Dear AD Hogan,
This letter is in response to what we believe is your misrepresentation of the Oberlin student body on the interview with Marvin Krislov broadcasted on CNN. As you are our Senior Class President, your actions come with a magnified importance to the community.
We do not purport to speak for every one of our peers, but we believe enough agree with our position that we are justified in voicing our opinion here. Our objective in this letter is not to challenge the cause that you, the MRC, or anyone else involved with, or emotionally affected by, the hate-related incidents in the last month have fought for and cared about.
We are also not commenting on the effectiveness of the administration in handling this issue or anyone’s opinions to that effect. This is also not an attempt to shame or discredit anyone who disagrees with how this situation has been handled.
This is solely a response to what we believe was a gross misrepresentation of the student body by you, our elected representative. We therefore write this letter asking you to make a formal and public apology for your actions.
AD, while you have every right to express your opinions in whatever manner you desire, you have a responsibility, foremost before that right, to uphold your office in accurately representing our student body. You chose to run for a position which authorizes you to speak for all of us, and we voted for you. By accepting that office, you entered into an agreement that you would act with validity, maturity, and respect for all members of the community.
Your actions during the interview, however, show great disrespect not only for President Krislov, but for all of us. Again, as a student, you have every right to protest however you see fit. But, as our Class President, you have a duty to portray Oberlin in an even-handed manner that reflects the broad-based opinions of your entire constituency. It is our perception that a vast majority of the student body found repugnant the manner in which you conducted yourself.
You have touted the values of respect, and have purported to have a strong desire to ensure all voices are heard. And yet, you denied our President that very right, while misrepresenting the temperament and widely-held beliefs of the student body.
Your actions display an insulting arrogance. You thoughtlessly took the national stage to push your own viewpoints without considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of your constituents disagree with your view. Oberlin is rarely in the news, and this could have been a moment for us to show the country the incredible strength and values of our community. Instead, you have publicly tarnished not only your reputation, but the reputation of our administration and the entire student body. As you are our Class President, anyone who watched the broadcast on CNN could reasonably (albeit inaccurately) assume that you speak for all of us.
We hope that you understand the gravity of this situation, and that you take seriously our request for a formal, public apology. It is up to you how you reconcile your beliefs and actions with those of the students you represent, and we hope you think deeply about how your actions affected, and will continue to affect, us all.