Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letter to the Board by Brandee Cooper Kandle

Brandee Kandle is a 1999 graduate of Shimer College.


My name is Brandee (Cooper) Kandle and I am writing to express my concern for the future of Shimer College. As an alumnus of Shimer, I have cherished the skills in dialogue and respectful listening that I learned there. I honor the methodology and spirit of Shimer, which teaches that all sides are welcome at the round table, regardless of ideology. Sadly, the actions of President Thomas Lindsay and his closest allies on the Board of Trustees have shown that they do not share my respect for the spirit of Shimer College. They do not share the skills that I learned there of fair and equal give and take in discussion, of coming to a group with an honesty and openness that invites working together as a community and they do not hold dear the uniqueness of Shimer as a whole.

With the board’s help President Lindsay has vandalized the school’s mission statement, threatened our incredibly talented and self-sacrificing faculty, and upon close look at Lindsay’s writings and speeches, it appears that this group is intent upon dismantling the core curriculum and shaping the college to their limited political inclinations. And what of this College of the United States? Can Shimer College possibly survive intact with another college opening up within it? Will Shimer and COTUS become inextricably linked, or will Shimer be simply replaced? I understand that Shimer doesn’t make anyone a bunch of money; I understand that times are hard when you have grand visions for a tiny college. But maybe this shows even more that Thomas Lindsay is not the man for this job. Shimer needs to exist; the world needs Shimer to exist. This school is precious when you look at the collegiate landscape out there and realize that there is nothing else like our little school. It’s all right that it is small; it’s all right that we aren’t going to be raking in the dough. The President of Shimer College needs to be in love with dialogue, with students and their input to the community, the president needs to feel like he or she is truly supporting a wonderful occurrence—an intentional community.

The lack of respect for dialogue, the horrible fear mongering of the faculty, the disdain and complete ignorance of the Assembly is all very damning. President Thomas Lindsay needs to move on to a school that would appreciate his tactics and overtly political rallying. He needs a school that is already mainstreamed, a school that has already been used to handing over their power to a sole person. Shimer is not that school. Please catch up with what many hundreds of alumni and Shimer supporters are viewing as an increasing crisis situation. Links are provided below to guide you to a wealth of writings by Shimer members that are truly trying to save a precious thing.

Thank you for the time and effort you put into our small school. Please know that there are so many of us motivated by love of Shimer and that we will never give up trying to protect it.


Brandee Kandle

Richland, WA

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