A Campus Update: Eclectic Responds to Issues of Accountability

cw: sexual assault

The Wesleyan Artifex is publishing this letter from Eclectic Society to update the community on the recent news regarding a perpetrator in a position of leadership within the society. We have given much consideration to our decision to publish the letter, and we want to make clear to the community that this letter does not reflect our position as a publication. Our team wholeheartedly supports the voices of survivors, and we are dedicated to doing everything we can as a publication to acknowledge the pain caused by sexual violence. Although this is a developing situation, we believe this letter contains information the Wesleyan campus should be made aware of, particularly regarding the actions taken to hold the perpetrator and the Eclectic Society accountable. The Wesleyan Artifex is not affiliated with the Eclectic Society.

Below is the letter written by members of the Eclectic Society.

“To the Wesleyan Community:

We, the Eclectic Society, are reaching out with regard to some upsetting events that have transpired in the past few days in an attempt to open dialogue and be as transparent as possible. We are deeply sorry for the discomfort and pain caused in the wake of the following events.

On Friday night, we received an anonymous email regarding an instance of sexual assault involving a member who had recently been chosen for a leadership position within the society. Eclectic has a Zero Tolerance policy for cases of sexual violence, which mandates that if we receive information regarding a member enacting sexual violence, they will immediately be removed from the society. This measure is in place to keep our spaces as safe as possible. We responded to the email outlining our commitment to following this policy. In this response, we extended our support, validation, and desire to engage in further confidential dialogue, facilitated by our Social Wellness Chair and/or our President. In keeping with our current protocol, the former member in question was immediately terminated from their leadership position and stripped of their membership. This person was not present for any of the following Eclectic events that occurred throughout the weekend. We want to make clear that this was the first time anyone in Eclectic had heard of this person perpetrating sexual violence in any context.

It is a priority of ours to center and uplift the voices of survivors, as these narratives are often silenced. We take sexual assault extremely seriously, and we are writing to the Wesleyan community today to affirm our commitment to listening to survivors and keeping Eclectic as safe as possible. All of our members, all of our applicants, and any person who enters our spaces are held to the same Zero Tolerance standard: perpetrators of sexual violence who are known to us are not allowed here. We sincerely apologize that the presence and leadership of this former member in Eclectic spaces has made any student feel unsafe.

Late on Monday night, we were notified by editors of The Argus that they also received the anonymous email and would be publishing it that same night. We informed the editors that we had already enacted our Zero Tolerance policy and we are troubled that The Argus chose not to include this information in their publication.

Eclectic strives to be a space for open dialogue and transparency. We encourage anyone and everyone to reach out with questions, concerns, and suggestions for improvements to our policy. Please feel welcome to contact our Social Wellness Chair Celeste Smith (cjsmith@wesleyan.edu); our President, Zurich Deleon (zdeleon@wesleyan.edu); or any other member you feel comfortable speaking with.

We are committed to the continued critique and meaningful transformation of our spaces so that the voices of survivors are upheld.

Sincerely,

The Members of the Eclectic Society”

The Artifex understands this subject matter may be triggering. Please know you are not alone and there are confidential support networks and resources available to you.

Wesleyan University Survivor Advocacy and Community Education (SACE): 860-685-3214 or jdebari@wesleyan.edu

Safe Horizons: 1-212-227-3000

RAINN:  800-656-HOPE

Additional resources can be found here: https://www.wesleyan.edu/sace/resources.html