President's Pen


August 7, 2019 - A Message to the Poet Community

Dear Poets:

In the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

In the last week, three more communities in our country experienced mass shootings that left more than 30 people dead and many more injured. At least one of these incidents is being investigated as a hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism targeting immigrants and communities of color. The impact of these events is felt far beyond their immediate communities, it leaves a hole in all of our hearts. Often, it can leave us feeling that we are in the dark.

Part of our mission at Whittier College is to shine the light on the darkness. We do this by working collaboratively to create a community of equity and inclusion, one that builds upon our Quaker founding ideals of peace, social justice and the value of every human being. And, we do this by instilling in each of our students the importance of mutual respect, empathy, acceptance, and of listening to one another.

As we prepare for the fall semester, faculty and staff have been developing curriculum, programming, and events that will support our mission and foster student development and community building on our campus.

In addition, our leadership team and Campus Safety are expanding efforts to make our campus a safe environment. In the fall, Campus Safety will host various safety sessions for students and employees. These efforts will build upon the already great work of our colleagues in Campus Safety who work diligently around the clock to ensure that Whittier College is a safe, comfortable, and welcoming home for all.  In order to ensure that our on-campus community receives the most up-to-date emergency information, please make sure that the College has your current mobile phone number in case we need to send you an emergency notification. You can update your contact information directly on under the “personal information” section.

Those who find themselves in need of counseling support are invited to reach out to the Counseling Center. After-hour counseling services are available 24/7 by calling the Department of Campus Safety at 562.907.4211 and asking for the on-call therapist. For faculty and staff, counseling is available through the Employee Assistance Program, carried through Ceridian, and can be reached 24/7 at 800.854.1446.

We look forward to welcoming more than 500 new Poets next month and I remain optimistic about the future ahead for Whittier College, the United States, and the world.  It is through our collective embrace of our mission of valuing every human—no matter where they come from, what they look like, how they identify, what they believe, or what their abilities are—that we at Whittier College are shining a light on the darkness in the world.



October 29, 2018 - A Message to the Whittier College Community

Dear Whittier College Community;
Over the past few days, we have experienced several hate-related incidents that have shaken our country.
In the course of three days, 11 Jewish worshipers were killed in Pittsburgh, an African-American man and woman were targeted and gunned down in Kentucky, and a suspect was arrested for sending mail bombs to several prominent citizens. We also learned last week that the Trans and gender-nonconforming community is being threatened with changes in federal policy, and continuing anti-immigrant sentiment threatens so many.
These verbal assaults and violent attacks on our fellow humans for what we look like, what we believe, who we love, where we come from, or how we identify strike at the very heart of who we are. I am personally saddened by these events. I encourage you to join me in declaring that we must not let hate win.
As an institution founded on the Quaker ideals of peace and social justice and the value of each and every human being, please know that in alignment with our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Whittier College will always stand up for the rights of all.
Let us offer our support to those who experience hate, bias, discrimination, bullying, verbal and physical assault, abuse, and other unkind acts in our communities on a daily basis.  As Poets, let us set the example by remembering that in the spirit of equity and inclusion, we need to ensure that Whittier is a place where mutual respect defines who we are. A place where tolerance, empathy, and love permeate our culture of learning.
Counseling for students is available on-site at the Counseling Center. After-hour counseling services are available 24/7 by calling the Department of Campus Safety at 562.907.4211 and asking for the on-call therapist. For faculty and staff, counseling is available through the Employee Assistance Program, carried through Ceridian, and can be reached 24/7 at 800.854.1446.
At times like this, when there is so much hurt in our world, I am especially grateful to be part of a community of bright, open-minded, compassionate people who are engaged in making our world a better place for all.