Published On: Sun, Nov 13th, 2016

Freakout at Whitman College

Whitman College President Kathleen Murray forwarded her message “to the campus community” to the parents of students who are paying the freight. I’m guessing that the parent who forwarded her message to us isn’t entirely thrilled to be paying for this particular lesson and is in need of a different kind of healing from the one that President Murray has on offer:

From: Kathleen Murray [email address deleted]
To: [deleted]
Sent: Wed, Nov 9, 2016 2:32 pm
Subject: [Whitman College] Message for our community

Dear parents,

I want to share the message below that I’ve sent to the campus community.

Kathy
———————

Dear members of the Whitman community,

I write to you today in the wake of a presidential election that has been both divisive and contentious. I know this morning much of the country and campus is dealing with feelings of uncertainty and concern for our nation, regardless of political beliefs.

I am traveling today and am feeling especially isolated without the support of the Whitman community. For me, Whitman has become a place where I’ve found support and strength and I know that is the case for many of us.

Now more than ever we need to come together as a Whitman Community to support each other, to process and understand the implications of the election, and to provide spaces to listen to each other and hear other perspectives.

The Whitman Community is made up of people with many different beliefs, but it is those that we share that define us: inclusion, respect for difference, care for one another, willingness to engage in challenging conversations, and a shared commitment to making Whitman a safe environment for every member of our community.

I imagine the conversation about how we do this is happening across campus in classes, offices and residential spaces. I’ve also asked the staff of the Intercultural Center to make the Glover Alston Center available throughout today and tomorrow as a space where members of our community can gather to share their thoughts, feelings and questions in a supportive environment. Pizza will be provided starting at lunch today and through the evening.

I especially want to encourage supervisors to find ways to allow staff to participate in these conversations as their work schedules allow.

This is just the beginning of a conversation in which there will be no easy answers, but it is that ongoing conversation that will allow our community and our country to begin to heal.

Kathy

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