Signatures Requested for Letter to Editor

On September 29th, Time.com posted an article originally sourced from a website called The Hechinger Report. The article highlighted the fight against the Wilson College co-ed decision, but also commented on Chatham’s decision. In that article, Bill Campbell, VP of Communications and Marketing for Chatham, is quoted as saying the decision to go co-ed at Chatham wasn’t controversial [like Wilson]. We disagree.

In response to this misrepresentation, we have drafted a letter to the editor that will be sent both to the Time.com and The Hechinger Report to let them know that Chatham’s decision was indeed controversial and that we, as alumnae, still disagree with Chatham’s decision as well as the way in which the decision was presented, made, and alumnae relations were soured purposefully over many months.

We have included the text of our letter below, including the signatures already gathered from supportive alumnae. If you would like to add your name to this letter, please do so either through comments here or on our corresponding Facebook post.

Here is the link to the original article. 

Dear Editor,

In your September 29 article, “Why Women’s Colleges are Opening the Door for Men,” it was suggested that “At Chatham University, the decision to admit men was much less controversial” than the decision by Wilson College to become a coeducational institution. Chatham’s administration continues to believe that the opposition to their decision was limited to a “small, but passionate, group of alumnae,” but the momentum the Save Chatham movement built in a short time proves otherwise.

The Save Chatham movement, consisting of more than 2,100 alumnae and supporters, launched on social media just hours after alumnae and current students received an email from Chatham announcing the resolution. Save Chatham’s mission brought these women together to brainstorm ways to fundraise, increase enrollment, and to continue to provide future generations of women the option to become World Ready Women at Chatham. The short-term mission of Save Chatham quickly changed to focusing on delaying the June vote as Chatham’s administration increasingly disrespected and disregarded alumnae and refused to have open and honest discussions.

Chatham’s administration, particularly President Esther Barazzone, has unsuccessfully attempted to make this decision “much less controversial.” During the town hall meetings in March, Dr. Barazzone dismissed alumnae lines of questioning and obfuscated the facts when she did not want to answer questions. She rejected outright many of the solutions offered by alumnae, giving many alumnae the impression that the decision already had been made, a belief that was strengthened when promotional materials for the decision and its tenets were made public immediately after the vote. Peaceful protests on campus on April 23 resulted in alumnae being threatened with arrest and escorted off-campus by campus security. On May 1, the day of the Board of Trustees vote, alumnae, current students, and supporters were corralled into a “Free Speech Zone” by the very institution that taught many of us how to use our voices to stand up for what we believe to be right. Following the vote in favor of a coed Chatham, Save Chatham transitioned to the Chatham College Independent Alumnae Association in order to provide a safe space for alumnae to process the decision while still identifying with the former college. When it became clear that the new alumnae group would not be disbanding, Chatham University issued “cease & desist” letters to Chatham College Independent Alumnae Association administrators and threatened legal action if the group did not immediately discontinue using the name “Chatham” in its title, further alienating alumnae.

The Save Chatham/Chatham College Independent Alumnae Association lives on today as the Filiae Nostrae Society (FNS). The name is derived from the Chatham College motto “Filiae nostrae sicut antarii lapides: that our daughters may be as cornerstones.” The FNS provides disenfranchised alumnae of Chatham College for Women a place to call home and gives alumnae an opportunity to network, to shine the spotlight on them and their successes, to support institutions that value a women’s-only environment, to reinvigorate former relationships and to build new ones with women from former and current women’s colleges – all part of alumnae engagement that Chatham abandoned long before the vote.

Additional information, including documentation supporting the information outlined above, can be found at www.savechatham.com or Save Chatham’s Facebook page. Information about the Filiae Nostrae Society can be found at ourdaughtersourfuture.com.

Sincerely,

The Filiae Nostrae Society and supporting alumnae:

 

