Category Archives: Administration

OP-ED: SGA President Taylor Custer ’15 Responds to Campus Endorsement

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In lieu of yesterday’s Campus endorsement of Caroline Walters ‘16.5 for SGA President, Taylor Custer, present SGA President and graduating senior wrote in with some personal reflections on the circumstance.

At middbeat, we thrive to create an inclusive, pulsing campus conversation on all issues, thus we are dedicated to considering and sharing all perspectives. Taylor’s reflection is not a reflection of the middbeat editorial staff’s personal opinions, but rather a platform for campus-wide critical thinking – so please share your thoughts below Taylor’s piece:

In Thursday morning’s issue of The Campus, the editorial board endorsed Caroline Walters for SGA President and Durga Jayaraman for Student Co-Chair of Community Council. Rather than providing any substantive discussion of the full slate of candidates or their platforms, however, the editorial board instead devoted the majority of its editorial to criticizing the current SGA for its “lack of leadership and results this year.​” As the President of the SGA, I felt it important to offer the student body an alternative view of the SGA’s performance this year.​ If anyone would like to respond or ask questions, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]:

Decide for Yourself

With less than a month left in the academic year, it seems that The Campus editorial board finally realized it has yet to take a firm, controversial position on any important issues related to student life this year. In this week’s issue, however, it decided to break the streak by endorsing Caroline Walters for SGA President. I have no issues with Caroline. I have met her once or twice, and she seems convivial and civic-minded. She is undeniably an SGA outsider. In fact, The Campus editorial board does her an injustice when it states that she has “attended a number of meetings in person;” she has attended exactly one. The editorial board also informs us that Caroline has “read the minutes for every meeting this year.” I believe Caroline. It seems like a responsible journalist, however, would want to allow the reader to make the call by providing some contextual information. Most of us, I imagine, would probably be hard-pressed to find the time to read the 263 single-spaced pages that constitute this year’s minutes.

So, why Caroline? As the only candidate with no SGA experience, she is apparently the only one who can be trusted to remedy the institution’s “lack of leadership and results.” The SGA, after all, has done nothing of value this year. We did not spend hours negotiating with administrators to ensure another tailgating scenario does not recur for a more important issue. We did not boost the number of MiddCourses reviews from under 700 to over 4,200. We did not allocate $40,000 to ensure the Ian Burgin Lodge is built. We did not hold “frequent and flexible office hours” all year. We did not run a major campus-life survey in which 60% of the student body participated. We did not create a framework to ensure that students can voice their concerns about tuition increases and have them answered.(1) We did not pass what Maddie Orcutt, an activist and Truman Scholar, says is “one of the most progressive acts on sexual respect by any student government association.”(2) And no, we did not spend the past year and a half closely examining the Honor Code to propose amendments that may breathe some life back into it.

The SGA, of course, is far from perfect. We need to do a better job listening to and advocating on behalf of students. But, then again, we all make mistakes. I wasted hours in town trying to convince restaurants to provide students with a one-week, 20% discount to increase our social options on the weekends. The Campus editorial board wasted valuable front-page real-estate on an unscientific Facebook poll about the new logo in January. I did not realize that students love free coffee and cookies until two weeks ago. The Campus editorial board did not realize it might be useful to address a controversial issue in an editorial until this past Sunday.

In the absence of any print competition, we as a student body must hold our paper to a higher standard.(3) If it prints inaccurate information or poorly argued editorials, then we should not be afraid to call it out. I did it once before when it bungled its coverage of the SGA’s proposed Honor Code amendments. I feel compelled to do so again now. As was said, the editorial board noted its dismay with the SGA’s “lack of leadership and results this year.” Well, in the student life survey we asked you about our job performance:

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Facts, it is often said, are stubborn things. While far from a ringing endorsement of the SGA, the above table offers no support for the editorial board’s harsh criticism. The SGA’s unforgivable sin, the one that I have tried and regrettably failed to remedy, is not that we are incapable of creating positive change, but rather that we do a poor job communicating with the rest of the student body.

It is one thing to write about change, another to effect it. Until today, The Campus editorial board was content to do the former without criticizing those doing the latter. It now wants to point out where the doers of deeds could have done them better, without lifting a finger to offer any assistance.(4) Criticism is easy, and change is hard. Given that the editorial board has not done anything this year to effect real change at Middlebury, you should not let its opinion unfairly influence your view of the SGA or the candidates. Talk to them all, read their platforms, evaluate the evidence, and decide for yourself.

