August 13, 2020
There is no question that 2020 will go down as an unparalleled time in our history, a year of untold challenge and suffering. Beyond the story of this country’s most consequential public health crisis in a century, what will history say about the unrelenting crisis of racism in America? How will it account for the exponential growth of citizens joined in a global movement calling for racial justice and equity?
We hope the story that will be told goes beyond the memorializing of anti-Black violence. We hope, instead, it will be a story of awakening, of transformation, and of progress toward reconciliation and healing. Connecticut College intends to be part of that story.
Since our last communication in June, we have thought deeply about the accounts and personal and painful experiences of racism shared publicly by students and alumni. We have also reflected on many social media messages, emails, letters, and phone calls from students and alumni calling for enhanced protections for survivors of sexual violence, undocumented persons, and international students.
We respond first by acknowledging the pain that people of color in our community have felt when subjected to words or deeds that may undermine their flourishing at Connecticut College and the experiences of Black students and colleagues in particular. We understand the exasperation and fatigue so many of you have expressed. But we also know that acknowledgment is not sufficient. We are prepared to act with additional anti-racist initiatives necessary to create the inclusive culture called for in our 2017 strategic plan, with its central priority of full participation; and spelled out with greater depth and focus in our 2019 Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, with its vision of a more just and equitable community. We now bring renewed emphasis to these commitments to meet the call of this moment.
Next week, we will host a special online event for current students called Where Do We Go From Here?: A Summit on Racial Equity at Connecticut College. The summit is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 19 from noon to 1:30 p.m. (EST). The goal, in part, is to discuss the progress we have made on both the Equity and Inclusion Action Plan and our anti-racist commitments from earlier this summer. We invite you to join the dialogue via this Zoom link to learn how you can contribute to racial justice on our campus.
We are committed to working together with you to write a history that will make you and future generations of Connecticut College students proud.
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion