The college announced the winner of the new traditions contest this week. The winning entry, submitted by sophomores Emily Barnard, Ben Snow, Kate Zecca and Sophia Peluso, will be a “Panther Day” parade from downtown Middlebury to the Kirk Alumni Center. The pep band and the panther mascot will lead the parade, which will culminate in food, music and sports games. The inaugural Panther Day will be Saturday, Oct. 20, during Homecoming weekend. “The contest selection committee ultimately agreed on Panther Day because it celebrates our history and diversity, while allowing student groups to express their creativity through the floats, banners or dress in the parade,” said President Laurie L. Patton. “We also hope Panther Day will revitalize and enrich homecoming as a campus-wide fall event,” Patton said. Nocturne, the nighttime arts festival held last Saturday, was entered in the traditions competition but did not win. The event allowed students to display and perform many types of art not necessarily in relation to students’ academics. The event was both well attended and well-received. Patton said that many of the non-winning proposals could be incorporated into Panther Day. Hannah Morrissey ’18 and art history professor Glenn Andres served as the co-chairs of the committee of students and faculty that selected the winning tradition. The Panther Day parade recalls similar events in the college’s history. The academic processions for convocation and commencement descend from 19th-century processions from campus to the Congregational Church in town, where college ceremonies were held before the construction of Mead Chapel in 1915. In the early 1900s, Middlebury students joined children in town for a Maypole dance on May Day. That era, known for the Beaux Arts movement, became the basis for a winter masquerade ball hosted by architecture students in 2006. Guests at the Beaux Arts ball donned masks and tuxedos to celebrate the end of exams. The grand event ultimately did not become a tradition.
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Readers, I write to you today with urgency. Middlebury is in the midst of a transit crisis. Middrides is nonfunctional. Public Safety is on the prowl to give out parking tickets. It takes a full 20 minutes to walk from the Bihall to the gym — and that’s if you’re speedwalking. A subway system could solve these problems. Call it the M-etro. Imagine the convenience of being able to travel from Bihall to the gym in a matter of moments. The basics of it work like this. There will be four main lines. The ADK line, stopping at Bihall, Ross, ADK circle, Gifford, Proctor and Stewart, with a limited service stop at the cemetery. This line would primarily be used by science students, as well as people who eat in Proctor. Then you have the Atwater Express, shuttling guests from the Coffrin and the Atwaters to Battell, Warner, Davis, and eventually to the new museum which should be built. (For preliminary designs, see the architecture majors’ thesis work from January.) This line will probably get the most traffic, especially the Davis stop. The Ethan Allen line is a big one for athletes, as it connects the other lines to a straight shot up the CFA, gym, football stadium, and golf course. Down the other way it also makes stops at admissions and Laurie Patton’s house before terminating at Mr. Ups. One of the most useful lines will be the the College Street trolley. It runs the entire length of that road from Ridgeline to Twilight, making stops at Forest and Sunderland. Bar nighters will be pleased to see the trolley providing full service to Two Bros; crunchies will be excited to see a limited service stop at the organic farm. The Murray line ties up loose ends by connecting the ADK and Ethan Allen together, adding stops at Munroe, McCullough, Axinn and the biomass plant. There’s also a shuttle line between Proctor and Davis for convenience. In total, it’s about 2.5 miles of track, so at a going rate of $250 million per km, we should be around . . . $1 billion dollars. Perfect — our endowment is just over that amount, giving us a bit of change left over. Obviously, the Vermont Underground is never going to happen. A boy can dream, can’t he? But without any serious commitment to thinking about built space, our vast campus will still be hostile to pedestrians, to the spontaneous encounters that make for a vibrant campus life. A good guiding document is Middlebury’s master plan, drafted by a major architectural firm, Michael Dennis & Associates, and meant to last for 50 years. It’s a serious document, though you might not realize it from hearing the jokes about it in Old Chapel. Broadly speaking, the plan proposes beautifying the campus by thinking about how buildings relate to each other. It also rails against sprawl, and suggests that most new buildings be placed in the core rather than the periphery. It’s an urbanist’s dream. Of course, Middlebury’s most recent construction projects disregarded this advice — the Ridgeline development and the new temporary building. These projects expanded the campus footprint rather than articulating vast and out-of-scale open spaces like Battell Beach. Good design should be a part of everything this school does. It’s up to all of us to hold the powers that be to account. To the architects and artists at Middlebury, say no to poor design. Say no when a building feels hostile or inaccessible. Say no to a logo that looks like Clip Art. Whenever possible, propose better designs and better spaces. And to the trustees, when it comes to major construction projects, say yes to the master plan. And with that, I’m signing off. Thanks for reading. I hope to see the Ethan Allen subway line at a reunion in 50 years — or at least a few of the proposals in the master plan actually realized. Until then, let’s hope it’s onward and upward for the college on the hill. Ethan Brady is the editor in chief.
The debate about data privacy unfolding in national newspapers and the halls of Congress has finally reached the college on the hill. This time, privacy advocates have something to rejoice in. In a memo last week, the Davis Family Library announced it would not keep records on borrowing history for patrons. It was not a policy change, per se — in fact, the library has never stored this data. But while the library was upgrading its catalog software this semester, staff had the choice to change its data policy. Storing the data could allow the library to better manage its collections, or to suggest to patrons other materials based on their reading habits, wrote Michael Roy, dean of the library and the author of the memo. Despite these potential benefits, the library staff opted for privacy. “The library has never stored any information about material individual patrons have checked out once the materials are returned to us,” wrote Roy. “We believe that not storing that information at all is the best way to protect patron privacy.” The library, built in 2004, houses about 600,000 volumes, as well as historical Vermont documents, the college archives and U.S. government publications. It also maintains digital collections and is a member of Interlibrary Loan. Roy’s memo comes weeks after The New York Times reported that the personal data of 87 million people had been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm aiming to build a voter profile of the American electorate. Days later, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, faced scrutiny from lawmakers in Congress about his company’s mishandling of data. Increasingly, technology has upended norms of privacy, which is often outweighed by the sheer ease of digital surveillance. At Middlebury, the IT department faces the same moral dilemma when it configures new systems, Roy said. “The technology is voracious,” Roy said. “It wants to record every keystroke. You really have to work against that impulse if you want to be thoughtful about what information you keep.” In his memo, Roy included a diagram of the panopticon, a prison scheme developed in 1791 by Jeremy Bentham in which every prisoner is visible to a central watchman at all times. In the panopticon, inmates have no privacy — and they cannot tell when they are being watched. The panopticon diagram has an uncanny resemblance to the library’s architectural plan, which is depicted in the 75-foot-wide mural hanging in the atrium, “L’Art d’Ecrire.” But the library functions as exactly the opposite of Bentham’s panopticon, Roy said. “The culture, the tradition of librarianship is all about patron privacy and freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry,” he said. “It’s the place where you can go to bump up against new ideas and difficult ideas, and it’s a place where you can do that in private. There’s nobody watching you, there’s nobody checking on what you’re reading.” If Bentham were alive today, he would probably say the building most like a true panopticon is Old Chapel, the center of administrative power whose cupola offers a 360-degree view of campus that is live-streamed online 24/7. So why did Roy choose this 18th-century image? “I chose it because it’s a classic image of surveillance and surveillance by the state,” Roy said. And since Middlebury is an institution making choices about data privacy, he said, “We stand in for the state.” According to the college handbook, Middlebury gathers institutional datasets on its people and programs. These datasets include financial, academic and health data on students; employment data on faculty; and philanthropic data on alumni and donors. Each dataset used by someone at Middlebury — by staff, by agents of Middlebury, or even by third parties who were granted access by the college — is overseen by a “data steward,” usually a department head. These stewards determine how data are stored and accessed, and classify them as either public, internal or restricted. For restricted data, stewards are required to conduct regular security audits. Personal information like address, date of birth, Social Security Number, address, grades and transcripts are classed as restricted data. Anyone who connects to the Middlebury wireless network is subject to routine surveillance. IT staff monitor server logs for malicious activity. In most circumstances, the information is confidential and not used to monitor individual activity. But data acquired from network monitoring can be turned over to college officials and law enforcement in the event of an investigation. Access to that electronic information has to be authorized beforehand by a senior administrator. Only one of six people in President Patton’s cabinet can make this data request. Roy said that some larger universities use institutional data to track student behavior. “They will collect information about your movement around campus, through your ID card, your activity at the gym, your activity at the dining hall, coming into the library, using the course management system, using the course reserves. And if you have a large enough population, you can actually start to see trends.” “There’s obviously this creepy Orwellian dimension to it,” Roy said. “We don’t, to my knowledge, have any interest in building such a system here.” In Roy’s view, Middlebury has sufficient safeguards against that kind of data analysis. “There’s a sense that there are stewards of particular records and that if you want access to those records you have to explain why you want access, what you’re going to do with it, how you’re going to protect it,” Roy said. “I definitely get a sense that there’s, broadly speaking, good governance about the use of data, therefore protecting against the misuse of it.” In his memo, Roy said the policy aligned with Middlebury’s emphasis on “critical digital fluency,” which is aimed at understanding the role of technology in shaping daily life. As part of that, Roy said people on campus need to create norms about privacy and data, and think critically about what technologies they choose and how to configure them. “We need to be clear with our community about what data we are collecting, how we are protecting it, who has access to it and how it is being used,” Roy said.
I am writing to inform the readers of an important but positive change to The Campus. Beginning with the next issue, Features will no longer be a weekly section. This decision is not a reflection of the Features team’s work this year. The Features team has been particularly strong despite what we believe is a flaw in how this paper has approached features (lowercase f) in the past. A feature, by definition, is an article that is deeply researched and reported over a long period of time. In other words, it is the opposite of a regular section responsible for reporting several stories a week. Rather than ask one section to produce long-form investigative journalism in addition to weekly coverage, we have decided to change the architecture of the paper to accommodate both. As the editors continue to improve this paper, we want to focus on quality over quantity. We believe that dedicating resources and time to features will lead to better, more impactful stories. After input from current and past editors, both here and abroad, we are confident that this is the right decision. I also want to notify people of a recent change to the opinion pages. We have hired four new editors dedicated solely to working on reader op-eds. This frees up some of our editors to focus on writing the weekly editorial. It also means the paper has the resources to handle more submissions from you, our readers. To submit an op-ed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Should any member of campus have any questions, or ideas for features you would like to see, feel free to send an email our way: email@example.com.
I wish to explain the photograph on page A1 to the readers. I recognize that it may be especially jarring, particularly for students of color who feel that Charles Murray’s rhetoric poses a threat to their very humanity. I also recognize that Murray’s visit to campus last March is an open wound for a campus trying desperately to move forward from it. During a heated debate in the newsroom on Tuesday night, most of the section editors, and the managing editor, said that running this photograph would be inappropriate. Though I deeply respect the input of my editors, I decided to run the photograph anyway. I take full responsibility for this decision. It was mine alone, and any criticism should be directed at me alone. This photograph is not meant to troll, or to cause pain, but to ask how that protest still lives with us today, one year later. For many, this image is burned in our collective memory. As much as we try to distance ourselves from that moment, we are made from it. I recognize that running this photograph is a political act. Yet I see no way to comprehend this institution without seeing ourselves as part of American society, which is itself political. I also believe moving forward requires looking inside, however unpleasant that may be. We cannot escape our history. We can only confront it. Ethan Brady is the editor in chief.
