March 3, 2017
Dear Marietta College Family:

We are very excited about what a great season our men's and women's basketball programs have had, and we look forward to watching the men's team as they advance in NCAA tournament play. I write to you today to ask for your help. As we continue to support all of our Pioneers, both on and off the court, I ask that our words and actions demonstrate support for the entire campus community and all those who visit here.

During last Saturday's game against Baldwin Wallace, a member of their team chose to kneel during the National Anthem. During the course of the game, some of our fans reacted to that behavior with some chanting. I firmly believe that there was no malicious intent behind this chanting, but I also believe it is important that we all understand that the impact of this chanting may have affected more people than just that individual player. There are members of our own campus community, as well as visitors, who identify with that player, and the chanting may have made them feel that Marietta College is not a place where they are welcome if they voice their own experiences and opinions.

Marietta College is a place that places very high value on the free exchange of ideas and respect for others. That exchange may not go smoothly when groups and individuals who represent diverse backgrounds and worldviews receive messages that their voices are not valued in the discussion of issues that are critical to the health of our society.

The ability to speak freely is essential to Marietta College's success in achieving its educational mission, and our communication with one another needs to be empowering rather than silencing. I know that you share my commitment to making the Marietta College experience absolutely the best it can be, for everyone here, and I thank you for working hard to help us make that commitment a reality.


Bill Ruud