Petition to Save SAO

Petition to Save SAO

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Molly Vander Werp started this petition to president@calvin.edu and

Calvin College has recently announced its decision to cut Ken Heffner's position and reorganize the Student Activities Office (SAO) at the end of this year.  

We, the undersigned, stand together in support of the mission of SAO and the work of Ken Heffner. We ask for:

  • clear financial justification for the decision,
  • concrete assurance that Calvin College is committed to continuing this deeply important work of cultural discernment, and for
  • further transparency and cross-community conversation in the decision making process in the future.


Firstly, we request that the administration provide an economic rationale for the dissolution of the SAO.  Though broad financial statements have been made available, many in the community do not understand the financial benefit the college has to gain from this specific cut. We believe that the administration has made a mistake: while cutting the SAO may save a small sum in the short term, it will harm enrollment in the long term.  We believe that the SAO is a wise investment for both the embodied mission and the future financial standing of the college. If the administration feels otherwise, providing a clear, specific, fact-based justification for this decision may renew trust with the Calvin community and assuage these particular frustrations.

Secondly, concerning the reorganization of the Student Activities Office (SAO) and Campus Involvement in Leadership Office (CIL), we request further information about the nature of this merger.  We would like to see the “holy worldliness” approach—exemplified by Ken Heffner, the current SAO, and Cultural Discerner (CD) program—preserved. We want to discuss alternative options with the administration for how the SAO could be restructured and preserved.

Thirdly, we hope to address the systemic lack of transparency demonstrated by the administration in its top-down decision making processes.  We request that administrators commit to continuing conversation with students, faculty, and staff alike. We believe that this will foster trust and eliminate barriers between the administration and the broader community, as well as model practices of communication and collaboration for future decisions.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!