From the President’s Desk

By LAURIE PATTON

In recent weeks there has been much discussion on our campus about Middlebury policies and processes prohibiting acts of discrimination and harassment, including those based on race. I write today to state clearly my position and the position of my administration.

I am steadfastly committed to rooting out discrimination, bias and harassment. Our Title IX/Compliance Office is charged to do that work and is given independence to ensure it can reach its conclusions based on the facts alone, without political pressure or outside influence. We are fortunate to have dedicated and experienced staff in our Title IX/Compliance Office. As a person and as the president, I have complete confidence in their work, their thoroughness and their integrity. I and my administration fully support the conclusions they arrive at through their investigations.

As was described at Thursday’s forum co-sponsored by the SGA and the BSU, my administration is always open to hearing suggestions about how to improve policies and procedures. If you wish to join the student policy advisory group working with dean of students Baishakhi Taylor and general counsel Hannah Ross, please be in touch with one of them the end of Friday, Dec. 1 ([email protected] and/or [email protected]). Sue Ritter, Middlebury’s Title IX coordinator, also shared on Thursday evening that her job is to always be available to meet with members of our community about our policies and processes. If you’re interested in talking with her, please email her at [email protected] by the end of the day, Friday, Dec. 15, to allow meetings to be scheduled in January. As always, all are also welcome to offer suggestions to our various representative bodies, such as Staff Council, Faculty Council, the Student Government Association and others.

I hope that through these efforts we not only will be able to respond to reports of bias, discrimination and harassment effectively, but proactively build a culture in which those acts are increasingly rare.