Elizabeth Durr ’19 Letter to Alumni Board Chair

From: Elizabeth Durr

Date: Sat, Mar 18, 2023

Subject: Two Questions

To: Vincent Vigil ’02


I’d like you to ask yourself two questions.

  1. Why did you want to join the Whittier College Alumni Board?
  2. Why did you accept the position of Alumni Board Chair?

If the answers to these questions aren’t “To strengthen the relationship between Whittier College Alumni and the school” and “To represent the interests of Alumni to the Board of Trustees and the President of the College” you have failed in your duties.

To accept a position like this is to accept the responsibility that you are no longer acting for yourself, but are now an agent for ALL WC alumni. I understand that it was with President Oubré approval you were appointed to your position, but you need to come to the realization that college Presidents come and go; they are temporary. What is permanent is the community of alumni. We have a common thread that holds us together, and that is our love for our alma mater. Linda Oubré has no love for Whittier and she is determined to destroy the institution we love for her own ego.

In Oubré SXSW EDU talk she said,

Linda Oubré (23:37):A lot of surprise, a lot of happiness, a lot of shock. One thing I’ll let everyone know about higher ed boards, I don’t manage the board. They manage me. Even if you do read the case, it’s key to remember that. They’re my boss.

The President of Whittier College is beholden to the Board of Trustees, not the other way around. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the welfare of the college and must speak up if a presidency starts to go awry. The presidency of a college is not an absolute monarch with the trustees as their Privy Councillors. As children, we learned about the separation of power in our civics classes. We have 3 branches of government with checks and balances so that no branch can become too powerful. My 11 year old daughter knows this, but somehow 20 adults have forgotten this simple idea.

Membership on the Whittier College Board of Trustees is an honor, a service, and a responsibility.

“They ensure that the College has adequate resources to fulfill its mission…”

The above quote comes directly from the Board of Trustees page on the Whittier College website, a page on which YOUR name appears. What exactly is the mission of Whittier College?

Our Mission

“Whittier College is a residential four-year liberal arts institution that prepares students from diverse backgrounds to excel in a complex global society. Through challenging, interactive courses, taught by accomplished professors, students learn to make connections across disciplines, understand cultural perspectives, and integrate learning with practical application. Inspired by a Quaker heritage, the Whittier education equips students to be active citizens and effective communicators who embrace diversity and act with integrity.

Whittier College wants its students to go out into the word and “act with integrity.” You’re a WC graduate. Ask yourself, have you, in your position on the Board of Trustees, acted with integrity to fulfill the mission of the college?

Like Linda Oubré, I am a woman of color. Like Linda Oubré, I am mixed race. Like Linda Oubré, my parents fought against the horrors of systemic racism during the Civil Rights movement. Unlike Linda Oubré, however, I have learned that because someone disagrees with me, it’s not because of racism. Oubré has taken the very real problem of systemic racism and perverted the issue to fit her agenda. She calls anyone who disagrees with her, or questions her lies, racist. That’s not racism, that’s holding leaders accountable for their actions. Through her own actions, Oubré has not acted with integrity. She has violated the mission of the College she serves.

Vincent, if you cannot stand up to Linda and be the voice of the alumni, you must step down as Chair of the Alumni Board. You are OUR voice, and we are screaming loudly, but our voices are falling on deaf ears. I hope that some of what I’ve written will make an impact on you and I wish you all the best.



Elizabeth (Holt) Durr ’19
Whittier College 1998-2002

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