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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear Alumna,

We are writing about a new issue of concern to all of us.

The Fall 2013 issue of the Wilson Magazine (formerly Alumnae Quarterly)—under new management in the College's department of Marketing and Communications, as you may have noticed—recently reached alumnae. In time-honored tradition, recipients quickly turned to the Class Notes to find news of classmates and friends before settling on other articles to read.

But many class correspondents began reporting that their notes had been altered, or removed entirely - edited apparently not for length but for content. The AAWC Executive Committee has written to all alumnae to share their position on this situation, which they tried to avert before publication. The letter is posted on the Alumnae Association page of the Wilson College website, but we are also including it in this email so that the information reaches more alumnae.

Citing the rights of all alumnae to be able to freely share experiences and respectful opinions, our AAWC leadership has strongly protested the censorship in the Wilson Magazine. As the AAWC letter explains, College administrators do not intend to change the practice. We applaud the directors and executive leadership for taking such an active roll in support of alumnae. We are at a loss to understand how the College's action will help with alumnae morale and encourage annual giving—or how such action can be in keeping with a community that lives by an Honor Principle.

Firmly pledged to love and honor...

Deborah Barnes ’71
Melissa Behm ’76
Kendal Hopkins ’80
Nicole Noll ’03
Carol Noon ’87

AAWC Executive Committee Notice Regarding Wilson Magazine

Dear Members:

The Alumnae Quarterly began as a way for alumnae to stay connected - not only with the college but with each other. It was designed to keep alumnae up to date on the happenings at the college, to keep alumnae engaged and to encourage alumnae to give to their alma mater.

As you know, some comments were “edited” from the Class Notes section of the recently published Wilson Magazine. When we became aware that this was going to happen, we (the Alumnae Association and the Alumnae/i Relations Office) went to the Marketing and Communications Department and requested that they not go through with this. Obviously, our words were not heeded.

Last week, President Cramer paid a visit to Brian Speer (VP for Marketing and Communications) to articulate our frustration with this issue of the Magazine. Subsequently, Dr. Mistick commented on the Editing of Class Notes. Their explanation: Class Notes is a place to socialize not editorialize. “All comments - both for and against the decision - were removed…”

The Association cannot recall a time when any class notes were not published in their entirety. A statement at the forefront of the class note section states “Class Notes do not necessarily reflect the views of staff, the Alumnae Association or the College.” During the Marketing and Communications session at Leadership Weekend, the membership was informed that editorial comments (political and religious) would not be allowed; and promoting a personal business would also not be permitted. All of these are reasonable.

The graduates of Wilson College want the college to succeed. We want enrollment to grow. We want giving to increase. We want others to receive the same quality education we received. And, we want to keep in touch with both our College and our classmates.

The Alumnae Association represents nearly 8,000 alumnae/i and respects the right of each member to hold and speak their own opinion.

The Executive Committee
Alumnae Association of Wilson College

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