Welcome Home to Wesleyan!

Thousands of alumni will be heading to campus this weekend to celebrate Wesleyan and Middletown. There are athletic contests galore, seminars and lectures….lots of things to remind us of the resources and creativity of alma mater. Our university thrives in the context of a great community, and we will be celebrating our city and its residents. Find out more here.




Friday, October 21

2:00 PM
Wesleyan Admission Information Session
Gather insight into the admission process at Wesleyan by attending this information session for prospective students.
Presented by: The Office of Admission
McKelvey Room, Stewart M. Reid House, Office of Admission (show in map)

3:00 PM
Tour of Campus
Presented by: The Office of Admission
Meet in the lobby of the Stewart M. Reid House, Office of Admission (show in map)

7:00 PM
Volleyball v. Connecticut College
Silloway Gymnasium, Freeman Athletic Center

7:00 PM
Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony & Dinner
Celebrate the eighth class of inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame. Buy tickets to the dinner and ceremony by October 7.

8:00 PM
Television Reality! Shark Tank Director Ken Fuchs ’83 in Conversation
Fuchs is a television director with expertise in non-scripted series. He will share his experiences directing  SHARK TANK, THE BACHELOR, FAMILY FEUD, and more.
Moderator: Scott Higgins, chair of film studies, College of Film and the Moving Image
Goldsmith Family Cinema

Saturday, October 22

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Usdan Cafe Hours
The Usdan Cafe is open for beverages and snacks.
Usdan Univerisity Center

9:00 AM
Women’s Lacrosse Alumnae Game
Smith Field

9:30 AM to 10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Alumni Association Executive Committee,
Wesleyan Fund Volunteer Leadership Committee
By invitation only.
Taylor Meeting Room (108), Usdan University Center

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Tailgating and Parking on Andrus Field
The Wesleyan men’s and women’s tennis teams oversee and direct visitor parking at all home football games.  In return, many visitors choose to make a donation to the tennis program that goes towards defraying equipment, travel, and numerous other expenses to the program.  The suggested donation is $3 per car, but any amount, more or less, is graciously accepted.  Further, the donations are optional and at the complete discretion of individual attendees.  The tennis teams thank you for your support.
Open Container Policy: University policy and NESCAC regulations state that alcohol is not allowed at any sporting event with the exception of the tailgate area on Andrus Field.  Open containers are not allowed near the football field.
Andrus Field and Foss Hill (show in map)

10:00 AM
Wesleyan Admission Information Session
Gather insight into the admission process at Wesleyan by attending this information session for prospective students.
Presented by: The Office of Admission
McKelvey Room, Stewart M. Reid House, Office of Admission (show in map)

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Wesleyan Fund Volunteer Leadership Committee Business Meeting
and Lipman Hearne Focus Group
By invitation only.
Andersen Meeting Room (110), Usdan University Center

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Alumni Association Executive Committee Business Meeting
and Lipman Hearne Focus Group
By invitation only.
Taylor Meeting Room (108), Usdan University Center

10:00 AM
Team Tailgates
The following teams are hosting tailgates during the football game.  Please check back often as more teams are added.
Baseball (Concessions) 
Men’s & Women’s Basketball

Men’s Ice Hockey 
Women’s Lacrosse
Softball (Concessions)
Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving

11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Lunch in Honor of the Class of 1966 Football Team
By invitation only.
Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center

11:00 AM
Tour of Campus
Presented by: The Office of Admission
Meet in the lobby of the Stewart M. Reid House, Office of Admission (show in map)

11:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Middletown Day Festivities
Wesleyan alumni, students, families, faculty, staff, and the Middletown community are invited to join us for Middletown Day as we cheer on the Cardinals.  Stop by the Spirit Tent for fun activities for everyone including, face painter, balloon animals, bouncy house, snacks, spirit gear and more.
Located behind North & South College

12:00 PM
Field Hockey vs. Amherst College
Smith Field

12:00 PM
Women’s Soccer vs. Amherst College
Jackson Field

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Young Alumni Tailgate
Stop by for food, fun, friends, and of course FOOTBALL. What more can you ask for?
Tent in the tailgate area parallel to the Fayerweather parking lot on Andrus Field

