An Open Letter from Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni & Students to PBA President, Dr. Debra Schwinn

The following letter will be delivered to Dr. Debra Schwinn with the signatures, city, state, and graduation year of alumni and students who sign below. 


An Open Letter from Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni & Students to PBA President, Dr. Debra Schwinn

As alumni and students of Palm Beach Atlantic University, we, the undersigned, publicly condemn the administration’s actions to delay the contract of Professor Samuel Joeckel without due process on the basis of “indoctrination” on issues of race.

We believe that this constitutes a violation of the university’s own values: Seek Unity, Pursue Excellence, Show Respect, Reflect Love, Demonstrate Integrity, and Be Accountable. 

Seek Unity: Inciting fear, sparking division, and encouraging political tribalism dismantles efforts to create a campus that embraces unity in its diversity.

Pursue Excellence: As a liberal arts institution, Palm Beach Atlantic has long encouraged the pursuit of free thought and the open exchange of ideas as the cornerstones of an excellent education. This is what brought many of us to choose PBA as our place of learning. Diversity of backgrounds, beliefs, and viewpoints and critical thinking are not a threat to our education—in fact, they are vital to it. Any attempt to prevent open dialogue is a disservice to students and a betrayal of PBA’s legacy of education.

Reflect Love: Restricting much needed conversations around race is—at its core—racism and discrimination itself. Reflecting love requires honesty, empathy, and repentance, particularly as students learn to boldly confront this country’s long history of systemic racism.

Demonstrate Integrity: We have a moral responsibility to fight against the weaponization of education and the silencing of the oppressed, and to foster urgent discussions about race in America.  

Be Accountable: The administration’s refusal to publicly comment on their treatment of Prof. Joeckel represents a fundamental lack of accountability. In declining to respond to repeated calls for justice, answers, and amends, the university has shown their unwillingness to engage in meaningful dialogue and be transparent with students, faculty, and alumni who wish to see this situation handled with fairness and integrity.

We are calling on the President of Palm Beach Atlantic University, Dr. Debra Schwinn, to do the following:

First, to issue a public statement on behalf of PBAU, assuming accountability for the mishandling of these events, and publicly apologizing to Dr. Joeckel for withholding due process.

Second, to publicly commit PBAU to protect academic freedom, the open exchange of ideas, and diversity in political and religious beliefs among its faculty, staff, and students without hostility.

Third, to take actions to pursue protections for faculty members that include assurances for due process in disciplinary matters.


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