Wesleyan Alumni Open Letter in Support of Currrent Students
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Thank you for your support!
We, progressive Wesleyan alumni, are deeply distressed to learn of the mistreatment of current transgender students and allies on campus. We support the brave student activists who responded to their experience of marginalization by expressing themselves through de-gendering the bathrooms.
Transgender people face socially-sanctioned dehuminization and abuse, employment discrimination, threats and violence. Wesleyan’s perpetuation of this behavior is abhorrent and inconsistent with the values that the University fosters among its students, such as social justice, inclusivity, and community. In this and other actions of late we are witnessing an eroding of Wesleyan's core values, and we are concerned about the current and future climate of a place we once held so dear. As alumni, we are the spokespersons and ambassadors for our alma mater. We want the school which we attended and which we represent to remain faithful to the ethos of fairness with which it was founded and for which it is known. We want Wesleyan to continue to inspire other universities and institutions through its exemplary commitment to social justice.
Though the school considers the de-gendering of bathrooms to be property damage and vandalism, far more destructive are the conditions which gave rise to the students’ actions. Wesleyan must recognize the root cause of the actions: a climate in which trans students feel silenced, unwelcome and unsafe. Rather than punish the very people who are being harmed, Wesleyan needs to look at how it can create a more inclusive campus. Those people and institutions preventing some community members from feeling safe are not under investigation nor being held accountable. Rather, only those standing up for a safer campus have been sanctioned.
We demand that the Administration ensure that trans students feel safe on campus, especially when engaged in an act as basic and essential as using the bathroom. We ask that you stop the SJB process that singles out a handful of students for an action that was taken by many as a means of survival. Instead of blaming the victims of oppression, Wesleyan must engage in a dialogue about cisgender privilege and begin to do the painful but necessary work of creating a campus that is just and safe for all.
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