December 14, 2023

Israel-Palestine 101: Education and support

Frank Tipton presents on regional conflict
by Tracy Sweet

Honoring its commitment to engage and educate students around the conflict in the Middle East, Andover welcomed teacher and scholar Frank Tipton to campus last week. Tipton has been teaching about Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA) for 25 years; he also served as a faculty member at Andover for 10 years. He is currently on the faculty at Dana Hall School, where he offers a SWANA humanities course in addition to AP U.S. History. While at Andover, he taught history and social science courses and served as a house counselor, CAMD advisor, and cluster dean. He left PA to become assistant head at Gann Academy. Tipton holds a B.A. in Middle East languages and cultures from Columbia University and an M.A. in Arab studies from Georgetown University. He has traveled extensively in the region, including multiple visits to Israel/Palestine and six months in Yemen conducting field research on modern colonial history.

Frank Tipton presents in Cochran Chapel. Photo by Alex Lee ’25.

Student leaders, classmates, and faculty and staff filled Cochran Chapel on December 6 for Tipton’s presentation titled “Israel-Palestine 101”. The goal was to share comprehensive information on the history of the region and to generate a common foundation for future learning. The program is part of PA’s partnership with students to provide support and educational resources as the global impact of the war continues. These efforts and Andover’s wider response to the Middle East conflict were outlined in a November 6 letter to parents, alumni, and the campus community from Head of School Raynard Kington, MD, PhD, P’24, ’27, and Trustee President Amy Falls ’82, P’19, ’21.


Members of the Andover community:

In the face of ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and the grief felt by many in our community and around the world, we reiterate our commitment to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

We further condemn unequivocally antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of identity-based hatred or violence. Such behaviors will not be tolerated on the Andover campus and run contrary to our school’s core values. As noted in the head of school’s remarks to the campus community on October 13, we also condemn terrorism and mourn the mounting loss of life in this conflict.

We stand with all those in our community who are working through this global crisis by seeking unity and understanding and by expressing their views. Moments like these can strengthen us when we engage respectfully, when we seek to better understand context, and when we open our hearts and minds to the experiences of others.

We remain grateful to our chaplains who reached out to students the moment we learned of the initial terrorist attack and for the ongoing interfaith partnerships that serve as sources of comfort and solidarity. Guided by our mission, our response begins with care and compassion and follows with education and dialog. Currently, campus adults are partnering with student leaders to design campus programming to educate and facilitate open discussion.

We also reaffirm our decision to develop and adopt a policy restricting our institutional statements to areas where Andover has both specific expertise and recommended actions. It has become clear that many in our community were not aware of Andover’s policy on institutional statements, which was developed last year through the Senior Administrative Council and included input from Academic Council, Staff Council, Faculty Advisory Committee, and the IDEA Committee. We regret that it was not shared more broadly with students and others in the community.

The policy was developed with good intentions as a guide for moments like these. It was featured in an industry magazine to help schools across the country navigate their own decisions when facing global crises. Our goal is to avoid the growing tendency to issue statements that are not substantive or directly related to our educational mission.

Above all, Andover’s mission to educate young people so that they can confront society’s challenges remains of paramount importance. We strive to promote a learning environment that equips them with the knowledge and compassion to navigate the current crisis and others to come. We appreciate the continued dialog on campus, and we are grateful for the unwavering devotion of our students, faculty, and staff to support one another.

Sincerely,

Raynard Kington, MD, PhD, P’24,’27
Head of School

Amy Falls ’82, P’19,’21
President, Board of Trustees

Categories: Academics, Leadership

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