Columbus Academy Declines to Participate in Town Hall

On April 26, 2021, Columbus Academy alumnus Jonathan Hsu ’04 offered to moderate a town hall discussion between Pro CA Coalition and Columbus Academy.

Dear Ms. Soderberg and Pro CA Coalition-
As I’m sure you’re aware, the past weeks and months have seen increasing tension among CA parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. I’ve been a part of the Columbus Academy community for the past 25+ years as a student, alumnus, and a soccer coach. Although I recently stepped down as a soccer coach, CA remains a community I care deeply about. More importantly, the players I’ve coached over the years have become a part of my family and it breaks my heart to see how they are increasingly divided.
That said, I believe there is an opportunity to create dialog and healing. The issues raised, both through Pro CA and by the school in response, are real and important, not just within Columbus Academy but also the broader community.
I am writing to both of you to offer an opportunity to (hopefully) lower the temperature and create dialog. Specifically, I’m offering to moderate a town hall style discussion between the school administration and Pro CA Coalition.
I believe that it’s important we talk with each other rather than at each other. And humbly, I think that I could help facilitate that discussion. If you’d be open to this type of discussion, I would suggest first meeting privately to discuss possible formats, timing, etc.
Let me know if this is something you’d be open to discussing further.
Jon Hsu ‘04

Pro CA Coalition accepted that offer the same day. However, Columbus Academy apparently declined the offer (the school did not copy Pro CA on its response). On May 4, 2021, Pro CA Coalition received the following communication from Jonathan Hsu:

Dear Erich and Pro CA Coalition-
Thank you both for your responses. Erich, I did see your emails from last week and understand the delay during the fundraising campaign.
While I am disappointed that Columbus Academy would miss this opportunity to participate in a public dialogue, please know that the offer to moderate such a discussion is a standing offer should the school ever reconsider its position.
I believe ideas are strengthened by vigorous debate, even—indeed, especially—when those ideas are difficult or controversial. This includes when those ideas relate to diversity and race, religion, or gender. When both sides isolate themselves within ideological echo chambers, our community becomes increasingly divided and the quality of our discourse declines. I believe a public, town hall styled discussion represents an opportunity to clear ideological blind spots and create a path for open, productive dialogue.
Again, please know that my offer to moderate a public discussion is a standing one.
All the best,
Jon Hsu ‘04