To President Bowling, Members of the Board of Trustees, and the Administrative Staff of Olivet Nazarene University:
It has come to my attention that Olivet Nazarene University will be sending its marching band to perform in the inauguration of President-Elect Trump. Many of my fellow alumni have expressed concern about this de facto endorsement of Trump and all the hateful things he stands for. Indeed, as of this writing nearly one thousand of them have signed an online petition asking you to withdraw Olivet’s participation in the event.
I am not among those alumni. I am writing this letter to make clear my reasons for abstaining. It is not because I support Trump — far from it! I am utterly revolted by the man and view him as the enemy of everything that is important to me. I am abstaining because protesting this decision would imply that I view Olivet Nazarene University as less than fully, irredeemably corrupt. The institution has proven to me time and time again that it is beyond hope — willing to cast aside its values, instrumentalize its most vulnerable students, and throw its most dedicated faculty members to the wolves in the pursuit of the illusory power promised by the religious right.
Participating in Trump’s inauguration is the logical endpoint of everything I know of Olivet. And so, in the words of Holy Scripture, I exhort you: “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy” (Revelation 22:11).
Adam Kotsko, Class of 2002