Refuting Jay Saper

By Guest Contributor

In last week’s Campus article, “Arrested Students Protest ‘Environmental Racism,” Middlebury alum Jay Saper ’12.5 is quoted as saying, “We’ve talked more about environmental racism today — just today — than we have at a place where there is the longest-standing environmental studies program in history in America.” What a curious comment. As the incoming Director of Environmental Studies, I met with Saper, Sam Koplinka-Loehr  ’13 and several other students in spring 2011, interested in their views on environmental justice and inviting them to follow up in ways they might find interesting and helpful for our community. I never heard back from them. And readers should know that Saper was not an ES major and, since that one meeting, never tried to engage the ES program in any formal way. It would not be surprising then if he were unaware of recent changes in our program, including — just for starters — the launching of a new ES class, “Social Class and the Environment,” taught by Hector Vila. With his recent comments in the Campus, Saper displays — yet again, I am afraid — his fondness for public, unsupported and simplistic claims. As a recent alum, he could learn from current Middlebury students who roll up their sleeves and lead social change by communicating with and listening to others, finding common cause and solidarity and thereby creating solutions.

Submitted by JON ISHAM, Director of Environmental Studies

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