Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
To: Audrey Bilger, President
From: Faculty Members Listed Below
Re: Our Shared Community Values
We write in response to your email of November 13, concerning “Our Shared Community Values.” Our most basic shared value as a college is that we abide by the principles of honor in our interactions with each other and our community. As the Community Constitution affirms, honor is built on trust. But trust is not possible when the President of the college implies that students calling for an end to violence are perpetuating hate speech; when the President of the college has vilified our community members involved in the walkout on campus; when the four Reed students who were arrested last week are singled out for intimidation without regard for their right to free speech or due process. Both our Dissent Policy and Public Speaking documents uphold the right to free speech and the right to express views that are not universally shared. We also question the neutrality and validity of labeling students’ chants for freedom as “hate speech”, and for drawing any comparison between their protests for a ceasefire and the heinous acts of the Kristallnacht. We see these unjust characterizations as a harmful overstep in authority that must be addressed. Instead of bringing our community together for our collective safety and around our common humanity, your letter reinforced the idea of opposing sides.
We call on you to repair the harm caused by your email and restore trust that the college will protect our most basic rights and share in our communal commitment to our principles of honor.
Yours in Community,
[Signatories redacted at the request of the faculty member who shared a copy of this letter with the Quest.]