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
“Saddle Up! The Western Film” Gallery Exhibit
“Saddle Up! The Western Film.”  The exhibit showcases western-themed film posters from 1936 to 1992, and features films  from directors including Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Raoul Walsh, King Vidor, and Clint Eastwood.  The Gallery is open Friday and Saturday afternoons from 12 to 4 and admission is FREE.
Center for Film Studies Film Studies Rick Nicita Gallery

12:30 PM
Alumni of Color Council Meeting
Center for African American Studies (CAAS)

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Wesleyan Women of Class of ’74 Gathering
By invitation only for the women of 1974.
Klingher Classroom (113), Boger Hall

1:00 PM
Dream Dangerously offers viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at Gaiman (SANDMAN, AMERICAN GODS, CORALINE) on the road, interacting with fans and experiencing the struggles and joys of being an acclaimed public speaker and in-demand personality. At the same time, the film delves deeply into Gaman’s writing process, exploring the childhood origins of his love of mythology, up to his struggles to keep his writing fresh after 25 years of successful storytelling.
DIRECTOR, Patrick Meaney ’07, will conduct a Q&A after the film screening.
Powell Family Cinema

1:00 PM
Tour of Campus
Presented by: The Office of Admission
Meet in the lobby of the Stewart M. Reid House, Office of Admission (show in map)

1:00 PM
Football vs. Amherst College
To view a live streaming video of the game, log on to http://wescast.wesleyan.edu/ approximately 1/2 hour prior to game time and follow instructions. Halftime show featuring the Middletown High School Marching Band.
Corwin Stadium, Andrus Field (show in map)

2:30 PM
Men’s Soccer vs. Amherst College
Jackson Field

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
President’s Reception Honoring Leadership Donors & Volunteers
Please join President Michael Roth ’78 and the Wesleyan Board of Trustees at a reception celebrating members of the Wesleyan Leadership Societies. The Wesleyan Circle, the 1831 Society, and the Olin Associates recognize members of the Wesleyan community who put the University first in their philanthropy—as donors and volunteers. All are welcome.
Olson Commons, Gordon Career Center, Boger Hall

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Eiko Wins a Bessie!

a-body-in-fukushima_eventEiko Otake, who for many years has taught dance and performance at Wesleyan, was recognized this week with a “Bessie” Award for her work in 2015 at Danspace Project Platform. “A Body in Places,” photographs of which (taken by Wes historian and photographer Williameiko_otake_body_places_eventJohnston) were exhibited here, was recognized with this prestigious award. The jury cited Eiko “For making herself ‘radically available’ in public and private spaces over several weeks, actively engaging with pressing political and environmental issues of our time. For collaborating with a wide range of artists through performances, readings, films, discussions, and rituals to evoke the power and meaning of the human body inhabiting a planet in crisis.”

Congratulations Eiko, for this important recognition of your extraordinary work!

Campus Update

This afternoon I sent the following message to the Wesleyan community:

Dear friends,

The news that a former staff member of the University had been fired by his previous employer for grossly inappropriate behavior has led to student protests and powerful expressions of pain. At a time when we are confronted by cavalier discussions of sexual abuse even in the presidential campaign, the revelations here have reopened wounds of many on campus who are survivors. Their anguish is all too real, and we must work to change the conditions that gave rise to it.

What can we do? What will the administration do? As I’ve listened to campus concerns, they seem to fall into three key areas: transparency; Title IX issues; and following up on task force recommendations on equity and inclusion.

Transparency only exists with communication, and we are reaching out to student representatives in a series of meetings throughout the rest of the semester and beyond. We are also putting together resources where all students can find information on what we are doing to address major concerns. Are there other ways in which we can be more open about our decision-making processes? If you have ideas about this, let me or others in the administration know. I have office hours on most Monday afternoons, but I can make appointments to talk any day I’m on campus (contact presoffice@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-3500).

In regard to Title IX, we are meeting with students and bringing in a consultant to review all our procedures and help us decide if we should use outside personnel to handle accusations of sexual misconduct involving students. In the meantime, we are working hard to make sure that the procedures we have are put to best possible use in meeting the needs of our students.  If you would like to make a Title IX report or have questions about the process, please contact Debbie Colucci, Equity Compliance Director & Deputy Title IX Coordinator, dcolucci@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2456, or Alysha Warren, Therapist/Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator, awarren@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-3217.

Finally, we are working on the Equity Task Force recommendations from last year. We have put in place a new Opportunity Hires policy to facilitate the diversification of our faculty and staff, and we have identified possible locations for the new Resource Center as well as allocating resources for a dedicated staff person. Next step: more student input.