FOOTNOTES:
(1) Thank you, Senator Berlowitz.

(2) Thank you, Senator Berlowitz, Senator Edwards, and the other activists who helped author the bill.

(3) Middbeat, I think we would all agree, reigns supreme in terms of web-based coverage. (Not a Middbeat-motivated endorsement)

(4) I hope everyone catches the Teddy Roosevelt reference; if you do not, then you should go read his “Citizenship In A Republic” speech right now. And no, I don’t mean just me. Ask anyone involved in SGA, MiddIncluded, or the Divestment movement. Alternatively, you could also ask the many organization leaders and sports captains as well.

Taylor Custer, SGA President [email protected]

Calling All Underclassmen! Get Your New ID at the Box Office

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Tonight marks the official death of the former Middlebury logo, and we must lay to rest our old ID cards to embrace the new.  Make sure to stop by the Box Office today or tomorrow to change out your ID which will be rendered useless by the gods on high by sun-up tomorrow. Word has it the new one’s are pretty sweet minus the logo.  But for real, if you’re a senior feb or younger, and you want to get into your dorm tomorrow, pick up a new ID.

WATCH NOW: Middlebury Unmasked

 In a recent email to the student body, Barbara McCall, Director of Health and Wellness Education, introduced April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The email included a link (go/saam15) to various upcoming events surrounding sexual assault awareness. Be sure to give it a look and watch out for future events. Aside from these initiatives, a small group of student activists recently worked together to create Middlebury Unmasked, a documentary project about judicial processes and sexual assault at Middlebury. Their work has been featured on VPR (Vermont Public Radio) as well as in various local news sources. To encourage dialogue surrounding this topic, middbeat sat down with two student activists, Maddie Orcutt ’16 and Michelle Peng ’15 involved in the production of the video. We definitely recommend taking the time to watch Middlebury Unmasked and read the activists’ thoughts below. As is the wish of those involved in the making of this video, we encourage healthy and respectful dialogue surrounding this topic during and beyond the month of April.  

Middbeat: Tell me about the genesis of this project? Is it affiliated with It Happens Here? 

Maddie Orcutt: Middlebury Unmasked started out of a dialogue between a few people who wanted to place Middlebury within this broader national dialogue about sexual assault and the Title IX claims going on at other colleges. What does all of this new legislation mean? Specifically, what does it mean for our backyard? This project started out as a storytelling endeavor. It was nothing more than six individuals getting together, talking together, and realizing that they had commonalities in their stories. So in the beginning, there really wasn’t a big political agenda behind this project. When we edited the video together it became rapidly apparent that there were some similarities across survivors’ experiences, and we were fortunate that the video edited together in a really organic way.

Michelle Peng: Middlebury Unmasked is not officially affiliated with It Happens Here, but there’s obviously a lot of overlap between the two projects, just considering that both aim to raise awareness for sexual assault but in different ways. I think Middlebury Unmasked does a really good job of looking at what happens after the assault: What can you do, what kind of judicial processes can you go through, and what have people’s experiences been?

MB: What would you like to see as a response from the administration and community as a whole?

MO: This video has been watched a number of times. It’s been profiled by VPR (Vermont Public Radio) and it’s been profiled on local new sources. I think the survivors involved with the video project deserve a conversation with the administration. I think that the administration should respond to this video in the form of a community-wide conversation. There aren’t that many people in a given year that go through a sexual misconduct process. We have six voices that have toyed with that very decision, and so I think that to not acknowledge that this video exists in an open forum is nothing short of disrespectful.

MP: I also think it’s about just having that feedback loop. Few go through these judicial processes, so you really want to make sure that every time you’re doing it you’re improving, you’re figuring out quality assurance. The project is also about more than just Middlebury. It’s a critique of Title IX and how colleges in general are asked to handle these sexual misconduct policies. Middlebury, like most institutions nowadays, is very concerned with compliance. But even at a college like Middlebury there are still so many things that can be improved upon. And who better to identify those needs than those who have actually been through the processes? I think there’s darkness and mystery with these things. You can say “this is what it’s going to look like on paper” but the point is on paper it’s way different than the lived experience and it’s important to just have that perspective out there.

