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Second John Evans Committee to be Formed

Nominations sought for committee members

Following is a message from President Morton Schapiro and Provost Daniel Linzer regarding Northwestern University's inquiry into John Evans.

The committee studying the history of John Evans, one of Northwestern’s founders, in regard to his involvement in the Sand Creek Massacre and his relationship with Northwestern, recently held an open forum on the Evanston campus. We appreciate the comments of the members of the Northwestern community who attended that event and those of the committee members. It was both a thoughtful and thought-provoking meeting and we learned a great deal from the comments of those who attended the event.

The study committee has been charged with providing a report by June 2014, at which time another group would then be asked to make recommendations on what actions the University should take as a result of the report. The question of John Evans’ complicity in the Sand Creek Massacre is, as the study committee pointed out at the forum, a complex one, and we appreciate the diligence with which the committee is conducting its inquiry. Regardless of the findings of the committee, however, we believe that there are things that Northwestern University can do now to make the University a more welcoming place for Native Americans.

Some of those efforts are already underway, such as increasing our admissions recruiting efforts and having a more visible presence with Native American groups in the Chicago area. But there undoubtedly are other things that Northwestern can consider. Therefore, we will move forward with the formation of the second committee so it can begin its important work now.

We invite nominations from the Northwestern community for people to serve on the committee. The group will be asked to make recommendations for ways that Northwestern can define more clearly the University’s relationships with Native Americans in the areas of academic programs, admissions, support services, and civic engagement and partnerships, as well as respond to the recommendations of the study committee. We have asked Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, and Phil Harris, a vice-chair of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees, to co-chair the committee.

Nominations for persons with expertise or interest in the areas noted above should be sent to Patricia Telles-Irvin. We are confident that this group will provide thoughtful counsel that will assist Northwestern in determining what initiatives the University should take in regard to its relationship with Native Americans.

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