McAndrew, Alumna Present Paper

Frank McAndrew, Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology, presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Portland, Oregon. The senior author on the poster was Allie Bird ’18, and the research was based on her senior project at Knox titled “Does Namesaking a Child Influence Attachment Style?” Her research will also be published in the March issue of the North American Journal of Psychology.

UCar Gives Presentation

Nurettin Ucar, Modern Languages – German, gave a presentation at the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting at Georgetown University on March 9. His paper, “Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West: Invisible Borders and Intrusion of the Public Sphere by Refugees,” was part of a panel entitled “‘Europe’ in Contemporary Literature and in Literary Studies.”

Celebration of Life for Trisha Hurst

I am writing today to share with you an invitation from Jason Connell, who has asked that I share this with students, staff and faculty:

We would like for you to join us in a Celebration of Life for Trisha Hurst on
Saturday, May 12, 4:30pm to 6:30pm, at Knox College Alumni Hall, Trustee Room.

If you’d like to offer something, Trisha valued live plants over cut flowers or a donation to Knox County Relay for Life or your favorite charity would also be appreciated.

This is a casual event. Please come, share your pictures, experiences and stories.

Healing through laughter and tears.


Update on Recent Events

Dear Knox Community,

Over the last two weeks, our community has grappled with serious and difficult issues regarding discrimination, freedom of speech, and identity. While tensions surrounding these matters are always present in a diverse community dedicated to discussion and learning, the most recent issues came to light when a student submitted a bias incident report regarding a series of tweets by a faculty member on his private Twitter page that the student and members of the campus Hillel chapter viewed as anti-Semitic. The College has an obligation and a commitment to respond to all reports of bias and discrimination, so our bias incident team initiated an assessment of the situation, which is ongoing. An email exchange among faculty about the content and intent of the tweets followed on the College faculty and staff listserv. Several days later, on April 18, a Jewish faculty member received an anonymous letter containing vulgar and anti-Semitic content. The bias incident team immediately initiated an additional investigation into this hateful act, which is also in process.

Our most pressing concern at this time is supporting and protecting students and faculty who feel targeted by the anonymous hate mail and by the tweets and email exchanges. The anonymous action is clearly reprehensible, harmful to the individual, and an affront to our values. With regard to the tweets, it is not the College’s practice to follow the personal social media accounts of its faculty or staff members. As an academic institution, we must maintain an unwavering allegiance to the constitutional rights of members of our community, particularly the freedom of speech that is essential for unfettered academic inquiry. Nonetheless, the section on Academic Freedom in the College’s Faculty Handbook notes the special obligations incumbent upon members of the faculty even when speaking as individuals: “to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinions of others, and to make every effort to indicate that the individual is not speaking for the College.”

Within the context of protecting academic freedom, however, the College does have an obligation to and a process for investigating allegations of bias incidents reported to us and addressing the extent to which a hostile environment or violation of our policy has occurred. Many members of our community have personal views on the content of the tweets, but the College follows procedural standards in determining whether a violation of our anti-bias policy has occurred. Those standards accord rights and protections to all individuals who are the subject of investigations, and we will scrupulously observe those protections. To that end, the College does not publicly comment on the details of bias investigations while they are in progress. While that process works toward a resolution, the safety of our students, faculty and staff is the College’s top priority, especially in terms of their experiences on campus and their ability to teach and learn in a environment free from bias, harassment or discrimination.

Throughout this time, members of our faculty and staff have spent many hours with the affected students and faculty, listening and providing support as they work to comprehend and respond to the situation. As we have witnessed throughout Knox’s long history, our students have come together to turn seemingly divisive language into an opportunity for understanding and a greater sense of inclusivity on our campus. The Student Senate invited Hillel to discuss the situation at a recent Senate meeting, and students of many racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds have expressed their support for their fellow students. Hillel is currently in the process of planning a dialogue to discuss how to confront and combat hate, and the Student Senate is encouraging our campus to come together in support of such community-building events. The College will do all that it can to support our students in their efforts to move beyond forums such as Twitter and email that do not allow for nuanced dialogue and to promote open, respectful, and meaningful discussions.

Campuses and communities across the nation have witnessed bias incidents and experienced a breakdown of dialogue and communication in recent years. The FBI has reported that nearly all classes of hate crimes have increased since 2016, including crimes against Jews, Muslims, African Americans, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants. Sadly, hate crimes in schools, colleges and universities are rising as well. While we recognize that these crimes are significantly underreported, even one hate crime is too many. Hate has no home at Knox College. In this environment, we are all called to stand up for our values, to reject hateful speech and actions, and to affirm our support for those targeted by hate as we work to build an inclusive and respectful campus in which to live and learn.