MO: I totally agree. That’s why I’ve been really perplexed by the college’s lack of response because it’s not saying Middlebury College does a horrible job and we hate you and are angry at you. There certainly are some voices that are angry and I think they have the absolute right to be. But I think that this activism is more largely just trying to place Middlebury in this national dialogue. It’s very confusing to me why the school hasn’t acknowledged that this video exists, and why the administration is so resistant to having an open conversation about this project.

MB: How do we as students respect the initiatives the administration is taking regarding sexual assault while demanding more transparency? 

MO: I think that transparency is a huge part of it. I don’t think the average Middlebury student knows what these processes look like, and it’s not really something that’s on our consciousness all of the time. But I think that for the Middlebury case, it’s not so much about compliance because they’re definitely concerned about compliance and checking those boxes. It’s more about a compassionate response from administrators and leaving people feeling emotionally supported. I think that’s one of the biggest leaps that needs to be made, and the video project highlights that.

MP: It’s also about being very critical and very honest about these processes. The point is, there is a time X amount of years ago when they thought that having the survivor and perpetrator sitting in the same room in front of a jury of students was a good idea. And that seemed cutting edge and like we were doing something right. My purpose is not to claim that Middlebury is doing a bad job, just that there are clear areas of improvement. Anyone saying that we’re doing a great job is problematic in my eyes because we are fifty years from somewhere. I don’t want to look back at this time and say “what were we thinking.” I think one of the biggest issues is that there is one person deciding the ultimate verdict for these cases. You have thesis boards that have eight professors on it. That doesn’t really make sense to me.

MO: The video acknowledges that all of these best practices conversations are happening at the national level and at the Middlebury level. But the survivors are saying “my voice isn’t heard in that and I could greatly inform your policy-making and your decision-making.” I think this project is very much an attempt by survivors to raise their hands and say I want a voice in this too because I have a stake in this.

MP: Look at the statistics. There were 17 reports of sexual misconduct last year. Out of those 17, 5 started to go through judicial processes. Out of those 5, only 3 people went to a verdict. Only one person was found guilty. They were not expelled. When you look down at the details, you can say have we done everything right. But when you look at the bigger picture, the statistic is that one in five women will be raped by the time they graduate college. That is a staggering statistic. Who are the perpetrators? Middlebury students. It’s an opportunity to hold people accountable. And so far only one person has been held accountable and they weren’t even expelled. We need to be critical about that.

MB: What do you most want people to take away from the video?

MO: I think one of the coolest parts about this video narrative project is that we use the masks of other Middlebury students to hide the identities of the survivors. I think the symbolism of that is that our community and peers can stand as witnesses to this violence and stand as allies in this fight. I think hopefully people will feel similarly engaged in these issues and discuss them. For me, I’d personally like to see a dialogue come out of this with administrators. I think that we need to sit down and have this conversation about how we adjudicate these processes. We need to talk about how it can possibly be 2015 and it still takes this institution 145 days to adjudicate a rape that was videotaped. To me, that story is nothing short of enraging and absurd.

MP: I agree with that. When it comes down from it I hope it comes down to greater awareness of what the process is like. One in five. That is a huge number. We need to talk about being able to support friends. We need to talk about what a healthy sexual environment is like. What does consent mean? I would like to see more guys in on this conversation, too. Sexual violence affects everyone, the whole community. So let’s force administrators to have this conversation.

MO: The irony of the College’s response to this project is that it took voices which said “you aren’t hearing me” and once more refuses to listen to their claims. Let’s demand a higher standard for this community and make sexual respect a priority- in our bedrooms, in our conversations, and in our judiciary processes.

Our Fair Governor Speaks! A Jim Douglas Retrospective

image002Come hear former Governor of Vermont and Midd Alum Jim Douglas speak about his career today in the Abernethy Room.  As a Republican governor in a very blue state, Douglas has a very interesting perspective on being a head executive.  The talk will promote Douglas’ new autobiography, The Vermont Way, a thorough synopsis of his career int The Vermont State House.

Date: Today 3/19
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Abernethy Room

Need a Job: Apply to be a Presidential Fellow in Innovation!

