Petition for the removal of Tom Wiscombe and Marrikka Trotter from their positions at SCI-Arc
Dear SCI-Arc Administration and Board of Trustees,
We current students, alumni, and faculty are signing this petition to request that Tom Wiscombe be removed from his position as Undergraduate Chair and no longer be allowed to be an educator at SCI-Arc. We no longer have confidence in him as a leader and as an educator, and believe that he has abused the power of his position for far too long with no consequences.
We also request that Marrikka Trotter be removed from her position as History/Theory Coordinator and no longer be allowed to be an educator at SCI-Arc. As was made visible at the recent Basecamp conversation, she is complicit in Tom's actions and a perpetrator of her own abusive practices within the school.
Tom and Marrikka hold the positions with the most power in the Undergraduate program. He has the ability to make final decisions on who receives scholarships, and they both share the final say on who receives Undergraduate Thesis prizes. This presents a conflict of interest and a complicated power structure which they have consolidated as partners.
The recent events that transpired at Tom’s firm TWA, where Marrikka is also an associate, are just one of many examples of how Tom and Marrikka do not have students’ best interests in mind. They leveraged their power within our institution to persuade Undergraduate students into deferring their education for a semester in order to work on a competition for their office, only for these students to be severely overworked and mistreated by them. The premise of this “opportunity” that Tom gave students demonstrates his belief that an internship at his office is a far better education than the very curriculum which he designs and leads for the Undergraduate program. As such, why should the school believe he is suitable to be an educator and a program chair?
While this particular incident is the most prominent grievance as of late, Tom Wiscombe has also practiced misconduct in his position in a multitude of other scenarios: perpetuating toxic and exploitative culture at his office and studios, lack of professional conduct, clear demonstrations of favoritism for students who have worked at his office through opportunities within the school, failing to show up to teach his studios, appropriating student’s works as his own, and widespread neglect and indifference for students’ wellbeing and education.
However, this goes beyond any of these specific issues at hand. As we saw at the town hall at SCI-Arc on March 28th, Tom and Marrikka have failed to take accountability and own up to any of their harmful actions towards students, instead Tom chose to revert the blame to them. Their morals and ethics are now in question, and we do not believe that they align with those of the version of SCI-Arc we would like to see. In order to progress these ideals, as the SCI-Arc Administration and Board intend, Tom Wiscombe and Marrikka Trotter can no longer hold positions as leaders or as educators here in any capacity. SCI-Arc can do better.
The SCI-Arc Community
This letter serves as a call for action on behalf of past and current SCI-Arc students and faculty who can sign it. However, if you have lectured, participated in juries, taught workshops, or have contributed funding and resources to SCI-Arc, please consider signing this letter in support of the student’s call for action. You are a stakeholder in our community as well.
Your name will not be revealed to the implicated parties, but the complete list will be made available to a small number of SCI-Arc leadership including the Director and Board of Trustees when we present the petition. If you wish to remain anonymous, please write "Anonymous" in the name slot and just specify your relationship to SCI-Arc, but please consider including your name as the petition holds more power that way.
If you would like to leave a testimony of your experiences and interactions with Tom Wiscombe or Marrikka Trotter, please feel free to use the comment box at the bottom of this form. We will compile it and present it along with this petition.
Remember, we have power in numbers and there can be no retaliation from signing this petition. Use your name and your voice proudly and please stand in solidarity with your peers and colleagues.
*This letter was issued on March 29th, 2022. We intend to submit the first round of signatories and testimony on April 12th, 2022.