“In governance of the educational institution around which our community exists, most groups and committees use a consensus process. At times an individual is charged with making a decision. In either case, those responsible should invite input, consult broadly, and listen carefully especially to those who have deep understanding of the situation or who will be affected by the decision.” 1
It is hard not to notice that our campus is missing a vital part of our community.
On January, 2nd 2014 the Earlham student body was informed in an email from Laura Hutchinson that the contract of Trayce Peterson, beloved director of Multicultural Affairs, was not renewed. This decision deeply saddens us; however, it does not shock us.
The decision to not renew Trayce Peterson’s contract reflects a greater trend away from transparency within the administration. It is our strong belief that this decision does not reflect the needs or wants of the student body. It is important to point out that Trayce’s dismissal strongly diminishes the diversity of the office of Student Development, and renders them increasingly unable to represent and support our diverse student body.
Trayce Peterson’s role on campus went far beyond her job description as the director of Multicultural Affairs. She worked closely with many student groups and campaigns and ensured that they had access to resources allowing for their success and development. Furthermore, as a mentor and an advisor for many of us, she offered incredible support, care, and guidance to an extent that was unmatched by anyone else within Student Development.
We, as a student coalition, demand to be informed of how this decision was made, the reasons behind this decision, and how Trayce’s position is to be replaced in order to assure the continuation of student support in all areas that Trayce worked in advocacy of. We also demand that students are involved in the search process for this crucial position and that the search begins immediately.
We find it of the utmost importance to clarify and illuminate how this decision was made and why students were so intentionally left out of the process. Not only were we left out of the decision, but the decision was made, not coincidentally, the day after students left for winter break, and we as a student body were not officially informed of the decision until nearly three weeks later. This is unacceptable.
We believe that the process of making this decision, as well as the decision itself, goes against the most fundamental principles of our community, and we will not stand for such principles to be disregarded by an office that supposedly operates in advocacy of our student body and interests.
Please know that this decision, whether you had a personal relationship with Trayce or not, deeply effects and disrupts student activism, support, safety and diversity on this campus.
This issue is of great importance to us. We expect a publicly published response to our statement within the next two weeks coming from those within the administration responsible for this decision.
1Exerpt from Earlham’s Principles and Practices, Section V (Community)