and contribute to their communities.

I want to reiterate that Wesleyan has welcomed and will continue to welcome students to apply for admission and, if accepted, to enroll regardless of their immigration status. We will continue to treat undocumented students, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who apply to Wesleyan identically to any other U.S. citizen or permanent resident in their high school. We are outraged by the current administration’s efforts to scapegoat immigrants, and we reaffirm that we will make every effort to help our immigrant students thrive. A campus-wide committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff worked the past year to make recommendations pertaining to undocumented students as well as those impacted by immigration policies targeting citizens of Islamic countries. We continue to put together resources to help members of our community impacted by these policies, and if you would like to become involved, contact Antonio Farias in the Office for Equity & Inclusion.

In November 2016, Wesleyan declared itself a “sanctuary campus,” and we stand by our pledge not to voluntarily assist in any efforts by the federal government to deport our students, faculty or staff solely because of their citizenship status.

We join many other institutions in urging the White House to maintain the DACA program, and we ask Congress to protect this program with legislation.

In the spring, we awarded an honorary doctorate to Cristina Jiménez Moreta, executive director and co-founder of United We Dream. In her remarks at Commencement, Cristina underscored how important it is that institutions of higher education support the dreams of young immigrants:

Because as we speak there are some powerful leaders telling people like me and my family that we are criminals and that we don’t belong here. They are doing everything to target immigrants, refugees, women, Muslims, and LGBTQ and black people. And thousands are being detained, incarcerated, and separated from their families because of deportation.

So to be honest, immigrants like my family and other communities are going to need fellow humans who are committed to standing in the way of injustice and racism.

And you know what, looking at all of you here out here today and knowing you came from this place, I am very hopeful.

I am hopeful that you will lead with boldness and idealism, just like the mission of Wesleyan, and stand for inclusion and dignity for all people.

We will do our best to acknowledge the important contributions immigrants make to our country and to Wesleyan. We will be the “fellow humans” standing up for justice. #undocujoy

On Liberalism, Identity and Political Education

The following essay is cross-posted with Inside Higher Ed

Educated men of a certain age often seem to look at college kids with more resentment than is necessary. They criticize the young for not being more like we were (“perfect in every way,” as the song goes). Decades ago, philosopher Allan Bloom complained about young people gyrating to music that appealed only to their bodies without elevating their souls. Just a few years back, former Yale University professor William Deresiewicz turned op-eds into a book marketing his disdain for the conformity of undergrads under the label “excellent sheep.”

And now Columbia University professor Mark Lilla has followed suit, expanding into a new book his much shared op-ed blaming boutique liberals for the election of Donald Trump. In that expanded version, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (HarperCollins), campus politics are ridiculed as “Reaganism for lefties.” Most college towns, he writes, “have become meccas of a new consumerist culture for the highly educated, surrounded by techie office parks and increasingly expensive homes.” Lilla wants readers to be by turns annoyed and amused by the irony of leftist campuses breeding bourgeois consumerism, and he probably has a couple of colleges and universities in mind. He doesn’t name any.

The book stirs the pot among self-styled progressives who believe that the celebration of difference is the key to creating a more just society. Lilla argues that the scandalous ascent of Trump was only made possible by the “abdication” (a word he likes a lot) of liberals, particularly those who emphasize identity at the expense of solidarity. Unfortunately, Lilla says very little about the white identity politics activated by Trump’s campaign. I found no analysis of those voters who had supported Obama but switched their allegiance to a man who promised to restore their superior status as white Americans. I also didn’t find anything of substance on how white citizens who felt threatened by a loss of status and economic potential were energized by Trump’s brand of identity politics. Claiming that we are in a postvision America, Lilla devotes little to no effort to examining the vision that led to the Trump victory — nor does he say much about the vision that inspired Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns. Instead, Lilla asserts (echoing Walt Kelly’s Pogo character) that “the only adversary left is ourselves” and condemns campus radicals for abdicating their responsibility to go beyond movement politics and build successful electoral coalitions.

Can it be that Lilla chooses to focus on college campuses because he has spent most of life working at them? No, he explains, they are so important politically because they educate the professional classes from which future liberals will be drawn. “Liberalism’s prospects,” he writes, “will depend in no small measure on what happens in our institutions of higher education.” The most important things Lilla has to say concern the kind of political education we are giving our students today and the kind we should be developing — if there is to be a healthier American democracy.

Lilla convincingly shows that under the guise of increased attention to identity, there has been a noxious depoliticization among people who consider themselves progressives. Argument through testimony and confession proceeds by making “the winner … whoever has invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned. Academic trends encouraging students to get in touch with their identities, Lilla writes, “give an intellectual patina to the radical individualism that virtually everything else in our society encourages.” Skepticism about the capacity of government to provide authentic social justice leads to a sanctimonious “plague on all their houses” attitude. That may earn one points as a purist radical on campus, but it leaves the fields of local and state politics open to others with very different values, allowing them to seize power for their own ends. “Evangelism is about speaking truth to power. Politics is about seizing power to defend truth.”

Lilla wants colleges and universities to do a much better job of educating students to understand the mechanisms of power and how to engage in electoral politics so as to exercise that power more equitably. Fair enough. Sophisticated skepticism, no matter how intersectional, should not just be an excuse for giving up on the practices of electoral politics.