President Laurie L. Patton spoke for an hour with three Campus reporters last month in a wide-ranging interview which was by turns personal and philosophical. Amelia Pollard ’20.5, Elizabeth Zhou ’18 and Ethan Brady ’18 interviewed Patton in her office on Jan. 31. Bill Burger, the college’s spokesman, was in the room for the duration of the interview. The Campus agreed to provide Patton a summary of topics from which questions would be drawn, but not to give any questions in advance. The interview touched on Patton’s vision for the institution as well as topical issues, including free speech and the Me Too movement. She said Middlebury is “committed to the First Amendment principles of free speech and by extension, academic freedom. That’s part of who we are as an American institution.” “It is our responsibility to cultivate in our students active and critical inquiry which means exposing them to ideas that may be uncomfortable,” Patton said. Patton called Charles Murray’s visit to campus last March “painful and difficult.” “I have learned from and been forever changed by the degree to which people were hurt by the events that occurred — both on our campus and beyond,” Patton said. Patton shared several personal anecdotes in the interview. She said she practices scholarship for an hour a day. She also shared some of her personal hobbies, including vipassana meditation and walking her dogs. “Dogs keep you completely grounded. They don’t care about their image or reputation,” she said. When asked who she turns to for advice, Patton spoke about a group of women presidents that she belongs to. The women “have started to hang out together, talk to each other, call each other when things are tense or when they need to talk through problems,” she said. In response to a question about how she sees her role as president, Patton said she was committed to Middlebury’s values on a personal level. “I wouldn’t have come to Middlebury if I didn’t believe as a person that this institution’s values were my own values,” she said. Patton fielded several questions about financial aid, which she called “the number one priority for me for fundraising over the next ten years.” She said she favored “slowly” growing the number of students on financial aid “in a way that’s financially sustainable” and leaves a balanced budget. But, Patton said, full-paying students are necessary for the school’s current financial model. When asked about how the college will distinguish itself in higher education, Patton described Middlebury as an “elite liberal arts college with fantastic graduate programs.” “I think there are days when we can’t decide whether we’re Amherst or Hampshire. We’re in between those two places,” she said. Patton proposed ways for Middlebury to collaborate with other NESCAC schools beyond the athletic field. She cited Colby’s museum of art, which last week received a $100 million gift to establish an institute for American art. “Wouldn’t it be interesting for them to collaborate with our museum, which is growing and changing and doing interesting things?” she said. In the interview, Patton stressed her goal of balancing the institution’s budget. She said that Middlebury was meeting its budget goals and surpassing them slightly. Monterey surpassed its own goals “at a greater percentage than the college has,” she said, for which she was proud. She defended how Monterey is valuable to Middlebury and to the world, citing the institute’s consistent citing in New York Times articles on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Patton also spoke about national and world issues. She called economic inequality “one of the major issues of our time,” and said that America is facing a “deeply difficult national moment.” She also cited Britain and Europe, where in the past several years populist movements have upended governments and institutions. “Our challenge at Middlebury is that we need to embrace the difficulty of that moment and live through it.” When asked about the nature of speech in the internet age, Patton said the instantaneous nature of communication “makes a huge difference to every minute of our days.” Students in 2018 exist “in a public sphere that nobody else has existed in, ever.” It’s “very difficult to figure out at any given moment whether something is a public conversation or whether it’s a private conversation.” Because of that, she said, participation in the public sphere “takes more courage today.” Patton often used terminology about travel to describe the school. “Middlebury now is not so much a noun, but a verb,” Patton said. “We are travelers.” She mentioned travel across campuses — digital and physical. She cited interpreters for the United Nations who are affiliated with Monterey, professors who travel back and forth between Vermont and California, and video conferencing between Middlebury and Monterey, which occurred in the course on water Patton taught last spring. Patton said she wanted to make sure “that instantaneous quality of life, as well as that hyper-connected quality of life, can be in service of liberal education.” She said the college’s master plan, a campus planning document approved in 2008, should be connected to the school’s mission and vision. She used the temporary computer science building being built behind Johnson Memorial Building, in E lot, as an example of how her administration has adapted to changing times. “This campus was not built for students from underrepresented backgrounds,” she said, but for “usually white” students in the 1800s going into “traditional male vocations.” The spaces between buildings could be populated with works of public art, she said. She encouraged students to propose “pop-up contemplative spaces” on campus through the Fund for Innovation. She also praised a proposal by the Anderson Freeman Center to paint murals in buildings around campus. Patton also answered questions about the Me Too movement and its impact on the college. She said the movement “opened up all sorts of really important issues for everyone, around questions of sexual assault, around questions of reporting, and so forth.” When asked how the college planned to address sexual assault in the wake of “The List,” Patton spoke about the Title IX office. “If history is any indication, I expect and have confidence that the Title IX office will continue to respond to the needs of students,” she said. She said the Title IX office needs to “continue to respond” to the campus’s changing needs while prioritizing “fairness for all students.” The college’s judicial system should be fair and open, she said, and the conversation about justice should be “always evolving.” She spoke about three kinds of justice: one of equality, one of equity, and a moral justice, which deals with “righting historical wrongs.” “All of those three ideas of justice should be at play in the mini-society that is Middlebury” — a society, she said, “of learners and teachers.” Amelia Pollard and Elizabeth Zhou contributed reporting.
This interview took place on Jan. 31. The transcript was lightly edited and includes clarifications made by President Patton, which The Campus agreed to as part of the terms of the interview. ELIZABETH ZHOU: We thought we’d dive in by asking you to revisit the moment when you became the 17th president of Middlebury College. If you could travel back to that moment, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself? LAURIE PATTON: I would say a couple things. The first is that I would make sure that when you think you know a community, you really know a community. Make sure you listen carefully to the ways in which your assumptions about a community might be different than reality. I think that’s just good advice for any college president or any new leader. I also think being a dean of a larger institution is 80 percent the same as being the president of a smaller one. But there are ways in which being a president has a bigger scope of a job. You are accountable to more constituencies. So I have seven constituencies I’m accountable to — students, staff, faculty, alums, parents, trustees and donors. The town and the state are also key constituents. I think being accountable and balancing to all of those constituencies given (a) how complex higher education is, and (b) how wide-ranging those investments are, is an important thing to know. When you’re a dean, you’re slightly differently configured. You don’t have all those constituencies. Deans also don’t have what many people call the “internal-external” problem, which all presidents have. How you think about and connect with people on the inside is different than how you think about and connect with people on the outside. And, often, the needs of the inside community are very different than those of the outside community. Every president has that challenge in some way or another. Another thing I would say, not so much in the spirit of advice as appreciation, is that the students are even more amazing than you think they are. There was a moment when I was in the receiving line [after the presidential announcement in 2015] and I met two students. One was a literature major and the other was a chemistry major. I didn’t know which was which. I said, “Oh, how do you like studying literature?” And the person — the woman — started talking about how great literature was, and I said, “Well, it sounds like you love being a literature major.” And she said, “Actually, I’m the chemistry major.” And I thought, “Wow, these are fantastic students.” Then I turned to the other student and said, “Well now can you say as much about the chemistry major, given that you’re the literature major?” And he proceeded to talk about the chemistry major. These are the kind of students that I came for. AMELIA POLLARD: How do you see the relationship of the College to the town? PATTON: We are deeply connected to the community in a number of different ways. I think that there is only one question the president of Middlebury has to ask the community: “What do you need and how can we help?” and, very particularly, “How can we help on projects of common educational purpose?” The relationship has been exciting, because we are now working on five or six major projects where we share common educational purpose. For example, we’re we’ve created year-long internships at the Town Hall Theatre, the Sheldon Museum, and the community music school. I am pleased about new things that we’re doing to support the Addison Central School District in creating the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Several students are working in the community to help train teachers on what the student experience of the International Baccalaureate will be like. Finally, we have a project underway with Habitat for Humanity, which is a perfect Middlebury project. We are working on a plan to donate land to build Habitat houses. The Art and Architecture faculty are interested in creating courses to help design these houses in an advanced, environmentally sensitive way. These are ways in which the partnership with the community has been highly productive. And it’s energizing for all of us. It’s what a good college should be doing. ZHOU: Knowing that you occupy a unique position with a lot of responsibilities, to whom do you look for professional guidance? PATTON: I have network of people I speak with. There’s a group of women presidents who talk to each other, call each other when things are tense or when they need to think through problems. And there are several male college presidents whose advice I value. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the executive coaching industry. CEOs and leaders of colleges frequently have coaches who they can talk to about different challenges and issues. This can be really helpful. For instance, I work closely with members of the Senior Leadership Group. They are great people. But with supervising a team you have to be careful. You know you’d probably be friends with them in other contexts, but no matter how easygoing and accessible you are, you’re their boss. And that’s something you have to be mindful of. That’s one reason a coach can be helpful: they have some distance from the day-to-day work and that perspective is important. I talk to my coach frequently, and it’s a good relationship. Family’s always great, because you know they have your best interests at heart. It’s also very important to me that I maintain my long-term friendships. Every day I get up and write to two or three friends, just as a form of gratitude. I also frequently just check in with them and see where they are. So every day I have a conversation with one or two friends that are completely unrelated to Middlebury. ZHOU: Thinking about your role as president, and going back to the Town Hall Meeting last fall, there was a little bit of pushback or confusion around the idea that there might be some conflict between your personal opinions and your opinions as a president. Knowing that that was a really limited format for everyone to engage with the idea, is there anything you would like to clarify regarding your role? PATTON: Yes. I wouldn’t have come to Middlebury if I didn’t believe that my values were not aligned with the institution’s values. Every day I think about Middlebury’s values, articulate Middlebury’s values, promote them and talk about them. I do so because I’m committed to them personally. So that’s the most important clarification that I would make. ETHAN BRADY: Last January, The New York Times wrote an article that was widely distributed on social media, showing a ranking of schools that have a lot of students from the top one percent, compared to the number of students from the bottom 60 percent. This was data from the class of 2013, so it could be a bit out of date. But Middlebury ranked ninth on that list. What is the college doing to address socioeconomic disparity, in terms of both numbers and impacts on campus culture? PATTON: I think that the larger question that this article raises has to do with economic inequality in our society, which is one of the major issues of our time. Let me offer a couple thoughts about that. One of the most interesting moments at the PEN America convening [in January] was our answer to the question of what was the biggest issue on campus for us right now. It was interesting because the number one issue was not race, even though that’s a big issue for us right now. It was class. That’s a signal for us that we need to continue to talk about that issue. I think there are two different ways you can address those issues. The first is increasing financial aid. As you know, financial aid remains my number one priority for fundraising over the next ten years. I think is essential that we increase the number — slowly — of people on Pell Grants, and that we increase the number of people on financial aid. That’s the kind of work that I do—and love to do—every day. But we have to do this sustainably. As you all know, I’m committed to balancing our budget. That’s crucial. And that’s why I want to keep pushing on fundraising for financial aid. I’d like to continue to grow that percentage in a way that’s financially sustainable. I don’t want to create a deficit problem five to ten years from now. I’d rather do it in a way that is truly sustainable. The second thing we need to do relates to campus culture. It’s essential that we start having conversations across class difference, the way that we have started to do around questions of race, LGBTQI, religious difference and so on. I think we need to embrace it fully. I would welcome student proposals on how we do that. Third, I think there are also generational differences between professor and students, things that might have been said in class in previous eras that are received the same way now. For example, when a professor says, “Do this assignment while you’re all sitting on the beach on spring break,” and many students in the class cannot afford to go to the beach on spring break, that’s a concern. So I think those three things are far more important for us to focus on than the small percentage differences between one college and another. Obviously, our financial model is such that right now, in order for us to provide the education that we do provide, full-paying students play a role. But the more we can create greater access through all the ways that we just talked about, in both getting into Middlebury, and then studying at Middlebury, the better off we’ll be. And we need student leadership to help with that. Because the student experience at the everyday level is where we can get better. POLLARD: What niche do you think Middlebury occupies amongst the other NESCAC schools and in the larger scope of higher education? How are we going to continue to differentiate ourselves moving forward? PATTON: On certain days — when I’m feeling like having a sense of humor — I think there are days when we can’t