From: Amy Pulver
Date: Thu, March 16, 2023
Subject: Open letter to President, WC Alumni Board of Directors
As a proud Poet alumna, I have been concerned about my alma mater since the beginning of the pandemic. My training as an economist and a public health professional, combined with my knowledge of Whittier College’s financial history and endowment, led me to be worried when the pandemic hit our country. Whittier was not as well-positioned as better endowed institutions to face such a cataclysmic event, and our students were highly reliant on student aid to continue their education paths. As a loyal alumna, I contributed directly to funds to help students who were struggling financially to meet these new challenges. I responded to requests from the development office to assist in asking fellow alumni to contribute.
As the days, weeks, months, and now years have passed, my concern has moved from concern and worry to questioning the ability of the current leadership to weather this storm, to downright outrage and anger at the path the leadership has recently chosen in the way the President and the Board of Trustees communicate with alumni, the Whittier community, and the general public. Last week’s rescheduled Webinar with President Oubré was poorly organized, did not address fundamental issues, and reflected a lack of respect for the alums who took time to attend. In my opinion, it is well past time for change in leadership before it is too late to save our college.
As an alumna, I respectfully ask you as the President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and my representative on the Board of Trustees, the following questions:
- Why have you not responded to or acknowledged any of the letters sent by alumni to the Board of Trustees (including my own)?
- How were you involved in the recent decision to suspend trustees Chris Cross and Barbara Groce? How did you vote on this matter?
- How are you representing the viewpoints of Whittier College alumni in Board meetings, including those of the very active Save Whittier College group?
- Have you met with (in person or virtually) any members of the Save Whittier College group to understand their concerns? If so, when and with whom? If not, what is your intention with respect to this dedicated and expanding group of alumni?
- What actions have you taken to hold President Oubré accountable for her statements about the Save Whittier College group (some of which are demonstrably false)?
- What do you understand the strategic direction of the college to be? Do you support this direction as consistent with Whittier College’s Quaker heritage and values?
As I said in my letter to the Board of Trustees, over the years, I have been a Faithful Friend, contributing my time, talent, treasure and testimony to an institution I love beyond measure and to which I own a huge debt of gratitude for my excellent education – the best foundation for a career that has taken me places I never would have imagined. I have made provisions for the College in my estate plans and have made financial investments in endowments, capital campaigns, and unrestricted giving. When I make my annual gift this year, I will not be contributing to unrestricted giving, as I do not intend my hard-earned resources to go to support legal expenses to litigate what should be normal community discussions conducted with openness, honesty, and adherence to our Quaker values or to support any more embarrassing appearances by the leadership of the college in national forums.
As an alumna with a deep commitment to and investment in Whittier College, I am willing to do anything within my means and capabilities to ensure my college is there for future generations. I will do these things with honesty and respect and hope to be treated similarly, as I have been under past administrations. How can I help be part of the solution to what has become an untenable leadership situation at Whittier College?
With respect and deep concern and disappointment,
Amy Pulver ’72
Alumni Poet Award, Service to the College, 2015
Board of Trustees