Anonymous Hate Mail Incident on Campus

Dear Knox Community,
Earlier today, we were made aware of a bias incident against a member of our community. The individual received an anonymous note that contained vulgar images and hateful language. This anonymous action is reprehensible and harmful to the individual, and an affront to the values that we as an institution hold dear: respect, empathy, decency, and inclusivity.
We are initiating an immediate investigation into this incident. If you have any knowledge of or information regarding the situation, please let us know immediately. You can submit information via the Anonymous Report Form or contact Campus Safety directly at 309-341-7979.
Like many communities across the country, we have witnessed bias incidents in recent years. In this environment, we are called upon to stand up for our values, to reject hateful speech and actions, and to affirm our support for those targeted by this hate. I call upon each and every one of us actively to demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive and respectful campus community. 
Teresa L. Amott

Dean of the College Announcement

From Teresa Amott:

Dear Knox Community,

On behalf of the Search Committee, I am delighted to announce that Dr. Garikai Campbell has accepted our offer to join the Knox community as provost and dean of the College. He joins Knox after serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse College for the last four years. From the Search Committee’s first consideration of the candidate pool, Kai Campbell stood out as one of the top candidates, with more than 20 years of experience at residential liberal arts colleges as a student, faculty member, and academic administrator. The Committee was particularly drawn to his experiences leading strategic planning and his dedication to strengthening diversity among academic communities. He will take up his new duties in June.

You will note that this appointment also brings with it the new title of provost, replacing the “vice president for academic affairs” title used at Knox in the past. The new title does not carry with it any change in duties, reporting lines, or the structure of the Division of Academic Affairs, but it better aligns the description of his role at Knox with his previous administrative experience.

Campbell received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Swarthmore, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and an Academic All-American wrestler, and earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University. He returned to Swarthmore as a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, followed by an appointment to the faculty. While at Swarthmore, Campbell held several leadership positions, including associate dean for academic affairs, acting dean of students, and associate vice president for strategic planning and special assistant to the president.

In 2013, Campbell was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse, where he facilitated the first change to the general education program in nearly three decades, enhanced the culture of shared governance, and reshaped the academic leadership. He played an instrumental role in securing resources for academic programs and broader institutional needs, including a $2.5 million gift to support STEM programs; a $1.2M grant from the Gates Foundation to develop and evaluate innovative student success initiatives; and a $1.25M Lilly Endowment grant to strengthen career pathways for students through improved curricular and co-curricular programming, structured internship opportunities, and enhanced advising.

Campbell’s work in his field of mathematics has focused predominantly on exploring particular properties of elliptic curves and exploiting those properties to solve select problems in number theory. He is the recipient of many awards for his teaching and research, including the Minority Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation; the Lindback Minority Junior Faculty Grant; the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship; and the Henry Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America.

He is also recognized for his innovative work to shape programs designed to engage and retain students underrepresented in STEM disciplines. In particular, he has worked with the Professional Development Program at the University of California, Berkeley to boost enrollment of African American, Latinx, and Native American students in graduate mathematics programs; helped design and administer alternative assessments for the Vanguard Scholarship Program of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME); and taught and consulted for the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Program to strengthen women’s success in graduate mathematics programs. In addition, he has served on the advisory boards for the Math is Power and Figure This! Campaigns, promoting math and science literacy to elementary and middle school-aged children and their parents. He is currently a Scholar in Residence at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he is investigating, writing, and serving as a thought partner on topics at the intersection of technology, identity, art, and higher education.

I want to take this final opportunity to highlight the thoughtful work over the past five months by the Search Committee and the search consultants from Storbeck, Pimentel, all of whom worked tirelessly and diligently on our behalf. Thanks, again, to Anne Ehrlich, vice president for student development, and Chuck Schulz, professor of physics, who co-chaired the Committee, and to committee members Sam Arrez ’18, student representative; Nancy Eberhardt, professor of anthropology and chair of anthropology and sociology; Gina Franco, associate professor of English; Andy Hertel, assistant professor of psychology; Brandon Polite, associate professor of philosophy; Laura Rosene ’90, trustee and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee; and Nate Williams, assistant professor of educational studies.

From its first meeting in late August through two full days at O’Hare Airport interviewing semi-finalists and its final meetings with me to present its recommendations, the Committee has shown remarkable dedication and collegiality in representing Knox’s special qualities and core values to the candidates. We would not have been able to attract Kai to the campus without the embodiment of humor, wisdom, and critical thinking in this committee, and I am very grateful to them all.

I look forward to welcoming Kai to the Knox community later this spring and to his leadership as we continue to navigate the opportunities and challenges facing higher education today.