Monday, March 1, 2010

Response to Holloway, Franck and Vesta's letter to the Assembly

This letter [see post below] troubles me. I find it deeply hypocritical.

Holloway and Franck were two of the trustees who sent letters to the Nov. 15 Assembly repeating President Lindsay's talking points that the Assembly is dysfunctional and has no authority. They wrote these letters with less than a year of association with Shimer, at best a couple visits to campus, never having sat in on a class and never having even seen an Assembly in action. It seems to me this would be like someone walking into either Holloway or Franck's classrooms - they're both teachers - and, based on opinions of their new Dean, telling them that they don't know how to teach, their classrooms are and have been failures, and that they have no authority to continue teaching. Then, when it becomes clear that this sort of behavior risks killing the institution, the visitor returns urging Holloway, Franck and their students that what is needed now is "unity" and an ongoing commitment to "rational, respectful dialogue."

Mr. Franck, Mr. Holloway and Mr. Vesta: There is already unity at Shimer. It was expressed through overwhelming Assembly support, unanimous faculty support, widespread alumni support, and the support of 16 trustees for the mission of active citizenship. You knew this when you voted in favor of Mr. Lindsay's "mission statement", you knew it when you penned this letter, and you continue to ignore it.

How dare you ask the Shimer community for "unity" when you knowingly are responsible for its division? How dare you, with your glaring ignorance of our community, history and traditions, urge us to remain committed to "rational, respectful dialogue" after talking to us like troublesome children?

The Shimer community seeks nothing more than rational, respectful dialogue. Unfortunately, letters like this only further demonstrate Mr. Lindsay and his small group of trustees' unwillingness to participate in it. Instead, they engage in subterfuge, misrepresentation of the facts, and a blind commitment to their ideological prejudices. These facts demonstrate just how deeply these these people misunderstand Shimer College.

I entreat this core group that threatens to destroy Shimer to put aside their preconceptions and prejudices and try listening, really listening, to our community. Unfortunately, my experience tells me that this won't likely happen. If this is true, then I encourage Holloway, Franck, Vesta and Lindsay to resign, the sooner the better.


  1. Wasn't it the November assembly to which those letters were sent?

  2. No, this was a new letter sent to the most recent Assembly. Holloway and Franck did also send letters to the November Assembly meeting.