November 10, 2016: A Message and an Announcement from President Patton

November 10, 2016


The following message from President Patton was emailed to the full campus community on November 10, 2016. A statement from the College’s Community Bias Response Team follows.

Dear members of the Middlebury community,

This year's election cycle brought to the surface some severe divisions in our society. Some of these played out right here, in the midst of our vibrantly shared educational ideals. Many in our community voted for Clinton. Many in our community voted for Trump.

There are two parts to this letter. The first is to state that, as you saw from the Community Bias Response Team message [see text of this message below], this community has absolutely zero tolerance for acts of intimidation based on a person's religious, gender, sexual, disability, ethnic, or racial identity, and we must condemn them. This is not the Middlebury I recognize nor is it the Middlebury we should accept. Such behavior deeply undermines who we are, and who we are meant to be. We reject it entirely.

The second is to state that the Middlebury community I know is engaged courageously and compassionately in the public sphere, and is ready to take steps to heal our divisions. Today I ask you to join me in ensuring this community stands for something better. Reach out to someone with whom you disagree and talk to them. Attend the panels and other events that students, faculty, and staff are organizing in small and large ways to discuss the election. (To that end, I draw your attention to the announcement below.) Find someone on campus and greet them as if they deeply belong here—because every single one of us does belong here.

And finally, build bridges for each other, so that all of us feel safe to cross them. Only then can we continue to embody the Middlebury values of tolerance, care, and respect that are essential to our prospering together.

I look forward to our recreating the Middlebury we know.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Patton


We have set aside a time tomorrow (Friday, November 11) for small groups to gather and discuss the election, the divisions that were surfaced, and how we can move forward together. We have assembled volunteers to facilitate these discussions, which will take place in Axinn and McCullough. If you are interested in participating, please come to the Axinn Winter Garden between 2:45 and 3:00 PM, and you will be directed to a room.



The following statement from the Community Bias Response Team was emailed to the full campus community on November 10, 2016.

To: The Middlebury College Community
From: The Community Bias Response Team

Our community is grappling with the rhetoric of this year's election campaign. There is fear that the election has legitimized hate rhetoric and intolerance on all sides of the political spectrum, as we have witnessed acts of exclusion and even hate crimes occurring nationwide. In the last two days this fear has come to fruition in our own community, as messages of intolerance are being written and spoken on campus since the election.

Differences on political and economic positions and policies are all part of intellectual discourse and are welcome in our community, naturally flowing from our political process. However, discussions in our community should not embrace messages of intolerance. By our community standards, such messages are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is important to recognize our community standards and abide by them:

  • cultivating respect and responsibility for self, others, and our shared environment; encouraging personal and intellectual courage and growth;
  • manifesting integrity and honesty in all decisions and actions;
  • promoting healthy, safe, and balanced lifestyles;
  • fostering a diverse and inclusive community committed to civility, open-mindedness, and finding common ground.

We have a collective responsibility to create, maintain, and ensure a welcoming campus where all these standards can be met. Please report any behavior by members of our community in violation of our handbook policies to the Middlebury Department of Public Safety (802-443-5133 or

We would also like to remind everyone of the resources available on campus, and to encourage you to utilize these resources as you process recent events.

  • Parton Counseling: 802-443-5141 (after-hours counseling care available at this same number)
  • The Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life: 802-443-5626
  • Atwater Commons: 802-443-3310
  • Brainerd Commons: 802-443-3320
  • Cook Commons: 802-443-3330
  • Ross Commons: 802-443-3340
  • Wonnacott Commons: 802-443-3350
Office of the President

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Middlebury College
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