We, a group of more than 40 Middlebury faculty, wish to publicly express our outrage and disgust at the images of racist and violent graffiti discovered in a classroom last week, as reported in The Campus on November 1.
Moreover, as we stated in our September editorial, we stand with Addis Fouche-Channer ‘17 and believe she was smeared by the college’s judicial process, while also being denied both presumption of innocence and due process. We call upon senior administrators to issue a public apology to her, and to withdraw the presumption of guilt implied in the official report. We wish to make it explicitly clear that a process that defames and threatens a Middlebury graduate is an affront to the entire institution.
In light of this event and others, it is clear that despite strong words of support and admirably proactive stances from the Middlebury administration around national issues like DACA and the equal rights of transgender persons, more must be done to repair trust and demonstrate a commitment to racial justice. While we understand that the process of diversity and inclusion must look to the future, the administration needs to right these recent wrongs, in part as a way to acknowledge how previous policies and practices were unfair to people of color. Without recognizing and redressing the wrongs of the past, efforts to move forward will continue to be undercut by the appearance of hypocrisy and insincerity.
We are gratified that more than 90% of our faculty colleagues, including President Patton, supported our Sense of the Faculty Motion on Friday Nov. 3rd to promote steps to move forward on diversity practices. It is in the spirit of this shared commitment towards future progress on diversity practices in our community that we need to answer the lingering question as to why a student of color was treated unjustly by the college, without being given a proper apology or a clear explanation. This would indeed help us as we move forward towards our shared goal of making Middlebury a truly inclusive community.
Members of Middlebury Faculty for an Inclusive Community are listed on their website, which can be found at go.middlebury.edu/inclusivecommunity.