Goshen College Alumni Executive Board releases statement on national anthem decision

GOSHEN, Ind. – The Goshen College Alumni Executive Board released the following statement today:

During the two days of meetings, March 5 and 6, we heard from faculty and administration concerning various college issues and programs including student life and enrollment. However, much of the time was spent processing the recent decision to play the national anthem before select sports events on campus.

The Alumni Executive Board presented the administration with strong concerns and responses from the alumni at large. Many have expressed their dismay, regret and strong opposition towards the decision to play the anthem while others have been supportive. Members of the Alumni Board also brought a wide range of personal views on this issue.

President Jim Brenneman listened to the concerns and addressed the Board with his vision and rationale for the decision. He stated his desire for Goshen College to keep its role as an institution of ‘prophetic utterance’ and ‘engagement’ in balance. While it is difficult to convey the full impact of his talk, we would encourage alumni to listen online to his sermon at the chapel service on January 15.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jim Caskey expressed regret for not informing or including the Alumni Executive Board prior to the final decision.

Associate Professor Doug Schirch spoke on behalf of a group of faculty and staff who disagree with the decision to play the anthem. Their open letter to the editor was published in the March 4, 2010 issue of the Goshen College Record.

The Alumni Executive Board now has a better understanding of how and why the decision was made and is confident that the core values of Goshen College remain strong. We also believe the historic Anabaptist peace witness continues to provide a strong foundation for Goshen College.

Although we are not in unanimous agreement on playing the anthem, we are confident in the future of Goshen College and the leadership of President Brenneman. We look forward to continuing dialogue and encourage alumni to engage in a constructive and respectful manner with Goshen College and the Alumni Executive Board on this issue.

Tim Manickam ’82
President, for the Goshen College Alumni Executive Board

Visit the national anthem overview page, with more news and views about the college’s decision.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College Public Relations Director Richard R. Aguirre at (574) 535-7571 or rraguirre@goshen.edu


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.