Recalling the “Roosevelt dispensation,” Lilla also longs for new images of solidarity to replace what he thinks of as an unhealthy emphasis on difference. And here’s the rub. I, too, believe that we need to weave together disparate strands of potentially progressive coalitions. But those in higher education who have developed academic fields emphasizing particular groups marginalized by mainstream scholarship have done so because past visions of solidarity have made these groups invisible. Lilla must be aware that the old solidarity came at the expense of all too many, and that thanks to the movement politics he derides, our politics now has the potential to be more inclusive. One can hope, despite the occasional outbursts of intolerance, that students and professors engaged in the study of identity and difference will be more prepared to reject coalition building that replicates the old scapegoating and erasures.

It is a core responsibility of liberal education to contribute to the political capacity of our citizens, and the challenges of this endeavor must not be reduced to the twin parodies of fragile undergraduates or politically correct student warriors. Political education at colleges and universities should not be indoctrination into any faculty member’s particular policy preference nor into a professor’s hip indifference to the political realm. Political education should inspire civic participation in ways that allow students to connect with people who share their views and to engage with those who don’t. That’s why intellectual diversity is so important on campus: to give students opportunities for debate and not just sharing. Through engagement with difference — including intellectual difference — students will find their own views tested, and their ability to effect change will grow as they learn to work with people with varied vulnerabilities and aspirations.

Even if Lilla sometimes caricatures the social justice warriors he says he wants to recruit for a new liberal solidarity, he has raised crucial questions for activists who disdain efforts to connect with people who don’t share their views. But the great issue today facing the once and future liberal is not how to overcome identity politics. The great issue for liberals and conservatives alike is how to overcome inequality. It’s not today’s campus activists who make coalition building so difficult; for decades, economic inequality has been destroying possibilities for solidarity, which means destroying possibilities for democracy.

Lilla is right that we need an “inspiring, optimistic vision” for America, but that will be only shallow political branding if we don’t find ways to deal with economic inequality while acknowledging our differences. Finding such ways amounts to insisting that as a polity we “live up to our principles” — that we try to, in James Baldwin’s oft-quoted words, “achieve our country.” Without overcoming inequality, America will drift farther and farther from this task, and we will continue to propagate poverty, addiction, resentment and the closing down of hope. Education, like democracy, depends on hope — on a belief that we can find ways to improve our lives in common. Cultivating that belief and making it real are momentous tasks for colleges and universities today.

Welcome to Wesleyan!

Students have been trickling in over the last several days, and now the big day is here when the class of 2021 arrives. I’ll be heading out soon to help our athletes assist in the move in process. Welcome to Wesleyan!

Calm Before Arrival Day Begins
International Students
New Faculty Gathers

If you have Arrival Day photos you would like to submit to Wesleyan’s Communications office, please send them to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

Images from Arrival Day 2017:

Welcome to the 2017-18 Academic Year!

Today, I sent the following message to the campus community:

Dear friends,

Welcome to our university’s 186th academic year!

This fall marks my tenth year as president of Wesleyan. I’m using this occasion to try to look at our university with fresh eyes: What could we do better? What should we preserve, and what should we change? I look forward to feedback from all around campus and will be meeting with a wide variety of groups throughout the fall.

In recent months, we’ve worked to strengthen the curriculum – hiring new faculty and preparing new programs such as the minor in integrated design, engineering, and applied sciences. I’m also particularly excited about changes to the Shapiro Writing Center (now located at 116 Mt. Vernon) that reflect the importance we place on writing here. There have also been positive developments in the Theater Department, including the hiring of Kathleen Conlin as the new department chair, and several additions to the curriculum.

Promoting equity and inclusion on our campus remains a primary focus. Thanks in large part to input from students, faculty and staff, our new Resource Center will open September 11 at 167 High St., the former home of the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. We’re pleased to welcome Demetrius J. Colvin as the director, and invite everyone to visit the Resource Center. An open house will be held in the fall.

The good folks at Allbritton are hard at work on a Civic Action Plan, which will guide Wesleyan’s future engagement with Middletown. Based on conversations on campus and in the city, this plan will determine how to best allocate our resources in order to have the greatest impact on the surrounding area.

We have begun preparations for some major facilities projects, beginning with the Film Studies, the CFA and the PAC. We are also starting long range planning for a new science building. As you might guess, given these projects and the ongoing need to raise funds for financial aid, we are beginning to plan the next university fundraising campaign.

As the academic year begins, our hearts go out to those facing the consequences of Hurricane (and Tropical Storm) Harvey. As I write this message, the waters are still rising and the forecasts are not promising. My blog has some links to how one might help.

We’ll be getting the new year started on a musical high note, with the sixth annual The MASH festival and the Main Street Stroll both happening on September 9. Campus and downtown will be filled with music, street performers, specialty workshops, and much more!

Wesleyan has the well-deserved reputation of being a caring community, and I am confident that we will all be looking out for one another. Sometimes a friendly, helping hand is all someone needs to get on the right path.

Let’s make the university’s 186th year a great one. If we take care of one another, the boldness, rigor, and practical idealism of a Wesleyan education will surely come through!

Michael S. Roth
President

Helping those Affected by the Floods

We watch with horror as floods continue to ravage East Texas. Many are homeless, and the continued rains in an already saturated landscape are sure to result in more suffering. Our hearts go out to those struggling with this historic catastrophe.

Many Wesleyans want to find ways of helping those in the path of the storm. You can find lists of relief agencies working in the area here, here and here.