I have been at Simmons for almost four years, and I have never before felt that I needed to react to an article in The Voice. I must, however, provide a response to the recent article by Staff Writer Jennifer Ives in the February 4, 2017 issue. Near the end of this article criticizing President Drinan’s recent public statements, Ives says that “Simmons is a liberal arts college in the single most liberal state in the United States, arguably in the world, with a student population from across the country and around the world.”
Obviously, we need to have a shared understanding of our institutional identity. Simmons is not a liberal arts college. We are a comprehensive university, offering a broad mix of liberal arts and professional programs, with a combined undergraduate and graduate population of over 7,000 students representing all 50 states and other countries. Indeed, our most rapidly growing student groups attend Simmons’s online graduate programs from every corner of this country.
Recognizing this growing population—and understanding that even students living here in Boston do not all share the same political views—President Drinan cannot represent all students with statements based only on the opinions and experiences of some. Mindful that diversity and inclusion contemplate differences of geography, opinion, and political conviction, she must write from a point of view that keeps all students in mind.
That said, I must add that I am shocked and disappointed to see a staff writer publicly accuse the president of “cowardice.” I do not think that word can be fairly used to describe her statements — statements that attempt to carve a path towards understanding and progress, rather than continued fighting and divisiveness.
Over her professional career, President Drinan has stood up for the rights and betterment of people marginalized in the workplace, and her performance in this regard is well documented in the public record. You don’t have to go far in a Google search to learn this.
Sometimes courage looks more like discretion than confrontation.
Provost and Senior Vice President