Letter: Jan Tarlin responds to “Marlboro College Alumni Association disapproves of proposed merger with Emerson”


By Jan Tarlin, Marlboro College '76

To the Editor:

Writing as just one of the 500 very different people holding very different views who make up the current membership of the Marlboro College Alumni Association, I would like to correct what I believe to be an inaccurate conclusion one might easily reach after reading the article titled “Marlboro College Alumni Association disapproves of proposed merger with Emerson” published in the Jan. 8 issue of The Berkeley Beacon.

The article is based primarily on a series of quotes from a letter sent by the six alumni on the Interim Association Council (the team currently guiding the Association) to the Association’s members on Jan. 6. Given the article’s title and the particular quotes from the letter chosen for inclusion, a reader might very well conclude that the Association has, as a body, taken an official position against the proposed merger.  However, a reading of the whole letter quickly shows that this is not the case. 

The letter clearly states that the council members hold a variety of different positions on the proposed merger with Emerson. What they agree on is that the lack of transparency and inclusion in the process that has brought Marlboro to where it stands now requires acceptance of the Wootton Challenge to legitimize any further actions by Marlboro’s current leadership regarding the future of the college.

Even this position is not presented in the letter as a position of the Association as a whole, it is simply the consensus position of the six individuals who are currently guiding the Association, and they make no demand that the Association’s membership adopt or support it. Rather, in the letter, the Council invites all individual members of the Association to consider the Council’s collective position as well as other publicly available information and ideas, and take individual action as they see fit.

The proposed merger of Marlboro and Emerson is a complicated issue that arouses deep feelings and sensitivities among all concerned. Overall, The Beacon’s reporting on it has been absolutely excellent. My attempt to provide a more detailed summary of the Jan. 6 letter than appeared in The Beacon’s Jan. 8 article is one person’s effort to deepen the dialogue between the Marlboro alumni community and the Emerson community by offering additional information that will help readers form perspectives that are fair to both the diversity of opinions within the broad community of Marlboro’s alumni and to the hard, committed, careful, and caring work of the Interim Association Council to help that diversity of opinions flourish and bear fruit.


Jan Tarlin

Santa Fe, NM

Marlboro College ’76

Jan Tarlin is a current member of the Marlboro College Alumni Association