November 19, 2021
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
Two weeks ago, we wrote to you about a report we had received of a student being photographed without consent while showering in Katherine Blunt House. This egregious and unacceptable behavior is not tolerated at Connecticut College. We immediately informed New London Police, initiated a formal ongoing investigation, and increased campus safety patrols on campus. Most important, we engaged in vital conversations with student, staff, and faculty leaders not only about ways to address this incident, but also about the broader need for sexual violence prevention, education, and advocacy at Conn.
I am writing to follow up on these conversations and to apprise you of the immediate and long-term steps we are taking to ensure that our campus remains a safe place for all.
—First, and most immediately, we will make a series of additional interventions to enhance safety and privacy in residence hall bathrooms. Among the changes to be made:
- Locks will be installed in single bathrooms that are not currently lockable
- Upper windows in Larrabee bathrooms will be frosted
- Any remaining gaps in stalls will be filled
- Architectural studies will be conducted to identify other future solutions
- New mounted signage will include the 24/7 On-Call Line for the confidential Sexual Violence and Prevention Advocate: (860) 460-9194
—Second, we will expand opportunities for education about sexual violence. Increased funding for the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy will support enhanced educational programming. And the deans will establish additional regular venues for engaging students in education and training beyond new student orientation.
—Third, we will update the College’s Equity and Inclusion Action Plan with specific goals, objectives, and actions related to ending sexual violence and promoting a culture of sexual respect. The dean of institutional equity and inclusion will appoint a committee at the beginning of the spring semester who will make recommendations on the revised plan.
—Fourth, we will build on the critical investments we have made in recent years by expanding the staff focused on sexual violence prevention, advocacy, training, and education for the whole campus. The dean of the college, the vice president for human resources, and the dean of institutional equity and inclusion will work collaboratively on this staffing, designed to augment resources, training, and outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.
Finally, through these efforts, the College will redouble its support of survivors and will also do more. We ultimately want to end sexual violence on this campus through building a deep culture of respect and humility—and a true community of care—where the well-being of every individual is paramount. This is the only way we will realize our vision of full participation. I am grateful to the students, staff, faculty, and administrative leaders who will help us on this journey. And, of course, all of us are responsible for creating the culture we seek.