decide whether we’re Amherst or Hampshire. We’re in between those two places. But if you actually look at us, we are an elite liberal arts college with fantastic graduate programs. That is what we are. We’ve had all these metaphors in the strategic planning process. We’ve talked about a constellation. We’ve talked about an ecosystem. And all those are great metaphors. But none of those are going to be the sort of “heart” language that people land on. And a fantastic liberal arts college with great and vibrant graduate programs is the right description, and it also is something that people recognize. In terms of the NESCAC schools: We’re the only one in Vermont, so that’s kind of interesting. Second, I think we have a combination of intellectual intensity, first-rate athletic programs, focus on language-learning, environmental leadership, and a globally networked curriculum. Those are also the directions we’re moving, the areas where we want to keep improving, and where students, faculty, and staff are enthusiastic about moving. Those should be the kinds of things that continue to distinguish us. But what I really would like to see in the NESCAC schools is more collaboration. What are the ways in which we could collaborate more, not just on the athletic field? For example, Colby has a first-rate museum of art, and wouldn’t it be interesting for them to collaborate with our museum, which is growing and changing and doing interesting things — and has a new pink sign, right? Or if there is a NESCAC school which has a great physics department, and another has a great biology department, then why not have exchanges between both? And so forth. I think we could get so much more done if we collaborated and exchanged more in academic ways. But that takes a lot of coordination and effort, and everyone’s so busy running their own colleges, that that may not come to fruition so quickly. BRADY: It seems that in the wake of Charles Murray, a lot of people now have a certain association with this school. So as an ambassador of the institution, when you’re traveling around, across the globe, how do you defend the institution, and what do you talk about in those interactions? PATTON: These are questions that are good for everybody, because at a certain level we all are ambassadors for Middlebury. But as the person for whom that’s a primary job, I would say several things. First—and this is from my inaugural address—I would say that we are actually good at having arguments for the sake of heaven. Sometimes it’s painful and messy and hard, and breaks us apart and breaks us open. People may not land exactly where other people want them to land. They may not land where they intended to land. There are all sorts of tough distances between intentions and effects that happen in these hard conversations. What people communicate may not have the positive effect they intend, and that is always hard. In all of the pain that the community and students felt last year, I have two strong memories. One was right after the event, when I spent an hour in a kind of “mini-seminar” with students to talk about what had just happened. The second was the student-sponsored debate that occurred a couple weeks later. All of the same issues were there, and it was remarkable to see students, once again, leading in this difficult space, and doing so respectfully and rigorously. I found both of those occasions to be very moving events. That’s the first thing I’d say: we’re good at that. The second thing I can say now is that we have had a record number of applicants this year, which is a wonderful fact. That includes a record number of students of color, as well as a record number of international student applicants. Who knows why that is the case. Last spring we did a study of admitted students, and one of the interesting findings was that students were still intending to enroll at Midd because it was perceived as a place where real issues are talked about in really hard ways by real people. I was impressed by that, and that’s something I speak about when I’m traveling around the globe. The third thing I would say is that it’s a deeply difficult national moment. Our challenge at Middlebury is that we need to embrace the difficulty of that moment and live through it. It’s a challenge, but it also is an opportunity to figure out some new ways of living together, and to figure out some new ways of speaking together, and to figure out whether, as we move forward into the future, we can find a way to live across difference and to talk across difference. I actually have appreciated the opportunity to be an ambassador and speak about Middlebury in those ways. BRADY: In the internet age, when people are able to communicate across the globe in seconds, and publish an article or an essay and post it online, how do you think that affects this idea of speech, or the public sphere? PATTON: I think it makes a huge difference in every minute of our days. I would say to students: you exist in a public sphere that nobody else has existed in, ever. And I can’t imagine some days what that must feel like. At any moment, you don’t know whether you’re going to be a public person or not. Before, when you decided you were going to give a speech, you would prepare, and that was the public moment, and there was a transition into the public moment. Now, there is no transition. I think that makes it very difficult to figure out in any given moment whether something is a public conversation or whether it’s a private conversation. And that boundary is constantly oscillating. So that’s the first thing that would be deeply challenging for students today. And I think it’s one of the reasons why the public sphere and participation in the public sphere takes more courage today. And it’s why it is essential that we continue to challenge everyone at Middlebury to have that courage today, no matter what. The second thing is that this relationship between intentions and effects that I mentioned earlier is an interesting one. You can burn a Qur’an in Florida and there can be physical violence and protest about that action somewhere halfway across the globe. Or you could think about burning a Qur’an and write about it online, and there can be physical protest to that somewhere in Afghanistan. So whether it’s in debates about policy, whether it’s in other intellectual work, whatever it is, in online work you don’t know what the effects are going to be. And those effects are exponentially magnified. That means that being a public person is a totally different experience than it was even 30 years ago. The third thing is, actually, a real opportunity. This is related to the question of online learning in the context of the liberal arts. Our Associate Provost for Digital Learning Amy Collier talks about creativity, connection, and community as the key components of online learning in a liberal arts context. If there ever was a community that could figure that out, it’s Middlebury. So even with all the challenges that I just noted, because we have different campuses, because we have so many well-established schools abroad, we can do online learning differently. The way I think about Middlebury now is not so much a noun, but a verb. We are travelers. In that way, we always have to learn how to travel well. We travel across campuses, both digitally as well as actually. There are ways in which we have a real interesting opportunity to make sure that that this instantaneous quality of online life, as well as that hyper-connected quality of online life, can be in service of liberal education. I think we need to continue to reflect on that. Of course, every institution of higher education has that, but I think we have a particular opportunity to do that differently. POLLARD: My next question is about how Monterey has been incorporated into Middlebury’s vision, and whether you see it as an outlier or a new direction moving forward. David Provost noted how Monterey was actually going to need to make seven percent budget cuts moving forward. In furthering Monterey as an institution, how are you going to try to navigate the budget? PATTON: I’ll begin by saying I think Monterey is of real value, both to Middlebury and to the world. We need only turn to the example of how much it has helped in the last three or four months on the issue of North Korea. So many of the scholars at Monterey, particularly in the area of nuclear nonproliferation, have helped to do what good journalists should also do, which is say, “Well, wait a second, what they’re claiming isn’t true,” or “Let’s look exactly at what those Korean capabilities might be.” I also would point to the fact that the number of Peace Corps volunteers who go from Monterey and then back to Monterey is among the highest in the country for educational institutions. They are a leading institution in areas of public service and international development. The third thing that comes immediately to mind in terms of the value of the Institute is the number of interpreters who graduate from Monterey who go on to work for the UN and other institution across the globe. What we increasingly see is that, even in an age of machine-learning in language, more and more language experts are needed in order to work with that artificial intelligence to make sure that the language learning tools are as accurate as possible. In terms of the history of Monterey’s value to Middlebury, I think we’re seeing a couple of things. This semester a number of faculty are going to be traveling to Monterey from the college, including many who haven’t had a lot of connection to Monterey, and I think that’s a good development. We also have many faculty who travel from Monterey to Middlebury, and that has had a positive effect, too. We’ve had people come help us think about changing ways of learning. For instance, given the importance we place on immersive learning in Middlebury’s new mission statement, it’s natural that we would look to the interesting things they are doing with immersive learning at Monterey. I think we can learn from those initiatives. The president’s course that I taught last spring on water was also a good opportunity to engage across different intellectual cultures of the College and the Institute. We had some wonderful conversations about, for instance, plastics in our oceans, and how you could take a literary approach, a business approach, a policy approach, or a scientific approach to that issue. Everyone in the room was talking about these issues, and that could only have happened with faculty and students from both Monterey and the College there. I think that we are continuing to deepen the relationship in encouraging ways. Middlebury as a whole needs to achieve financial sustainability. And I’m pleased that, as David Provost said, we’re not only meeting our goals, but are surpassing them slightly. Monterey has actually surpassed its own goals for budget sustainability at a greater percentage than the College has. I’m proud of my colleagues at Monterey for that. Do they still have a hill to climb? Definitely. But so far, I’ve been impressed by how well they’ve done. So I expect that Monterey will continue to create a very clear path towards financial sustainability. I hope that all of the units will meet financial sustainability in the next three years. The main thing I want to say about Monterey is that every part of Middlebury should wish for its success. Part of what it means to be a great liberal arts college with fantastic graduate programs is that every unit should wish for the success of every other unit. That’s our only way forward. If a unit does well, either intellectually or financially, that helps everybody: all boats rise with that tide. That’s the perspective I want to make sure people embrace. BRADY: The master plan was a document produced in 2008, which is similar to Envisioning Middlebury. Does the college plan in the future to follow that document? In what ways can we balance the vision that we have with financial realities? PATTON: There are three things I would say about that. The first is that any institution that is responsible to a master plan is going to revisit it every five years and ask, “Are we going in the right direction?” I have known institutions who ignored their master plan, and then ten years later went back and said, “Oops, that plan doesn’t look anything like what we’ve done.” Last year, we did a thoughtful update to the master plan to recognize changes in our thinking. We have a Buildings, Grounds and Lands Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees that is vigilant about this. A perfect example of the need to update a master plan would be the temporary building that we will begin work on in the next several months. That was an important moment for Middlebury, because it’s exactly related to your question, which is how you figure out a way to respond to needs that you didn’t anticipate. Think of Bicentennial Hall, which is a beautiful building with wonderful views and, seemingly, all this space. But in a much shorter time than anyone thought possible, it became clear we needed more space for the programs that Bicentennial Hall contained because the number of students who wanted to major in the sciences grew. And so, the question became, what do we do? We looked at a number of different options. We looked at buildings in the community, we looked at moving and shifting departments, and so on. And the number one thing that drove this change was student interest, and being able to deliver to our students the opportunity to be science majors in fields of their choice. It was that simple. When you think about space and the master plan, you’re always thinking about what is the best and most effective way that we can fulfill our educational mission. That’s the second thing that I wanted to talk about: the way the College and larger Middlebury is governed. Any changes to the master plan need to be talked about with the Buildings, Grounds and Lands Subcommittee of the board. We had several meetings with that committee over the last few months. We reviewed what the building might look like and we interviewed architects. It’s actually an exciting process, especially if you know the building is truly meeting a real need and that it will further Middlebury’s educational mission. The third thing I would say around the vision for the master plan is that we need to think carefully about how we’re using space. For example, inclusivity as an everyday ethic is something that’s important to me. I think a lot about the fact that this campus was not built for students from underrepresented backgrounds. It was built for students, usually white students, who lived in the 1800s. They were not necessarily wealthy, but they were certainly middle class, and were going to go into very traditional male vocations. How do we think about changing that space? We can’t afford to tear down all the buildings and create new spaces, but I think there are ways that we can continually think about space utilization in different eras, and 2018 looks different than even 1998 did. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the spaces between buildings and inside buildings, or even on buildings. What can we do with those spaces? The Committee on Art in Public Places has begun to discuss an initiative that would focus on art that would welcome, and be authored by, and contributed by, students from underrepresented backgrounds—exactly in those kinds of spaces. Consider the wonderful murals that have been done in the Anderson Freeman Center. Why not do several murals around campus like that? Why not think about the next ten years as a place where art can occupy a new role on campus, and create a different kind of space utilization that could be more welcoming, and make our campus more welcoming? Lastly, the new building will provide what we call swing space, which will allow for the renovation of Warner, Johnson and Munroe over the next several years. Those three buildings are not ADA compliant, and don’t meet standards for universal design. That just feels unacceptable to me. We live in a world where people with disabilities should be welcomed and able to thrive on our campus. A number of aspects of universal design will be built into the new temporary building. That’s a big priority. It’s not sexy in any way, it’s not a huge thing, but it’s long-term. In the end the effect will be a much more welcoming campus, and that’s what matters. POLLARD: You mentioned before that there are needs we don’t anticipate as a college campus. And as of recently, the Me Too movement was brought to the fore by what’s commonly been referred to as “The List” being released the week before we went onto winter break. To what extent do you think the college is able or responsible for addressing this issue moving forward? PATTON: The first thing I’ll say is that our Title IX office has grown substantially over the last ten years. We’ve added HROs, we’ve added JAOs; we’ve added a director and more staff. And that has been in response to the needs on campus. And if history is any indication, I expect and have confidence that the Title IX office will continue to respond to the needs of students. I think that the number-one priority for the Title IX office, and for Middlebury more broadly, is to make sure that we are a place where students feel that they can report crimes of bias, crimes of sexual assault, and all of the other areas that fall under Title IX. That has to be our number-one priority. Another top priority has to be for fairness for all students. Those two things are what we’re committed to and what our Middlebury values demand. So moving forward, what I expect, and know we can and should do, is to make sure that we live up to those values even in changing situations. The Me Too movement opened up all sorts of difficult issues for everyone around questions of sexual assault, around questions of reporting, and so forth. I put a lot of confidence in the student group that is advising the Title IX office, and helping them continue to get better. We need to make sure that we continue to respond to the changing needs, as we have done in the past. POLLARD: Do you see any kind of educational element moving forward? Any kind of blanket, almost required-for-all-students portion? I know that the Vermont executive branch has required an in-course training for all government officials on sexual assault training. PATTON: We do have training as part of orientation. I think it’s great that all first-year students have that training and we put that in place in the last couple of years. And I think we should continue it. That’s absolutely essential. Let’s also continue to make sure that that training is relevant to the kinds of constantly changing situations that we’re seeing. And I think that conversation should be had on a regular basis. And if we need to expand or change what we’re doing given the situations that we find ourselves in, then I expect and have confidence that we’ll be able to do that. The educational element is key. The Title IX office is eager to embrace that, and deepen that as an opportunity, and I support it 100 percent. BRADY: The Title IX office is sort of like a justice system. Thinking of the campus as almost a small society, what is justice on this campus? And what does that mean for the students who go here? PATTON: The first thing your question reminds me of is that the Dean of Students’ office is going to be embarking on a series of focused conversations with students on the question, “How do we live together?” That’s a central question for all of us that’s related to that question of justice. Second, I’ve been pleased with and want to continue the conversations between faculty, administration and students on how we continue to evolve and address questions through our judicial system. On any college campus, judicial systems should be fair and they should be open. They also should reflect the sense that the conversation about what is justice is always evolving. I think Middlebury is committed to that. In my training in conflict mediation, we talk about three different kinds of justice. It’s important to remember that there are three different kinds of justice that are part and parcel of our world. There are many more, but certainly three major ones. The first is the idea of justice as a system of equality, where ideas about fairness take center stage. The second is the question of justice as equity: how much I put in is what I would get out of any given social engagement. That’s where I would expect something equitable, but not necessarily absolutely equal. A lot of times when you discuss some of these questions, people say, “Well, I’m not necessarily going to have an absolutely equal conversation about this issue, or an absolutely equal solution to this problem, but I would hope that we could all work towards an equitable conversation and an equitable solution.” The third kind of justice is a moral one. This has to do with righting historical wrongs and acknowledging where society does not fully recognize of some of its citizens, or does not fully represent them, or does not take care of some of its most vulnerable people. All of those three ideas of justice should be at play in the mini-society that is Middlebury. And the number-one thing we have to do as a society of learners and teachers is to reflect on those three ideas of justice and what their relationship is with one another. Can we design a system that makes sure that those three ideas of justice are part and parcel of how we live together? I am enthusiastic about the introduction of restorative practices. About 50 people have been trained in that area. The primary application will be in student life. Part of my answer to the question of how we live together is making sure that we not only continue to work on and evolve a fair and just student conduct process, but also, as a supplement to that, have the cultural habit of restorative practices. We’re going to be rolling restorative practices out over the next couple of years, and students and student life will be leading that effort. I remember talking about that in December of 2015, and stating how transformative it could be for Middlebury, so it’s delightful to see that moving forward. Amelia Pollard and Elizabeth Zhou transcribed this interview. The following questions were answered by email on Feb. 14. CAMPUS: Should a private college treat speech the same way the U.S. government does — under a First Amendment framework? Or, since it is a place of learning where many people develop their answers to moral questions, does it occupy a "third space" in our society? PATTON: Whereas public universities are obligated by law host even the most controversial, divisive, and in some cases repugnant speakers; as a private institution, Middlebury does not carry this burden. I remain, and Middlebury remains, committed to the First Amendment principles of free speech and by extension, academic freedom. That’s part of who we are as an American institution. I also believe that with that right — as with any right — we have responsibilities. At Middlebury, it is our responsibility to cultivate in our students active and critical inquiry which means exposing them to ideas that may be uncomfortable. At the same time, we also have the responsibility to reflect on and incorporate the principles and values of our community. My goal is, was, and continues to be an inclusive public sphere where a richness and diversity of voices are heard and, importantly, respected. CAMPUS: What did you learn from Charles Murray's visit to campus? Is there anything you would have done differently? PATTON: It was an incredibly painful and difficult situation. I have learned from and been forever changed by the degree to which people were hurt by the events that occurred — both on our campus and beyond. I think we could have turned inward sooner, to collectively ask ourselves, “What just happened?” I’m also pleased that over the past year we have done a lot of work around our speaker safety guidelines to ensure that we have the time and the input to fully prepare for speaker applications. Likewise, the work done by the Committee on Speech and Inclusion Middlebury College is a really important step as we learn how to listen differently and better. While the community is still healing, I believe that we are in a very different place than we were a year ago in how we are thinking about speakers and our priorities and values. CAMPUS: Female leadership is consistently held to a double standard in our society. Are there moments in your Middlebury career in which your gender has felt particularly prominent? PATTON: When I am asked this question, I respond by saying that that Middlebury has been ready for a woman leader for a while. Faculty, staff, and students all have been quite welcoming of my own particular collaborative style of leadership. And we’ve got some impressively strong women leaders in other positions at Middlebury as well. So overall, it’s been easy and productive. I think difference of note is in people’s expectations. My staff and I note the disappointment that people — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and more — express when my schedule prevents me from responding to them immediately. There is a greater degree of expectation overall that I will always be available. Studies show that female professors who devote the same amount of time (sometimes even more time) to their students as male professors, are paradoxically thought of as less accessible than men. That is because the expectations of women’s availability is so much higher. But these kinds of things go with the territory, and my view is that you just politely and skillfully point out to people that they need to shift their view. CAMPUS: In light of the emphasis being given to mindfulness on campus, how do you personally de-stress? PATTON: Three different ways: First, I practice vipassana, or insight, meditation. In December I spent time at a small retreat with my niece in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Second, I write. I find scholarly and literary pursuits a powerful way of cultivating mindfulness. There’s nothing like the focus of mind that comes from creating a persuasive paragraph in a scholarly argument, or building the best stanza for a poem. Third, I walk the dogs with family and friends. Dogs keep you completely grounded. They don’t care about their image or reputation; they care about staying connected. And that’s a great lesson for all of us. CAMPUS: Do you find time for scholarship while doing all the functions of the presidency? PATTON: Yes. I pursue scholarship for an hour a day, no matter what. I can’t do much more than that, but that is a non-negotiable. I have a book coming out in 2019 on controversies in the study of religion, and a third book of poems coming out this spring. Writing is a basic part of who I am and it helps me be a better intellectual and institutional leader. Middlebury has been welcoming and supportive of that commitment. I have been privileged to be a guest teacher in faculty classes several times a semester. People seek each other out to talk about their ideas, including their president. That’s Middlebury at its absolute best, and it’s a fantastic part of the job. And it helps because faculty and students and staff can connect with you as a fellow thinker. CAMPUS: What is one item on your bucket list for your time at Middlebury? PATTON: Institutionally, I hope we can create more art in public spaces that are inclusive of all of Middlebury’s communities. The personal item is dog-sledding. I ventured out to do that last winter, and I hope to do it regularly. CAMPUS: What is the strength of the hills, to you? PATTON: I’ll never forget the moment in November of 2014, when I was walking up to Mead Chapel to be introduced to the community. Someone shouted out a variation of the psalm written over its doors, “The strength of the hills is hers also!” That moment caused me to ask the very same question that you have asked. The strength of the hills to me has three different aspects. First, the mountains are all about staying power. They persist. And we should too. Gary Snyder writes about them as “streams of power.” Second, mountains remind us that we are small. Emily Dickinson ended one of her poems about mountains with the line, “I’m kneeling—still—“. She wasn’t kneeling out of false reverence, but a sense that there was always something bigger surrounding her, and that gives us a profound perspective on our daily distractions. Third, mountains can also bestow a sense of contemplative peace. The poet Li Bai puts it the following way: “You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;/I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.” I hope for those moments for all our students. CAMPUS: Where do you see the institution in 10 years? PATTON: Here’s where I want to go: in 2028, Middlebury should be a place where we have taken advantage of our global network of offerings to enrich our curriculum in all of our units. I hope we will have made significant progress on access and affordability. We should have named and be close to achieving a new environmental goal. I’d like Middlebury to be a place where faculty, staff and students see themselves as drivers of innovation. In particular, there should be a clear place to incubate curricular innovation, where people can make changes and keep traditions. I hope in 2028 we have built a more inclusive community — through increasing team based approaches to the classroom, experiential learning, and restorative practices. I hope we will have an improved residential experience with more diverse staff, and an ongoing artistic initiative to make more inclusive spaces on campus. In 2028, I also hope we have a sense of empowerment and alliance between administration, staff, and faculty. Our final goal should be that, in 2028, Middlebury community members share a clearly articulated sense of values and that we remind ourselves of them often.
A Middlebury College student posted a “List of Men to Avoid” on Facebook last week, publicly accusing 33 current and former male students of sexual misconduct. The list originally contained 16 names, but was added to throughout the day Wednesday, Dec. 13, until it was removed from Facebook. Beside each name was a brief description of the person’s alleged actions, ranging from “emotionally manipulative” to “serial rapist.” “Feel free to dm me more names to add to this status because I could really give a f[—] about protecting the privacy of abusers,” the student, Elizabeth Dunn ’18, wrote in the post, adding a heart emoji. It is unclear how many people submitted names to Dunn. The Campus is withholding the names of accused students because it could not independently substantiate each claim. Physical copies of the list were posted in prominent locations around campus, including dining halls and dorms. The printed lists had “#ME TOO” emblazoned in large letters. The appearance of the list shook a campus engrossed in final exams just as students were preparing for winter break. The list drew explicit parallels to the recent spate of sexual misconduct allegations that have forced the ouster of famous people from positions of power, including Harvey Weinstein and Sen. Al Franken — though none of the current or former students named are public figures. “Something that’s been weighing me down for a while, especially after the #metoo movement, is how incredibly visible survivors can be, and yet how invisible the ones who violated our boundaries remain,” the student wrote in the original post. The student lamented seeing “people associate with those who have perpetuated this violence as if nothing has happened.” The list appeared days before actor Matt Damon drew heated criticism for saying that “there’s a spectrum of behavior” when it comes to sexual misconduct, and that “patting someone on the butt” should not be conflated with rape. Earlier this month, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand rejected that view, saying, “You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.” At Middlebury, the list described some students as “serial rapist” and others as having committed “sexual harassment.” One student was described as treating “women but especially Black women like shit.” Another was said to have made “fetishistic, racist, sexual comments about Black women.” The list concluded with this: “Here’s to not being complicit in 2018.” The college responded the next day by advocating its judicial process. Katy Smith Abbott, outgoing dean of the college, said in an all-campus email on Dec. 14 that sexual misconduct should be reported to the college’s judicial officers, Karen Guttentag and Brian Lind. “We have a dedicated professional staff with enormous expertise in handling these cases,” the email said. Smith Abbott’s email was co-signed by Baishakhi Taylor, her interim replacement beginning Jan. 1. The deans later sent a second email addressing concerns about the list’s public and unvetted nature. “Public allegations should not take the place of our established procedures,” the deans said on Dec. 15. “These procedures exist to encourage reporting, to ensure that allegations are investigated thoroughly and confidentially, and to see to it that all parties are treated fairly.” The deans also encouraged people who think they were “falsely accused of misconduct in a public forum” to contact the judicial officers. The officers would “gather information from any student who makes a complaint that a policy has been violated, will evaluate the information to determine which policies may be implicated, and will ensure that the conduct is addressed through the appropriate process,” according to the deans.
