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a few questions

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Replies to: a few questions

  • smartalic34smartalic34 Registered User Posts: 777 Member
    I really wouldn't worry about it. isolated incident in my opinion...
  • krongmankrongman - Posts: 78 Junior Member
    what does that mean, "cause for concern"?

    i should definitely think that the police using their dogs to BITE STUDENTS to break up a f-ing BLOCK PARTY is a "cause for concern", at least on the part of any rational and/or sentient being. you'd think all these cops would be better employed catching bad guys, as opposed to using drunken college seniors celebrating their graduation from wesleyan as punching (and biting?) bags. i guess they get scared of the murderers and drug dealers every now and again and decide setting their dogs on a bunch of defenseless college students is a good way to release stress. it's understandable, right?
  • WeskidWeskid Registered User Posts: 1,288 Senior Member
    krongman: I think they meant should it make a prospective student hesitate to come to Wes, not should it be a cause for concern as in “was something wrong with this situation.” It was obviously a bad situation and reveals that something IS wrong with the MPD and/or its relationship to Wes, but it is the only incident of nearly this scale, and the administration seems committed to working on the schools relationship with the MPD (I mean, we’ll see how that goes next year, but I don’t think students OR alum will let them drop the ball on this).

    Just my 2 cents. I certainly don’t think it should deter anyone from considering Wes just as strongly as they did before.
  • limitedvocablimitedvocab Registered User Posts: 309 Junior Member
    I think they meant should it make a prospective student hesitate to come to Wes

    Yup, precisely what I meant.

    Thing is, I've come across so many different reactions to this incident, like some people are downright outraged, while others don't think it's that big a deal, et al., so for us outsiders, it's a little difficult to come up with a proper.. response/opinion. At least that's what I'm thinking right now.
  • johnwesleyjohnwesley - Posts: 4,610 Senior Member
    let me say this. I think that the incident Thursday/Fri morning is one of the few examples of campus debate that is truly not about minor differences. In fact, the more people blog and forum (if I can use that as a verb) and discuss this, the more issues come out. Some of them are important. For example, is this the sort of police behavior ordinary townies have to endure on an everyday basis? If so, there's a problem here. And, it disturbs me (and, an increasing number of others) that it is townies *themselves* who think this is how the "real world" is and ought to be.

    I commend Prof. Potter's blog response at Caterwauled on the subject of the police response Friday morning, and how it is related to patterns established in the wake of the Homeland Security legislation:
    Caterwauled: Oh, if only it were over something other than the right to drink lots of beer
  • wraider2006wraider2006 Registered User Posts: 1,162 Senior Member
    A lot of people at the Usdan campus meeting on Friday afternoon talked about creating a dialogue between Middletown and Wesleyan, and specifically between the MPD and students. One way to begin would be to not have poster saying things like "POLICE BRUTALITY IS THE NORM NOT THE EXCEPTION" hanging up in Usdan, when that clearly is not the case, even in light of recent events. Think about how many arrests are made in this country everyday- I'm guessing tens of thousands, not sure. I'm guessing that the reason MPD pretty much hates Wes students is not because they are generally privileged or wealthy (otherwise this would be a major problem at every elite institution in the US) but because of the strong, irrational "**** the police" type sentiment that exists on campus. Make no doubt about it: the offending officers at Fountain need to be dealt appropriate disciplinary action, because from what I've heard they acted way out of line. But how are you supposed to build a genuine relationship when you have such polarizing, inflammatory statements like that hanging in front of your university's doorstep?
  • krongmankrongman - Posts: 78 Junior Member
    Claire Potter said it best on Caterwauled:

    As a blogger myself who has often been criticized for responses to things that are too quick and idiosyncratic, I don't want to come down too hard on you. But -- allowing for the fact that students were drunk and undoubtedly overreacted because of that -- that the police showed up with dogs, tasers and pepper spray in the first place is outrageous. Tasers are sometimes a lethal weapon, not a harmless crowd-control device. Pepper spray, if it gets in the eyes, can cause permanent damage. To be attacked and bitten by a dog is a terrifying and possibly life-changing experience. At its worst, the party was a noise nuisance: students were not trying to interfere with a function of government, nor were they doing anything more harmful than being a pain in the ass to some of their neighbors. Students did not deserve riot control tactics typical of Birmingham in the 1960's or the West Bank for acting as kids do when they are confronted by authority. While I wish our students had simply been compliant and not escalated the confrontation, not being deferential to unreasoning, violent authority should not make anyone -- Wesleyan students or Middletwon citizens -- subject to assault and battery by the police.

