Open Letter to President Barron

This letter was hand-delivered to Pennsylvania State University President Eric J. Barron on December, 15th 2014.  It included the first 81 names on this list.  To add your name to the list of supporters, please fill out our contact form indicating your desire, name, and title to be included (please note, for this purpose, names are limited to the Penn State/State College community).

Our media-obsessed nation seems to be becoming paralyzed by fear, and more polarized on every issue—from politics or religion to sexuality, citizenship, or ethnicity. Individuals are routinely labeled as “friend” and accepted or “enemy” and dismissed or demonized. “Student protestor” vs. “University administrator.” “Law and order” vs. “anarchy.”

How refreshing and inspiring to see you courageously and humbly step out and take a silent, simple, yet profound step towards dismantling the fear, and to move towards reframing at least one conversation from “us” and “them” to “we.” We applaud your fearless leadership on this campus and in this community, unapologetically modeling a way to listen to others and treat them with dignity and respect. We pledge to continue to build on that foundation to protest against the crumbling of freedoms enshrined in the first amendment to our United States Constitution guaranteeing that there shall be

. . .no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Please know that you have our respect and gratitude.

The university is a place to learn: how important to be a place where everyone can tell their stories and be heard, and where they can listen.


  1. Fran Osseo-Asare, BETUMI
  2. Ben Wideman, 3rd Way Collective
  3. Eric Sauder, New Leaf Initiative
  4. Kwadwo Osseo-Asare
  5. Diana W. Malcom, Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship
  6. Serena Fulton, New Leaf Initiative
  7. Nathaniel Peters, Penn State Ice Rink
  8. Harold Robinson, IST PSU
  9. Galen Bernard, New Leaf Initiative
  10. Anneliese Nachman, Penn State Agriculture and Environment Ctr.
  11. Barbara Newell, New Leaf Initiative
  12. Jared Yarnall-Shane
  13. Jay Searles, New Leaf
  14. Rosita Derstine
  15. Leland Glenna 
  16. Elizabeth Goreham, Mayor
  17. Joel Weidner, Penn State Finance and Business
  18. Gloria Horst Rosenberger
  19. Susan Kennedy
  20. Andrew Kreider
  21. Marv Friesen
  22. Pia Small
  23. Sarah Q. Malone, Interfaith Initiative Centre County
  24. Rick Stehouwer
  25. Cathy Pierce
  26. Gladys E. Keener
  27. Carl S. Keener, Retired Faculty Member
  28. Alicia Anderson, Lutheran Campus Ministry at Penn State
  29. Esther Prins
  30. Karl Bartsch
  31. Shane Miller
  32. Rogers McLane
  33. Evelyn Bartsch
  34. Kayla Shelton-Burleigh, Black Caucus 2nd Vice President
  35. Mark T. Greenberg, Bennett Chair of Prevention Research, College of Health & Human Development
  36. Jada Hill, President, Black Caucus
  37. Abiola Ajibola, President, Iota Phi Theta
  38. Jennifer Massenat, VP/PR Raw Aesthetic Movements
  39. Briana Adams, President, Multicultural Undergrad. Law Assoc.
  40. Charisma Ricksy, President, Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team
  41. Serge Gaba, President, Alpha Phi Alpha
  42. Timothy VanBeverhoudt, President Unity Church Campus Ministry
  43. Genevieve Logerie, 1st Vice President, Black Caucus
  44. Kenneth Allen, President, National Assoc. of Black Accountants
  45. Bryant K. Obeng, Political Action Chair, NAACP
  46. Ruth Parrish Sauder
  47. Brandi Wesley, President, LOCKS (Loving Our Curly, Kinky, and Straight Hair)
  48. Michael Banks, Sankofa Chair of Black Caucus
  49. Aaliyah Burroughs, President Multicultural Women’s Forum
  50. Chardonnay Levi, Vice President, Unity Church Campus Ministry
  51. Cecile King, President, Diversity Ambassadors
  52. Ashley Wilson, President, Black Student Union
  53. Terrell Finner, President, National Pan-Hellenic Council
  54. Darryl Blakey, President, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources & Related Sciences
  55. Kierra Nocho, Vice President, Natl. Council of Negro Women; President Ashe Theatre Company
  56. Jerrie Johnson, Project Cahir-Cahir Corps, W.O.R.D.S
  57. Damon Raynor, President, Raw Aesthetic Movements
  58. Aunte Margie Obeng, President, African Students Association
  59. Dwayne Bailey, President, Penn State NAACP Chapter
  60. Khadija Bingham, Vice President, LOCKS (Loving Our Curly, Kinky, and Straight Hair)
  61. Laura Dell’Olio
  62. Carissa Heine, student
  63. Paul MCCormick, PSU alum
  64. Jessica McCormick
  65. James L. Rosenberger
  66. Meredith Wideman
  67. Joy Miller
  68. Ieva Perkons
  69. Naomi Smith
  70. Mary Derstein
  71. Alison Gernand, Asst. Prof. Penn State
  72. Elaine Mercer
  73. Laura Chapman
  74. Harold McKenzie
  75. Doug Miller
  76. Ken Kline Smeltzer
  77. Bonnie Kline Smeltzer
  78. Karen Brandes
  79. Cricket Eccleston Hunter, PAIPL
  80. Jonthan Abu, Political Actions Chair, Penn State NAACP Chapter
  81. Sheryl-Amber B. Edmondson, Pres. Penn State Section, Natl. Council of Negro Women, Inc.;Treasurer, Keep A Child Alive
  82. Kathleen Stehouwer
  83. Mark Kissling
  84. Erica Frankenberg
  85. Pastor Harold McKenzie
  86. Beth Bradley, Assistant Director, Center for Spiritual & Ethical Development
  87. Daphne Weider, President, PSU Fair Trade
  88. Robin Romine
  89. Kathleen Danley
  90. Alex Hagen, Graduate Student, Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  91. Shannon J. Telenko, Academic Adviser, Department of Psychology
  92. Rebecca Wilson Lundin
  93. Claudia Wilson
  94. Anne Elrod Whitney, Associate Professor of Education
  95. Ellen Campbell
  96. Hollis G. Zelinsky, Penn State Employee
  97. Naana Nti
  98. Phil Jones, State College Presbyterian Church Mission Associate
  99. Douglas Yoder
  100. Vonda Yoder


UPDATE: On December 15th, President Barron responded to the signees with this letter –



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *