College president Laurie Patton sent a school wide email on Wed., Nov. 8, inviting students, faculty and staff, to a town hall the following day, Nov. 9.
“It is clear to me and, I believe, to many of you, that the essential bond of trust and assumption of good intentions that should unite us is broken,” she wrote. You can access the email here.
Co-sponsored by the Black Student Union and the Student Government Association, the audience filled Wilson Hall to capacity, causing event organizers to move the event to Mead Chapel. At the event, which was monitored by SGA and BSU members, students had the opportunity to ask administrators direct questions.
Below is a full transcript of the meeting, which has been edited for clarity. Please look for further analysis of the event in our issue after Thanksgiving Break. This transcription was done by features editors Sarah Asch and James Finn. Editor-at-large Elizabeth Zhou and managing editor Will DiGravio helped edit.
Jin Sohn (’18, SGA President): “SGA would like to acknowledge the presence of everyone in this room, and to thank you for taking the time to join us, together, as a community for an imperative conversation on respect and inclusivity. Over the past week, members of the SGA student cabinet have been working to support the student body in light of the recent painful and alienating events and dialogues. Likewise, many cultural orgs including BSU and other student activists have been working overtime to support students. We want to recognize those efforts especially because they were led by students from marginalized backgrounds. Today’s conversation is not a solution in itself. But it can and must lead to transformations on our campus. We are here today because, in whatever way, we care. We care about our friends, we care about our peers, we care about our community. Please let us join together in that shared core value in order to foster change on our campus. In order to make this discourse constructive, active, and supportive of everyone, we are requesting that all comments, observations, and questions be respectful. We would like to encourage individuals to acknowledge their own identities and privileges when speaking. Please acknowledge the role and position with which you inherently enter this conversation. Further, while this event is crucial in providing a voice for students who are affected by the actions of others on this campus, it is important to remember that active listening is meaningful and important to engage with others in this room. Please listen and wait until someone finishes speaking before wanting to speak so that we can be respectful of all that is being said. To encourage collaboration and abolish any hierarchies present today, we will be limiting questions and answers to two minutes each. Additionally, to be conscious of everyone’s time, we will be ending this event promptly at 6 pm. Ultimately, for the SGA, the goal of this meeting today is both to facilitate learning and listening in our community and to work toward establishing active next steps that students, faculty, staff, and administrators can collaborate on and be held accountable for. This is not the first conversation. It likely will not be the last. The point is that we all, all of us, are trying, and by simply being here today are actively working to change. Thank you, and I will now hand over the mic to President Patton for her to speak on her hopes for this event and then Wengel Kifle will provide some background and context on the current campus climate. Once the floor has been opened for conversation, Ishrak Alam, the SGA chief of staff, Annie Cowan, the SGA deputy chief of staff, and Rae Aaron, the SGA speaker, will ensure that a single voice is heard at a time by distributing a microphone. Finally, we recognize that these are really difficult issues, and if anyone needs to step out of the room or take care of themselves, please do so.”
Patton: “Thank you so much. I’m really, really pleased to see everyone here. Thank you for being here, thank you for hanging in and staying in the difficult conversation. I want, particularly, to thank student leadership, particularly BSU and SGA for hosting this event, and we really look forward to hearing the voices of the members of all of our communities. We are in new territory at Middlebury, where we need to begin building a new kind of community, one that includes voices that we either have not heard or only partially heard. There are so many ways that such communities need to be built and the first is to give voice to experience. We want to pay attention to structures that cannot give voice to that experience, the economic, social and status hierarchies that limit us. Because of acts of racial bias on this campus and in this town, many students, faculty and staff have called us to account and are hurting. And while we are in new territory of trying to build a new kind of community, we are also in very old, unacknowledged territory. Part of Middlebury’s unspoken story includes our acting according to racial stereotypes, acting in ways that serve to alienate. We have not acknowledged that enough. I want to acknowledge that hurt. I am deeply sorry that members of our community are in pain, and that people feel they have not been heard by the administration. It is our job to make better structures and more equitable relationships where voices can be heard and where people feel that they belong. It is our job to make a more inclusive public square where not just individual acts of bias but structural racism can be addressed and challenged. Middlebury can and should be a challenging place where we experience intellectual discomfort, and part of that discomfort includes listening to unheard voices better. For students who live here at Middlebury for only four years, this can take on a particular sense of urgency. We are working on many ways to address this and look forward to sharing those with you, but most importantly, today we need your help and creativity and thoughts. We also look forward, as Jin said, to follow up conversations from this one, to continue to visit student groups in dining halls, commons houses and other meeting spaces such as AFC, and to continue to move forward with concrete actions and timelines where we can work together both what our community is and what our community means to us. Together, I do believe with all the hard work we can build a new Middlebury. Thank you for bringing your voices to help begin that task today.”
Charles Rainey (’19): “Hello everyone, thank you guys so much for coming today. I really appreciate and it really warms my heart to see this many people in this building to come and talk about some of the hard issues that are affecting racial minorities, particularly black students, on our campus. My name is Charles Rainey. I serve as president of the BSU this year, and what we hope to create through this conversation is a way for black students and racial minorities and other marginalized groups to be able to voice concerns about things that have really been festering on this campus for a long time. A lot of students have been jaded and have been really, really scared, really frightened and upset and we hope that this space is allowed not only for solution oriented steps to prevent a lot of the things that have been happening on campus, but also to serve as a forum where people can express their truest and deepest feelings about a lot of those things as well. We want to center this conversation by bringing up Wengel Kifle, who has prepared some remarks to share with you guys today. Thank you.
Wengel Kifle (’20): “Thank you so much for coming. When we discuss the current state of our campus, it’s important to keep in mind what happened this past spring. Many students voiced deep and urgent pleas to Middlebury concerning not only Charles Murray, but also the deeply ingrained institutional and social aspects of Middlebury that do not make it a welcoming and inclusive space for students of color. After the start of this semester, there have been more events that have made students of color feel uncomfortable and unsafe. These events include the racial profiling of Addis; violent and explicit images and messages on chalkboards in Munroe directed toward Addis, racial profiling of a black female professor, harassment of black women on campus, faculty and students alike, and daily incidents, big or small, that students have to deal with in and out of the classroom in such white spaces. Personally, this semester has taken an extreme toll on me and my mental health. I found it impossible to have the motivation to survive my schedule and everything else Middlebury threw my way. And the lack of action by the greater community and the school in general to say ‘we see you and we will fight for you’ was all the more crippling. And I couldn’t help but ask myself: why am I expected to give my best to a school and a community that was clearly not giving me its best? I hope that after today, that people that share my narrative can go away with seeing that administration and this school is recognizing them and is finally going to address these issues. Thank you.
Ishrak Alam (’18): “Thank you, Wengel, for your comments. We are going to open it up now to everyone — we’re going to have two mics upstairs and one down here.”
Sohn: “If everyone can just be respectful of the two-minute rule. And also, faculty, administrators, students, everyone in this community, please feel free to weigh in and speak. If you could raise your hand if you’d like the mic, we can come to you.”
Madeleine Bazemore (’19): “Hi, my name is Madeleine Bazemore and I’m a junior at Middlebury. I was in a meeting yesterday with some students activists…members here of the SGA, President Patton and some other administrators. We talked a lot about moving forward on campus, and something really concerning happened in that meeting. Our Title IX coordinator said that she didn’t believe that white supremacy existed, was in her office or in the decision that was made regarding Addis in racial profiling. And I think the refusal of this campus and this administration to admit that white supremacy is present is very concerning. And I think that — I don’t even know how to address that, to have to take the time to explain what white supremacy is to a white woman felt like such a waste of time. Like, why are we having this meeting if I have to explain something so basic? Now, I don’t know how to move forward with that, with the refusal that white supremacy exists, and because of that refusal that Addis will not receive an apology for being racially profiled.”
Patton: “Yeah, thank you, Maddie. I did say that white supremacy existed, so I just want to make sure that there is a correct narrative. I would say, the really important thing that is true, structural racism exists and it exists at Middlebury. White supremacy, a way of being in the world, where the heritage is that white people have built something where they are unconscious of their own perspectives and unconscious of the way that they take up space, those are absolutely present at Middlebury. So that’s a really important thing that I want to make sure I say, and that I said yesterday. And the other thing, in terms of the question, if we mean conduct that is based on or motivated by someone’s personal characteristic that creates a hostile work environment, Middlebury is absolutely a place where that happens. Racism exists at Middlebury. Structural racism exists at Middlebury, and we have to work together to move forward to change that. And in our system, there is that conduct…or any other violation of our non-discrimination policies, we will act upon it and we have acted upon it. And we have a well-developed system in place to deal with those situations. The hard part of this conversation is that we can’t apologize based on a narrative that wasn’t supported by an investigation. I myself as a president have no part of that investigation. I want to make sure that’s clear to everybody. So I don’t know…. I didn’t know that this investigation was going on. The reason why that office is independent is because they could investigate me, and that’s really important for everyone to know. I want to say very clearly here, we are moving towards restorative practices as a culture, particularly in student life. And I and other members, individual members of SLG, are willing to sit with anyone — anyone — in a restorative practices circle, with trained facilitators, that acknowledges harm. I will sit with anyone [for] as long as it takes, in as many restorative practice circles as it takes, to change this community. And I would welcome any request to do that.”
Sohn: “This is a quick announcement. We’re also aware that some people might not be comfortable speaking up on a microphone, so we’re gonna pass around some index cards if you’d rather pose a question that way. And then one of the students here can help ask that question. Thanks.”
Liz Dunn (’18): “Going along with the point that President Patton just made, if there is white supremacy and structural racism at Middlebury, and if that is present in the Title IX Office, and if the investigation found that there was no evidence that Addis was racially profiled, does that not draw into question the investigative practices that Middlebury uses, and the standards that are currently in place? And is there any direct way to address that and to change that?
Patton: “Is our Title IX person here? I think there are a couple of things that probably should get clarified. The first is — and thank you, Liz, for your question — the fact that we need to always think about structural racism that we have, that doesn’t mean that we don’t stand by the integrity of the work that we’ve done, and that’s the hard piece of this. And I need, as a president, and I do, as a president, stand by the integrity of the work that was done… Again, standing in restorative practice circles is part of acknowledging all of the different impacts for all of us here. But it’s really important that even if there is a constant need for us to look at making the systems better, we still have to abide by the integrity of the process that exists here now.”
Sue Ritter, Title IX Coordinator: “So I’m in a difficult position here because I can’t discuss much of what I did in terms of the investigation that we did. I also completely reject the characterization that was just given of my office, and will continue to reject that. I have spent since 2008 here working really hard to make sure that the investigations that we do are free of bias, that they’re fair, that they are full and fair investigations done by trained experts. My job is to be the guardian of our anti-discrimination policy. If I thought that this operation that I’m overseeing was grounded in white supremacist principles, I wouldn’t be here. So people are going to have their opinions. I understand that. And I know I’m going to get blasted for everything that I’m about to say, but I am very confident in the people that conducted this investigation and worked extremely hard to make sure that all of the evidence was being considered in a careful and thorough and fair way. I don’t know what else to say about that. And to get the response that I’m getting, that I don’t have an understanding of what white supremacy is, in this context, is insulting. I didn’t speak in that meeting yesterday because I was too flabbergasted to speak. I understand that people are entitled to their opinions. I have offered and will continue to offer to talk to anyone about the language of our policy and the process that we follow and will always be open to suggestions about how we can make it better. I never want to exclude somebody from coming into my office and saying, ‘hey, this is language I think you ought to include,’ ‘this is language that I think you should take out.’ I welcome anyone to look at the anti-harassment policy at any time and tell me what they think and I’m probably over my time speaking. But it’s hard for me to stand here and speak without looking defensive, but I’m very confident in the work that we do, the work that we’ve been doing for ten years and the office that we’ve built. And that’s all I have to say.”
Rainey: “Hi, I’m Charles Rainey. I have a question. Sue, thank you so much for the contribution to the conversation. I am personally curious about how many people of color were involved in the investigation process and making this determination that came out of your office. And I think that that’s a very important question to get us to understand what influences and what overwhelming perspectives may be in the office that may impact what the perception of the reality of the situation is in this regard… and creating definitions of what racial profiling is when there are no people — racial minorities in the room. And that may not be the case, but I just want to know — specifically, the question is: how many people of color were involved with this determination?”
Ritter: “Charles, I just want to make sure I understand the question. Are you saying how many people of color were interviewed in connection with the investigation? Is that what you’re asking?”
Rainey: “So I think my question is not necessarily interviewed — in terms of the process, the members of the administration who made the decision on what the determination is, how many, if any, were people of color?”
Ritter: “I have two people that work for me; they’re both white. Is that what you’re asking me?”
Ritter: “Yes, so one was the investigator and one was the adjudicator. Correct.”
Rainey: “Right. And I don’t want to go over my time and I don’t want to take up too much space in this conversation — but I think my point in making this is that — you know, what effect does the overwhelming whiteness in terms of the people who were involved in the determination have on the conclusion? And do you think personally that that may have affected what is going on here in terms of what the determination is?”
Ritter: “If I personally thought that, we would be having a different conversation. So I don’t think it had an effect, no.”
Shatavia Knight (’20): “On the idea that there are three white people in the Title IX office, I want to talk about the idea of administration. And one thing that I learned in my high school is that you can’t be what you can’t see. And there are very, very few professors of color here on campus. And so as a black female here, it’s very hard for me to be in an environment where everyone says ‘you can go on, you can be successful, you can learn a lot from your Middlebury experience’ when I don’t have many examples of, you know, black professors here on campus. And I wanted to know what Middlebury is trying to do about that, because I know that if I was to go into academia, Middlebury wouldn’t be one of the schools that was on my list to get hired to. And I want to know what the administration is doing about that, to get more professors of color here so that students like myself don’t feel like they’re learning about race from white professors, and they’re not learning about problems in society that they probably haven’t actually experienced themselves.”
Miguel Fernández (Chief Diversity Officer): “Thank you, Shatavia. That’s an excellent question. You’re absolutely right. Our diversity efforts within the student body over the last 20 years have been quite successful. I was a student here in the early ’80s and I look out across this room and I see lots of diversity present here, and that was definitely not the case in the ’80s. Some people feel as though we have a long way to go, and I won’t disagree with that, but there has been significant change in the student body. That process has not been nearly as quick in the faculty — you’re absolutely right. We have been working on that hard lately — let me explain a couple of things that we’ve been doing. Over the last two years, we’ve been working with outside consultants who have been coming in, and it’s mandatory now for all the search committees that are searching to go through a series of four workshops to work on how to diversify their pool, how to learn about bias in the evaluation system, et cetera, how we are going to present ourselves in interviews, the kinds of questions we’re asking and the kinds of signaling we’re doing in our advertising, and working with all the departments in that way. We’re producing data for the search committees and working very hard. This year was the first cohort that came from having worked with them, and it was possibly the most diverse entering class of faculty in recent memory that we’ve seen, and we hope that this will continue. One of the frustrations is that faculty turns over a lot slower than students and so it’s a slower process, but we’re really working hard there. Some of you are aware of the C3 program — that’s the idea of bringing in post-docs. We’re part of a consortium of liberal arts colleges. The diversity officers are working to bring post docs in, folks from underrepresented groups and first generation, and also working on different topics to bring some diversity to give them exposure to what a liberal arts college is like. We visit the research universities to talk to the the graduate students about what a career is like, because oftentimes advisors in grad school advise their advisees not to go to a liberal arts college. They have this misconception that it’s only teaching, and they don’t maintain their research. So we go to break those myths and try to get folks — and we take colleagues from the faculty to go talk to them about what that experience is like, what it’s like to teach at a liberal arts college to try to get them into the pipeline. So those are a couple of the efforts we’re doing, a lot of efforts in that way to try to address that. But you’re absolutely right.”
Student, Unknown: “So I thought it was great that you talked about some of the training that certain administrators get, and I was wondering if that training — if the faculty, as well as the people in Title IX, also get that training?”
Fernández: “Yes, so that’s a good question, too. So the search process — there isn’t mandatory training right now, and that is something that we have been talking about that’s been made very present. And I think that is something the discussions are going toward, to make it for faculty, staff, students and the administration. There is currently for staff and faculty a — I would say a minor training… there’s a bigger thing around sexual harassment and other things that also talks about bias and discrimination. And everybody has to go through that. It’s not enough. And that’s exactly the kinds of discussions we’re in right now. What we’ve done is we’ve had a lot of opt-in types of things, and we also do sessions with the new faculty as they come in. But that is part of the ongoing conversation.”
Jeff Holland (’19): “I have a question directed generally at the administration. I understand that there’s a desire, even possibly a requirement, an obligation, to stand behind the integrity of the judicial process and also to maintain confidentiality about any processes that may be undergone. But also there has been a very blatant contradiction in the judicial process involving Addis that was pointed out in The Campus, which is the most widely read student-run media outlet we have. So I don’t think that there’s any way that it could be more widespread that there was a contradiction between the judicial officer who said there was no need to move the investigation further, and then later came the guilty verdict after that. And at the same time, that same article pointed out that there was an ample amount of evidence that Addis was not present at that event. So I’m just wondering — I know you want to uphold the integrity of your judicial process, but at what point does that break down, when there’s evidence in the most widely read student publication there is, pointing that there’s been a contradiction and pointing out that there’s evidence to the contrary of what the judicial officer said? Thanks.”
Hannah Ross (General Counsel): “I am a lawyer and I am responsible for Middlebury’s compliance with laws. We did a full, fair and thorough investigation over the summer in response to a student’s complaint that an employee acted wrongly. We looked very seriously at the question of whether our employee had engaged in a violation of our anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. Commencing an investigation about employee misconduct does not start a student conduct case. There is no student conduct case that can be brought against a person who’s not a student of Middlebury. The investigation came to a conclusion following our policy and our process. The facts, as we understand them, do not support the narrative. That’s where we are. It’s not a guilty verdict. There is no proceeding that remains pending, and as I said, there is no process that Middlebury engages in that relates to a student’s behavior when that person is no longer enrolled at Middlebury. That doesn’t happen.”
Sam (’18): “My name is Sam and I’m a senior here. Uh, what if you were wrong? I didn’t mean that in a rude way, but seriously, what if you were wrong? Because you’re talking about this as if, since Addis doesn’t go here anymore there’s nothing more you can do, it’s not your problem. But I don’t think that’s even the point of it because the public safety officer who racially profiled her is still here. That person is still here. People say that the same public safety officer racially profiled a professor on campus this fall, which is something that the administration has also not addressed in particular, except for some rhetoric. So my question is, where’s the process — is it in Title IX? Is it in the judicial office? Is it through legal counsel? — that would actually seek to respond to the allegations made against that officer who’s still employed.”
Ross: “I certainly didn’t mean my comments about the fact that there’s no student conduct process that gets started against a person who’s not enrolled as a student at Middlebury to suggest that because a student has graduated, we don’t care about our alumni. That’s not at all a reflection of what I said. What I was trying to say is, there is no action that Middlebury takes that can impose a guilty verdict on a person who’s not a student of Middlebury. And the investigation’s conclusion, as I assume a number of you have read in the statement that we posted on Monday in the newsroom, the investigation concluded based on a wide array of evidence, including 22 interviews of members of our community. That investigation concluded that our public safety officer told the truth and acted within our policies. That’s where we are.”
Zeke (’21): “I realize that as a white male coming from an upper-class background, I hope a different perspective in this conversation. But at the same time — I haven’t suffered any racial biases here and I don’t mean to detract from the Addis conversation going on — but in my short time here I’ve also noticed that there are some serious institutional barriers preventing diversity from growing on campus. I find that we’ve touted our Posse and First at Midd programs ant stuff like that, but those don’t actually account for a great deal of diversity percentage-wise in the student body. So I have a question for the administration as a whole. How can we make this a safer and less homogenous environment for future students? Could we, say, make Middlebury test-optional in the admissions office or perhaps look at tuition prices, as we clearly need a certain percentage of the student body to pay full price to account for the financial aid that we offer to other students?”
Patton: “Thanks, Zeke. That’s a great question. I should just say that I’m a white woman who comes from a privileged background. So, in terms of financial aid, financial aid is the number one priority for this administration, to create more financial aid for students of all backgrounds. And it really, really matters to me that we do that. The other part of the balance that we have to make all the time is around questions of — we are required by law to balance our budget, so we kind of have to do both things. We are now, in any given year, we are between 42 and 48 percent of students on financial aid. The average grant is about 45 or 46 thousand dollars. And so we are in the top 40 or 50 schools in terms of giving financial aid. That doesn’t mean that we can’t and should do better, which is why this past meeting of the trustees — the number one thing we did on a retreat with the trustees is to say, we want in the next 10 years to get to a much, much higher percentage of students on financial aid. Just so you all are aware, it would take us raising 360 million dollars to get to 55 percentage of financial aid endowed so we could just give that to folks. We haven’t set a goal yet. One of my first jobs is to push the trustees, my 36 bosses, to set a goal, and that’s we are now pushing to do. The last campaign, in terms of raising money, was 500 million dollars, and it took about 10 years to raise that, and a lot of it went to different kinds of things. So there needs to be a real concerted effort. That’s what it’s going to take to do that, and that is my number priority. So that is where we want to go and I hope we can get there. I hope that — one of the things that would be really great to hear from people about is thinking about this larger question of, how do we get the word out about where we are and who we are without folks feeling like all we’re doing is PR or touting a rhetoric or that kind of stuff. If there’s a more real way that we could communicate both where we’ve come but also how much farther we need to go, that would be greatly appreciated, because we need help on making sure that we communicate in a genuine way. I hope that answered your question. I would love your help in making this a reality over the next 10 years. Is Andi Lloyd here, by the way? Can you address the faculty issue that was raised?”
Andrea Lloyd (Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty): “About diversity?”
Patton: “No, about the faculty member.”
Lloyd: “So there was an allegation of racial profiling made by a faculty member. That case was also investigated. There was a determination that there was not racial profiling in that case. Um, what else?
Sohn: So, we just want to be conscious of people who don’t feel comfortable speaking up on the mic, so we have collected some notecards. If we can just read one, so that we can be fair in that way, that would be great. So, one of the questions, is: isn’t it important to address specific incidents of racism on campus quickly? What do you mean by inclusivity? Oh, so those are two questions. Just a blanket statement to avoid talking specifics of people’s experiences.”
Karla Nuez (’19): “My question was, in the email sent out to students regarding this event, it was stated that the community was broken. My question is why is there a constant need to describe the Middlebury community as a homogenous one, when that in turn avoids that there are people on this campus that struggle. By calling it homogenous, you’re completely disregarding those struggles. And I feel like that makes it seem like the administration doesn’t know the students that can pay the 60k-plus to attend this college. And when I was at the board of trustees meeting dinner, I told the chair about the racial profiling cases, and she looked at me, baffled. I think that is a clear indication that the administration and the board of trustees do not know their students, do not know what is happening on campus, and if their job is to protect us I feel like they’re not doing the greatest job.”
Weston Uram (’18): “I grew up at Kenyon College, where my mother is a faculty member, and one of the things I admire most about Kenyon is the president. Shawn Decatur, also known as D-Cat among the students, is a fun, approachable president who loves to talk with the students about any topic they bring up. One of his best qualities is his ability to find an autonomous voice. He was never afraid to say what he thought even if it differed from the public stance of the college. I hope to ask a few questions that Laurie, as the person and not as the institution, could answer. I want to know if you think Addis was at the Charles Murray talk. I’m not asking what the college has said or what they have not said. I want to know what you believe. I want to know what you believe because I want to know why you call Addis a friend. I want to know why you and your administration would take the time to mail a framed photo of you and Addis together to her personal residence, but don’t seem to take the time to acknowledge the pain and suffering you have caused her. I want to know why the administration has refused to mention Addis’s name in relation to the racial profiling or in response to the violent imagery found on the chalkboards in Munroe. I want to know why a photo of Addis walking at commencement, cane in hand, is repeatedly being used as promotional material for graduation. And I want to know when the administration will stop using black bodies as simply props and advertisements, and when they will recognize them as real people who have real feelings, who have real struggles, and who deserve real apologies.”
Toni Cross (’18): “I have a mic up here, but I would love to hear President Patton’s response to those questions.”
Patton: “So, first of all, the comment about Middlebury communities, I absolutely agree. And I think that we should be continuing to talk about different communities. And if we haven’t done so enough, I apologize for that. It’s really important that we think through those questions of acknowledging different communities and acknowledging specifics about pain that you all have felt. One of the things that I really, really want to hear about, and I know we want to continue to think about, is particularly in classroom environments where people of color are not feeling that they can speak up. Or that they feel if they do speak up, that they will be misunderstood. Those are an incredibly important place for us, and I hope that as faculty and staff we can work together to change those experiences. So I think that that’s absolutely right and that’s really important to do. I also want to say that what Dean Loyd was talking about, I actually sat with that professor and apologized for her experience. And it’s a very important thing that she was in pain, and that was acknowledged. So I think it’s an unfair characterization of me to say that acknowledgement doesn’t happen. It was important to reach out and engage. When I — I don’t know what the images are that are being used. I think it’s really important in a conversation that we’re all trying to do better, that we’re all doing a lot of work every day to raise inclusivity where it’s really hard. If we could find a way — I don’t know, I can’t supervise every single thing that goes out. If that image that goes out is there, I’m sure that that was painful for people to see. I am willing to sit with anyone in the community in a restorative practices circle, including Addis, to hear the pain that she has experienced. I will do that with anyone in this community. And I think it’s really important that we continue to think about those specific experiences. And that’s why restorative practices matters. Part of what is hard in presidential speech, and I wish I could answer you as a person — I can’t right now, I’m here as a president. And so, I would be happy to walk with you and talk with you, but my role at this moment is to uphold all of the hardworking people. And so — I do spend a lot of time with students and tell them what I think all the time in the luncheon halls, I’m in classrooms, I’m walking throughout the campus every day. And so, I’m more than happy to sit and talk to you. I’m sure the president of Kenyon also wouldn’t be able to speak about a case in this way, but I will say again, those images were very, very disturbing. And perhaps, yes, we should have used Addis’s name. I will sit with Addis, I will sit with any of you in restorative practices and talk about harm any time. That is me both as a person and as a president. I hope that answers your question, and let’s go for a walk.”
Jasmine Crane (’18): “It really hurt my heart to hear Wengel’s struggle, because her struggle is my struggle and as a black women in science, there’s only one black female teacher in all of BiHall. And I really look up to her. She’s a shinning example for me who contemplates going far and taking the extra mile, but when I’m with some of my colleagues I don’t feel like I’m very far, I don’t feel like I’m their colleague. I just feel like I am a black face here. And I feel like as a black, African-American woman here, I feel like community which is being thrown around so carelessly I feel it’s just a word it’s not a feeling. I feel like it’s just a structure like a church. We come in here and do we really do anything pertinent? I don’t seem to feel that. I feel that I see Latinos coming together, from different countries, I see South Asian, East Asian people coming together, and I feel like they have to do that on their own because there is no place even for them. And especially for black Americans here, I feel like that’s a diaspora, there is no place for us on this campus. I feel like African’s stick together, that’s great to hear, but I feel like as an American black woman I have no place here. No voice. And I don’t know how to change this, honestly, because it doesn’t start with the people of color. We have to start all together as one body, as Middlebury. We have created this iconic self-image of being woke, of being liberal, of knowing more than ourselves. But do we even really know ourselves? And so I ask not only students to look in their heart and think about oppression. But I want the administration to look at themselves and how they conduct themselves in their everyday lives. And how they treat not only the students but each other.
Cross: “I just had a couple of questions: is there a timeline for fixing this broken Middlebury community? I know when I visited here for preview days in 2014 at least six people told me: do not come to this school, it will crush you and I don’t know that I could in good conscious tell a black senior in high school to come here. It’s been four years. Is there a timeline for making it better. And also I would like to ask the administration who have spoken here today how they would grade themselves in presentation and the image that they are giving to us? With the defensiveness that we constantly see, with the willingness to label actions, or to call themselves victims or point out unfairness towards themselves but not necessarily extend that same courtesy to the students. So I’m asking how would you grade yourselves? What kind of message do you think you’re putting forward?
Treasure Brooks (’21): “I haven’t been here very long but earlier Charles mentioned the overwhelming whiteness at this school and I just want to bring attention to the overwhelming blackness that doesn’t come in the form of bodies. I live in Battel and I can’t walk to the bathroom or back to my room without hearing trap music. And there is an overwhelming amount of black culture here but it’s not represented in the population, in the student body. We’ve had CupcakKe come here last week, we’re having Elle Varner come, and before that we had Noname Gypsy, she came here as well. And I think that how can we allow for the student body to be consuming black culture at such an alarming rate when we don’t even value the black women that are walking around on this campus? I think that is remarkably grotesque, honestly, and if you really want to show support, if you want to show a greater cultural sensitivity towards black students then maybe we should make those events exclusive until we can show a general respect for all of the black diaspora, all of the black faculty, of the black students, and not just black culture. And additionally, to respond to something you said, President Patton, I would hope that you did not see your presidency and personhood as mutually exclusive because in the event that you do I think there needs to be a greater consideration for what leadership is.”
James Sanchez (Assistant Professor of Writing): “I want to say a couple of things. I haven’t heard anyone from faculty speak yet and I don’t want to absolve us from any of these issues because this is just as important for students and administrators as it is for faculty. A couple of things I want to mention is one I feel like faculty needs to do a better job of modeling anti-racist behavior for our students in the classroom. I say that because when I did my interview here I spoke with a Latina student and this was before Charles Murray and she was telling me with issues that she had with white professors in the classroom and how as a Latina student she often felt that racist, bigoted viewpoints were held on equal playing field as anti-racist viewpoints and I think that’s something that I challenge all faculty to really consider when having classroom discussions. I also want to say that faculty have a lot of agency in creating change on campus environments and that’s something we all need to remember as faculty members when conducting our classes, creating new courses, interactions with students, we have agency in creating change. So I really want to challenge my colleagues here to on campus to really consider that in the future.
Sha (’19): “This is more a clarifying question. I understand a lot of time when it comes to the judicial process there’s need for privacy but I also I feel there has been a lack of transparency with a lot of things that go on at this college. And I would like to be informed or educated in possible: is a student assumed guilty until proven otherwise? Or is a student assumed innocent until proven guilty? Why is it that when there is a sexual assault case reported, the victim is often the one asked to prove that there was actually assault, when in this case a student was accused and she was actually asked to find evidence to prove that she was not there?”
Ross: “Under all our policies individuals going through any kind of discipline are innocent until proven guilty. And the obligation is not on them to provide evidence. That’s why we employ people and pay their salaries to gather evidence but people are free to offer evidence if they chose to offer evidence. If you want to learn more about how our policies work or want to learn more about our processes Dean Baishaki Taylor has solicited volunteers to serve on a policy advisory group. I’ll be working with that policy advisory group to get feedback from students on policies that are of importance to you. We welcome other folks joining that committee
Júlia Athayde: (’19): “I want to raise attention to something that I found very troubling last semester and that was the fact that Bill Burger, who is the vice president of communications here, was personally involved in the Charles Murray incident and also very involved in writing all the articles and the communication that is written to alumni, articles in the New York Times, in the aftermath of the incident. First something I wanted to say, I work for the Office of Investment so after Charles Murray I actually had to talk to alumni and explain to them what was happening on campus so I’m very sympathetic to the fact that it was a very hard conversation and I know how difficult it was for administrators to deal with all of that. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the fact that [Burger] was personally involved and I’m not sure if he’s here or not, this is not a personal attack, I just wanted to raise awareness for that. He was there, and he was also writing the communication for the college. And this latest article in the newsroom talking about racial profiling, I was wondering if that was the first time that we addressed that to the outer community and our alumni? And who wrote that article, because there was actually no author? And the last paragraph of that article actually talks about his involvement and that he was found not guilty. And I was wondering if that process involved the same kind of investigation that Addis had to go through? Why was he found not guilty, and why was that written in an article in the newsroom this week?”
Ross: “I was one of the folks who helped write that statement and the final paragraph addresses the fact that there were two separate investigations about what went on March 2. One was the Middlebury Police Department Investigation. The Middlebury Police are of course responsible for investigating criminal behavior, driving a car dangerously would be criminal behavior. The police did not find any evidence that caused them to have concern about that. They did not investigate that, they did not bring charges. The independent investigators concluded based on unanimous testimony from all the witnesses to the event that Mr. Burger drove carefully. Those are the facts in that case found by two different investigations.”
Esteban Arenas-Pino (’18): “I would like the administration to expand on their stance on activism on campus. It feels like after last spring activism has become a dirty word and is often vilified. Is the administration willing and ready to accept activism as a part of the campus culture, and is the administration willing to foster this as a value? After many years witnessing activism especially by women of color on this campus I would like to see this fermented as a stronger value? We will leave Middlebury to be organizers and activists in our communities. Shouldn’t Middlebury foster these skills?”
Sedge Lucas (’19): “I have a quick question for President Patton. I saw online that you and Professor Stanger are going to be having a talk this coming February titled “Campus Speech: when protest turned violent” at the Cronkite School of Journalism in Arizona. Can you explain what the goal of this talk is? What do you think other schools or academia as a whole can learn about how Middlebury handled the situation last spring?
Patton: “Thanks for the question. Lots of different thoughts there. There are so many ways in which we could have done better. We have been slow to respond to graffiti incidents. I would just ask people to understand that we are living in the world where immediate response and the fact that we have to get the facts right is we want to make sure we get the facts right before we actually make a statement and so sometimes if we can’t do it in 12 hours it’s because we’re wanting to make sure we have all the facts right. That being said it’s really important that that slowness of response is something that we can do better on. And we want to do better on. Secondly, the things that I have learned as a leader and a person here at Middlebury, number one, I was hoping that all the work that we’ve done in the last two years about inclusivity and scholarships raised and C3 developed and AIM, and the alliance on disability, the bias response team, the more funds raised for financial aid, the restorative practices, all of these are things that have happened since 2015, since I got here. My mistake was in thinking that all those things and inviting everyone to do more of those things and invite us into those conversations would heal the hurt and it didn’t. I did not understand the degree of hurt in this community and again I want to say how deeply sorry I am for that. So in response to that, part of what I push on in everywhere that I go is that inclusivity has to be part of any conversation around freedom of expression but we have to do both in the 21st century. And that we do not become more free unless we focus on inclusivity and all the ways that we’ve been talking about. And we do not become more inclusive if we can’t have that freedom of expression as the basis of who we are. And so that is a very powerful message that we want to send in as many different places as possible. So I hope that gives you as sense of both what I have learned personally as well as the kind of push I want to make on creating both inclusivity and freedom of expression as a balance, as well as the only way we can become more free in the 21st century is to become more inclusive. I also want to say that in our conversation yesterday, Liz [Dunn] said something really powerful. And I want to make sure that we say that and say something about that and talk more about it. And that is “What do you need and how can we help?” was a question that one of her common’s deans asked her and how powerful that was. And I think that even as we have to uphold policies and procedures, I think that having student advisory groups as well as the faculty motion that was really fantastic that I publicly endorsed and was thrilled to publicly endorse last week, where we are going to be doing an external review of our diversity practices. Again the big learning that I had last semester is clearly all the stuff that we’ve done since 2015 is not enough, and it’s not effective enough, and that’s really powerful so we are developing an advisory group on diversity for faculty and for building faculty I have been really powerfully advocating and only faculty can build a black studies program but we are really excited because faculty are moving to create that and I want to say here how important it is that we create that black studies program. So, lot’s more to say, and I know I need to hand over the mic.
Hannah Pustejovksy (’18): “I wanted to bring it back a little bit to the point about financial aid. So I am a white student, I’m also on almost full financial aid, and I am pretty lucky being a student who is white having had a lot family who have gone to college and have dealt with this system. But if having difficulty with the financial aid system here I cannot even imagine what other students, of color, are having on this campus because I have been here for four years and I have yet to understand what happens in the financial aid office. I was incredibly hurt by an email that came out last week or the week before encourage students to consider if they actually could take on the loans that they were being given because I have no choice. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do if I can’t personally take those loans on, am I just supposed to drop out? I also think that financial aid is one of the most important things to making sure that students here also feel welcome because we do have only 48 percent of students here on campus who have financial aid and if students of color are on campus and we are not making it easy for them to be here including the huge financial responsibility we are putting on them, how are we even supposed to start and feel like equals? Every day I am aware that I have so much less money than people here. And how is the financial aid office going to make that easier?”
Nia Robinson (’19): “I don’t really have a question, more so a comment. Looking around this room most of the people in here are people I expected to be here. There are some surprises, like good surprises but nonetheless a surprise. And I think that it’s really important when we’re talking about community we claim who we are talking about. Because for example, the people who have called me the n-word are not found in this room. And I understand that people have commitments, I understand that people have other things going on, but everyone in this room ahs something else going on and so I think we need to make at who is making sacrifices for global community. A lot of people in this room are part of my community and I respect and love them a lot. But I think there are people who are not found in this room who have no stake in building a community and that’s okay whereas if I take a step back then suddenly it’s a problem. So that’s not really question, just more so a call for everyone in here to talk to your friends, talk to your commons, talk to your professors, because if we are building a community we need to make sure we’re reaching everyone and not just the people who self select to be here.”
Kifle: “To touch upon the faculty member who spoke about faculty responsibility and accountability as well as Nia’s comment about community, and also Treasury’s comment. So we do consume a lot of black culture here and it’s amazing how much we consume it and then don’t acknowledge black people. I’m also in the classroom I’m so sick for having to stand up for something problematic that arises. If my professor is here, I’m sorry, I meant to have a private conversation with you, but this going to happen. So here we are talking about [solar] power in Africa and then the professor says ‘There’s 40 countries in Africa” and I said, ‘no.’ And then my art history professor was talking about Western Art and then mentioned Egyptian art and I questioned why that is because it’s African art. The thing that surprised me is not the fact that it happened but in both of those classes where there’s a huge amount of people in there I was the only one that had a problem with this and I was the only one that was expected to speak out, and of course I did because nobody else was doing it. But I’m so tired of taking on that mental labor. If you call yourself an ally, if you say you care about us, this movement, please speak up because I am tired. I am so tired and if you say you support this community and if you say you support these conversations and whatever Midd needs to progress on then take your part. And it’s not just on the administration and it’s not just on the faculty, it’s on students as well. Show us that you care.”
Sandra Luo (’18): “I really want to appreciate all of you for offering to have conversations with us but we’re really tired of just talking. When is the administration going to show that they care beyond just sitting in a circle and talking and continuing to exploit the vulnerability and emotions of students? When are we going to see some sort of tangible, concrete action that comes from these conversations. And if you want to talk about helping us maybe address the list of demands here that we’ve been passing out. Apologize to Addis and provide reparations for all the trauma the school put her through, actually investigate Bill Burger and take anonymous sources seriously because that’s the way of providing safety for people who are willing to come forward and share their experiences, fix the judicial system instead of just telling us that it’s flawed but that’s just how it’s always going to be. And I want to recommend that a lot of people have been talking for years and a lot of work has been put towards inclusivity and diversity for years, long before March 2. It would be great if they could do something more than just conversations. It’s one thing to acknowledge pain and flaws it’s another to actually address the flaws so that current and future students won’t continue to experience pain. I know a lot of people around me really want to listen to answers from the administration so I’m just going to hold on to this mic until we get an answer from the administration. I really want to hear about a concrete action plan that is something beyond a conversation.”
Fernández: “Where to start. So in regards to the demands that you referenced, I think you heard in regards to the judicial piece I think Hannah made the invitation to serve on a policy committee there. That’s a very direct way of impacting judicial change. The second one is about the mandatory training for everyone and I hope I addressed that earlier but that’s in the process. It’s not going to happen tomorrow but there are things in process and more to come, can’t be more specific about that because that part to come is still being worked on and I don’t have the details. I did share details for things that are ongoing. More things that are happening that are on the ground that we are doing: I did mention that we’re working hard at diversifying the faculty, I think we had a good example and make some comments and probably just fill his spring courses. The bias incident thing was a new effort by the community bias response team, I will grant you it is imperfect, and if you will continue to work on it it’s been an effort to try to address a lot of the issues we’ve been talking about. It is imperfect, it is new, we’re going through that rocky start that many things do. I expect communications to improve and we will continue to work on that. Concrete things that are going on other things, more things we’ve been working on: we’ve been trying to work a lot around the support o DACA and undocumented students, putting a lot of effort on resources there, supporting them in many different ways. The first generation programs, those kinds of things. Opportunities to engage, one of the things a lot of folks have been talking about today is the administration, how it acts and why it doesn’t change and one of the things we heard yesterday and I think this is valid is more student input in decision making, and that’s been heard. And the SGA has had a proposal to create student advisory boards that will meet with the different VPs, so there you’ve got advisory boards that will meet with different folks to learn about the process how decisions get made how does the process work and to have a direct influence on that so for instance with finance, with a lot of the different areas. There’s much to talk about, but there’s a lot more to do, too.”
Rainey: “I have a really quick question. There’s been a lot of talk about this in the black community and many other communities especially in the after math of Charles Murray. We all know how many of us feel the complete community embarrassment of how interrogating and punishing students for protesting on campus. And as we more forward in terms of restorative practices from the administration, going back to what Toni and others have said providing a timeline with that but also after we put in these new restorative practices and these new restorative justice measures, are they going to be retroactively implemented and have retroactive application regarding people who have gone through unfair processes in the past and students who have gone through extremely unsettling and unfair disciplinary procedures here at Middlebury, for case by case basis? If anyone in the administration could speak to that?”
Katie Smith Abbott (Vice President of Student Affairs): “I have been charged with leading our exploration of how to bring restorative practice to Middlebury. We are partnering with a firm called the Consortium for Equity and Inclusion and the two anchors for that are a woman named Stacy Miller who is the associate provost of inclusivity at Valparaiso and Dennis DePaul who is from the Dean of Students Office at UVM which has had real success for a very long period of time with restorative practices, grounded in Residential Life at UVM. So they came to explain the basic concepts of what is referred to as RP to the SLG in June, the Senior Leadership Group which is the Presidents and all the Vice Presidents. They came back for a subsequent training because we didn’t fit everything in, they came back in September, they have met for an introductory session with a broad range of faculty and staff who work in student life. And they’re coming back for a three-day training December 18, 19, and 20 and if there are folks in this room who want to participate in that training I’d be happy to talk to you. The only requirements are that you’re able to fully commit for the three full days. It’s 8:30-5, it’s three full days, and you’re willing to be part of the ongoing implementation conversations. It is not a fast process to implement but we’re fully committed to it. The other thing I would just note is that restorative justice and restorative practices are kind of getting used interchangeably, and I do want to be honest about the fact that I’m learning, this is not something I knew about before I started on this journey working with Stacy and Dennis, being part of a group that’s being doing some deep diving into this work. But what I will offer is that they have explained to us very clearly that restorative justice is a small subsection of restorative practices, and the reason we’re drawn to restorative practices is because they can be used proactively not just reactively so that a moment like this one wouldn’t be appropriate for a restorative circle, like President Patton was referencing earlier, but something called a conference that’s very intentionally facilitated. Although I’ve got to say that I think the student leaders of this session are doing a pretty amazing job. So that’s the timeline, we’re moving into this training in December with an eye towards hopefully grounding it in student life and residential life by next fall.”
Vee Duong (’19): “I had a question: so something kind of disturbing that I have been noticing this year being involved in more cultural orgs is that a lot of students say “Oh wow I didn’t know that existed, when do y’all have meetings?” And then we’re like oh well we had a booth at activities and we have a mailing list that’s been open, we operate out of the AFC which is always open, and to have these open discussions that we have been having about race, to have people who do not identify as that come into that space, that is acceptable and that’s fine and we encourage you to do that but to have people come in and not be aware of the space they’re taking up is very frustrating. So this is a point for faculty and staff and/or administrators, in that what are you all doing to provide real educational resources for students, incoming students especially, so that the burden doesn’t fall on cultural orgs where we are already working really hard to provide a space to take care of our members mentally and emotionally to support each other so we don’t have to take on the additional burden of educating people because all the educational resources I have seen have been put together laboriously through hours of our personal time.
