An Open Letter to Meg Whitman

September 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm (real life) (, , )

There doesn’t seem to be any direct way to contact Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for Governor of California. Given that inaccessibility, I’m going to post publicly what would have been a private e-mail or letter. Ms. Whitman, if you see this, feel free to contact me at

Dear Ms. Whitman,

My name is Jennifer Smith. I graduated from Princeton University after the 2007-2008 year, which also happened to be the year of the grand opening of the Whitman residential college, whose construction was largely funded by your generous contributions. It’s a beautiful complex of buildings, and at the time I was proud to be the very first Princeton student to choose a room in Whitman College. When you spoke in the courtyard to dedicate the college, I happily attended the gathering. I still have my Whitman stationery, my Whitman sweatshirt, and my fond memories of the cozy bedroom, dining hall, and study rooms where I spent so much time that year.

I preface my letter with all of this information to cast in sharp relief my disappointment in your stated platforms as a candidate for governor of California — in particular your support for Proposition 8, which denies the right of marriage to same-sex couples.

As a Princeton student, I was heavily involved in the Pride Alliance, the LGBT organization on campus. LGBT rights have always been very dear to my heart, for I see no reason that my closest friends shouldn’t have the same rights and privileges I myself possess. I fondly remember late nights in college spent hanging up posters and encouraging activism, including pro-same-sex marriage activism, before I returned to the haven of my dorm in Whitman College. Now, I find that you are using the power of your wealth – the very wealth I myself benefited from – to drive a campaign that counts among its aims the barring of American citizens from the benefits of full equality under the law. This is wealth that could be better used to support any number of causes or platforms — particularly to bolster California’s schools, which are in crisis. As a Whitman resident, I believed you to be a self-evident supporter of education, but I see now that bigotry and the power it endows is more important to you.

There was a time I was proud to be a resident of Whitman College. But your recent actions have made me ashamed – ashamed that I took advantage of your donation, ashamed that the money that is funding your prejudiced political campaign also paid for my bed. I don’t want to feel this shame. I want to appreciate your generous gifts . But until you reject bigotry and hate, my shame will endure.

Jennifer Smith
Graduate Student in Communications, University of Wisconsin-Madison


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