An open letter to Esther Barazzone

“I’m really glad my alma mater has gone out of its way to disenfranchise me as a graduate” … said no Chatham alumna, ever. 


Dr. Barazzone, I don’t know what part of this piece I liked better, the part where you were labeled “tough and mercurial” or the part where former employees described Chatham as a “difficult workplace.” 

Or the fact that the sheer numbers did much of the talking in today’s Tribune-Review article, which testified to what much of the community has known. 

Since 2003, Chatham has had five directors/vice presidents for international affairs.

Its graduate school has had five deans since 2008, including a dean named in a reorganization this month. Its college for continuing and graduate education has had six deans since 2005.

Four people have been vice president for enrollment/admissions since 2008. Five people have been vice president for advancement since 2010, including one named this month.

“That amount of turnover in senior leadership would indicate that there is something going on, something not good,” said Donald Heller, dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University, who described Chatham’s turnover rates as “incredibly unusual.”

Because this is what the alumnae have known for the last five years. We’re convinced that the college’s demise was by design and not by default.


The fact that you and the trustees shirked the opportunity to comment speaks volumes about the state of the school.

Meanwhile, the woman who should be running the school – also an alumnae – was quoted at length in the story. 

Did you know that outgoing Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman gave her yearly raises BACK to the University of Michigan? Imagine that – a college administrator doing something for the good of the institution. 

Sadly, that is no longer the perception of your reign at Chatham. To paraphrase what my classmate, Sarah Barr, posted on the Facebook page of one of the alumnae groups … it’s clear that Chatham doesn’t care about its students. It doesn’t care about the college that lasted for nearly 150 years until greed and ego got into the way.


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