These are only some of the initiatives underway to respond to the student concerns. But administrative initiatives, no matter how well-intentioned, can only do so much. We need to care for one another. Some of the most meaningful voices I’ve heard come from students describing the pain they are in, pain that haunts their lives, suffering that is heightened every time another attack is reported, every time we display the failure to have moved our campus far enough toward a culture of belonging and away from one of marginalization. Like so many others on the faculty and in the administration, I both want to acknowledge the awful reality of this anguish and pledge to work across the campus to address its sources.

Students, staff and faculty desire and deserve a transparent, responsive, and respectful community. This is work in which we all have a part. It depends on listening, on caring for one another, and on work that leads to real results. As president, I pledge to do my part.

Michael S. Roth


Turning, Listening

I spent yesterday observing Yom Kippur – absorbing the wise words and expressions of deep feeling of others, engaging in self-reflection and consideration of forgiveness and responsibility. In the Jewish traditions in which I participate, we speak of “turning,” of positioning ourselves to live a more just and meaningful life, of listening to others and acting on our values. I will continue this turning.

I have tried hard to listen to the concerns of all members of the Wesleyan community, and especially to those students who want our school to do more to acknowledge their experience – their accomplishments, to be sure, but also their pain and vulnerability. Over the years I have heard from countless young people who have found at Wesleyan – through their friends, teachers and staff mentors – the path to developing the capacity to do work they find fulfilling, to live lives they find meaningful. But I have also heard from many who believe alma mater can do much more — that we must do more if we are to become a truly equitable and inclusive place.

I’ll have more specific things to say about this early next week with specific ideas of how to increase transparency, to improve our disciplinary and Title IX adjudication processes, and to follow up on recommendations concerning faculty/staff diversity and a student resource center.

These are some of the areas in which I know we can improve. But we all need to see results and not just rhetoric. By working together, by making real changes that matter to students, I hope we can rebuild trust while building a campus culture in which everyone takes pride.

Register to Vote!


I received an email from Noah Kahan, of the Student Life Committee of the WSA. He wanted to share some information about student work on voter registration:

This past month, Josh Nodiff and I have worked on a voter accessibility page for the WSA website, which provides an easy way for students, faculty and staff to access to registration forms, absentee request forms, as well as any other information about the voting process. You can check out the Voter Accessibility page here: 


This action is in accordance with Resolution 20.37 or the

Voter Accessibility Act (VAA) passed last semester.

In addition, this Wednesday, from 11-1pm, the WSA, along with the Allbritton Center for Public Life, will be holding tabling in Usdan where students can print out voter registration and absentee ballot request forms. We will be supplying stamps and envelopes so students can send out your voter registration or absentee request forms right away!




Lots of folks will gather tonight, Sunday, to watch the Presidential Debate in 150 Science Center — the Tishler Auditorium. The debate starts at 9:00 pm, but come early!

It’s not too late to register to vote. Some students sent me some information on voter registration deadlines.

Voter Reg Deadlines

You can find out more at vote.gov


Hurricane Matthew

We are watching news reports from the Caribbean with deep concern. The images from Haiti and other areas in the region are heart rending. We are reaching out to our students from the affected areas to see what we can do to be helpful. Thankfully, our students studying in the Caribbean are okay, but we remain concerned about the impact on students and families from that region and from Southeastern U.S. coastal areas. If you would like support or have questions, please contact the Dean of Students Office.

If you want to find ways to be helpful, you might look at the work Partners in Health is doing. You might also check out what Professor Gina Athena Ulysse has been writing on Haiti.

As always, let’s reach out and check in with one another.

As of now, we are monitoring weather forecasts for Middletown, and we will keep folks informed if we think the storm will have an impact here.




October 1 Boston Globe Article


This afternoon (Monday), I sent the following note to the campus:

I’ve been reading comments, blogs, and listening to students who are reacting to the news concerning Scott Backer, former Associate Dean of Students. I realize that in the blog post I wrote yesterday upon returning to campus, I neglected to say the most important thing: I am sorry. I apologize that the university hired someone who had been fired for grossly inappropriate behavior and put him in a position of responsibility for dealing with survivors of sexual assault. The university did not know his past, but we needed to know. We failed at that, and I apologize for the pain this has caused members of our community. 

