Editor’s note: The communication below was shared with firstname.lastname@example.org from multiple sources who were copied on the email exchange. Kristine Dillon ’73 served on the Whittier College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2012. She is the recipient of the Alumni Service to the College Award, 2015, and a proud member of the Thalian Society. Kristine has over 30 years leadership experience in higher education including serving as president of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and earlier as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at University of Southern California. She is currently a Senior Advisor with Huron Consulting Group.
reviewed by HEINZ-DIETER MEYER, March 7, 2014
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Oubre Linda <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2023 at 6:59 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you for an enlightening dialogue
Dear members of PEAC;
Below is my response to Kristin Dillon that I wanted to share with all of you since she originally copied you.
As I say, I appreciate Kristin’s service, and I respect her decision. These are hard times for higher Ed. It takes discipline, courage, and an open mind to move the College forward. Unfortunately, there is a lot of noise being created by those who would prefer that Whittier College stay as it was in 1969-73. I’ve been ignoring most of the noise, but wanted to respond since you all were copied.
Please know how much I appreciate all of you. We DO want to hear your viewpoints and opinions, even when we disagree. Please let me know if you ever have any questions. I continue to be optimistic about the future.
Here is my response:
Thank you Kristine for letting us know. And thank you for your service.
I respect your decision and appreciate you needing to follow your conscience. I am also disappointed that you are making this decision without much engagement with us in recent years, especially due to the restrictions related to Covid. We were not able to have any in person meetings until recently. I think the last PEAC meeting you attended was more than three years ago?
I am also sad that you have made this decision based on the misrepresentations and false assumptions made by some external to the College who have no knowledge of all of the wonderful things happening at Whittier. I am not sure if anyone can truly judge what path the College is on without having an open, honest, productive conversation with us about the collective vision of the College.
As a fellow educator, I am sure that you can appreciate that the disruptions in higher education and the broken business model due to demographic shifts and affordability challenges were confronting institutions like Whittier way before I came. In fact, just a few days ago, I was re-reading Bob Zemsky’s 2013 book, “Checklist for Change” where in Chapter 8, he states clearly that Whittier’s business model was broken and that change is needed to address demographic shifts and rising discount rates. He also mentioned the board committee that you and he were on where you worked to identify new programs to bring in revenue. Bob often tells me that his suggestion to the Board and prior leadership was that Whittier needs to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. He wanted us to embrace being an MSI and double down on the Hispanic market (the growth market). As Bob always says, we have to try new things, be innovative, and think outside the box. This is exactly what we are doing.
Rest assured, I didn’t create these problems. But with the engagement and commitment of the board, we are working to solve them. And we are optimistic about the future for Whittier. I would love for you to be a part of creating a sustainable future for the institution you love at some point in the future if you are ever willing to re-engage.
Please let me know if you would ever like to discuss your concerns with me or the Board Chair. We are open to ideas and views that move the College forward.
Linda S. Oubre, Ed.D., M.B.A.
President and Professor of Business Administration
On Jan 26, 2023, at 5:38 PM, Kristine Dillon <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear Fellow Members of PEAC,
I am writing to tell you I am resigning from our Advisory Council. I have signed the letter sent to Whittier College faculty, students and staff (see https://savewhittiercollege.com/). I believe my decision to do so conflicts with serving on this council. While serving on PEAC, I have not found my ideas and concerns to be of interest to the current College leadership when I’ve expressed them; in fact, I’ve not observed that our collective voices and experience have been sought by the President we were constituted to advise.
Since I previously served on the Board for 18 years and personally identified former president Sharon Herzberger while serving on the search committee that brought her to Whittier College, I initially worried I might have retained some loyalties to the past. However, as time has passed, I have found few avenues to show my loyalty to my alma mater and have now determined that my lengthy career’s experience in higher education leads me to conclude that Whittier is at serious risk on the path taken by current leadership. My energies now need to be directed to sustaining a college I love and value.
I have enjoyed getting to know you in PEAC and I appreciate the commitment you show to the College. Since the discussion of many perspectives and opinions is part of the Quaker tradition we have long valued, I hope you will see that I am following my own conscience in the decision I have reached.
Kristine Dillon ’73