General Timeline

A very non-exhaustive list of Things That Have Happened in recent years:

A lot of things have happened in the past few years. This general timeline is not meant to be complete but includes some of the major events that are continuously shaping campus life and activism. As always, contact us with things to add or change.

For more details on the events listed here and more, see the Current Actions page and the Creative Student Projects page, as well as the two timelines listed below that include less recent events:

  • A timeline of a “People’s History of Middlebury College” can be found here.
  • A timeline of student activism against sexual violence on campus can be found here. More info on these events can be found here and here. (created by GSFS students, 2018-2020)

2020

Spring

  • On Tuesday, March 10, an email from the President announced that in light of the escalating COVID-19 situation (it was declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11), spring break would begin one week early, all students must leave campus by Friday, March 13 at 8pm, and classes would resume remotely on March 30. The administration would reassess the situation in April to determine whether students could return to campus for the remainder of the semester.
    • All students were required to fill out a form detailing their plans for leaving campus or petitioning to remain at Midd; only about 150 students were approved to stay.
    • Students were asked to “Box, Label, and Leave” any belongings they could not take with them
    • Following an outcry from students and families about the short notice for leaving campus, the date of departure was extended to Sunday, March 15
    • Student activists quickly organized a Mutual Aid spreadsheet on which students and community members could ask for and offer resources (rides to the airport, places to stay, places to store belongings, loans for travel expenses etc.)
      • see spreadsheet here
      • the spreadsheet circulated widely and other schools soon created their own versions
      • see coverage of the mutual aid efforts from: The Campus, VT Digger, and The Guardian
    • On April 2, the Office of the President announced that the remainder of the semester would be completed virtually
  • Grading during the pandemic
    • On March 16, Middlebury announced it would change its rules for the pass/D/fail option, allowing students to opt for pass/D/fail for any class this semester, regardless of other regulations for non-standard grading (previously, pass/D/fail was not an option for required classes and there was a limit on the number of courses to which a student could apply non-standard grading options)
    • Several student groups emerged: #FairGradesMidd pushed for universal pass/fail or dual A (A/A-), and #OptInMidd supported the March 16 model and opposed any universal non-standard grading option.
      • See coverage from The Campus here
      • On April 17, following student-led campaigns, including a petition by #FairGradesMidd with over 1100 signatures, the faculty voted in favor of an opt-in credit/no-credit system and extended the deadline for revoking the credit/no-credit option for any course
  • Middlebury American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
    • A chapter of the national AAUP, which had been formed in 2017 and was reinstated amidst the pandemic and ensuing financial crisis in spring 2020
      • See their website here
      • Coverage from The Campus here
    • Students, faculty, staff, and alums began organizing to push the administration to dip into the school’s endowment in order to protect faculty and staff wages. They ended up raising tuition and are so unwilling to dip into the endowment that if students are forced to unexpectedly return home in fall 2020, employee wages and benefits are planned to be cut.
      • Read their letter, “A Financial Future for All of Us” here
      • Read the alumni letter of support for AAUP (sent to the Senior Leadership Group on June 5) here

Winter

  • An email from David Provost, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, on Jan. 22 announced that Charles Murray had been invited back to Middlebury by the College Republicans and would be speaking on March 31 on his new book, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class
    • Student organizers began brainstorming responses and met upon returning from February Break
    • When Middlebury transitioned to remote learning in March because of the pandemic, CM’s talk was cancelled and student efforts subsided
      • Plans had included letters and petitions to the administration to cancel or move the talk off campus (letters were delivered to Old Chapel before school closed), trainings on direct action and de-escalation throughout February and March, a teach-in for new students to learn about CM and what happened last time (led on March 10 with minimal attendance because the transition to remote learning was announced earlier that day), strikes and teach-ins for anti-racist education on the day of the talk, art protests outside the event, potential disruptions of the event

