Open Letter by Hillsdale Students and Alumni Supporting the College and its President.
We think it generally good to come to the defense of one’s own, but we think it virtuous to defend that which we believe is good. Since its founding in 1844, Hillsdale College has been committed to the perpetuation of the blessings of “civil and religious liberty” through “such moral and social instruction as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of its pupils,” irrespective of sex, race, or creed.
There are those who have claimed recently that Hillsdale is selling its soul and drifting from this noble mission because of President Larry Arnn’s personal endorsement of President Donald Trump and the college’s invitation to Vice President Mike Pence to speak at commencement. Among these are a few current and former students.
Lest the public think that these dissenting voices represent the majority opinion at the school, we, the undersigned students and alumni, wish to make known our continued support of Dr. Arnn and Hillsdale College. We believe that the college has not compromised its principles of late but in fact continues to be a shining example of how to “pursue truth and defend liberty.” At Hillsdale, students continue to thrive through contemplation and study of the liberal arts as well as through practice in civil discourse and reasoned arguments. We believe these noble pursuits are not simply ends in themselves but are necessary for exercising self-government.
The word college means “partnership,” as Dr. Arnn is fond of reminding us, and so a certain amount of agreement is required to achieve this common pursuit. Personal conviction, arrived at through free inquiry, is also an essential element of our common pursuit, as it is the only sort of conviction compatible with free government, and thus we are each free to form our own political opinions.
Whether we agree or disagree with Dr. Arnn's personal views, we respect them and are grateful for all he has done for Hillsdale College. Contrary to the views of some, we believe his actions are the product of careful deliberation and are a model of civic virtue in a time of great distress in our country. Though there is great diversity of opinion at Hillsdale regarding the leadership of President Trump and Vice President Pence, we wish it to be known that there is an even greater union of faith in the goodness of our national Constitution under the sovereignty of the American people and the mission of Hillsdale College under the leadership of Dr. Larry Arnn.