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Whether we (talking to you, 2015/2015.5) like it or not, it’s senior spring, aka it’s almost over, aka we need post-grad plans stat. To those of you with a job or alternative plans on lockdown, snaps for you. And to the rest of us: it’s crunch time. But, if you’re still in search mode, don’t fret, we’ve got a lead. Carter Makin ’15, intern at the Middlebury Programs for Creativity and Innovation Center writes in to tell us about an available professional opportunity here in Middlebury: become a Post-Graduate Presidential Fellow in Innovation! Sound’s like a sweet position, and if the separation-anxiety’s got you stressin’, what better option than to stick around for another year? Read up on Carter’s description below:  

The Post-Graduate Presidential Fellow in Innovation position will be filled by a recent graduate and selected by the president of Middlebury.  The fellow will provide full-time support to the Fund for Innovation (FFI).  This is a one-year term position that with approval may be extended up to 3 years.  The fellow will report to the president.

The job will begin April 1 as a part-time position (up to 10 hours/week) if it is filled by a current student scheduled to graduate this May, or full-time (from April 1) for those who completed their Middlebury education in February.  For May graduates, full-time work will begin June 15.   There is flexibility surrounding the start date.

The fellow’s responsibilities will include:

  • Maintenance of the FFI website
  • Assists in engaging students, faculty, and staff about the FFI, and encouraging proposals from across the institution (the undergraduate college, Institute, Language Schools, Schools Abroad, School of English, School of the Environment)
  • Secretary to and support for all meetings and Fund Advisory Committee deliberations (emails and in-person meetings)
  • Proposal categorization, logging, and communications with inquirers and applicants
  • Input and support in the selection process to ensure timely decisions
  • Enabling transparency in all FFI processes
  • Authoring summaries of proposals and posting results of the selection processes
  • Ensuring necessary follow-up, feedback, and networking to and among applicants and grantees
  • Support data collection, record-keeping, and trend analyses that will be conducted on the Fund and its grantees with the guidance of Office of Planning and Assessment
  • Other assignments related to the FFI and innovation initiatives

Qualifications:

  • Graduate of the college (February 2015 or anticipated May 2015)
  • Ability and willingness to work independently and collaboratively
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Able to work within tight deadlines
  • Proven track record of engaging students, faculty, and staff outside one’s social and intellectual comfort zone

Hourly Wage $18.36 (annualized $37,000) + benefits for a full-time appointment.  If a current student is hired in a part-time status benefits will be offered once the position transitions to full-time (post-graduation).

If you are interested in applying for the President Fellow in Innovation, please send an email to Ron Liebowitz ([email protected]) by March 25th a letter that includes:

  • your graduating date (February 2015 or May 2015—anticipated)
  • major
  • the courses you have taken that you think are relevant to this position
  • two faculty/staff references
  • why you think you would be successful in this particular position
  • how you would help attain the goals of the FFI
  • any  other information you wish to provide

Community Conversations: Social Life

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Last week, Community Council Co-Chair Ben Bogin ’15 and SGA Director of Institutional Diversity Jeremy Stratton-Smith ’17 announced an awesome initiative called “Community Conversations” in an email sent to the student body. Bogin and Stratton-Smith will be hosting biweekly open forums for students and administrators to discuss various issues at Middlebury. Upcoming talks include: 3/5: Middlebury’s Judicial System/Title IX/Sexual Assault 3/19: Support Services for Students 4/2: Inclusivity in the Classroom 4/16: Diversity and Inclusivity 4/30: Health and Wellness. For more info check out go/talk. One of middbeat’s own, Kelly Hennessy ’15, went to the first community conversation, which focused on social life at Middlebury. Read her recap of the meeting here along with some reflections on the conversation. 

Thursday afternoon marked the kick-off of a series of Community Conversations, bi-weekly discussions, each focused on a different issue central to the Middlebury community. This conversation’s focal point was Social Life at Middlebury.

Much of the discussion was focused on student housing, and the ways in which this influences social life. Many juniors came to the meeting with Katy Smith Abbott, the VP for Student Affairs and Dean of the College, and JJ Boggs, the Associate Dean of Students for Student Activities and Orientation, to discuss their dissatisfaction with the recent Off-Campus Housing Lottery. Allegedly, there were only about 50 students awarded off-campus housing for next fall, compared to the 90 or so that were awarded it last year.

The juniors at the meeting expressed frustration over the administration’s failure to communicate that spots were heavily restricted this year, as they felt blindsided by their denial of off-campus housing. This sentiment was compounded by the fact that many of them were abroad last semester, and didn’t fully know about the conflicts and conversations had between off-campus seniors and their neighbors.