Violent, racially charged imagery was found on a chalkboard in room 314 of Munroe Hall on Tuesday morning. The drawing, of college spokesman Bill Burger driving into Addis Fouche-Channer ’17 with his car, was an imagined depiction of the night of March 2, when protesters surrounded Burger’s car as he drove Charles Murray and Allison Stanger away from campus. The car appeared to have a gallows attached to its bumper, similar to the kind drawn in the game Hangman. Fouche-Channer, who is black, was accused of being at Burger’s car by a Public Safety officer last spring. She has maintained for months that she was never there, and that she was misidentified and racially profiled. The college initially said she was not at the car, but after she filed a formal racial profiling complaint, it contended she was there. One chalkboard panel at the front of the classroom said “F—ck Addis.” Beside it was a partially illegible message that began “Best to you dear,” above a gaunt, smiling face. On a side chalkboard was the violent image of Burger ramming into Fouche-Channer, which was captioned with text that read “Addis and Big Bill playing games.” Kizzy Joseph ’18 posted images of the drawing and text in a Facebook group for the class of 2018. “So one of y’all colleagues wanna be bold and write ‘F—ck Addis’ but can’t say it to a Black person’s face?” she wrote in the post. “TRY ME. I DARE YOU to come up to me as a Black woman and say ‘F—ck Addis.’ F—CK whoever did this and ALL OF Y’ALL who are complicit in this racism. I’m fuming at this disregard of Black humanity and trauma.” “Also just an fyi, the person who posted this is not Addis and neither am I, since there’s so much confusion,” wrote Elizabeth Dunn ’18, who is also black. Dunn said they had been mistaken for Fouche-Channer twice on Saturday night, Oct. 28. “If this doesn’t get you pissed the f—ck off, wake up y’all,” Eliza Renner ’18 wrote. “What are you doing to combat this kind of behavior within your friend groups, classes, clubs and teams?” “What a f—cking coward, to whichever spineless, racist Middlebury student/students participated in this,” Matt Gillis ’18 wrote. “And in chalk? On a blackboard in some random building on campus? So pathetic.” Fouche-Channer responded to the images in an interview. “It doesn’t surprise me that this is the kind of thing that’s coming out of Middlebury College, because the administration doesn’t even follow its own guidelines or restrictions for what kind of behavior is appropriate on campus,” Fouche-Channer said. “Wouldn’t you expect students to feel as if they could do anything and everything without any consequences?” “Middlebury hasn’t cared about racism and discrimination before and hasn’t shown they’re putting down a firm foot. So obviously the students are going to feel like they can do and say anything without any consequences.” When asked whether she thought the object on the bumper of the car could be anything other than a gallows, Fouche-Channer said no. “It’s a crude drawing, but it’s very clear what it is.” “The school needs to take this seriously, and they need to understand that a lot of the things that happened last spring are having effects on what’s happening on campus now,” she said. “This shows that the black students at Middlebury College aren’t safe, people of color at Middlebury aren’t safe, they aren’t respected, they’re not cared for. This is a sign that something needs to be done — many things need to be done — on campus.” Laurie Patton, president of the college, did not respond to requests for comment before press time. Bill Burger declined to comment. “This is totally inappropriate and we are looking into it,” said Miguel Fernández, the college’s chief diversity officer. He said a student had shared the photos with him on Tuesday morning. “I have asked them to make a report to DPS [Public Safety] so that it is in the system and we can follow up officially,” Fernández said. “In the meantime, I have also informed the HROs and JAOs via the Community Bias Response Team.” The judicial affairs officers (JAOs) and human relation officers (HROs) conducted the two investigations of Fouche-Channer, first in the spring and then in the summer. The summer investigation asserted that Fouche-Channer had been at Burger’s car and denied her claim that she had been racially profiled. Editor’s note: Laurie Patton and Miguel Fernández issued a joint statement in an all-campus email Thursday at 5 p.m. “It saddens us greatly to share with you that on Tuesday morning, October 31, students reported and photographed disturbing images and messages on classroom blackboards in Munroe Hall. As reported in today’s issue of The Campus, the graffiti was offensive, distressing, and contained racially charged imagery. It violates the spirit of Middlebury’s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment, which exists to protect the full and equal participation of every member of our community. More importantly, the images dehumanize and disrespect some of our fellow human beings. Personal attacks and imagery of this kind have no place at Middlebury College. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Department of Public Safety at ext. 5133.” CARA DEVINE CARA DEVINE
To the Editor: Re “Accused Student Alleges Racial Profiling” (front page, Sept. 28): Perceptions of racial profiling by public safety personnel are not limited to students. Other members of the college community, including faculty and staff, believe they have been the targets of similar discriminatory behavior. Earlier this year, a senior member of the faculty, who is a person of color, was unlocking a door of a campus building where her office is located. It was early on a Sunday evening well before sunset. A public safety officer aggressively approached the faculty member and ordered her to “Raise your hands and put them against the wall.” Only when a white companion of the professor appeared on the scene did the officer drop his threatening manner. I was appalled to learn of this incident. I have unlocked the door of my office building numerous times over the many years I have been at Middlebury, during weekends and evenings at all hours of the day and night. No public safety personnel have ever accosted me or approached me with the attitude that I was engaged in unlawful activity. They have either ignored me, given me a friendly wave, or occasionally asked if I needed help: exactly the sort of response I would have expected any faculty or staff member to receive when trying to access his or her office with the appropriate key provided by the college. When you are a person of color engaged in an innocent common activity and security officers leap to the conclusion that you are a dangerous suspect without even asking you a question, it is hard not to conclude that you are a victim of racial profiling. It is especially distressing that although this incident was reported promptly, the professor states that the college administration has been slow to respond, and while it regards the officer’s behavior as “unacceptable,” it refuses to recognize it as racial profiling. MICHAEL OLINICK Professor of Mathematics
President Laurie L. Patton will travel to the University of Chicago this weekend to be a panelist at a “free expression” conference, forgoing the annual president’s address that traditionally occurs on Fall Family Weekend. Susan Baldridge, the college provost, will address families on Saturday morning instead. The Chicago Maroon first reported plans for the event in August based on internal university documents obtained by a student reporter. According to a confidential draft of the event, presidents and provosts from all U.S. colleges and universities would be invited to attend the conference. The draft estimated 2,000 public and private not-for-profit four-year institutions in total. Patton was one of several academic officials invited to be a panelist. “Because these topics are so important to Middlebury and to institutions of higher education nationwide, President Patton made the difficult decision to attend the conference and to ask Provost Susan Baldridge to address parents in her stead,” said Lyn DeGraff, director of alumni and parent programs. The conference, as planned when the document was written, would be composed of a keynote address on Friday and three panel discussions on Saturday. The first two panels were slated to discuss “key risks to the integrity of the academe” and hypothetical First Amendment situations. The description of the third panel on Saturday, Oct. 14, where Patton will speak, said that presidents would discuss “what they and their institutions are doing to develop inclusive cultures supportive of free expression.” The panel would have presidents say how principles of free expression align with “other institutional priorities, such as safety and security and diversity.” Patton wrote an op-ed on free speech that The Wall Street Journal published in June. She said that colleges have a primary obligation to foster civil discourse. She also advocated drawing a clear line between peaceful and disruptive protest. “Free speech lies at the heart of our purpose as an institution, and we cannot allow force or disruption to undermine it,” she wrote. Patton is alumna of the University of Chicago, having earned a master’s degree in divinity in 1986 and a doctorate in history of religions in 1991. The university emerged as an outspoken voice in the free speech debate last summer when it denounced “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” in a letter to incoming students. The draft listed three other confirmed panelists: Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago, Walter Kimbrough of Dillard University, and Ana Mari Cauce of the University of Washington. John DeGioia of Georgetown University was listed as a proposed panelist but had not confirmed his attendance at the time of the draft. Organizers of the conference could not give updated details immediately by press time. A Campus analysis of past brochures found that nearly every family weekend since 1958 has had a “president’s address” for parents to talk directly to the college president. Some years’ brochures were missing from the college archives, but every available brochure listed a president’s address in the schedule. The 1958 event, which was then called parents’ weekend, featured a “president’s reception for parents” in the Chateau. In the 1960s, brochures showed both a talk for parents of first-years in Wright Memorial Theater and then another one for all parents in the Chateau. Former president Olin C. Robison held his parent addresses in Mead Chapel from at least 1977 to 1989. Ronald D. Liebowitz held his address there in 2005, and in the Mahaney Center for the Arts concert hall in 2008. Patton held her past two addresses in Wilson Hall. “Many Middlebury parents have had the opportunity — some on multiple occasions — to hear from President Patton,” said Bill Burger, the college’s spokesman. “There will be many such opportunities in the future.” Patton will return to Middlebury on Saturday night so that she can meet on campus with a group of parent volunteers on Sunday morning, Burger said.
Sandy Casey, a special education teacher who grew up in Dorset, Vermont, was among the at least 59 people killed in a mass shooting on Sunday night in Las Vegas. She was 35. Casey was engaged to be married to her fiancé, Christopher Willemse, with whom she attended the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Vegas’ main strip, where the shooting took place. Casey’s family learned early Monday morning that she died on the scene of the shooting. The daughter of Teresa and Steven Casey of Dorset, Casey graduated from Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester in 2000 and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from the College of St. Joseph in Rutland. She has taught special education for nine years at Manhattan Beach Middle School in Manhattan Beach, California. Her fiancé, an instructional assistant for the school district, wrote on Facebook the day after the shooting: “As I sit and mourn such a beautiful life gone too fast, all I can say is look up and watch the birds fly high and free today, as that’s where I feel you smiling down upon all of us. I love you baby girl! Love you to pieces!” Casey was a “fun-loving free spirit” who was always smiling, according to Dorset town clerk Sandra Pinsonault. “The community is definitely feeling the loss today,” Pinsonault said in an interview with the Burlington Free Press. Mike Matthews, the Manhattan Beach superintendent, said Casey was an energetic teacher who delighted in her students. “She was a person who brings light wherever she is,” Matthews said. “She has a classroom full of light and hope and caring. She is loved by students and colleagues alike and will be forever remembered for her sense of humor, her passion for her work, her devotion to her students, and her commitment to continuing on her own learning and to taking on whatever new projects came her way,” the superintendent wrote. “She has made a tremendous difference in the lives of her students, and their families,” he said. Burr and Burton Academy held a moment of silence for Casey on Monday morning during a weekly assembly in the school’s gymnasium. Both Vermont senators expressed grief over Casey’s death in statements posted on Twitter. “Jane and I are deeply saddened to hear that Vermonter Sandy Casey was among the victims in Vegas,” Bernie Sanders said. “Our hearts are with her friends & family.” Patrick Leahy wrote that “Our prayers are with her and her family.” Casey “was a beautiful girl and a beautiful person,” said her mother, Teresa, in an interview with VTDigger. The family then released a statement asking for privacy. “Her parents ask for prayers and privacy for her sisters, coworkers, students and large extended family,” the statement read.
