When is ‘Wesleyan’ synonymous with John Wesley?

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Wesleyan University in Connecticut is a Methodist institution of higher learning.

In recent weeks, two news items about the university have hit the headlines (H/T: Stand Firm).

On February 23, 2015, ten students and two visitors were hospitalised after overdosing on a pure crystalline form of MDMA known as Molly. At the time the Hartford Courant reported the story, what happened was still a mystery. One student told the paper:

I don’t understand why so many people were doing Molly that night, at one time.

There’s a lot of alcohol, there’s a lot of weed on campus. I’m not necessarily in contact with anything harder than that.

Some of the students had attended an on-campus rave at the social house of the university’s Eclectic Society.

Wesleyan’s president Michael S Roth pleaded with students not to use illegal drugs. Quite rightly, he said:

One mistake can change your life forever. If you have friends who are thinking about trying these kinds of drugs, remind them of the dangers … These drugs can be altered in ways that make them all the more toxic. Take a stand to protect your fellow students.

Yet, Roth was less sensible in his sanction of one of four male fraternities, Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE). The university’s administration told them they would all have to admit women or be closed down with the frat house left empty. All Wesleyan students must live on campus.

It is unclear what the other four frat houses have done, but DKE claim that they were given three years to admit women until the university accelerated the transition. The Daily Caller tells us they have decided to file a lawsuit.

The irony is that Wesleyan has specialised, identity-specific housing, so why not allow fraternities the same politics? The Daily Caller reports:

For instance, the Women of Color house caters to non-white females, the Womanist House is for students “committed to the issues of Wesleyan women,” and the Turath House exists for Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim students.

Most spectacular of all is the Open House, which defines itself as (we are not making this up) “a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf**k [spelled out in full on the university’s website], Polyamourous [sic], Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities.”

But we can rest easily, because Wesleyan University fully commits its students to Community Standards. We should all be happy (not) to see that, whatever else goes on there — crystalline MDMA, cannabis or sexual violence in a safe house — this policy appears in bold on their website:

Smoking Policy

In order to limit exposure to environmental smoke, the University prohibits smoking in all residence halls, program houses, apartments, and Wood frame houses, as well as within 25 feet of university residences.

Why does the ‘w’ in ‘wood’ need uppercase?

As for the university’s name, many readers are under the impression that once Wesleyan always Wesleyan, that is, Methodist.

And we would be wrong, because the website tells us (emphasis mine):

Ties to the Methodist church, which were particularly strong in the earliest years and from the 1870s to the 1890s, waned in the 20th century. Wesleyan became fully independent of the Methodist church in 1937.

Goodness me — 1937.

Today, Wesleyan University expresses pride in being

a New England liberal arts college that is far from traditional.

Isn’t that the truth!

Advice to parents — please read university websites in full before going on name alone.

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