November 16, 2023
Dear members of the Connecticut College community,
In multiple settings and messages, I have said my top priority is your safety. Every student and employee has the right to a learning and working environment that is free from violence, threats or discrimination. Given the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza and its impact on our community, I want to remind our campus of our institutional policies and practices that are designed to maintain safety while supporting the free expression of ideas and to recognizing the impact that ideas, words and actions may have on others. Central to our approach are the Connecticut College Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy, including Sexual Harassment and Nondiscrimination Under Title IX and the Public Inquiry and Freedom of Expression Policy.
The Connecticut College Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy, including Sexual Harassment and Nondiscrimination Under Title IX, prohibits discrimination and discriminatory harassment. All students and employees, including those who are or who are perceived to be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab or Palestinian, as well as those who come from or who are perceived to come from any particular region of the world, are entitled to a school environment free from discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. Reports of discrimination based on protected class status or perceived protected class status may be made to the associate dean of Equity and Compliance Programs/Title IX Coordinator using this form.
The term “doxxing” has recently been in the news. It involves the publication of someone’s personal information in an attempt to frighten the individual and encourage additional harassment by others. Doxxing can be a form of intimidation or discriminatory harassment. Furthermore, using campus computing resources to engage in discrimination is a violation of the College's Appropriate Use Policy.
In addition to online posting, it is important to address expectations related to campus posting. Several years ago, a task force of faculty, staff and students developed the Public Inquiry and Freedom of Expression Policy which includes a policy for posting items on campus. The College's Posting and Advertising on Campus Policy permits students and student groups and organizations to post items in specific locations in a manner that adheres to the policy. Though this policy was written to address student responsibilities, the College has had a practice of extending those same posting responsibilities to faculty and staff, and will continue to do so.
Postings in public places on campus (including residence halls) must comply with the following guidelines or the postings will be removed immediately:
- Postings (including large banners) must contain contact information (a valid Connecticut College email address and a registered club/organization name or sponsoring department/office name). Contact information needs to be located in the lower right hand corner of the posting.
- Content cannot be defamatory to an individual (words or images that injure someone’s reputation), threatening or violate other Honor Code/Student Code of Conduct policies.
- Postings in approved locations may not be removed, vandalized or altered.
Also, individuals may post items on their own residence hall room door or office door. Individuals who remove, vandalize or alter postings that comply with institutional policy or who post items that otherwise violate this or other policies will be held accountable.
The College takes all incidents of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and threats seriously. Such conduct will not be tolerated and will be investigated and referred for disciplinary action in accordance with our policies as appropriate. When such conduct, and doxxing in particular, is done by individuals or organizations outside the College community, our options are limited, but we can provide campus support as well as information about how to request that personal information be removed.
In addition to being aware of College policies, campus community members should know that violence and threats are prohibited by the laws of the state of Connecticut. In particular, it is worth noting that in 2021, Connecticut passed Public Act 21-56/Senate Bill 989 An Act Concerning Online Harassment, which expanded stalking and harassment laws to include more types of online intimidation.
As noted earlier, you may report an incident to the dean of Equity and Compliance Programs/Title IX Coordinator. You may also report incidents or concerns to Campus Safety. I’ve asked Campus Safety to be on heightened alert for concerns addressed in this message. They have increased patrols on campus and are working closely with local law enforcement authorities when particular concerns arise.
The free exchange of ideas is a cornerstone of the Connecticut College educational experience and our engagement with the broader society. At times, this means perspectives and beliefs will be challenged. The policies noted here and others are designed to ensure that Conn community members understand the important balance between ensuring everyone’s safety and our commitment to freedom of expression, full participation and the essential operations of the College.
Les Wong, Ph.D.