In the weeks after protesters disrupted Charles Murray’s planned lecture at Middlebury College last March, administrators here investigated a student whom a Public Safety officer said was at the protest. The student, Addis Fouche-Channer ’17, insists she was never there. “I pulled a student off the car with the name of Addis,” the officer told private investigators hired by the college, according to a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Campus. “She had a comment about, you can’t do this to me. Just saying other things. And I thought she was going to get into this racial thing with me.” In interviews with private investigators and the Middlebury police in March, the officer verbally identified Fouche-Channer by name as the one he pulled off the car driven by college spokesman Bill Burger, which served as the escape vehicle for Charles Murray and Allison Stanger. The officer gave no other evidence that Fouche-Channer was there, the transcripts show. The Campus is choosing not to release the officer’s name because of the volatility of the situation. Fouche-Channer went through the college judicial process in the spring and was cleared of wrongdoing after a judicial dean determined she was not at the protest. After Fouche-Channer, who is black, graduated in May, she filed a formal complaint that she had been racially profiled by the officer. The Title IX office then launched a second investigation over the summer that lasted until mid-September, months after the March protest. A decision was not reached until Tuesday, Sept. 26, when a college human relations officer (HRO) told Fouche-Channer the college does not believe she was racially profiled. They now believe she was at the protest. This decision directly contradicted the judicial dean’s determination in May. The HRO said the Public Safety officer’s “identification” of Fouche-Channer “was corroborated by other credible evidence.” He explicitly cited only one new piece of evidence in a synopsis of the decision: a statement by a “friend” who said Fouche-Channer was at the car. The HRO did not respond to a query asking the name or relationship of that person to Fouche-Channer. The Campus is choosing not to release the names of the investigators because of the volatility of the situation. This investigation, which was launched over the summer and consisted of 22 interviews conducted in June through at least August, was based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, in which the side with 51 percent or greater likelihood is ruled in favor. “Even when the Middlebury judicial system concluded that I was not involved with the protests on March 2nd, [the summer investigator] still conducted his own identical investigation, as if there was still a chance that I was lying about my location during the protest,” Fouche-Channer told The Campus prior to reading the college’s synopsis. “His job was to figure out if [the Public Safety officer] was racially profiling me, not whether I was telling the truth or not. That had already been determined weeks before. Throughout this process I was guilty before I was proven innocent.” Last spring, when college judicial officers concluded that Fouche-Channer was not at the protest, a key piece of evidence used in the investigation was Wi-Fi logs that showed her location on the night of March 2. The logs were taken from IT’s wireless network interface and required Fouche-Channer’s express permission to release. During the course of that investigation last spring, an official in the college’s IT department submitted a written statement to judicial officers on Middlebury letterhead that pinpointed Fouche-Channer’s location during the time of the protest. “Given this data, it is reasonable to believe that the devices associated with [Fouche-Channer] were connected and active in the vicinity of Proctor Dining from approximately 5:33 p.m. through at least 7:25 p.m. on March 2,” the official said. “At 7:48 p.m., the student’s iPhone connected to a wireless access point in Athletics (Athletics-Nelson-ClimbingWall) and remained in the vicinity of Athletics until at least 9:48 p.m.” The judicial officer accepted these logs as proof that Fouche-Channer was not at the protest or Burger’s car. But now, per the synopsis of the summer investigator’s report, the college says that the Wi-Fi evidence Fouche-Channer gathered from the school’s IT department last spring “was not necessarily an accurate or reliable indicator of Wi-Fi activity.” “How is it possible that during an identical investigation, information supplied by the school is now not enough?” Fouche-Channer said in response to the report. The HRO also said that “because this is a confidential matter” he is not releasing a written decision electronically. He told Fouche-Channer that she can review the report in his office by appointment during business hours. In effect, Fouche-Channer, who lives in New York City, can only view the document by physically driving to campus. “Following a thorough investigation, Middlebury College has determined that a Public Safety officer did not violate Middlebury policies or engage in any form of profiling when he identified a former student as having participated in an incident on campus last March,” the college said in a statement to The Campus. “The officer’s identification of the former student as a participant was corroborated by other evidence, including eyewitness testimony.” The Spring Investigation After Fouche-Channer was accused of being at the protest, the Middlebury police requested an interview with her on March 20 on the basis of the Public Safety officer’s testimony. “We are trying to identify who might have assaulted Ms. Stanger,” the policeman wrote in an email. Fouche-Channer declined the interview. Private investigators, two from law firms in Burlington and one from a firm in Middlebury, asked Fouche-Channer on April 21 to “offer your statement.” She declined their interview request three times. One of two judicial deans, who met with students the investigators had identified, then sent a letter on May 9 charging Fouche-Channer with violating college policy. “As a result of allegations regarding your conduct at that event, concerns were raised that you may have violated Middlebury’s Demonstrations and Protests policy,” the dean wrote. The case would be heard by the community judicial board because it was a “significant” non-academic policy violation. The letter said Fouche-Channer could opt to have a “disposition without hearing,” in which students “who do not contest the charges” may ask a judicial dean to adjudicate unilaterally. In effect, she could either go before the judicial board or have the dean make a final judgment on her innocence or guilt. She chose neither option and instead contested the allegation. Fouche-Channer described to The Campus her quest to provide the dean with evidence that she was not at the protest — including the aforementioned Wi-Fi logs. She gathered five statements from friends and a coworker describing their interactions with her before, during and after the time of the protest. She forwarded blog posts for her Chinese class and emails she sent that evening. She also pulled a step counter from her phone that showed increased activity when she was at the gym. “There’s literally five or six testimonies that place me anywhere else but that protest, and this is actually up for debate because one Public Safety officer couldn’t decide one black person from another person in the dark?” Fouche-Channer said to the judicial dean. “That may be the case, I don’t know, but he says very clearly that he saw you,” the dean replied. When Fouche-Channer was first told that she had been accused of being at the car, she flatly said that was impossible. The judicial dean asked, “Do you have any way to prove or demonstrate that?” The dean said if Fouche-Channer could not supply conclusive evidence that she was in Proctor from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m., the case would go to a full hearing by the judicial board. If other evidence corroborated her claim, the dean said, “then we can 100 percent say that there’s no need to proceed.” On May 13, the dean ordered judgment in an email to Fouche-Channer. With IT’s Wi-Fi logs in hand, the dean wrote, “there does not seem to be a good reason to move forward with a hearing.” Fouche-Channer described how the judicial process affected her during her senior spring. “I spent hours consulting my mentors, collecting evidence, scheduling meetings and trying to manage my own stress and mental health during this process,” Fouche-Channer said. “It was extremely taxing, especially during my last finals week and last few days at Middlebury. On top of this I was also trying to finalize a job. This process made my last moments on campus so much more anxiety ridden and upsetting than you could imagine.” The Summer Investigation The saga did not end when Fouche-Channer graduated. Over the summer, she contacted Public Safety seeking an apology from the officer whom she said had racially profiled her. This prompted the formal internal investigation over the summer into whether the officer violated Middlebury’s anti-discrimination policy. On June 30, the aforementioned summer investigator videochatted with Fouche-Channer to address her charge that the Public Safety officer racially profiled her. “What I can do is help to find out if [the officer] is a bigot,” the summer investigator said to Fouche-Channer. “And if he’s a bigot, and he falsely identified you because of your race or because of any other protected characteristic, then I personally don’t want him working at Middlebury College.” The investigator sought to determine whether Fouche-Channer was at Bill Burger’s car. On July 18, the investigator told her, “It has become clear that some additional information will be extremely helpful to an effort to corroborate your claims.” He asked Fouche-Channer to provide “all correspondence (emails, texts, social media posts, etc.) and all other work that you performed while you were at Proctor during the early evening hours of March 2, 2017,” as well as “copies of all of your correspondence (emails, texts, social media posts, etc.) with others from the time you left Proctor until the end of the day (midnight) on March 2, 2017.” The Campus spoke with one student who was at Bill Burger’s car and was contacted in August by the investigator. The student, who requested anonymity fearing retribution from the college, said the investigator asked where Fouche-Channer was during the day and night of March 2. The investigator also tried repeatedly to establish whether someone wearing pink was at the car, according to the student, who said definitively that Fouche-Channer was not at the car. “Throughout this investigative process there’s never been an attempt to hold administrators accountable,” the student said. “Their only focus is the ruthless and unrelenting path of trying to identify and punish students.” Fouche-Channer still maintains she was not at the protest. After the synopsis of the investigation was released on Tuesday, she criticized how her racial profiling complaint was handled. “The way that this case was processed is appalling. I have multiple pieces of evidence both supporting myself and opposing [the Public Safety officer’s] supposed innocence, but this still was not enough,” she said. “My advice to current students, especially those of color, is to beware of . . . the Middlebury safety system as a whole. Racial profiling and racism are alive in the very institutions set up to protect us.” A version of this story originally appeared online last Friday. This is an updated and expanded version. The Campus will continue reporting this story as it develops.