Undoubtedly, the administration has compelling and understandable reasons for restricting off-campus housing. Katy Smith Abbott cited the town-gown relationship and Middlebury’s financial structure as some justifications. Additionally, Middlebury is a residential college; most students live on campus for all four years. However, despite this rationale, many students are left wondering why their chances of gaining off-campus housing were lower than in past years and why the administration failed to inform students of this change.

While frustration surrounding the off-campus housing lottery is perhaps a new spin on the issue, this characterization of an increasingly restrictive administration echoes the same concerns that have been raised at previous campus-wide conversations about social life. Increasingly, students are expressing dissatisfaction with the way they feel restrictions are being placed on their lives by the administration, and in this particular case with little forewarning or communication.

As is required of any social life meeting, ADP (what is now Chromatic) was also a centerpiece of discussion, held up as a paragon of what students look for in their social lives. Many at the meeting saw the old social house as a place where cliques broke down, and students could interact with those of all walks of Middlebury life.

Juniors and seniors, the last classes of ADP, may be wearing some rose-colored beer goggles in this situation; I don’t know if this was a place where all of the community felt comfortable, and I think there were some real problems with the social house. Admittedly, though, ADP certainly did play an important role in the social life of many members of our community.

By my understanding, a lot of Midd kids feel their social lives have been increasingly limited by a string of surprising administrative moves. Students often cite the role of public safety or the likelihood of social houses being placed on probation as evidence of such increasing restriction.

However, I think this narrative is incomplete; as students we often fail to consider how our actions may have led to some of these administrative decisions and ignore how we may work with the community as a whole to assuage some of our dissatisfaction.

We need to start making efforts to be active participants in creating the social lives we want. ADP is gone; many will mourn its loss for years to come. However, I think it’s time to start thinking critically about what exactly ADP and the ‘social life of old’ had to offer.

It’s important to recognize that it isn’t a one-size fits all approach, a point brought up during the meeting. Different people want different things out of their social lives. While much of the discussion about social life is centered on parties on and off campus, getting hammered on the weekend isn’t the social life everyone has or wants.

It’s an expansive term, and we as a community should work to create spaces that can fit as many of its meanings as possible. These meetings are a good first step; now we need to be the catalysts for change.

Social Entrepreneurship and the Future of Global Health

mitch-besser_webThis year the Center for Social Entrepreneurship will be hosting its fourth annual January Symposium which will take place on January 22-24, 2015. The symposium will challenge participants to think about how innovators have an impact in the field of public health. CSE Vision Award recipients Jennifer Staple-Clark, Founder of Unite for Sight, and Mitch Besser, Founder of Mothers2Mothers, will deliver insightful keynote addresses. In addition, the symposium will bring a variety of thought-provoking workshops, live Skype conferencing sessions as well as our first Hackathon with national and international innovators and Middlebury students on the future of global health.

One of the most anticipated events at the symposium is the public conversation on Thursday led by Staple-Clark titled “Responsible Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship,” with Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Svea Closser and two Middlebury students, Hannah Blackburn ’17 and Sayre White ’15. In 2000, Staple-Clark, then a sophomore at Yale University, founded Unite For Sight in her dorm room. Now the organization is a leader in global health education and in providing cost-effective care to some of the world’s poorest people. Its Global Impact Corps offers year-round healthcare delivery in three countries: Ghana, India, and Honduras. Volunteers for the organization–students and professionals–train with Unite for Sight’s doctors.

On Friday, January 23, at 7 p.m., Dr. Besser will participate in a keynote conversation,
“Communities Caring for Communities: A Vision for Better Health Care,” with Pam Berenbaum, coordinator of Global Health Programs at Middlebury. In 1999, Besser, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, joined the University of Cape Town’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he created mothers2mothers, in which mothers living with HIV are employed to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centers, educating and supporting pregnant women and new mothers with HIV. These Mentor Mothers, as they are called, reduce the workload of doctors and nurses and increase the effectiveness of interventions that protect babies from HIV infection and keep mothers healthy and alive. Two Mentor Mothers, Queen Mda and Nozandulela Samela, will serve as workshop leaders during the symposium. Mothers2mothers has reached more than 1.2 million HIV-positive mothers in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

New this year as part of the symposium will be a hackathon, which will bring together students, faculty, staff, and community members to compete as teams to create a one-minute public service announcement regarding a public health issue. On January 23, teams will begin work on their announcements, which may take the form of a video, radio spot, dance, or another medium. Team members will present their announcements for judging at the close of the symposium on Saturday, January 24. Sayre White, Middlebury senior and Co-President of GlobeMed, encourages all students to get involved with this year’s symposium, “This symposium is a brilliant opportunity for anyone who is seeking a channel for their creative energy, and one that facilitates and encourages deep, critical attention to some of the most pressing global health issues of our time.”

