Letter to the Editor
To Wittenberg –
On Thursday, April 21, a member of the Wittenberg community had their office broken into with the intent to violate and intimidate, and doors and bulletin boards were vandalized. Prominently utilized in this harassment were paperclips – a symbol of the Shifters.
We completely and unequivocally condemn this and any previous harassment.
Bullying and hazing have no place with the Shifters. This may ring hollow to some, but we are founded on, and still believe in, a culture of character development, self-understanding, trust, leadership, but most of all a historical and continuing love of Wittenberg. The attack was contrary to all of this.
Participation of faculty and staff enriches our organization. Intimidation of their colleague and friend jeopardized that unique relationship – the aspect of the Shifters we hold most dear. The outrage from faculty and staff was immediate and universal. Several Shifter alumni (hopefully all, though not all have reached out) have been equally appalled.
All current student Shifters deny responsibility. We do believe each other. But we also know that simply asserting our innocence is not sufficient nor convincing. Because of the current status of this group, it requires us to self-police and hold our own members accountable (and we encourage other secret societies to do the same). We are developing a code of conduct that will outline our expectations and explicitly condemn hazing and harassment. If it turns out a Shifter is responsible or condoned this in any way, they will not be permitted in our group any longer. We will turn them in to Wittenberg administration as we will not harbor nor protect them. We will cooperate fully with any investigation to determine the perpetrator and call on anyone with knowledge to turn them in immediately. We also support, and will pay for, all actions that need to be taken to reestablish a feeling of safety for the professor.
We understand many people see secret societies, and the Shifters in particular, as a negative presence on campus. This horrible action reinforces that perception. We must, and will, work to earn back the trust and respect of Wittenberg. While we may approach it differently, we believe that all have Wittenberg’s best interests at heart.
We sincerely regret that the professor in question, along with any other harmed people, are going through this. It is not acceptable.