Last weekend some forty Wesleyan students entered a closed meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees, looking to give input on a matter of university governance. The students were advocates of need-blind admissions, a policy under which students are accepted for admission without consideration of their ability to pay. (Admissions have traditionally been need-blind at Wesleyan, but at the start of the summer, after many students had left campus, the trustees voted to scrap that policy for the class of 2017.)
This wasn’t a long occupation — it lasted only about fifteen minutes before students left voluntarily. It wasn’t particularly aggressive — video of the incident shows a conspicuously quiet, and respectful, discussion. And it was far from unprecedented — on the video, one trustee is seen declaring that “students barging in [to trustee meetings] is a long and time-honored tradition at Wesleyan.”
But now at least five of the students who participated in the action are being brought up on campus judicial charges. As the campus online newspaper Wesleying notes, the five stand accused of “disruption” and “failure to comply.” According to the campus student handbook, it looks like punishment for these two violations could be anything from a warning to expulsion.
I watched the video, and I gotta say — that’s some seriously non-disruptive disruption, and some seriously compliant non-compliance. Shame on Wesleyan for making it into a judicial issue.