NESCAC News

In the past week, various NESCAC schools have evaluated Title IX policies, new and innovative majors, and commitment to political awareness.
This week at Wesleyan University, a tenured Classical Studies professor filed a complaint against the University. The professor was allegedly sexually harassed by another professor from 2012 until 2014, who has faced nine counts of sex and disability discrimination violation under “Title VII, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act,” according to the Wesleyan Argus. Rather than pressing charges against her harasser, the professor is choosing to file a suit against the university for their misconduct in handling the situation. Wesleyan has denied and rejected claims of misconduct and has stated that the professor’s claim “is without merit and [the school] intends to defend itself vigorously.”
As seen at Wesleyan, sexual harassment is an increasingly prevalent issue that numerous schools are addressing. Tufts University has been working to bring awareness to the topic in hopes of decreasing the number of both reported and unreported incidents. Tufts’ Consent Culture Network hosted a two hour event this past Tuesday in which anonymous stories of sexual harassment and assault were shared with the student body. This forum, called “It Happens Here,” was first established at Middlebury College in 2011 and consists of peers reading true stories of sexual assault. In 2014, Tufts was found in violation of Title IX for lacking ample sexual assault support, and has since taken measures to improve awareness and support.
Looking at other initiatives across the NESCAC, at Bates College, a gift of $19 million was donated to establish a Digital and Computational Studies Program (DCS). This program will be launched in the 2018-2019 school year in hopes to “embed rigorous engagement with computational methods in the liberal arts curriculum” and enrich multi-disciplinary study.
In a different area, Middlebury College has engaged in talks about an  increase of political awareness and campaign activity on college campuses. Middlebury has seen an “uptick in participation” in both the Republican and Democrat student groups on campus. Both clubs serve as places for students to become more aware and familiarize themselves with policies of each party and presidential candidate. Being in Bernie Sanders’s home state of Vermont, the College Democrats have witnessed heightened energy and passion for his campaign, while , the republicans, despite being the minority group on campus, have experienced ample encouragement and outreach from various PACs and campaigns.
As described by the Middlebury Campus, the approaching election season has arrived with campaigns actively coming to college campuses in hopes of engaging young voters and increasing students’ interest in politics. Last week, award-winning actress Susan Sarandon visited Bowdoin and Colby College to campaign and show support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. During her talks at both schools, Sarandon “urged students ‘to be on the right side of history.’”