Earlham values

Earlham has many strengths. Its core values are notable. While seeming to master some of its values, EC has abandoned others. Diversity has always been an Achilles heel. Attracting a diverse population and maintaining it are two separate enterprises. This is true for students and faculty. EC had a major problem with retention when I graduated in the early 80s. Here again with Alan Price’s departure, the school stumbles at how to retain minorities- perhaps because it was never truly invested to start. EC has never embraced transparency, as if this core value premise has no relationship to its other values. It is hard to imagine any leadership position being abruptly vacated and the college asserts confidentiality (darkness) over truth (light). This undermines trust among stakeholders and destroys the ability of the institution to ever reach meaningful consensus on any other matters. The building spree has also obvious consequences. Overimprovement can not only be costly short term, it can be unsustainable longterm. Banking on an explosion in student population that construction was designed to create could backfire in bankruptcy. The deficits could erase the endowent in 10 years at the current pace of operations. That is simplicity too but at the wrong extreme. Changing horses in leadership midway now makes the work ahead that much harder. Earlham like many other higher education institutions will need to decide quickly who it is, we know who it wanted to be. From there she will need to make the hard changes and choices to let everyone else know why we can trust her with education, managing the relationships of her trustees, and making sound capital investment decisions. Hiding behind confidentiality is a nonstarter.