President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Message Regarding Student Demands

November 17, 2016

Dear Reed Faculty, Staff and Students:

I write to you with an update regarding recent events on campus. Over the last week, I have received a wide range of responses to my communications. I appreciate hearing from all of you. I am learning at each stage how better to meet our responsibilities to every person in our campus community and, in particular, to historically marginalized populations.

Many of you know that students began occupying the admission office on Monday, November 14. These students have made several demands that focus on their safety, the college’s support for them, and their strong desire for Reed to establish itself as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. I met with the students in the admission office last night and provided a written response (attached here for your information) to the demands articulated on November 14. Last night, the students told me that they intend to continue occupying until we concede to these demands. The conversations related to the students’ demands are fluid and I will continue to update the community as these discussions evolve.

In recent communications to parents and family members, I inadvertently conflated our students’ peaceful protests with descriptions of sinister actions, including hateful graffiti and web posts. I apologize for the linkage and the offense this caused. Additionally, I indicated that I did not see evidence that physical violence is in any way imminent. However, in an important way this misses the point; when our students feel unsafe they need to know that we are listening and that we are serious about doing everything we can to create an educational and social environment that is comprehensively and expansively safe, welcoming, supportive, and inclusive. I will make sure parents and family members receive this message.

The burdens of fear and uncertainty in our society fall disproportionately on vulnerable and marginalized populations. I want to acknowledge that many of our community members who are people of color, LGBTQ, Muslim, immigrants, and women experience fear and uncertainty about their safety and inclusion in our broader community due to both on-campus hate speech and recent national events.

I am committed to working with Reed staff and faculty to ensure that all students feel safe and respected at Reed.


John R. Kroger