Letter to the editor

By GREG DENNIS

Editor,

The excellent article by Hannah Bensen on Middlebury College activism detailed how college activists have made an enormous impact on progressive issues such as fossil fuel divestment and sexual assault. I heartily applaud these efforts for both their societal and educational value. It’s important to know how much student involvement in the issues of the day is part of the Middlebury experience.

Recognizing that no one article can cover the entire life of the college, I would add that there is a longer history of Middlebury activism. For example, I arrived as a student on campus in the fall of 1970 after the recent Kent State shootings and found a small but very dedicated group of students working to help end the Vietnam War. Other students built organizations to focus on concerns such as the environment, sex education, and access to contraceptives. For all of us involved, the impact of those experiences remains with us today.

In the ensuing decades, various student groups have strived to end South African apartheid, protect immigrant rights and bring greater racial and gender diversity/equality to campus, among a host of other causes.

Some of this work is nicely summarized in “A People’s History of Middlebury College,” created several years ago by a group of Middlebury activists. It can be accessed at go/peopleshistory.

— Greg Dennis
Cornwall, VT
Middlebury Class of 1974

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