| by Laurie Patton

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

I write today, the morning after Election Day in the United States, to check in with our community and to encourage you to take time to reflect and to support one another during this time of uncertainty. I know that many of you will be contemplating the direct implications for you as students, faculty, staff, and as individuals. Some of you have voted for the first time in a presidential election, whether in Vermont or your home state, and will be waiting for and processing the results for days and weeks to come.

The months and weeks leading to today have been a stressful and divisive time for our country, and each of us has lived this experience in different ways. These events are complicated by the fact that we continue to live with a pandemic, and the ways we usually express ourselves may not be the same as we have experienced them before. 

Remember that each of us, regardless of our political leanings, is experiencing these events and their uncertainty in our own way. We ask that you take care of yourselves and one another at this time.

Engaging with the events of our day, and analyzing their impact on our own community and in the world, is the hallmark of a Middlebury education. We as an institution support civic engagement and encourage all to get involved and take action in a way that is safe and right for you. We know that for some, today will be a time for peaceful protest and demonstration. For others, it will be a time to reflect quietly. Others will be moved to debate the meaning of these events with family and friends, during in-person or remote classes, in the residence halls, or under a tent on the Vermont campus. 

However you choose to participate, please do not hesitate to reach out to Student Life, Human Resources, or to the Dean of the Faculty in Vermont or to the Office of the Vice President at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) to talk through any questions you have about how to express yourself safely, while following COVID-19 protocols. Student Counseling Services is also on hand for those who need to talk through the impacts individually. And for those of you on the Vermont campus, we have reserved space for quiet reflection in Mead Chapel. Please also check the campus calendar and this compiled list for election-related events.

I thank you for supporting one another in the difficult moments as we participate in this important democratic process.

Yours Sincerely,

Laurie Patton