A petition has been circulating through the student body in an attempt to keep Visiting Education Studies Professor Tara Affolter. Prior to coming to Middlebury, Professor Affolter taught part time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also completed her doctoral dissertation, in the Educational Policy Studies department. She has spent the bulk of her career in high school classrooms teaching English and theatre while working for social justice within the public schools. At Middlebury, she is involved in Verbal Onslaught as well as the Carr Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. She has also conducted research here at Midd that looks at ways to build, support, and sustain communities of antiracist teachers within secondary schools
Professor Affolter’s visiting status indicates that she is to leave at the end of this academic year. However, sophomore Jay Saper, on behalf of the Institutional Diversity Committee has begun a petition to have Professor Affolter stay at Middlebury. Saper writes in an email:
To say that Professor Affolter has changed my life in drastic ways for the better is an understatement. The other members of the student body, who have been fortunate enough to engage in one of her classes, be supported by her outside of the classroom, or know a friend who has been touched by her in many ways, could not agree more.
At the time of this post 35 students have left responses to Saper’s letter. As a student of Professor Affolter’s, I was quick to post a comment in response to show my support. Saper’s letter as well as the many comments written in support of the motion, provide a wonderful testament to the kind of person Tara Affolter is as well as the kind of impact she has had on the Middlebury community,
Saper “invites everyone to please read through and contribute to the numerous passionate comments and signatures at go/keepaffolter, which serve as testament to the student body’s support of this decision to keep Professor Affolter as a vital component of Middlebury College.”
“Together” he says, “we will be heard”.