For more information on the speakers, events, and the schedule, check out:
http://mcse.middlebury.edu/event/symposium/ 

From AAL to ALL: a workshop

AAL to ALL, LET'S GO

AAL to ALL, LET’S GO

As most of you may know, MiddIncluded is a student led movement pushing for a change in Middlebury’s Eurocentric Cultures and Civilizations requirements. Since the launch of our petition in the Fall of 2013, we have been working to ensure that Middlebury adopts a more egalitarian curriculum that
1) reflects the values Middlebury says it stands for,
2) provides greater educational opportunities,
3) educates global citizens who come from all walks of life and will go off to be leaders around the world.

To keep things moving, we need YOUR help. Join the movement!

Come to ONE of our three scheduled workshops to see what you can do (or just to find out more/give us suggestions/have a conversation with us), and go/aal to find out more about us.

Date: Friday the 21st, Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of November
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm on Friday and 2:00 to 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday
Place: Coltrane Lounge on Friday and Ross B11 on Saturday and Sunday
Cost: N/A

Laurie L. Patton, the 17th President of Middlebury College

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ok sorry, sorry, but is it just us or could Ron and Laurie be siblings? Serious facial resemblance goin on here in the best possible way.

Today’s a big day: this afternoon, for the 17th time in Middlebury’s 214-year history, the Board of Trustees has revealed the college’s next president. Middbeat wants to extend an extremely warm welcome to Laurie L. Patton, future president of Middlebury College.

We had the honor to attend the revealing meeting in Mead Chapel this morning, and were quite impressed by Laurie’s first speech (which we did our best to transcribe here), as well as the extensive recruitment process described by the Board of Trustees. Clearly, beyond significant time and energy was devoted to finding a president with the best possible administrative experience, leadership potential, academic history, innovative personality, commitment to diversity, and potential to continue advancing the always augmenting aspirations of Middlebury College. For this, we are grateful. From her high-brow educative and academic achievements to her soothing voice and calm, collected demeanor, we’ve got a good feeling about Laurie.

So, who is Laurie? What’s she bringing to the table? When’s she gonna start and how are we gonna meet her? Are we gonna like her? Can anyone touch Ron? Will tailgates revamp and Atwater will start serving dinner and Proctor Cat will come back to life (kidding)? Will the cultural center thrive and academic workloads be reconsidered and administration take a more effective approach to providing safe spaces for intersecting racial, sexual, and socioeconomic identities and will we fully live up to our proclaimed environmental consciousness (serious)?

Clearly, it’s going to take quite a while to really get to know future President Patton. These are questions we can’t answer fully now, and probably won’t be able to until she’s packed her bags and left sunny Duke behind to take on Vermont, Addison County, Middlebury, the snow, the students, the faculty, staff, etc. in all our glory, and lack thereof. While we’ve got high expectations, only time will tell, and aggressive pre-judgement is never a great idea.

That being said, we’re fascinated by this highly intelligent and accomplished academic, and yes, tremendously proud to have a WOMAN as president — Laurie will the FIRST female president in Middlebury’s history — so for now, middbeat would like to share Laurie’s general background. We hope you attend today’s reception for Laurie in Wilson Hall (McCullough Social Space) at 3:45, introduce yourself to Laurie today or sometime in the near future, and most importantly, think about what you hope Laurie to embody, work towards, and accomplish alongside the existing Middlebury community as the next president of Middlebury College. Upon her arrival in July, Laurie will be eager to listen to students, faculty, and staff so to understand Middlebury culture, present issues and concerns, and ideas for the future, and it will be up to you all to contribute honestly and effectively so to advance our community and academic experience alongside new leadership. Additionally, look forward to upcoming middbeat interaction with Laurie, as we hope to establish a middbeat-president friendship (continuing Ron’s demonstrated middbeat love) as soon as possible.

So, without further ado, here’s the deets (courtesy of the Middlebury President-Elect Website):

The Middlebury Board of Trustees today named Laurie L. Patton, dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion, as Middlebury’s next president. Patton will take office on July 1, 2015, succeeding Ronald D. Liebowitz, who has served as president since July 2004.

