Embattled president of Reed College to step down in June - KPTV - FOX 12

Embattled president of Reed College to step down in June

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The president of Reed College in southeast Portland is stepping down.

John Kroger announced the move in a letter posted online Friday. He will have served in the position for six years when he exits this summer.

Students at the school told FOX 12 they’re looking forward to a new leader on campus and someone who they say they hope will be more in touch with students of color.

“I was immediately pretty happy, which shouldn’t be the response of students when the president steps down, is happiness,” student Kwani Marcellay said. “And I think that reflects the situation of the school really well.”

Last fall, a student group called Reedies Against Racism camped out in Kroger’s office to protest school policies and programs they felt misrepresented people of color.

They also wanted the school to break ties with Wells Fargo because of the bank’s dealings with prisons and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

RAR supporters told FOX 12 that administrators have been quiet since the sit-in and that nothing has changed.

“I found him to be pretty unresponsive to the RAR Eliot sit-in, and I think that we need someone who’s more engaged with the people of color on campus, especially if Reed wants to support diversity and inclusivity,” Reed senior Daliyah Tang said.

“The administration’s response to the protests, I think, that have been happening have exacerbated them,” senior Avehi Singh added. “It’s definitely made many students of color feel their voices are unimportant and it adds to a sense of isolation.”

MORE: Reed College students boycott classes, demand outreach to marginalized communities

Despite welcoming the news, many students said Kroger’s letter came as a surprise, adding that they were left wondering what’s in store for the future.

Kroger’s letter detailed several accomplishments he’s made during his time at Reed College, such as making progress towards becoming a more diverse community.

RAR organizers countered those claims, though, saying victories like that have been accomplished by students, faculty, and alumni who have committed themselves to racial justice.

No decision has been made yet regarding Kroger’s replacement. According to his letter, Kroger will work closely with the Board of Trustees to develop a transition plan over the coming months.

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