The following is an email to the Earlham community from Board President Tom Thornburg ’84 about the College’s response to violence in the Middle East.
Dear Earlham Community:
Earlham and Quakers have a longstanding concern for the Middle East — from the Ramallah Friends School to former President Landrum Bolling’s work to build peace and understanding among Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Earlham has had alumni, students, and faculty from both Palestine and Israel. In light of recent email exchanges, social media posts and messages to members of Earlham’s Board of Trustees and administration, the Board affirms and supports statements made by President Anne Houtman on October 11 and in the November 8 email that Anne sent to a group of alumni in response to their concerns.
The Board supports the efforts of Anne and the Earlham faculty, staff and administration in addressing the impact of this crisis on our students and the wider campus community.
The safety of our students and faculty is our highest priority, and we are grateful that the violence and hate speech that other campuses are experiencing has not happened at Earlham. This is lived evidence of our Principles and Practices, which call on us to celebrate and respect the diverse perspectives that each member of the community brings to Earlham.
We stand with Anne and her senior leadership team in affirming and supporting the rights of students and alumni to engage on this issue. Given the fact that the Earlham community comprises thousands of people with individual perspectives on world events, we do not expect nor would we support Anne issuing a statement that implies or assumes there is consensus in the Earlham community around this crisis.
The Board is holding in the light Palestinians and Israelis at Earlham, in the Middle East and around the world.
Thomas H. Thornburg ’84, Chair
On behalf of the Earlham Board of Trustees