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Beyond Paideia

By Sara Rasmussen ’05, Dan Toffey ’07, Michael Stapleton ’10, Gina Vorderstrasse ’10, and Maya Edelstein ’12 on March 05, 2013 02:43 PM

Reed College

There’s been much discussion recently about President Kroger’s intervention into two Paideia classes that he felt were inappropriate. Many students and alumni were critical of the president’s decision, believing it to be out of line with Reed’s cultural values. Just as the Reed community has dealt with campus-wide issues in the past, President Kroger met with current students to hear their concerns, and to pledge greater dialogue moving forward. Over the past few weeks, students have had a chance to gather with President Kroger, voice their concerns and find some closure, while alumni have mostly had to watch from a distance.

Following the controversy, some students and alumni expressed opposition to supporting the college and the Annual Fund.  As young alumni members of AFR (Alumni Fundraising for Reed), we want to address the issue head on.

One thing we all noticed is that many Reedies, past and present, reacted to the controversy as true Reedies should—with vigorous debate about the character and values of the college. As members of the Young Alumni Working Group, we cherish that attitude—that inclination towards fierce debate—and believe that supporting Reed only strengthens our ability to have discussions like this.

To be sure, we work closely with the Reed development office to raise money for the college. And we, as a group, have not taken a formal stance on the matter. But we are united in this: that we love the dialogue that has ensued, and that we will continue to do all we can to keep the spirit of critical debate alive. We truly believe that pulling away from the college will not accomplish this goal. We’ll continue supporting students and faculty, and continue asking young alumni to do the same, so that Reed continues to be the kind of place where students and administrators can get together and debate college policy.

At the end of the day, our support of Reed is not about any one moment in time, any one person at the college, or any one action; it encompasses a broader relationship with the college and its purpose. As we work together to overcome this particular moment of contention, we hope you, like us, continue to Love Reed.

Your Fellow Young Alumni,

Sara Rasmussen ’05

Dan Toffey ’07

Michael Stapleton ’10

Gina Vorderstrasse ’10

Maya Edelstein ’12