An Alumnus’s Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
I know I’m not the first to write you on this subject, and I shan’t be the last. In fact, I imagine that several of you have received some rather testy notes from students or alumni. In short, you’re getting yelled at. Probably a bit.
But it’s hardly fair. You haven’t done any of this. You’re only getting heat because a man you hired has angered one of your primary constituencies, viz. alumni. The way I see it, you have a few options. You can make a stink about the fact that the villagers won’t get off your lawn, you can sue for peace, or you can plead ignorance. I’d encourage you to try and confront our grievance. Mr. Kroger is using the authority that your Board has delegated to him to impose new regulatory schemes and enforcement procedures and mechanisms, and we’re not pleased.
Let me be absolutely clear: if it is the Board’s judgment that such changes must be made in order that the College might thrive, most alumni would be keen to hear such an argument. And if the facts warrant such a judgment, many would support it. It has ever been thus at Reed. We are odd ducks, but we mostly know which way’s up. But what Mr. Kroger has done so far—and the censoring of Paideia syllabi is merely the latest in a series—indicates that he wishes to impose a new kind of order on the Reed Community. Such imposition is, in my view, a violation of the Honor Principle.
Does Mr. Kroger have your blessing in these efforts? Or is the Reed Community still more than a line in a brochure? Because if the spirit of honest and open inquiry is alive at Reed only so far as one man will allow it to go, that spirit dies.
—Charlie Peirson ’06