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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors:

Members of the Board of Trustees have closely followed the recent events on campus relating to the Galpin Call-in. We have heard the concerns of the students who participated in the Call-in, received updates from the administration concerning those concerns and read with deep interest the coverage of the events in The Wooster Voice and on social media. We write now to express our support for the principles that underlie the students’ concerns — as well as the commitments made by President Bolton and her team to address them — and to clarify the Board’s role.

The Trustees take seriously their responsibility to support students and administrators in promoting principles of diversity, equity and inclusion at every level. We have devoted, and will continue to devote, time and resources to the advancement of these critical values. We are encouraged by what has been done, yet we are mindful that more can and must be done to ensure that The College of Wooster stands as a shining example of a safe and inclusive community for all.

We support the administration’s response to the student demands. We expect President Bolton and her team to continue to keep us informed of the administration’s progress in fulfilling the commitments it has made, both in response to the Galpin Call-in and in accordance with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan released last August. We also expect them to let us know of any ongoing concerns expressed by students regarding that progress, and whether any additional commitments are necessary and appropriate to promote the College community’s shared goals.

Because there appears to be some confusion about the role of the Board in connection with responding to the student demands, we want to clarify that role.

It is the responsibility of the Trustees to provide general oversight of the operations of the College, but not to have a direct hand in those operations themselves. The Board seeks to promote the well-being of students on campus, and to see that students’ concerns are addressed, by entrusting that work to the president and her staff. The Board’s responsibility is to leave that work to the people best equipped to do it, while providing limited but appropriate oversight to ensure that the work is done and done well. In this model of shared governance, the president and her staff have broad authority to address the needs and concerns of students without Board approval.

In keeping with this model, President Bolton had full authority to enter into the commitments made following the Galpin Call-in, and has full authority and responsibility to carry them out. No Board approval was or is required.

While more work certainly needs to be done, and there are no doubt lessons to be learned from recent events, we are proud of both the students and the administrators who worked collaboratively and in good faith to arrive at a resolution of the concerns raised at the Call-in. We also recognize that there may be other students who believe that their voices have not yet been heard, and if so, we have every confidence that President Bolton and her team are prepared to listen. The Board will continue to monitor and support the College’s progress in fulfilling President Bolton’s commitments, and to do our part to help Wooster achieve the highest standards of diversity, equity and inclusion for all members of the campus community.

Donald R. Frederico

Chair, Board of Trustees

Marianne M. Sprague

Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

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