Baishakhi Taylor (Dean of Students): “Vee I hear your question and I agree that we also need to do more. We have added sessions during the MiddView. President Patton has now made JusTalks mandatory for the entire class. We have also added more training in our reslife program and among colleagues who are in the reslife group and that’s obviously not adequate so on top of having all these sessions that introduce with the incoming class this year we’ll continue to build on that and I also acknowledge that having those sessions only during MiddView and JusTalks is not sufficient so we need to build on it throughout the year so the responsibility is not on the Anderson Freeman Center and thank you for doing the work that you’re doing and raising the question.”
Anonymous question (read by Rainey): “It seems like both Alison Stanger and Laurie Patton have been taking a lot of public, national opportunities to speak about the events of the spring, including at a congressional hearing on C-SPAN, the Free Speech Conference Laurie spoke at. For the purpose of transparency, are President Patton or Alison Stanger being financially compensated for these talks? Are they profiting off the terrible situation the administration has put us in?”
Patton: “I was not paid to go to the University of Chicago and I have no interest in profiting any situation that happened at Middlebury. I am very clear that any conversation that’s part of the national discourse where Middlebury is mentioned we need to create balance so at the Chicago conference part of what we pushed on with many, many people there is where is our inclusivity? Where are our inclusivity efforts? We’ve always got to balance those two things no matter what happens. I had no intentions of profiting in any way my intent is to work on moving a national conversation where people who are constantly talking about free speech also talk about inclusivity. So both of those things are balanced and fair and appropriate, so that’s the very direct answer. I had a couple more responses to questions I didn’t get a chance to answer but if there’s time later [I’ll answer].”
Victor Filpo (admissions counselor, class of ’16): “I hope I really speaking for myself here rather than any hat of student, alumn, or staff member here on campus. Something that is frustrating, honestly, about this conversation is that we’ve really been centering around the case that happened with Addis or the case that happened with the professor. And that’s completely legitimate because they are people who’ve been struggling a lot and they’ve been carrying a lot of the heaviness of what’s going on. But I would like to say that the reality is that a lot of people of color deal with this. It is not surprising. We are tokenizing them right now by only brining up those instances. When I was freshman, when I was walking with my Posse member in Battell, a public safety office stopped us and told us, ‘I haven’t seen you on campus can you show us your IDs?’ When we were first years here at Middlebury. He still works here. I have also gotten accused by other Public Safety officers for other things. It turns out completely fine because my dean loves me, obviously. And all the deans here do an amazing job at really caring for their students and really trying to look out emotionally for everyone. But this continues happening on the daily. Just this last summer I was crossing with two other students, and I’m glad this stuff happens to me when I’m with other people because I would not be able to believe that it happens to me on this level, weekly or biweekly, it’s insane. Crossing the street, people start accelerating and then they stop and they yell the n-word at you. You are walking to your house or walking to your dorm and someone stops in a car and just yells at you, ‘that looks stolen,’ yells a rap lyric at you, choses another slur. It really does baffle me that this happens so often and I was just here as a senior two years ago and we had the same conversation about a sombrero right here. And every year we will continue to have this conversation right here. And yet I still have to walk home and have this experience all over again. And the only time I will be taken seriously isn’t even when I’m with another person of color but rather when I have the kind, woke, white lady who is willing to represent me and say whoa he’s going through some pain let’s do something about it. I don’t want someone to have a voice for me. I want to be able to talk for myself to be able to talk for myself, to be believed, for something to happen when I ask for it. When a person of color is going through a lot they don’t have means to be able to express it. Do we really understand the amount of people of color who haven’t said anything about their experiences. And when you sit with someone and they say, ‘that baffles me,’ does it really? Does it really? It shouldn’t because it honestly happens on such a daily level. And you yourself you’re all very smart people. We know that this happens. We ignore it. We choose to ignore it because it makes us feel comfortable. And I wonder when we’re going to stop with this comfort because we just sit here every single year and have this conversation all over again in this comfort and I hope that in future instances when the next one comes up it’s not Shatavia, it’s not Victor, it’s not the professor. It’s a collective group of people who are going through a lot.”
Student, unknown: “You said something about conversation and us being free and all that. There’s a lot of dark forces in general on this campus and beyond this campus and a lot of what was just talked about were references to instances where students are facing racism from other white students on this campus that I’m sure a lot of people don’t know about. If we look we have Donald Trump as our president and there’s just crazy things going on while we’re sitting here having restorative conversations, there’s evil things going on and this stuff that we’re talking about is just a small sample of something that’s going on. It comes to a point where people have to decide whether they’re going to actually be on the side of what’s right or what’s wrong and everyone has to make their own choice. I hope that especially the white people here will make that choice and not hide behind good sounding rhetoric or kind words, because those things are good and genuine kindness is good but a lot of people here feel like unless the school addresses the issues that are going on at the institutional level how are we going to be able to talk about what’s going on in the world?”
Patton: “I wanted to mention that we’re working with public safety, public safety has gone through a mandatory de-escalation training as well as diversity training this fall and will continue to do so. Concrete action. Concrete action: we created a seizing the opportunity fund for any student at Middlebury who wants to and needs to do something different, whether they need their parents to come here, or whether they need to go to MiddCore, whether they need more money for something they need more access to at Middlebury. We have raised that money so that every student has access to all educational opportunities. We started that last year, it’s available, talk to Katy Smith Abbott, another concrete action. Third, one of the things we’re really excited about is, I really appreciate what you said about facing racism and acknowledging and the everyday racism that happens on this campus that I acknowledged in the beginning. I think that if we could create an archive to create news stories of what is happening to people that would make it even more powerful for us so we need to get those kinds of stories on the books. We need to do a lot more mandatory training, that concrete action is happening in the next year, and in the back there are about 15 more concrete actions, none of them are enough. We need your advice on how to make it more effective and again I want to acknowledge the hurt that people are feeling and we are going to create a lot of student advisory committees to be better and more effective. And I am so proud of this community for being here tonight. Thank you very much.”
Sohn: “We also know that tonight not all of your questions have been answered and we want to thank everyone for raising those question.”
Anonymous notecard (read by Sohn): “Hoping on Wengel and Mia’s point on allyship, please understand that these may be very sensitive times for POCs, QTPOCs on campus and on that note if you find yourself going to the AFC I hope you take the responsibility to learn about what it means to the POC/QTPOC community. You could speak to the directors and student staff in the space, and it’s very central to understand what it means to take up space in times as sensitive as this one. On that note please come feel free to come learn more about the positive impact the AFC is making on this institution.”