Region: Annapolis
Education

St. John's College- Release an Official Statement

Petition is directed to
St. John's College Administration
302 supporters
30% achieved 1,000 for collection target
302 supporters
30% achieved 1,000 for collection target
  1. Launched 30/04/2024
  2. Time remaining > 5 months
  3. Submission
  4. Dialog with recipient
  5. Decision

I agree that my data will be stored . I decide who can see my support. I can revoke this consent at any time .

 

We are concerned alumni of St. John’s College. We are former students of both the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses, and we represent a range of graduation and attendance years. On behalf of the college community in general, and marginalized students and alumni in particular, we are hereby formally requesting that St. John’s College release an official statement clarifying the circumstances surrounding Peter Kalkavage’s (hereinafter “Kalkavage”) recent departure from St. John’s College.

It is our understanding that Kalkavage is no longer associated with the College. His information has been removed from the College’s website, and reliable sources have reported the following:


  • That he is no longer teaching classes on campus.
  • That his departure was a direct result of a Title IX/Sexual Misconduct claim brought against him by a former SJC student.
  • That he has sent emails to current students telling them that he was taking leave due to “depression.”
  • That he sent at least two separate emails to two different current students after the original emails to the classes, containing invitations to connect via his personal contact information, and the students were in contact with him, not knowing why he had departed.
  • That his interpretation of the story has gone unchallenged.
  • That the College notified faculty in an emergency faculty meeting held on Friday, 4/19, that a complaint was filed, Kalkavage admitted to the misconduct, that he will no longer be a part of the College, and that tutors are all mandated reporters.
  • That neither the College nor the Board of Visitors & Governors has made any statement to current students and alumni regarding these matters and debunking the claim that his departure was due to “depression” or other health issues.

It is time for the College to publicly avow its commitment to student health, safety, and well-being. The College must be transparent and forthright, most importantly to protect student safety but also to renew trust in the College as an institution. While none of the undersigned are personally involved in this matter, or are even current students of the College, we have all been directly affected in one or more ways by the college’s past and current policies toward sexual assault in the College community and the way in which sexual assault allegations have historically been treated by the College’s administration.

The College should make a statement on this matter and must do so publicly and without delay. We have already seen that, absent an official statement, the College community is left to speculate, and that such speculation has led to rumors and misinformation. Kalkavage himself has used his official College email address to email current students, misleading them about the reasons for his abrupt departure, and even encouraging his students to stay in touch with him and providing his personal contact information (phone number and email address). This is a huge breach of trust on behalf of the College, and it creates additional danger for those students who are unaware of the truth of the situation and the long history of Kalkavage’s inappropriate behavior toward students.


Reason

The College has a moral obligation to its alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters to be transparent and forthcoming with important issues like these. The College has long held that the pursuit of truth is one of the highest ideals to which humanity can aspire. The Program emphasizes this at every turn: from the shades in Plato’s cave, to Galileo’s heliocentric universe, to the very method that Johnnies have used for decades to find truth in the original texts. Allowing misinformation to be spread unchallenged is a threat to that truth. It is a practice that causes us to question the College’s public commitment to its students, alums, faculty, staff, and affiliates. 

Even without an appeal to truth for its own sake, misinformation endangers the students under the College’s purview and creates discord among the College’s vast and interconnected alumni network. We are seeing that even now as word about the Title IX case is spreading in the community. The best way for St. John’s to minimize this harm is to make a public statement. 

We have seen time and time again in very public fora in this country, as well as in our small community, that sexual abuse survivors and reporters are possible subject to all manner of threats to their safety, well-being, and mental health. The same is true of any abuse survivor or reporter who challenges someone in a powerful position, whether it be a movie studio head or a tenured professor. In a relatively close-knit community such as St. John's College, where everyone shares a connection of some kind, the risk is even higher for someone who speaks out in a situation where the truth is not public record. We want changes in both official college policy as well as within our culture on campus to lower the risks and costs to reporters who choose to come forward. Keeping those risks and costs high protects the people that make our campus unsafe and corrodes the integrity of this institution that we believe in so much.

It may remain an open question whether virtue may be taught, but it can certainly be modeled. It is time for the College to model to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and donors the correct course of action in this regard, and to make a public statement disavowing sexual misconduct, and correcting the record on Kalkavage’s departure. 

Please put your graduation year and campus in the "comments" section of your signature. If not applicable, please indicate other affiliation with the college or reason for signing.

Thank you for your support, St. John's Transparency Action from Annapolis
Question to the initiator

Link to the petition

Image with QR code

Tear-off stub with QR code

download (PDF)

Translate this petition now

new language version

News

Not yet a PRO argument.

No CONTRA argument yet.

Why people sign

I am a mom of 3 boys. I have been following this case closely, as well as others similar to this. This cycle of silence in institutions needs to stop. There must be a concerted effort to protect and help the survivors, and the parents - as well as those that have suffered great loss due to the teacher's actions. My heart goes out to all the boys and parents affected.

Tools for the spreading of the petition.

You have your own website, a blog or an entire web portal? Become an advocate and multiplier for this petition. We have the banners, widgets and API (interface) to integrate on your pages. To the tools

Translate this petition now

new language version

Help us to strengthen citizen participation. We want to support your petition to get the attention it deserves while remaining an independent platform.

Donate now