Letter to the editor: A call for leadership change

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The Linfield Review strives to post a variety of opinions from the Linfield community. Letters to the editor do not reflect the views of The Review, its editorial staff or writers.

To the Linfield Community, 

Since the allegations against former trustee David Jubb were made public in the fall of 2019, our broader Linfield community has been engaged in difficult conversations around issues of power, sexual misconduct, and safety. Under current leadership, too often these discussions have been one-sided as opposed to mutual dialogues grounded in genuine empathy. The Board Chair, the President, and other university leaders have failed to take the meaningful steps necessary to create and maintain a safe, inclusive, and collaborative environment at Linfield. We believe it is important to acknowledge the seriousness of the events of the past two years. We affirm our commitment to the dignity and well-being of Linfield students, and we firmly reject the perpetuation of negative communication climates that center messages of blame, denial, and misinformation.  

In the face of persistent calls from faculty, staff, and students for a path of healing, dialogue, and transparency, university leaders have pursued a harmful strategy of minimization, deflection, and hierarchical unilateral decision making. We have witnessed blatant victim blaming from leadership in community-wide and broader public messages, persistent claims that Linfield’s current Title IX processes are adequate in spite of strong evidence to the contrary from student and community survey data, outside investigations that have drawn conclusions based on inaccurate or incomplete information provided by our leaders, the payment of a large sum of money to a sexual assault survivor to settle a civil lawsuit against Linfield, damage to Linfield’s reputation from the mishandling of messaging in leadership statements to the media and in leadership responses to outside organizations, and most recently a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Linfield by a tenured faculty member who was abruptly fired without due process after publicly advocating for meaningful actions to address these issues.   

 The entire campus community–faculty, staff, students, administration, and trustees–needs additional training in what it means to foster an inclusive environment, including a common understanding of power, sexual misconduct, and safety, as well as experiential training in specific techniques for counteracting oppression. This type of engaged learning about power and oppression cannot be successful under the purview of a leadership team that continues to perpetuate an environment of competition, control, alienation, fear, and domination. A meaningful effort to bring our community together to address the various harms of the past two years will only be successful with an approach that centers empathy, listening, honesty, compassion, and mutual understanding.  

Trust in leadership has been lost, and decisive actions must be taken swiftly to preserve the health of Linfield in vital areas such as recruiting and retaining students, fundraising, and institutional accreditation. The perpetuation of a top-down hierarchical approach to issues of power, sexual misconduct, and safety may further re-traumatize sexual assault survivors in our community and cannot provide a legitimate path for healing and reconciliation. We affirm our ongoing commitment to and engagement with the important work of confronting oppression, building equity, and sustaining a collaborative environment at Linfield. In the interest of protecting Linfield students, deepening trust, promoting equity and inclusion, increasing morale, and ensuring a successful future for Linfield, we call for an immediate, public, and significant change in university leadership. 

 

Jackson B. Miller, Theatre and Communication Arts, he/him/his 

Joelle Murray, Physics, she/her/hers 

Yanna Weisberg, Psychology, she/her/hers  

Leonard Finkelman, Philosophy, he/him/his 

Jennifer Linder, Psychology, she/her/hers 

Dr. Anton Belov, Music 

Jeff D. Peterson, Sociology/Wine Studies, he/him/his 

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, English and Gender Studies, she/her/hers 

Jeff McNamee, HHPA, he/him/his 

Tanya Tompkins, Psychology, she/her/hers 

Nancy Broshot, Environmental Studies, she/her/hers 

Jennifer Williams, Religious Studies, she/her/hers 

Chris Gilly-Forrer, Theatre Arts, class of 2013, he/him/his 

Madison Brunkhart, class of 2020 

Savannah Nicole Hurst, Alum, she/her/hers 

Jeremy Odden, Education, class of 2015, he/him/his 

Jake Evans, Alum, he/him/his 

Elizabeth Fryer  

Rachel Bradshaw, Creative Writing Undergrad Alum, she/her 

Samantha Palmer, class of 2015, she/her/hers 

Nicole Smithson, class of 2003, she/her/hers 

Jordan Tate, Junior (Math, Secondary Ed), he/him/his 

Avery Witty, Sophomore (Theatre/Secondary ED), they/them 

Maran O’Meara, Alumni, she/her/hers  

Cassidy Mace, class of 2017, she/her/ hers 

Weston Lawrence, Psychology, he/him/his 

Aubrey Jarvis, Literature, class of 2017, she/her 

Heather Minton, class of 2004, she/her/hers  

Allison Stones (Elliott), class of 2012, she/her/hers 

Alleta Maier, Physics & Mathematics, they/them 

Rob Gaffney, English and History, class of 2006, he/him/his 

Heather Moreland, Math & Physics, class of 1998, she/her/hers 

Cameron Gilmore, Biology, class of 2007 

Grant Vermillion, class of 2017, he/him 

Camille Weber, English, she/her/hers 

Dinah Greenfield, Theatre Arts, class of 2007, she/hers 

Ruth Rogers, Nursing alum, she/her/hers 

Colleen Johnson, class of 2021, they/she 

Rosa Johnson, JAMS, class of 2017, she/her 

Shanna Langley (Peaden), class of 2012, she/her 

Olivia Marquardt  

Laura Pyeatt, Elementary Education‚ class of 2019, she/her/hers   

Tanis Farlow, class of 2019, she/her/hers 

Christina Simpson (Crane), class of 2010 

Alex Keyes, Chemistry, class of 2017, they/them 

Gerald Turner, Biology, class of 2008, he/him/his 

Molly Chew, Philosophy and Spanish, class of 2012, she/her/hers 

Melissa Greenaway, class of 2012, she/her 

Kristie Castanera, Creative Writing, class of 2014, she/her/hers 

Pablo A. Herrera-Fuentes, Exercise Science  

Margo Stewart, Elementary Education Student, they/them/theirs 

Robert Murphy Jackson, Theatre Arts, class of 2017, he/him 

Christopher Reetz, Sophomore, Biology 

Joella Cordell, Theatre Arts, she/her/hers 

Chelsea Hall, Mathematics, class of 2011, she/her 

Kiana Anderson, English, class of 2020, she/her 

Molly Johnson, class of 2016 & 2020 

Clementine Dorsey, class of 2021, she/her/hers 

Sophia Collins, Sociology & Psychology, she/her 

Jamika Scott, Creative Writing, class of 2010, she/her/hers 

David Magnello, class of 2022 

Christine Lundeen, Psychology, class of 1999 

Grace DeBiccari, class of 2012, she/her 

Matt Carleson, Physics Alum, he/him 

Eric Shepard, Anthropology & Political Science, class of 1995, he/him/his 

Luke Fia, class of 2021, he/his/him 

Mollie Jensen, alum, she/her/hers 

Jessica (Williams) Colburn, General Science, class of 2007, she/her/hers  

Shannon Valdivia, class of 1993, she/her/hers 

Alyssa Kuwamoto, Management, class of 2020 

Megan Sparks, class of 2019 

Emily Hickman (Braveman), class of 2010 

Jamie Friedman, English, she/her/hers 

Alyssa Kuwamoto, Business, class of 2020, she/hers 

Lara Martz, class of 2019, she/her/hers 

Emma Brissey, Political Science and History, she/her 

Chloe Brady, Psychology, she/her/hers 

Jennifer Nordstrom, Mathematics, she/her 

Katie Gallagher, Literature, she/her/hers 

Joan Paddock, Music, she/her/hers