Building Jewish Community, Supporting Queer Students

Although I have not interacted with her personally, I have heard of a class she taught last semester called Modern American Jewish History from one of my close friends. He told me it was an incredible class, with lots of great readings and discussions. As such, I was hoping to take it (or at the very least, a class with Professor Povitz) in future semesters. Otherwise, as a Jewish and Queer-curious/questioning student, it is important to me that the faculty at Middlebury reflect and legitimize my identity. I believe that Professor Povitz greatly enriches Middlebury’s academics, and that she would thus be a great loss if she were to leave. 

Sydney Alexander 2025

Building Jewish Community, Professor Povitz's Courses, Supporting Queer Students

Professor Povitz has made a tremendous impact on me during my time at Middlebury, as a professor and as a person. Her class “History of Urban Food Activism” provided me with context surrounding the history of fighting for equitable food systems and pushed me to think critically about whose voices were, and are, represented and heard in different spaces and at different times. Likewise, it taught me how, over the course of U.S. history, food activism has been utilized to foster community resilience. Through this course I was able to delve into a topic I am deeply passionate. Although I am a neuroscience major, Professor Povitz has brought me into the history department and I am looking forward to taking more of her classes in the future. 

Outside of class, Professor Povitz has made an impact on me through the essential roles she plays in the Jewish and queer communities on campus. During the height of the pandemic, Professor Povitz created a Torah study group for Jewish and non-Jewish students to gather in community and learn together (safely outside). In a time when antisemitism is pervasive on college campuses and in the U.S., it is imperative that Jewish students have spaces where they feel affirmed and have the opportunity to explore their identity and engage in Jewish traditions. In the queer community, Professor Povitz is a mentor and source of support for queer students. It is so essential that queer students have classes that center queerness and professors who share their identity. 

Overall, Professor Povitz has served as a mentor and a source of inspiration in my life and has touched the lives of many of my peers and friends. She plays a crucial role in teaching classes that serve student interests and teach critical thinking skills, as well as in the communities she is a part of. It would be a devastating loss to the Middlebury community if she were to leave. 

Remi Welbel, 2022.5

Building Jewish Community, general, Supporting Queer Students

To whom it may concern,
While I never had the chance to take a course with Professor Povitz, she played a formative role in my personal growth as a queer Jew while at Middlebury. She is thoughtful in ways most other professors are not. She has pushed me to think critically about the world and my place in it. For that I am grateful. It would be a grave mistake for Middlebury to not offer her a tenure track position.
Matt Martignoni

Matt Martignoni ‘21.5

Building Jewish Community, History Department and Advising, Supporting Queer Students

Professor Povitz was my first advisor and a vital piece to the beginning of my Middlebury experience. She is an engaging, powerful professor, both because of her humor and personality and the identities she holds. She is an essential asset to Middlebury and especially to the Jewish and queer communities, and it would be a real loss to the community at large if we lost her expertise and her energy.

Supporting Queer Students

Although I have yet to have Professor Povitz as a professor for a class, my Sophmore year I met with her many times during her office hours, seeking council on student activism projects I was working on. Though I was not even her student at the time, Professor Povitz prioritized my learning and showed up to support me, taking hours out of her week to meet with me and lending me books of hers to read to support my learning and help answer my questions. Additionally, as a queer student on campus, I feel exponentially safer and more woven into the Middlebury community when I know there are faculty members who represent and understand an important part of my experience. Professor Povitz is vital to this institution and it’s students in immeasurable ways. It is a grave oversight not to recognize that fact.

History Department and Advising, Professor Povitz's Courses, Supporting Queer Students

Professor Povitz has been one of my favorite professors I’ve had in my 4 years at Middlebury. I think I learned the most in her course out of all my courses. Professor Povitz is frankly incredible and I think it’s absurd that Middlebury hasn’t offered her tenure. She treats her students like capable adults and holds us to a high standard, which is effective in showing us what we are able to achieve. Most importantly Professor Povitz holds space for groups of marginalized groups of students on campus and I think plays an essential role in the history department of expanding who’s history we are teaching. It would deeply sadden me if Midd were to loose a person as important as Povitz to making campus a progressive and inclusive space.

History Department and Advising, Supporting Queer Students

I have not had Professor Povitz for any courses at Middlebury College. However, I am a history major and I am highly interested in taking her courses during my time at Middlebury. I was quite appalled to hear that she has not been offered partner hire despite having a partner who is also professor. What message does this send from the administration to all LGBTQIA+ individuals on this campus. Maybe we should focus on keeping important professors here and improving our community, rather inviting eugenicists (ie. Charles Murray) to speak and spread hate on this campus. Therefore, I am writing this letter on behalf of all history majors and all members of marginalized who are in my life. This action by the administration will not be ignored.

Building Jewish Community, Professor Povitz's Courses, Supporting Queer Students

Dear Middlebury College, I am a first year student and I was in Professor P’s FYS. Her class was something I always looked forward to and I feel like I gained valuable technical skills applicable to my future college courses. Her engaging personality and classroom fostered a place where my classmates and I could have intimate discussions and feel safe sharing. What I’m trying to say is that Povitz helped me feel more confident in sharing my own thoughts and ideas in a classroom setting. Over the semester our class became really close all thanks to Povitz. Some of my best friends I’ve made here at Middlebury were from that class. Letting Professor Povitz go would be a huge loss. She is not only an incredible lecturer and extremely kind and caring person but she has done so much for the LGBTQ+ and Jewish population here at Midd. Representation is the key to creating a comfortable space for all. Being from the LGBTQ+ community herself, Povitz can empathize easily with other LGBTQ+ students. Basically she brings a ‘different’ perspective to the classroom that is an important aspect of students gaining a democratic education. Having her as a professor and being able to talk to and learn from her unique perspectives is invaluable. Please reconsider. We love Professor P.