A letter to Turning Point USA

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Dear Professor Watchlist,

We, the undersigned faculty members at Calvin College, write to request that you add all of our names to the Professor Watchlist website.

We make this request because your site currently lists one of our colleagues, Professor Joe Kuilema. As a teacher and mentor, Professor Kuilema has educated many students who have dedicated themselves to serving people in the community. His own commitment to helping others extends outside the classroom, into the local community and as far away as West Africa, where he has spent years contributing to development work. The knowledge that Professor Kuilema shares with students is thus based not only on insights gained as a scholar but also on his experience with people whose lives are affected by the real-life, structural inequalities in the world. Your organization claims to recognize “the right for professors to say whatever they wish.” Professors like Joe Kuilema don’t say whatever they wish. Instead, we say what we know, based on careful research, the accumulated work of other scholars, and our own direct experience outside the classroom.    

Professor Kuilema is listed on the Professor Watchlist because of his statements about systemic racism in the United States. If an aim of your site is to identify professors who maintain that racism remains a difficult problem in American society, then all of us need to be on the list. Most of us teach about racism in American institutions and structures in our courses. We don’t take pleasure in discussing the realities of institutional racism with our students, but we know that it needs to be discussed. Indeed, our college as a whole — based on our shared Christian convictions — has dedicated itself to the goal of racial reconciliation. While we each have distinct ways of addressing racism and its ongoing effects in our society, we all agree that this goal requires an intentional stand.

As teachers, we expect our students to be demanding of us. They should expect us to present knowledge that is new to them with clear reasoning and strong supporting evidence – just as we expect of them in their assignments. Education is difficult, challenging work, requiring the open exchange of ideas. Putting the names and faces of professors on a watchlist does not advance this work. A watchlist implies that professors are to be held in suspicion. Your organization claims to provide a service by revealing the names of professors who advance a “radical agenda.” We all stand on the agenda that facts do exist, even when they challenge our beliefs, that considering ideas other than our own is necessary to being a mature citizen, and that the truth-seeking inquiries and discoveries made at America’s colleges and universities are a large part of what makes this country great. If that agenda is radical, then please add our names to your list.

We wish to be counted among those you are watching.    

Signed

(in alphabetical order):

 Adel Abadeer

Kristin Alford

Carolyn Anderson

Eric Arnoys

Adejoke Ayoola

Bruce Berglund

Ken Bergwerff

Claudia Beversluis

Albert Boerema

Jeffrey Bouman

James Bratt

Crystal Bruxvoort

Neil Carlson

Joel Carpenter

Nicholas Cunigan

Christiana deGroot

Stacy De Ruiter

Bert de Vries

Herman De Vries

Rick De Vries

Vicki De Vries

David Diephouse

Mary Molewyk Doornbos

David Dornbos

Jack DuMez

Kristin Kobes DuMez

Chad Engbers

Susan Felch

David Fuentes

Herb Fynewever

Peggy Goetz

Arie Griffioen

Ruth Groenhout

Marjorie Gunnoe

Craig Hanson

Emily Helder

Matthew Kuperus Heun

Gail Heffner

Don Hettinga

Jonathan Hill

Jennifer Steensma Hoag

Stacia Hoeksema

Jennifer L. Holberg

Roland Hoksbergen

Douglas Howard

Jim Jadrich

Clarence Joldersma

William Katerberg

Robert Keeley

Young Kim

Lew Klatt

Dave Koetje

Tracy Kuperus

Johanna Kuyvenhoven

Youngkhill Lee

Larry Louters

Laura Luchies

Matthew Lundberg

Karin Maag

Elisha Marr

Nancy Meyer

Daniel Miller

Christopher Moseley

Mark Mulder

Linda Naranjo-Huebl

Bret Otte

Debra Paxton-Buursma

Carl Plantinga

Blake Riek

Debra Rienstra

Corey Roberts

William Romanowski

James Rooks

Karen Saupe

Kurt Schaefer

 

Robert Schoone-Jongen

Lissa Schwander

Otto Selles

Kara Sevensma

Kumar Sinniah

Ronald Sjoerdsma

Stephen Staggs

Dwight TenHuisen

Marj Terpstra

Thomas Thompson

Alisa Tigchelaar

Kevin Timpe

Jennifer VanAntwerp

Jeremy VanAntwerp

Christina Van Dyke

Frans van Liere

Katherine van Liere

William Van Vugt

Todd Vanden Berg

James Vanden Bosch

Douglas Vander Griend

Scott Vander Linde

Judith Vander Woude

Rachel Venema

Susan Verwys

Jolene Vos-Camy

John Walcott

Dave Warners

Eric Washington

Micah Watson

Joel H. Westra

Jennifer H. Williams

Roman Williams

Amy Wilstermann

Benita Wolters-Fredlund

Julie E. Yonker

Jane Zwart

 

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Richard Chimes

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