Community Spotlight

In this issue, we highlight a letter written by the VPAA condemning bullying on our campus, blogs written on topics related to diversity and equity, work done off campus by the CDO and the formation of a Diversity Committee comprising of faculty and staff.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Condemns Bullying at MIIS

The VPAA, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, sent out a letter condemning bullying on our campus and reiterating the core values of our institution. His email, presented in full here, is a good step in the direction of institutional support for diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

On Bullying and Living up to our Values

Dear MIIS Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we approach the midpoint of the spring semester, I want to reiterate some of our institutional values as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I want furthermore to share with you some important plans for this semester related to those goals.

I recently learned of some discussions on social media involving and directed at members of our community that are unprofessional and may border on bullying. Such behavior has no legitimate place among the norms of behavior that govern our campus community. Our recently articulated Envisioning Middlebury goals, in particular our aspiration to create a “robust and inclusive public sphere,” make this clear: “Middlebury will become a recognized leader in educating students to create inclusive community through thoughtful listening, respectful deliberation, and compelling communication in both face-to-face and digital contexts. We will give a central place to appreciation of and respect for differences (diverse identities, ideologies, values, experiences) as sources of valuable learning and meaningful challenge.”

I urge each of you to evaluate how your words and actions impact those around you, including our behavior in online environments shared with other members of our community. I urge all of you to help build a campus community where differences are celebrated and not used to attack others.

I have tasked the office of the Chief Diversity Officer with convening a campuswide conversation to articulate our shared understanding of a robust and inclusive public sphere and how we can better promote it. Our shared norms of behavior begin but are not at all limited to, existing campus and Middlebury policies regarding student and employee conduct. As Professor Pushpa Iyer, our Chief Diversity Officer, begins this important work, I encourage you to email her with your suggestions and ideas.

Best regards,
Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Institute

Faculty and Staff Diversity Committee Formed

I am excited to announce the formation of a faculty and staff Diversity Committee to support and build on the work of the Chief Diversity Officer. Profs. Pablo Oliva, Edgard Coly, Sabino Morera and Grace O’Dell, Dollie Pope and Eva Guðbergsdóttir have all kindly agreed to serve on this committee. In its first meeting, the committee members shared some of their concerns around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on our campus. Our next meeting will lay out our specific objectives, our approach and our roles as a committee. I will keep you all updated on our work.

Reviving CCS Blog – Call for Submissions

I am keen to restart the Center for Conflict Studies’ blog, Wandering Thoughts. Here are some pieces we published recently: Serena Williams and the Fight Against Double Standards by Gina Pham, Cheers to a Global World by Pushpa Iyer, and The Privilege of Language: “something to think about” by Emily Hoang.

Are you troubled by things happening in our world? Write a blog and pour out your thoughts and feelings. Send it to I will be happy to publish.

Updates from the Chief Diversity Officer

I serve as a core member of the Diversity Committee appointed by the Dean of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. The committee meets regularly and is engaged in many different activities to build diversity and inclusion on their campus. I remain very involved in these efforts by my alma mater.

In the past few months I have joined various associations of Diversity Officers – national and regional – and I am very excited for the resources available in these networks. These are great opportunities to learn from working on the same issues and also a huge support system.