Patton, a distinguished religion scholar and translator of classic Indian Sanskrit texts, joined Duke in her current position in 2011. Trinity College is the largest of Duke’s undergraduate schools, with 5,200 students, 36 academic departments and programs, and 640 faculty members. It awards nearly 80 percent of the university’s bachelor degrees. As dean, she is responsible for overseeing the educational mission of Duke’s core undergraduate liberal arts programs, including curriculum, faculty hiring and development, student research, assessment, and the College’s $370 million annual budget. Under her leadership, Trinity College raised more than $300 million for professorships, financial aid, educational initiatives, and other priorities.

Patton’s selection followed an extensive, six-month search conducted by a 20-member search committee chaired by Middlebury trustee Allan Dragone Jr. ’78. The committee engaged in a process of broad outreach to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From an initial list of more than 250 individuals nominated or put under consideration, the committee gradually narrowed the pool to a dozen and then to a small list of finalists, before unanimously recommending Patton to the full board on Tuesday. Patton will be the first woman to lead Middlebury in its 214-year history.

“I can’t imagine a place that more fully exemplifies my interests and commitments to higher education than Middlebury,” said Patton. “These last five months have been a wonderful experience for me as I have had the opportunity to learn more about this great institution and the values it holds dear. I have so many people to thank, starting with the search committee and Al Dragone, and I am truly honored with the confidence the Board of Trustees has shown in me today. I look forward with anticipation to joining this community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends.”

Marna C. Whittington, chair of the Middlebury Board of Trustees, called Patton an “outstanding choice” to be the next president. “Laurie is an accomplished scholar with a deep commitment to the liberal arts and a global perspective on the value and role of education,” said Whittington. “She lives the values of Middlebury, and I am confident she will provide the leadership and innovative thinking required to maintain the positive momentum and success Middlebury has experienced during Ron Liebowitz’s tenure as president.”

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MIDDLEBURY’S 17th PRESIDENT TO BE ANNOUNCED AT NOON

I guess this is the beginning of the end, Ron

I guess this is the beginning of the end, Ron

Wow, lots of big things happening today. Since Ron announced he was peacing out last spring, tensions have been high regarding who the lovely person to fill his shoes shall be. There’s been an extensive search committee going on for months, and, apparently, the decision has been reached. In classic semi-cryptic Midd administration fashion, we all just received an email stating that the 17th President of Middlebury College will be announced today, at 12 noonWhich is in about an hour…

For those who haven’t been on email, here’s the message:

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students at Middlebury and Monterey,

Today at noon Eastern time (9 a.m. in Monterey), we will hold an all-campus meeting in Mead Chapel to introduce Middlebury’s 17th president to our community. We invite you to join us in celebrating this significant moment in Middlebury’s history.

We will simulcast the event in Irvine Auditorium on the Monterey campus and in Crossroads Café in McCullough Student Center on the Middlebury campus.

For anyone unable to gather in one of those locations, we also will simulcast the event live here

In addition, those of you in Middlebury are invited to attend a reception for the new president starting at approximately 3:45 p.m. in Wilson Hall in McCullough Student Center.

We hope you will join us at one or more of these events.

Ron Liebowitz              Marna C. Whittington             Allan Dragone Jr. ’78 

President                     Chair, Board of Trustees         Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Well, thanks for the heads up, Ron. While you may have had class or lunch plans, perhaps consider ditchin in favor of the big reveal. Whether you can attend the Meade Chapel meeting, watch the simulcast in Crossroads, or not, we’ll keep you posted on the happenings.

Plus, if you’re free by 3:45, stop by the new prezzy reception in Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center. Anything could happen, y’all…

What: New Middlebury President being revealed
Date and Time: Revealing: today at 12 noon, Reception: today at 3:45 pm
Place: Revealing: Meade Chapel or simulcast in Crossroads Cafe, Reception: Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center

POST SCRIPT: Would’ve been nice to be updated on who the finalists were, no? Or had a day or two to work our schedules around this big reveal? What do you all think about this? Comment below with responses on the rather spur-of-the-moment news drop. While we hesitate to re-ignite tailgate fires, and while this event is completely unrelated to the tailgate policies, it does seem a bit strange to have the administration drop such big news with such little forewarning, as they have done in these two recent instances. If you’ve got thoughts, please share ’em.