I know conversations will continue about this subject in the days and weeks to come. Student Affairs, CAPS, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion all have resources available.

We can and will do better.


This weekend the Boston Globe ran a story in a series concerning the ways some private high schools have dealt with sexual misconduct issues. This morning’s story detailed how these schools allow employees found responsible for infractions to leave without a record of their misdeeds. Through the Globe’s investigation, Wesleyan learned that Scott Backer, then Associate Dean of Students here, had been terminated at Vermont Academy for clearly inappropriate behavior. As Dean Mike Whaley described in a campus email today, the high school’s officials provided glowing recommendations for Mr. Backer – they concealed that he was terminated and the reasons for the termination.

Many are asking why Wesleyan didn’t know about his misconduct when Mr. Backer was hired back in 2007. Upon learning of the Globe‘s investigation, I initiated a review of the hiring process; the background check performed at the time didn’t turn up anything relevant. We have long since strengthened those checks. Of course, no check at the time would have turned up a yet-to-be filed civil lawsuit against Mr. Backer.

Within hours of learning about the circumstances of his termination at Vermont Academy and the efforts to conceal these circumstances, the university fired Mr. Backer. Since as Associate Dean he sat on and often chaired panels dealing with sexual misconduct, we hired an independent firm expert in these matters to review his performance. I should stress, though, that Mr. Backer never had sole authority over cases. He was part of a process involving several people and appropriate balances. Nonetheless, we turned to the law firm Pepper Hamilton, who most consider the best firm in the country for these kinds of issues, to investigate cases with which Mr. Backer was involved. We were very relieved to learn that they found nothing amiss.

Some have asked why we didn’t make all this public ourselves? Although I did inform the leadership of the Board of Trustees and the Cabinet, after much deliberation I decided that it would have been wrong to discuss publicly why we had fired an employee unless there was a compelling reason to do so. If Pepper-Hamilton had found something problematic in Mr. Backer’s work at Wesleyan, that would have been a reason to bring this to the attention of the campus. Unlike Vermont Academy, Wesleyan has created an employment record that includes termination for cause for Mr. Backer. But I do not think it appropriate to publicly discuss a personnel matter, unless that situation was already made public. That has happened today, which leads me to write now.

In an essay on the Obama Administration’s legacy for higher education, I recently wrote that “colleges and universities are responsible for abusive aspects of student culture that prevent women (and members of LGBTQ communities) from having access to the same benefits of higher education as most men do.”

Colleges can no longer 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 has been 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 justified suspicion.

I am grateful for the Boston Globe’s investigation, but I would be very sorry if the university’s hiring of Scott Backer in 2007 creates suspicion about our efforts to counter the scourge of campus sexual assault. We are training hundreds in bystander intervention, we have cooperative agreements with law enforcement and community-based groups, and with input from students and experts in the field we have refined our procedures to better assist survivors and fairly adjudicate cases.

With help from the entire community, we will continue our efforts to support survivors, educate the community about the issues, and to hold accountable anyone found responsible for violating our policies.


Wesleyans Gather In Shanghai

I write from Shanghai, where I have been meeting with prospective students, alumni, parents….lots of interest in Wesleyan here in China!! Last night about 50 folks gathered under the Red and Black to hear about the latest news from Middletown. Thanks to the high school students who already have the Wesleyan spirit, the parents eager to learn more about liberal arts education, and our wonderful alumni who made all of this possible, especially Sha Ye MA’96 and Yinghai Xie ’97.


Reception Hall before guests arrive
Reception Hall before guests arrive


One of our high school visits
One of our high school visits



Go See the Wesleyan Volleyballers!



Have you heard the news? Wesleyan’s volleyball team has been on a tear. The women are undefeated thus far in NESCAC play and are riding a seven game winning streak! Frosh sensation Gabby Bennett ’20 was named the NESCAC Co-Player of the Week for her outstanding play. I’m about to get on a plane for a long Wesleyan trip, but I wish I could be in the Silloway Gymnasium to watch this exciting, young team do its thing!

Come to cheer them on: Friday night at 7 pm against Tufts and Saturday at 1 pm against Bowdoin.

And let’s not forget the stellar women’s tennis team. Eudice Chong ’18 and Victoria Yu ’19 had a dominant tournament last weekend at the ITA Regional Championships, claiming the doubles crown while Eudice finished second in singles.

Go Wes!!