Wesleyan University: Violation of Freedom of Association
Wesleyan University promises freedom of association to its students. Yet, in order to force a private fraternity to seek official recognition, Wesleyan has prohibited all students from "participating in social activities" on the property of any unrecognized private association. The policy is scheduled to go into effect in August 2011. FIRE has written Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth advising him that this new policy violates Wesleyan's moral and legal obligation to its students dating back to 1969, namely its promise that "As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right of petition that other citizens enjoy ... both on and off campus." The new policy effectively bans students from participating in social activities on a vast amount of off-campus property including houses of worship, the Middletown Elks Lodge, the Italian Society of Middletown, and a wide variety of private societies throughout Connecticut.
- "Wesleyan University Partially Restores Freedom of Association, But Continues to Discriminate Against Greek Organizations," May 9, 2011: In a partial victory for freedom of association, Wesleyan University has reformed a policy that would have punished students for "participating in social activities" on the property of any "private societies" not under Wesleyan's control. The policy was intended to force the Beta Theta Pi fraternity to officially affiliate with the university under an agreement that the fraternity had found unduly burdensome. Beta Theta Pi came to FIRE for help. After FIRE intervened and the policy generated an overwhelmingly negative response from Wesleyan students as well as national media outlets, Wesleyan altered the policy. However, the revised policy now explicitly discriminates against Greek organizations of Wesleyan students.
- "New Wesleyan University Campus Housing Policy, April 5, 2011," April 5, 2011
- "FIRE Letter to Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth, February 16, 2011," February 16, 2011
- "Wesleyan University Campus Housing Policy Addition, February 14, 2011," February 14, 2011
- "Email from Wesleyan Vice President for Student Affairs Michael J. Whaley to Students, February 14, 2011," February 14, 2011
- "Wesleyan University Joint Statement on the Rights and Freedoms of Students," Wesleyan Student Handbook, June 5, 1969
- "Partial Victory at Wesleyan University: Freedom of Association Restored, But New Policy Continues to Discriminate Against Greek Organizations," by William Creeley, May 9, 2011
- "FIRE Still Waiting on Wesleyan to Do Right on Student Rights," by Peter Bonilla, March 10, 2011
- "Wesleyan Realizes its New Housing Policy is Too Prohibitive," by Robert Shibley, February 25, 2011
- "This Week in the News: Wesleyan Housing Policy Revision Receives Necessary Criticism," by Jordan Fischetti, February 25, 2011
- "Local Paper Quotes Will on Wesleyan's Policy Denying Freedom of Association," by Azhar Majeed, February 24, 2011
- "'FOX News' Highlights Wesleyan's Student Rights Abuses," by Peter Bonilla, February 22, 2011
- "Wesleyan Pretends There's Nothing to See Here," by Adam Kissel, February 18, 2011
- "Wesleyan Students Rally at Noon Today for Freedom of Association," by Adam Kissel, February 18, 2011
- "New Policy at Wesleyan University Makes a Mockery of Freedom of Association," by Peter Bonilla, February 16, 2011
- "New Wesleyan policy bans student use of unapproved houses,"
by Claire Michalewicz, The Middletown Press, February 24, 2011
- "Wesleyan University Students Complain New Housing Policy Exerts Too Much Control,"
by Patrick Manning, FOXNews.com, February 21, 2011