2019

Fall

  • Staff cuts and buyouts
    • Some (mostly facilities) staff now attempting to unionize
    • Students show support and plan for more engagement over J-Term
  • Alexander Hamilton Forum (Koch $$) brings more problematic speakers (debate about Affirmative Action feat. Richard Kahlenberg and Randall Kennedy; Ross Duthat)
  • The Middlebury Independent, a student-run, Koch-funded “newspaper” appears on campus to give a voice to the apparently voiceless straight white males of Middlebury
  • Student for Justice in Palestine begins to form following a protest of talk by Ishmael Khaldi, Bedouin diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy group forms
  • Student-led Climate Strikes around the world and across Vermont; Middlebury students walk out of classes and gather in College Park with hundreds of high schoolers, faculty, staff, and people from town
    • Read about it here
    • Facebook event here
  • Middlebury chapter of the Sunrise Movement drops banner in Bihall and Davis Library
  • More details on Energy 2028 released here
  • New Protest Policy released here
  • The Pregnancy Resource Center of Addison County, Middlebury’s very own CPC (Crisis Pregnancy Center — fake abortion clinic funded by pro-life religious orgs) returns to the Student Activities Fair; student activists, again, hand out pamphlets on the threat CPCs pose to reproductive justice

Spring

  • Chem prof gives test question asking students to calculate the lethal dose of a gas used in Holocaust gas chambers; put on temporary leave
    • The Local Noodle (satirical paper) coverage that brought it to light before The Campus or the administration addressed it here
    • The Campus coverage here and here
    • The Local Noodle’s response here and here 
  • A week later, Geology prof uses cartoon making fun of slavery in class lecture; she apologizes
    • The Campus coverage here
    • Opens some broader conversations about racism and inclusion in STEM classes
  • White Allies, It’s Your Turn!
    • Two students organize a meeting to organize white students who consider themselves as allies in the fight for racial justice and announce a plan to begin the process of decolonizing the curriculum at Midd.
  • Ryszard Legutko, far-right Polish politician (racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic populist) is brought to campus by the Alexander Hamilton Forum
    • Students organize non-disruptive protest; administrators cancel the event citing “security concerns” (framing protesters as the concern in all-school emails when the real concern was overheard threats from other students of violence against protesters); students advised to cancel or postpone protest events; Poli Sci Prof. Matt Dickinson allows Legutko to secretly speak in his classroom; student in class livestreams the talk via The Campus’ Facebook page; no known consequences for Poli Sci department defying administrators; two students record and publish audio from meeting of student activists with administrators following Legutko’s secret talk
    • Read the Open Letter to Poli Sci and Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs here
    • Read Poli Sci and Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs responses here
    • Read the Statement of Protest Intent here
    • Read the annotated copy of Prof. Keegan Callanan’s email to Poli Sci students here
  • 13 Proposals for Community Healing
    • Following the Legutko events, SGA drafts its 13 Proposals, demands action from administration, considers dissolving itself in protest if the demands are not met
    • Minimal response from administrators, but establishment of Black Studies Department announced
    • SGA does not dissolve
    • Letters in support here

J-Term

2018

Fall

  • Revisions of protest policy continue
    • Students meet with administrators, faculty, and staff following the release of a draft version of the new protest policy, which had been in the works since the disastrous judicial process endured by students who protested Charles Murray in 2017.
  • Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to Supreme Court
    • Panther Day Protest: following Kavanaugh’s confirmation and amid ongoing silence around campus sexual violence, students organized a protest along the side of the parade route for the first (and only) Panther Day Parade over Homecoming Weekend. Students, many of them with duct tape over their mouths, held signs calling attention to Midd’s inaction around sexual violence, the horrors of the reporting process, and the hypocrisy of a Panther Day Parade celebrating athletes.
    • Scream As Loud As You Fucking Can: it’s really starting to feel like the world is ending, so some students gathered one night on the steps of Mead Chapel for some good old fashioned screaming
  • The Pregnancy Resource Center of Addison County further encroaches on campus
    • PRCAC is a crisis pregnancy center (CPC), which means it is a religiously-motivated pro-life “clinic” that attempts to convince people not to get an abortion. The PRCAC has been attending the Student Activities Fair in recent semesters and began emailing students organizing for reproductive justice (especially following a display students created in Davis Library discussing CPCs and the threat they pose to reproductive justice). A student found the center’s pamphlets in Parton Health Center (Parton did not know they were there and promptly affirmed their support for students organizing against the CPC on the grounds that a facility providing inaccurate medical information is a threat to student health).
  • Divest actions continue
    • Faculty referendum to divest from all fossil fuels passes with 92% in support of divestment
    • Students present at Board of Trustees meeting in October, outside, other students give the same presentation to the student body. Read more about the action and fall movements here

