Friday, March 15, 2013

Why? Because.


Wesleyan University is in the midst of a campaign to raise $200 million with their "Why? Because," campaign.

With that number in mind, it's hard to understand why the university is so desperate to sell real estate which won't earn them a fraction of that.

Let us not forget, that without Wesleyan, we wouldn't be in the position of fighting off reckless development on Washington St.

Photo by Sarah Atwell
A couple of Wes grads help illustrate the irony of the campaign title.  It is, essentially, the same answer development opponents have received when querying the university about their support for the proposed development on Washington Street.


Anonymous said...

The finance and facilities administrators in charge of Wesleyan's properties don't live in Middletown. They don't care much about the town and its residents, especially not about the urban poor that live in the North End. Yes, this is also a social justice issue and the university's complicity in selling out a struggling neighborhood to a developer is a disgrace. When it comes to Middletown, Wesleyan's commitment to "civic engagement" and diversity is largely rhetorical. In reality, ruthless corporate interests prevail.
Perhaps president Roth will do the right thing and cancel the sale of the buildings on Washington Street.

Anonymous said...

I believe the campaign is aiming for $400 million or more. Over $200 million have already been raised.

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Wesleyan's capital campaign slogan is actually "This Is Why," not "Why? Because."

Ross Levin said...

What the hell do they even spend that money on??? This is just one of many sickening aspects of this "capital campaign"....

-current Wes student

Anonymous said...

You are all right.

But Wesleyan U is not alone is this practice. Harvard, (in the more distant past) Yale, PENN, and (I'm sure) many other big universities have let their surrounding neighborhoods deteriorate, then sold them off to the highest (corporate) bidders. The poorest people lose a place to live, the community is "allowed" to develop as business decides, and guess who profits?

To work with WES U., the way Yale has most recently worked with NH communities and neighbourhoods, extending residential purchase advantages to its faculty, employees, students, and others seems a win-win way to go.

Perhaps Mayor Drew, Mr. Lesser, President Roth, and others could talk about these possibilities and come up with a plan to encourage residential growth in the North End and in the area surrounding Wesleyan. Wouldn't that be something!?

Ridge Road Resident said...

What a great idea, Anonymous at 2:00pm; that would be something!

Catherine Johnson said...

I think it would be great to get together and share ideas about how to direct future growth, especially potential new buildings that are adjacent to the neighborhoods. But it is unlikely the university will involve themselves in anything not on campus, in my opinion There is no role for the city in its decisions. The school has rarely even tested ideas before doing something. It was small, but former Wes President Bennett had a mock-up of a wall built on High Street, to show what a low wall marking the edge of campus would look like, built out of plywood and painted brown. It was boo-ed down, by town and gown, and thankfully, he didn't pursue it.

But is it smart to ignore everyone? Do you really only get the school's attention if you donate a big sum? Students graduate, faculty retire, trustees only have that job for a few years. Who are the keepers of the flame of what gives the Wesleyan campus and city its heritage? Middletown residents. We want you to succeed as a school, you want the city to succeed as a beautiful place for yourselves. Why can't we work together on a vision for the future? Can't we have share ideas?

There are no more big sums to be found. Solutions will have to be had out of smaller things that regular people can do together. Wesleyan posts on this very blog twice a week from something called "Center for Community Partnerships." How about using that forum as a place the two can come together to figure out how create true partnerships? You can count me in.