Community Message on Rittenhouse Verdict

November 22, 2021

Dear Poets:
The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday closed yet another chapter on the story of justice in our country. Rittenhouse was facing charges for killing two men and wounding a third during a Black Lives Matters protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. Like previous cases, his was not a straightforward one—involving issues of policing, gun ownership, vigilantism, and race. Although both the victims and perpetrator were white, the story played out amid the backdrop of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot seven times in the back and side by a white officer.
The jury ultimately determined that Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time—acted in self-defense. Yet, what propelled Rittenhouse to pick up an AR-15 firearm and drive 20 miles to participate in this action is up for debate. What is certain is that our country continues to be divided—sometimes violently—on many important issues. And there are more court decisions to come and more outcomes we will need to deal with. 
As an academic community founded on Quaker values of social justice and the value of every person, we must strive to listen to each other and to seek peaceful solutions. In the spirit of our namesake, John Greenleaf Whittier, a Quaker abolitionist poet, we must continue the hard work of creating change by producing leaders who center social justice for our local and global community. 
We understand how difficult it can be to live in this chaos and we want to help our students get through this difficult time. Whittier College is here to support you. If you need us, please reach out.
The Counseling Center has the following virtual resources for the week of November 22-26:  

  • Students may utilize the Crisis Text Line by texting “CONNECT” to 741741
  • Students may utilize the Project Return Peer Support Network Non-Crisis support line Monday-Friday, 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. by calling 888.448.9777 (English) or 888.448.4055 (Spanish).
  • Students may also connect with Talk Campus at Whittier College and YOU@Whittier.
  • For residential students please connect with the RA on-call. 

When offices re-open Monday, November 29 we encourage you to connect with the following resources:


C.A.R.E. Program
Counseling Center
Contact the Dean of Students Office
Office of Equity and Inclusion
Office of Student Engagement


In Community,
Linda Oubré, Ed.D., MBA
President and Professor of Business Administration
Kay Sanders, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Professor of Child Development