Spring

  • Divest gains momentum
    • Student referendum to divest from all fossil fuels passes with 80% supporting divestment (70% voter turnout)
    • Students hold a sit-in in Old Chapel during Board meeting, passing out fact sheets to Trustees
  • Small action protesting Goldman-Sachs recruitment
    • Students (mostly SNEG) handed out pamphlets to students entering the recruitment talk on the terrible things Goldman does
  • Two students disciplined for taking down a poster advertising a talk by Richard Sander debating the need for affirmative action

2017

Fall

  • I Am Addis
    • Protest against Racial Profiling: The I Am Addis campaign put up posters with photos of black students (including Addis) in order to protest against the judiciary action taken against Addis as a result of racial profiling
    • Graffiti was found in a classroom with one board saying F*** Addis and one depicting Bill Burger driving a car and running her over with the caption “Addis and Big Bill playing games” Campus article about the graffiti
    • Read the Demands for Justice and Healing here
  • Racial profiling of professor
    • While campus was still reeling from the racial profiling of Addis, a professor (who is a person of Color) was racially profiled by a Public Safety officer. Read more here.
  • Laurie’s Big Apology
  • The List
    • The List (a list of sexual assaulters at Middlebury that was posted on Facebook in December and was met with backlash from those named in addition to the administration-the student who posted the list was accused of ‘slander’ and the list was then removed from Facebook and posters that had since been put up with pictures of it were ripped down)

Spring

  • CM and aftermath
    • Charles Murray (a lecture and subsequent protest, which also led to the other major events of 2017) Read more about this event here.
    • Here is a wonderful piece written by Prof. Linus Owens about what happened. Read it if you want! It’s super super comprehensive.
    • Here is a pamphlet guide to refuting Charles Murray and ‘alternative’ science in general Re-Ordered Copy of Murray Pamphlet (Horizontal) for Eventual Printing
    • Combatting the Judicial Process (for those protesting Charles Murray). Read more about this here (same as above link).
    • Read many other pieces on the events and their ongoing effects here
    • What Were “The Events of March 2nd?!”: comic created by Emma Ronai-Durning (Class of 2018.5) to give a comprehensive timeline and story of the events surrounding Charles Murray’s visit to campus on March 2, 2017.
    • You can find the speech read by student organizers during the protest here.
  • Racial Profiling
    • Addis, a senior at the time, did not attend the Charles Murray protest but was racially profiled by Public Safety and called in for official judicial proceedings from the College.

2016

Fall

  • Trump elected; many protests
    • Nov 9th: Trump elected President. The sky was grey, some professors cancelled class. Around 200 students participated in a march to protest this result. Read more here 
  • Sanctuary campus walk-out
    • November 16th: Hundreds of students walkout in support of undocumented students Read more about the #SanctuaryCampus Walkout here.
  • Racist and Islamophobic graffiti on students’ doors
  • Swastikas graffitied on Havurah House, Middlebury’s Jewish community center
  • First semester of mandatory JusTalks for all first years

Spring

  • Sombrero Girl:
    • Town Hall meetings were still taking place in the aftermath of “Sombrero Girl,” inspiring the good the bad and the ugly in terms of responses including a series of racist op-eds.
    • To combat this, the Black Student Union wrote a statement and students filled every newspaper on campus with it, and put one under every first years door one week.
    • Wonderbread: White Students for Racial Justice held workshops and wrote an Op-Ed a week, written by white students to white students explain basic concepts of anti-racism.

2015

Fall

  • Laurie Patton become president
  • Sombrero Girl
    • Lots of town halls follow
    • Read The Campus coverage of it here
    • Read more about it on Beyond the Green here