Saturday, April 17, 2010

Letter to the Assembly by Owen Brugh

The following letter was addressed to the Shimer College Assembly of April 18th, 2010, by alumnus Owen Brugh (2006).

Dear Fellow Shimerians,

Unfortunately, the recent birth of my daughter prevents me from attending Sunday. Please know that I stand firmly with the faculty, staff, and current students in whatever course of action the Assembly chooses to pursue. I trust the Assembly.

I write to advocate that the Assembly unanimously adopt the tabled resolution expressing no confidence in the leadership of President Lindsay.

I will spare the Assembly the bill of particulars against President Lindsay. We are all too familiar with his unwavering quest to gut the very institutions that have given Shimer its strength during decades of adversity and poverty.

Fundamentally, the Assembly should take this step today because President Lindsay has shown himself to be un-Shimerian. His actions show he is unwilling to consider other points of view and unable to abide the consensus-building exercise that is the Assembly. Just as we would with a fellow student or new faculty member suffering a difficult adjustment to Shimer, countless community members have tried to help President Lindsay understand our beloved College and its ways. Unfortunately, such efforts have proved fruitless.

After such efforts, were President Lindsay a student, his grades would reflect his behavior, and he might be formally reprimanded. Were President Lindsey a faculty member, the Academic Planning Committee would not renew his contract. As college President, however, the Assembly has little choice but to repudiate his “leadership” and reprimand him in the strongest terms possible. President Lindsay’s complete and total failure to adhere to the policies, ethos, and folkways of Shimer represents a clear danger to the viability of the College.

Most of all, I urge that the Assembly take unanimous action on this issue for two reasons.

First, action of this magnitude calls for consensus. As I recall some said at the February 28 Assembly, this action could imperil the College’s continued existence. Because of the profound impact this resolution could have on every member of the Shimer community, I urge every member of the Assembly to consider the objections of any community member and do all that is practical to mitigate those concerns. From past experience, I trust this will occur.

Second, and more importantly, the Assembly is most powerful when it is most unified. Just as our faculty’s brave actions are amplified by the lack of abstention or opposition, so is the Assembly strongest when it speaks with one voice. (Conversely, I would argue that the Board of Trustees’ voice on the mission statement was weakened by the deep divisions evident from the vote total.) For this action to have the desired result, the Assembly must be at its strongest, and that requires unanimity.

I trust the Assembly to move forward wisely, and I will support whatever steps the Assembly takes. Despite the actions of the present administration, I remain forever proud to be Shimerian.


Owen Robert Brugh

Class of 2006

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