NEW YORK (SI) — If anyone deserves his spot on the Wheaties box, it’s the Olympic champion Michael Phelps. He’s the most decorated Olympian ever, having set world records in four consecutive Games. Though his specialty is the butterfly, he took to the front crawl for his race with a great white shark, which was televised July 24 on the Discovery Channel. But the ubiquitous stroke known as freestyle wasn’t used professionally until another American champion perfected it: Charles Meldrum Daniels of New York, born 100 years and three months before the Baltimore Bullet. Daniels developed the stroke from the old-school “trudgen,” an unwieldy combination of a one-sided overhead stroke and a scissor kick. He replaced it with a six-beat flutter kick and a continuous stroke pattern. English gentlemen, who had dominated the sport since the 1800s, considered the front crawl to be barbaric and “un-European,” and continued to swim only the breaststroke in competition. That is, until Daniels started beating everyone in the pool. He went abroad to England in 1905, a year after his Olympic debut in St. Louis, to swim against the best British swimmers in their home waters. He came home undefeated. “In five years Daniels has lifted American swimming from the rut in which it lay and placed it on par with other nations,” wrote Daniels’s trainer in the Pittsburgh Press after he won the 100-meter freestyle in the 1908 London Games. But Daniels did more than put the U.S. on par—he made it a powerhouse. He is the reason why swimmers now use the American crawl during freestyle events. Daniels was born in 1885 in Dayton, Ohio, and moved to New York City as a young child. He learned how to swim at age 12. He joined the New York Athletic Club and was introduced to competitive swimming. At 19, Daniels became the first American to win an Olympic medal in swimming, which he did in St. Louis on Sept. 5, 1904. It was a silver medal in the men’s 100-yard freestyle, held in a man-made lake in the heart of the city. Over his career, he won eight Olympic medals: three golds, a silver and a bronze in St. Louis, a gold in Athens in 1906, and a gold and a bronze in London in 1908. This eight-medal total was an Olympic record that stood until the 1972 Games in Munich, when American swimmer Mark Spitz broke it. Spitz also won seven gold medals in that Olympics, another record that stood until Phelps won eight in the 2008 Beijing Games. At one point in 1911, Daniels held world freestyle records at every distance from 25 yards to one mile. He posted 14 world records within a period of four days in 1905. “I am going to stop racing after this spring,” he told the San Francisco Call in 1911, reflecting on his career. “Understand, after I retire—if there are life preservers enough to go around, I shall simply crawl into one and float until some kind-hearted soul picks me up. No, siree; I won’t even swim ashore.” Daniels became a squash and bridge champion at the New York Athletic Club. The year after his retirement, he purchased 5,000 acres of land in the Adirondacks, New York, with his wife, Florence Goodyear, an heiress to a vast timber fortune. Daniels built a 9-hole golf course on his estate called Sabattis Park. The course entertained some noted players, who spent their summers on the property. (Phelps is also an amateur golfer. He holed a 159-foot putt at the Dunhill Links in 2012 in what is thought to be the longest televised putt ever.) Despite his pledge not to race again, Daniels continued to swim on the lake beside his golf course. He was an early riser and made a ritual out of his morning workouts. He would swim two miles across Bear Pond and have a servant meet him with hot coffee and that day’s New York Tribune. When he retired, Daniels wanted to be remembered for something other than his swimming. Along with his wife, Daniels founded Tarnedge Foxes, the oldest silver fox ranch in the U.S. Daniels was also an avid hunter, finding game in Mexico and on African safaris. He filled an entire trophy room in his mansion with huge animal heads, including rhinoceros and water buffalo. To this day, several original buildings remain on the property, which is now a wilderness camp for the Boy Scouts. The mansion was torn down in 1973. The animal heads still hang in a big red barn. Daniels moved to California in 1943, where he made headlines working as a swim instructor for the Army during World War II. He disappeared from the swimming world for a number of years. When he was inducted into the first class of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965, no one knew where he was. Daniels resurfaced in 1972, but had gone nearly blind. He died the next year in Carmel Valley Village, California. “There seem to be rhythm and music and poetry in his swimming,” wrote the San Francisco Call in 1911. The quote was describing Daniels, but anyone who remembers Phelps barreling down his lane in Beijing or London or Rio de Janiero could say the same. Perhaps in Phelps, we see that a part of Daniels still lives on. That, through the beat of his flutter kick, he simply became music.
Michael Moss, a rising senior from the class of 2018, died on Thursday, Aug. 17, after an extended illness. Michael, a joint major in environmental studies and conservation biology, was expected to complete his degree this fall and graduate on March 1, 2018. Middlebury awarded him an honorary bachelor’s degree shortly after his death. At Middlebury he played on the men’s rugby club team and was a member of the yoga club. He was on the dean’s list and a college scholar. He attended the Middlebury Spanish language school in summer 2015. He was a member of Ross Commons. Ann Hanson, his dean, said she knew and admired Michael. “He was an excellent and hardworking student,” she said. “He took his academic work seriously. He was loyal to his friends and he had a wonderful sense of humor.” “Mike was never one for making a big first impression,” said Ivan Zeavin-Moss ’16, one of his closest friends. “His kindness was subtle and understated. Mike was an excellent listener a shy talker. With that said, Mike had an amazing ability to build a community around him, wherever he went. Sharing was something he held as an indispensable part of getting to know people. He was never eager to impress people with his own achievements; he pursued what was near and dear to him and didn’t particularly care if no one else participated. He epitomized humility and ducked the spotlight. He would hate an article celebrating his name, but there’s way too much love in the world for him to let it go unwritten.” “Mike was a rare persona, a friend to so many different groups of people on campus,” said Arnav Adhikari ’16, another friend. “His ability to bring humor and compassion everywhere he went was incredible to witness. I’ll miss my long drives in his Subaru with his trusty wooden hiking staff (which almost became a part of our friend group), his knack for spouting off obscure bird facts, and turning leftover pasta into a masterpiece of Italian cuisine. Mike was a force of kindness, one that I feel so immensely lucky to have encountered in my time at Middlebury.” Professor Steve Trombulak, Michael’s advisor whom he worked closely with, spent many pre-dawn mornings with Moss at “The Sanctuary,” a nearby area where Trombulak conducts bird research with students. “We shared a lot of mornings watching the sun come up over the Green Mountains and the Otter Creek, opening row upon row of mist nets to catch the birds migrating through the Middlebury College Teaching and Research Floodplain Forest Natural Area,” Trombulak said in an interview with the college newsroom. “Each bird we banded and released formed one more connection for us with the natural world, one more neighbor in the wider ecosystem we were privileged to participate in.” Michael is survived by his parents, Bob Moss and Michela Nonis, of New York, and his sister, Alessandra. The family will have a memorial service to celebrate his life on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Rubin Museum in New York City. For more information, contact Bob Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty could not agree to a nonbinding resolution that would have condemned students who obstruct speech they disagree with, deciding to postpone it until the fall. Instead professors approved a separate plan to have a “deliberative dialogue” on free speech, ensuring the Charles Murray saga extends into another school year. The votes came at a three-hour faculty meeting on May 16 in Wilson Hall. There the faculty established a working group that would meet this fall to devise policies that promote “every community member’s freedom and full participation.” The plan made no official policy changes to protest rules or judicial processes. It delegated that task to the working group. Several faculty said that committing to a “deliberative dialogue” amounted to a four-month delay of pressing matters. “I don’t believe it is the appropriate time to go to bed on this issue,” said Michael Olinick, the math professor who introduced the tabled proposal. “I believe we’re doing our students a disservice without coming up with a statement of some substance about freedom of expression and its limits.” The college handbook currently encourages students to express their opinions publicly and privately as long as they are “orderly” and non-disruptive. It bars students from holding up banners or making noise that prevents the audience from seeing or hearing a speaker. This section of the handbook was the basis for last semester’s disciplinary crusade in which Middlebury hired an independent investigator to identify student protesters for punishment. “If we’re really concerned about freedom of speech then the students are the ones we should start with,” said Linus Owens, a sociology professor. “To the extent that we can vote on this while students are still being disciplined for their exercise of speech, I think is very soon — too soon.” The professors who spoke gave contrasting definitions of “freedom of speech.” Some said student protesters who shouted down Charles Murray were the ones silenced by the school’s investigation, which concluded on May 23. Others said the concept specifically protects controversial speech. “I’ve talked to many of my colleagues who come from an international background and for us the meaning of freedom of speech is not really that ambiguous,” said religion professor Ata Anzali, who is an Iranian national. “For many of us this is about how the situation can be easily flipped around against us.” Anzali was held in Iran for several days in January after President Trump issued Executive Order 13769, commonly known as the travel ban. He referenced an incident in which Fordham University banned a pro-Palestine student group because it was deemed too controversial. “I don’t see how voting on this now is going to change the discussion because we haven’t had the discussion yet,” said Patricia Saldarriaga, a professor of Spanish. She said the working group scheduled to meet this fall will be the place for debate. Jason Mittell of the film department said there was no chance the faculty could all agree on Olinick’s proposal by the end of the meeting. “I feel like you’re not going to let us go to bed for the summer,” he said directly to Olinick. “This motion is encouraging the divisiveness to return.” The faculty quickly debated a housekeeping measure that standardizes professional titles for non-tenured teachers. It passed with little fanfare, although a few professors asked to clarify whether they would be evaluated on research, teaching or both. The bill’s sponsors said that professors could choose one of those factors. The faculty also announced that the Crest Room in the student center would be converted into a faculty lounge from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be available to students in the evenings, they said. The proposal did not specify whether the room would need to be renovated. A proposal to certify a double major in education passed later by a near-unanimous vote. The major would be for students seeking licensure as elementary or secondary teachers. The education department will still provide a minor for students who aren’t seeking a teacher’s license. The changes are effective this fall term. The faculty then voted unanimously to move into “executive session,” where President Laurie L. Patton gave closed-door remarks that lasted half an hour. Reporters were forced to leave the room. Faculty rules say that discussions and actions in the executive session “will be held in confidence until released by proper authority.” But David Dorman, the faculty moderator, refused to release any information. “No notes were taken during the executive session and no information was or is being released,” he said.
Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth and final in a series that examines the current financial state of the College. MONTEREY, Calif. — Enrollment at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies has increased over the past three years as part of a revenue-growing program. The increases coincide with a budget crisis facing the Middlebury corporation, which has been forced to cut spending and find new revenue streams. Monterey became an affiliate of the College in December 2005, when its enrollment totaled 698 full-time students. That number peaked at 788 in fall 2008, and declined over all during the Great Recession until it reached a low of 661 in 2014, when the Institute adopted a new enrollment strategy. It grew to 673 in the school year beginning in fall 2015, and this year is currently at 740. Enrollment is expected to grow by 7 percent for the next academic year, to 795, according to Rebecca Henriksen, the Institute’s dean of enrollment. Tuition, room and board for the coming school year costs $54,666. Other expenses make the total estimated cost $62,022, according to the Institute’s website. A cost section on the website says that 88 percent of Monterey students receive scholarships, including merit awards and need-based financial aid. In December 2013, Middlebury revised its governance structure to incorporate Monterey under one of three trustee committees known as Boards of Overseers. The College, the Language Schools and the Institute each is governed by one of these boards, which convene in Old Chapel three times per year when the trustees arrive. Middlebury leadership considers its three constituent institutions as “One Middlebury” in all of its decisions and discussions. “Monterey is an important part of the Middlebury family,” Henriksen said. “While the enrollment growth at the Institute is a part of a broader revenue generation plan for Middlebury, the expectation is that the Institute should be managed in such a way to be financially healthy and viable on its own.” The Institute has partnered with international education programs like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, the Fulbright program and Teach for America since it adopted new strategies in 2014. Jeff Dayton-Johnson, the Institute’s dean, said that these “institutional partnerships” were intended to increase the number of applications, especially from high-quality applicants who fit the Institute’s mission of global engagement. Officials at Monterey also professionalized the admissions recruiting process and the Institute’s overall marketing strategy, Dayton-Johnson said. He attributed the increased enrollment since 2014 to these measures, along with the strategic partnerships and a greater use of technology in the admissions office. Administrators plan to ensure that enrollment reaches desired levels by continuing these tactics. “It starts with having a very clear enrollment target and a shared responsibility for meeting the target,” Dayton-Johnson said. He said the Institute was committed to strategies like marketing, monitoring of enrollment indicators and strong partnerships. “We also need to keep our eyes open to the skills, competencies and academic areas that prospective students and employers are looking for,” he said. As it works to increase enrollment, the Institute is working to attract students from other Middlebury schools under what Dayton-Johnson called a fundamental relationship. The Institute guarantees a $10,000 “legacy” scholarship to graduates of any Middlebury school and their family members. It also offers an accelerated graduate degree option for graduates of the College, who can complete a master’s degree at the Institute more quickly than other students — in about one-and-a-half years, Dayton-Johnson said. A growing number of current Middlebury College students are participating in academic programs at the Institute. These include courses taught simultaneously on both campuses by faculty from both Middlebury and Monterey — one of them, titled “Water in an Insecure World,” was offered this spring. Students at the College can also participate in “study away” at Monterey for the term, and a summer internship at the Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the leading research institute for nuclear nonproliferation policy. Will DiGravio contributed reporting.
