President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Message from President Bilger: Our shared values

March 30, 2022

Dear Reed students, staff, and faculty,

Earlier today, students made clear that our community seeks answers. Faculty and staff have been speaking their minds as well.

I will start by declaring, in the strongest terms possible, that I condemn the words spoken by Paul Currie and his behavior in the video circulating on social media. These words and actions harmed those they were directed to and the Reed community, and they are antithetical to Reed’s values of inclusion and respect.

We are here at Reed because we are committed to thinking with complexity, questioning with earnestness, and caring with ferocity about leaving the world better than how we entered it. To engage in this work wholeheartedly, we need a space in which we all—students, staff, and faculty—feel free and safe to live, learn, and work.

Over the past few days, I have heard from many of you, particularly members of our community who identify as immigrants and people of color, that you do not feel safe here. This is deeply troubling and deserves the full force of our community in addressing it. The content of these recent discussions have extended well beyond a hateful video, and while we have done much work to advance our aspirations of becoming an anti-racist institution, it is clear we have a great deal more ahead.

I also acknowledge your pain regarding the words we chose to use in our initial message to the community after we first viewed the video. Kathy and I do regret our choice of words, and we apologize. We want you to know that while we too were appalled by the content of the video, we should have paused to consider fully their impact. As the events of the past few days have underscored, words carry powerful weight. We can and will do better.

I have confidence in our college’s approach to hold people accountable for their actions. A review by the Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT) is underway to address Paul Currie’s behavior, and while I expect this will move as quickly as possible, I ask for your grace in allowing that process to be fully followed.

We need to continue this conversation, and once again I invite you to come together for a community conversation Wednesday, April 6, 2:30-4:00 p.m. in Kaul Auditorium.