    The Middletown Police response is a function of the ways law enforcement in general has been amped up in the past eight years by Homeland Security money, using a non-existent threat of domestic terrorism as an excuse. The MPD used this as an excuse to make an example of Wesleyan students -- nothing more, nothing less. And an argument that says the students deserved it because they didn't follow orders is just absurd. If your kid doesn't do what you say, do you have the moral -- much less the legal -- right to whip him?

    There is tremendous resentment of Wesleyan in Middletown, something the university has been trying to address and needs to keep working on, and in this case, the MPD are the leading edge of that resentment. But there are two issues internal to Wesleyan that also need to be addressed: Wesleyan Public Safety's decision making here, and their possible grievances in terms of what they have to deal with all year (rudeness, aggression from students when they are trying to do their jobs) in relation to such events while also being available 24-7 to be cab drivers, open locked dorm doors, and transport students in various states of inebriation and disrepair; and the possible consequences of Wesleyan's policy of selling off its houses, which will bring private homeowners in Middletown into closer contact with student events like this one.

    Claire Potter
    Professor of History and American Studies
    Wesleyan University
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    They fought the law and the law won. Go figure.

    What exactly did a couple hundred college students think was going to happen when they started throwing beer bottles at police cars and policemen?
  • madjoymadjoy Registered User Posts: 625 Member
    A couple hundred college students didn't start throwing beer bottles at police cars and policemen. Depending on the reports you read, somewhere between 0 and 3 people did.

    The rest of the crowd of hundreds of college students - many on house porches, not on the streets - were shot with pepper spray guns anyway.
  • johnwesleyjohnwesley - Posts: 4,610 Senior Member
    >They fought the law and the law won. Go figure.<

    Actually "the law", as you call it, did nothing of the kind. MPD made five arrests, then beat a hasty retreat. Possibly because there was no place to lock up 200 people. Or, possibly because there was nothing to charge them with. I dunno, you decide.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    It's a song.

    I Fought the Law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That was a disgraceful display by Wesleyan students, IMO. The contrast between the entitlement expressed by the students and the scorn for the students by the average commenter in Conn. is stunning.
  • johnwesleyjohnwesley - Posts: 4,610 Senior Member
    Actually, I.D., after looking at several video clips, the most vivid overall impression I got was of how many people were there just snapping cell-phone pictures. Now, if you want to join the Coalition of the Stupid (of which we have seen and read much about this election year) you're welcome to. I for one, see a lot of serious issues here that have nothing to do with "the right to drink beer."
  • jiminyarrivedercijiminyarrivederci Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    Not any more disgraceful than a Swarthmore student throwing a table over a balcony and hitting a fellow student on the head. People do stupid things when they're drunk, it's true. I think a table is more lethal than a bottle though. Table, bottle, both dumb.

    The dynamic is also a little different at Wes where the city streets actually go through the campus. The campus is part of the city. Not like at places like Haverford or Swarthmore, which are basically enclosed park-like fortresses where their administrations can babysit students and protect them from the outside world. I guess that's why there's the student-on-student stupid acts of drunkeness.
  • jiminyarrivedercijiminyarrivederci Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    And regarding the "scorn for students", Wes is surrounded by a working class city which is more of the real world than say, Haverford or Swarthmore, which, once you get past their gates, are surrounded by the Main Line and the Borough of Swarthmore, pretty much the demographic of a lot of their students. Not saying that's a bad thing, just pointing out that scorn and misunderstanding are more likely among different groups, not similar ones.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Not any more disgraceful than a Swarthmore student throwing a table over a balcony and hitting a fellow student on the head.

    No, that was pretty disgraceful, too. You didn't hear much defense of that kid. Being drunk is not an excuse.

    I certainly would have been happy had he been pepper-sprayed and taser'd. He deserved it. As it was, he was permanently removed from the College as a result of a College Judicial Committee hearing.
    Not like at places like Haverford or Swarthmore, which are basically enclosed park-like fortresses where their administrations can babysit students and protect them from the outside world.

    I agree that issues with housing -- large concentrations of students in housing with no common space to congregate except in the street -- has contributed to the two Fountain Ave. riots in the last six years. I agree that the same party at Swarthmore (an annual senior class event) doesn't result in police action because it takes place in the large terraced courtyard that can accommodate hundreds and hundreds of students and is a third of a mile from the nearest house. If Wesleyan officials were smart, they would make the end-of-exams party a more organized affair and move it somewhere else on campus so that it doesn't have to take place on a public street.

    I'm not sure I agree that Swarthmore's administration "protects" the students from the outside world. Swarthmore town police cruisers sit outside the main party venues on Swarthmore's campus on weekend nights and have made drunk 'n disorderly arrrests...arrests that have been entirely warranted and send an important message, IMO.
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