Rebecca G. Varno, Class of 1998

Kathleen A. Ferraro, Class of 1972

Koran Gurcak-Bragg, Class of 1997

Elaine Matthews Cappiello, Class of 1996

Crystal L. Fleming, Class of 1996

Jessica Bodnar McConnell, Class of 1998

Jenifer L Harris, Class of 1996 and 2003

Amy Burgess LaSota, Class of 1998

Amber Keech-Straley, Class of 2005

Alexa New, Class of 2008

Cait McCabe, Class of 2009

Krystle Bates, Class of 2006

Rachel A. Lunsford, Class of 2007

Kristan Buck Ferguson, Class of 2000 and 2005

Rebecca Snyder Halligan, Class of 2006

Rebekah Heilman, Esq. Class of 2000

Kelly McKown, Class of 2002

Tricia Chicka, Class of 2005

Autumn Secrest, Class of 2005

Amy Kay, Class of 2000

Lori King, Class of 1999

Heather Shirey, Class of 1999

Amy Loveridge, Class of 2003

Emily Newport Woodward, 1990

Christina Petrauskis Mars, Class of 2000

Charity Pitcher-Cooper, Class of

Nicole A. Hagan, Class of 2007

Rachel M. Lenzi, Class of 1998

Kimberly Perez, Class of 1994

Emily Lamison Stimmel, Class of 2003 and 2009

Jackie Spycher, Class of 2001

Teresa Cox Mihalsky, Class of 1999

Amanda Morin, Class of 2002

Amanda Newport Ippolito, Class of 2002

Stephanie Swift-Antill, Class of 2001

Audra M. Deemer, Class of 1999

Amber Boucher Keer, Class of 2003

Dina Wilson Youtz, Class of 2001

Maegan Paradise Schmidt, Class of 1999

Julie Wichterman Rotelli, Class of 1998

Kelly Rabenstein Donohoe, Class of 2000 and 2013

Lisandra Rodriguez White, Class of 1999

Erin Williams Duncan, Class of 2000

Teresa Cox Mihalsky, Class of 1999

Amber Christie, Class of 2007

Erin Braunstein Hubbard, Class of 1999

Tillie Eze, Class of 2009

Amy Hanna Engle, Class of 1997

Vanessa N. Thompson, Class of 2012

Nancy Taylor, Class of 2005

Sarah Stulga, Class of 2008

Michele L. Agosti, Class of 2001

Evelyn Mann, Class of 2009

Sally Davoren, Class of 1972

Nancy Chubb, PhD, MBA, Class of 1973

Angela Pinizzotto, Class of 1998

Jaya Lakshminarayanan, Class of 2000

Sarah Barr, Class of 1998

Amy Donahue Benet, Class of 2000

Sheila Confer, Class of 1994

Joyce Mallilo Calderone, Class of 2007 and 2008

Bethany Fulton, Class of 1995

Laura Strauss, Class of 2005

Jennifer Wichterman Kouznetsova, Class of 2003

Christy Diulus, Class of 1996

Christy Dennison, Class of 1999

Marisa A. Klages-Bombich, Class of 1998

Amanda K. Nedley, Class of 1999

Michele Davies Turner, Class of 2002

Kathy Crookston Curran, Class of 1983

Julie Baggs, Class of 1998

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20 responses to “Signatures Requested for Letter to Editor”

  1. Bethany says :

    Please add my signature:
    Bethany Ford class of 1991

  2. Jenna Luek says :

    I’d like to be included- Jenna Luek, Class of 2010

  3. Katie Petrich says :

    Katie Petrich, Class of 1997

  4. louise crawford says :

    pls add my name Sally S. Baldus class of 1960

  5. Beth Koshinski says :

    Please add my name to this letter Bethany M Koshinski class of 1992

  6. jasminerose says :

    Jasmine Rose Penter, Class of 2001

  7. Suzy Fiori says :

    proudly representing the Class of ’77

  8. Ann Kottner says :

    Please add my name: Prof. Ann Kottner, Class of 1982

  9. amanda morin says :

    add my name: Amanda Morin, class of 2002

  10. Ashley Close says :

    Ashley Close, Class of 2006.

  11. Marci Ellsworth says :

    Please add my name to the letter! Thank you for taking the time to write it!

    Marci Sonoski Ellsworth Class of 1979

  12. April Yandrich says :

    Please add me too.
    April Yandrich, Class of 2001

  13. Mary McMahon says :

    Mary McMahon, Class of 2009

  14. Ris Jenkins says :

    Add my signature!

    Ris Jenkins, Class of 2013

  15. Stephanie Salcedo, Class of 2005 says :

    Please include me

  16. Kristen Bell says :

    Add my signature
    Kristen Edsall Bell Class of 1984

  17. roberta l.wanner says :

    Add my name to the letter, please. Roberta L. Wanner class of ’75

  18. Susan Merriman, Class of 1975 says :

    Please add my name

  19. aziza says :

    How do we sign? Pls add me: Aziza Musa Class of 03

  20. Myrna Ogden Hill, Class of 1985 says :

    Please add my name to the letter you are sending in response to the claim that there was no resistance, it happened once before and was successful because there was more notice to Alumnae who responded as you did. The Board was prepared for the resistance and how to react.

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