The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter: Faculty and students decry Osgood

We the undersigned write as Grinnellians dedicated to free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas, as faculty members and students united in promoting Grinnell College’s core values of excellence in a liberal education, diversity, and social responsibility.

Last fall, a group of faculty members wrote first to the Board of Trustees, and then to the Scarlet & Black to protest what they considered a grave injustice done to a member of our community. This protest was quickly diverted by allegations that the protesting faculty were acting inappropriately. One faculty member was issued a cease-and-desist order. President Osgood appeared to confirm these allegations in an interview in the Scarlet & Black, and the Board of Trustees announced to the entire community that faculty members protesting injustice were guilty of cultivating “a rift between students and members of the administration.”

As the number of concerned faculty increased, President Osgood agreed to rescind the cease-and-desist letter, thereby affirming the principle of freedom of speech on campus. The president also agreed to publicly address allegations of faculty misconduct and voice his support of the faculty. In his two drafts of this still-unpublished statement, however, the president could not bring himself to affirm that no faculty misconduct had occurred. Why? Because, he explained, he had not investigated the charges and would not investigate them. Concerned faculty and the president reached an impasse: the faculty sought his support and he could not give it. Subsequently, the chair of the faculty spoke on this issue in an official meeting of the faculty, stating that there was not strong evidence to support these allegations. To this day, President Osgood has not issued the promised public letter of support—though he has continued to contribute a column for the Scarlet & Black (the “RKO Corner”).

We the undersigned are profoundly disappointed that President Osgood has participated in a strategy that blames the messenger for delivering bad news. There are genuine problems on this campus, and they need to be discussed. The administration’s strategy of besmirching the reputation of concerned faculty members does not make those problems go away. It simply threatens a traditionally strong relationship between the faculty and students of this college, sowing fear and distrust when what we need most is encouragement to speak freely with one another and to speak out against injustice.

The tenacity with which the administration continues to avoid transparency and accountability in its practices only underscores the need for candid discussion on campus. We call upon President Osgood and his administration to commit to the very principles of free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas that have been threatened by its actions this year.

James Anthofer ’11
Kaitlin Alsofrom ’10
Todd Armstrong, Russian
George Barlow, English
Becca Bernstein ’10
Allison Brinkhorst ’11
Victoria Brown, History
Chris Bulbulia ’10
Robert Cadmus, Physics
David Campbell, Biology
Douglas Caulkins, Anthropology
Umeed Chowdhury ’12
Scott Cook, Chinese & Japanese
Ted Cooper ’09
Alex Conlon ’09
Chris Davies ’10.5
Brian Davis ’09
Vince Eckhart, Biology
Charles Frantz ’11
Sam Gault ’09
Misha Ghadiri ’12
Ed Gilday, Religious Studies
Latona Giwa ’10
Raquel Greene, Russian
Dodge Greenley ’11
Katherine Gregersen ’09
Jackie Groves ’09
Bob Grey, Political Science
Dayna Hamann ’09
Timothy Hederman ’10
Kelly Herold, Russian
Joe Hiller ’12
Ben Howort ’09
Evan Hunsley ’11
Jess Issacharoff ’09
Kathy Kamp, Anthropology
Adhiti Kannan ’10
Shuchi Kapila, English
Paul Kramer ’09
Leah Krandel ’09
Adam Lange ’11
Emma Lawler ’09
Molly McArdle ’09
Kent McClelland, Sociology
Mary McDonald ’10
Johanna Meehan, Philosophy
Mark Montgomery, Economics
Courtney Moore ’11
Eric Nost ’09
Dylan O’Donoghue ’11
Tim O’Keefe ’09
Jessie Orozco ’09
Jonathon Patkowski ’09
Brian Perbix ’09
Irene Powell, Economics
Jeff Raderstrong ’09
Julia Reese ’10
Niki Reiner ’07
Dan Reynolds, German
Molly Rideout ’10
Tyler Roberts, Religious Studies
John Rommereim, Music
Jared Rubinstein ’10
Kelly Ryan ’09
Ralph Savarese, Engish
Zoë Schein ’12
Alan Schrift, Philosophy
Margie Scribner ’10
Parvoneh Shirgir ’09
Erik Simpson, English
Margaret Smith ’09
Emily Stiever ’09
Rachel Smith ’11
Betsy Strewler ’11
Jessica Southard ’10
Mark Sullivan ’10
John David Stone, Computer Science
Maria Tapias, Anthropology
Anatoly Vishevsky, Russian
Lindsey Walter ’10.5
John Whittaker, Anthropology
Neal Wepking ’10
Jaysen Wright ’09
Hannah Yourd ’09

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