Middlebury College announced today that it has met its goal of a net zero carbon emissions footprint by the end of 2016, fulfilling a commitment made in 2007 by then-president Ronald D. Liebowitz and making Middlebury the fourth college campus in the U.S. to declare itself carbon neutral. Nearly all of the current carbon footprint will be offset by carbon credits earned from a land trust agreement on 2,100 acres of College-owned forest land in the Bread Loaf Wilderness in Ripton, Vt. The tract will be protected through a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust. The College established the Bread Loaf Preservation Fund in 2014 to preserve the land “in perpetuity.” The fund is financed in part by the Moore Charitable Foundation, which is chaired by Louis Bacon ’79, a conservation philanthropist and a College trustee. Bluesource LLC, a privately-held firm based in Utah, conducted field studies on the tract in October and November to estimate the amount of carbon sequestered in the forest. Another party will have to independently verify this number before the College can apply to the American Carbon Registry, a nonprofit organization that issues official carbon credits that can be bought and sold on a market. Once the College receives its credits — which are expected to exceed the 12,905 metric tons of carbon necessary to reach net zero emissions — it will sell the remainder of them. The idea for carbon neutrality at Middlebury first came about in the late 1990s. It gained traction when the Environmental Council started a project called the Carbon Reduction Initiative in 2002. They presented a report to the Board of Trustees recommending that the College reduce its carbon footprint by levels specified in the Kyoto Protocol — 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The report proposed projects that could reduce the College’s fossil fuel consumption levels. The trustees approved one of these projects, the biomass gasification plant, in 2006. The plant cost $12 million and burns about 24,000 tons of woodchips purchased from local timber companies. During gasification, wood chips are super-heated in an oxygen deprived environment to the point that they smolder and release gases. The gases are then ignited to heat the boiler, producing steam. The filters in the biomass facility are rated to remove 99.7 percent of the particulates from the exhaust. Biomass gasification at this plant is considered carbon neutral becauses the forests that supply the wood chips are growing at a faster rate than timber is being harvested. Local foresters frequently verify the growth rate of the forests, according to Mike Moser, director of Facilities Services. In 2006, student activists in Sunday Night Group, emboldened by the trustee’s approval of the biomass plant, proposed to then-president Liebowitz that the College pledge to become carbon neutral. He agreed to let them present to the trustees at their next meeting. In May 2007, with Liebowitz’s backing, the trustees formally resolved to make the campus carbon neutral by the end of 2016. Beginning in 2012, the College financed three solar projects to source some of its electricity. One solar farm is along College Street, across from the recycling center; another is called South Ridge on state Route 7 in Middlebury; and a third is being constructed at Wilber Electric in Pittsford, Vt. The College has also financed 87 renewable energy projects, including a manure digester being constructed at Goodrich Farm in Salisbury, Vt., which will turn cow manure into methane gas that can be used to heat campus buildings. At the end of fiscal year 2016, carbon emissions totaled 13,539 metric tons. For the past nine years, Middlebury College Snow Bowl has purchased an average of 590 metric tons annually in carbon credits from Native Energy, which funds renewable energy projects and is based in Burlington, Vt. The sequestered carbon in the Bread Loaf forest will provide at least 12,905 metric tons worth of carbon offsets, enough to yield a balance of zero carbon emissions. The College was emitting 14,473 metric tons of carbon at the close of fiscal year 2015. It reached neutrality in the past fiscal year in part by consuming 70 percent less in No. 6 oil and using compressed natural gas to make up the lost energy. But the offsets certified by the American Carbon Registry for the sequestered carbon in the Bread Loaf forest — offsetting 85 percent of 2015 emissions alone — were the most significant factor in reaching net zero carbon emissions since the biomass plant was completed in 2009. “An awful lot of carbon neutrality is definitional,” said Churchill Franklin ’71 of Cornwall, Vt., a benefactor of the Franklin Environmental Center, in a video posted on the College’s Vimeo channel. “By some definitions, there’s plenty of work still to do.” Credits from the sequestered carbon will hold their value for five years, according to Jack Byrne, director of sustainability integration. A third party must reassess the sequestration credit values by conducting field work at the five year mark, and can adjust the values if the studies show changes. If the credits lose all their value, the College will have to find another solution for maintaining carbon neutrality, Byrne said. But the College is always looking to make the campus more energy efficient and to do more with less, he said. Representatives for the College projected pride in making the announcement today, reflecting on the success of an idea nearly sixteen years in the making. “I am thrilled to announce this significant moment in Middlebury’s history of environmental leadership,” said Laurie L. Patton, the College’s president, in a statement. “I encourage the campus community to pause and reflect on the importance of this achievement and recognize the visionary work of so many people who brought us to this point.” Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs, said that achieving net zero emissions was a collaborative project that was driven considerably by student input. “This is really about an institution committing to bold sustainability goals, collaborating and innovating with learning and leadership at the core,” Jenks-Jay said. “Middlebury’s carbon neutrality achievement demonstrates how a community can engage in bringing about important environmental solutions — solutions that are more important each day.” The announcement comes amid President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition to the White House, which has dogged environmental activists because of Trump’s promises to bring back coal and to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement signed by President Obama earlier this year. When asked about how President-elect Trump’s environmental agenda will affect the College’s sustainability efforts, Byrne said he sees the College continuing to serve as a model for other institutions seeking to take local initiative. “A lot of the significant progress in this area has taken place at the local and state level over the years,” Byrne said. “What goes on at the federal and global level is extremely important, and policy and tone matter a lot. But in the absence of that — which we may have, or we may have less of — I think it’s important to continue to show how you can do this on your own.” The College, he said, “can promote and inspire and encourage others — not just educational institutions — to show that you can do this environmentally, economically and morally.”
Two student leaders of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national evangelical Christian organization that has a chapter at Middlebury College, were asked to resign their leadership posts by other members in the chapter in January 2015 because of their sexuality. The two students chose not to speak about the incident until now. The students, Jonathan O’Dell ’18 and Josiah Stork ’15, were approached several times in 2014 by another student board member, who has since graduated. According to Stork, the student told the two that Intervarsity (IVCF) had a national policy against openly gay student leaders, meaning O’Dell and Stork would have to step down. The board member who asked the two to step down declined multiple requests for comment, and instead directed The Campus to Chris Nichols, the IVCF’s regional director for New England. Nichols denied that such a national policy against gay student leaders ever existed. “There is (and has been) no national policy in place in InterVarsity that bars student leaders from serving if they are openly gay,” said Nichols in an email to The Campus on Oct. 4. Nichols did say that the IVCF expects its leaders “to affirm our doctrinal basis and to share a common approach to faith with the group.” According to IVCF’s website, the doctrinal basis is “the basic Biblical truths of Christianity.” Interpreting Scripture While IVCF does not explicitly prohibit gay students from serving as leaders, the student who asked them to step down was interpreting the IVCF policy as Biblical tenet, O’Dell and Stork said. As much of this was going on, the College IVCF chapter organized a speaker series during Winter Term 2015. The series featured regional directors from IVCF leading discussions based on “close scripture reading.” The series explicitly marketed gender and sexuality as its main theme. Nichols was one of the speakers at the series and spoke about passages from Romans 1:1-32. The chapter describes “sinful” acts of humanity that provoke God’s wrath. “Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error,” the passage reads (Romans 1:27). Later, it continues, “They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die — yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them” (Romans 1:32). According to Stork, Nichols’ speech affirmed a traditional homophobic interpretation of these passages, which have been interpreted in many other ways within the religion. O’Dell and Stork reported their concerns to the College Chaplain’s Office in January 2015. Throughout that spring, O’Dell and Stork met with the Chaplain of the College Laurie Jordan and the other MIVCF leaders during what O’Dell called “negotiations.” A member of the Chaplain’s Office served as a moderator during these meetings, O’Dell said. “We intentionally did not involve the Judicial Board or the Dean of Students in the process,” Stork said. “We didn’t want to cast a negative light on the religion as a whole because of the actions of a few bigots.” By notifying only the Chaplain’s Office about the College chapter’s requests, no administrator was made aware of potential violations of the College’s non-discrimination policy. The Chaplain’s Office is a strictly confidential resource, and so it could not relay any information about the incident to proper disciplinary channels. “In our roles as Chaplains we welcome students to speak with us in a safe, private and confidential environment, and we hold that trust dearly,” said Chaplain Jordan. “Of course, in any given situation, students may speak for themselves, but we will always honor our commitment to confidentiality.” Revising Policies Beginning in April 2015, MIVCF’s leaders began revising their constitution at the request of Stork and O’Dell. All student organizations need to have a constitution in order to be officially recognized by the College, and thus eligible for funding from the SGA, said Ellen McKay, a staff member at the Scott Center for Religious Life who directs the Religious Life Council. The amendments included a provision that allows the entire membership to call new elections by a majority vote. A description of the proposal said it would make leadership changes a formal matter, rather than dependent on informal conversations among the leaders. On May 12, 2015, a quorum of members voted in favor of adopting the proposed amendments. The membership clause of the constitution has always included the Middlebury non-discrimination statement. However, the statement only ensures non-discrimination in membership and does not specify a policy on leadership positions. According to Stork, this was a point of contention. “MIVCF shall not discriminate in its membership or activities on the basis of race, creed, color, place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or marital status,” it reads. MIVCF’s funding is granted by the Religious Life Council, which receives a lump sum and then distributes it to all religious student organizations. The SGA Finance Committee oversees the Religious Life Council, but the council has broad leeway in determining exactly how their funding is allocated. “As stewards of the student activity fee, we make it our priority to fund organizations equitably,” said Kevin Benscheidt ’17, chair of the SGA Finance Committee. “This news raises interesting questions about the role of the SGA in regards to censorship. However, I can assure you we were never made aware of any discriminatory practices.” Student organizations are required to undergo a review process every three years, in which they submit reports of their activity to the SGA Constitution Committee. The committee last reviewed MIVCF in Jan. 2015 and approved the MIVCF’s status as a registered organization. The committee will conduct its next review of MIVCF in Jan. 2018. “Potentially discriminatory practices are definitely taken into account when reviewing a student organization,” said Nick Delehanty ’17, chair of the SGA Constitution Committee. “Notice of an organization failing to comply with College policy would definitely call into question a student organization’s status as an officially recognized organization during the review process.” National Conversation The conversation surrounding IVCF’s beliefs on human sexuality is happening at the national level as well. On Oct. 7, TIME reported that Intervarsity Christian Fellowship USA, the national office, told its 1,300 staff members that “they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality,” effective November 11, 2016, reads the TIME article. According to the article, the national office called the decision a process of “involuntary termination” for any staff member who comes forward and disagrees with its positions on human sexuality. Staffers are being asked to come forward voluntarily if they disagree with the theological position. TIME called it a “theological purge.” In a response statement made the same day, IVCF claimed that the TIME report was not true. “No InterVarsity employee will be fired for their views on gay marriage,” it states. TIME reported that the decision was the outcome of a four-year internal review on what the Bible teaches about human sexuality. IVCF confirmed that it had been re-examining its position on human sexuality through a four-year process in which “we reiterated our beliefs on human sexuality and invited our staff to study and to reflect on how our beliefs about Scripture and our hermeneutic approaches to Scripture lead us to those conclusions,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity vice president and director of campus engagement in the IVCF statement. It continues, “InterVarsity’s process invited all employees to take 18 months to work through a nine-part curricula, read a variety of resources, and study the relevant biblical texts to conclude whether they were in agreement with InterVarsity’s unchanged position.” “It’s clear that InterVarsity has their conception of what they believe but that they’re not really being tolerant of a lot of other beliefs that are still within the framework of Christianity,” said Stork. “I think InterVarsity’s by-line has often been, ‘come and see what you believe, figure out who you think Jesus Christ is.’ But, assuming the TIME piece is right, asking people who disagree with their belief patterns to leave is narrowing the score of what they can direct students to, and what they can really claim as far as letting people explore belief.”