February 13, 2024

Dear members of the Connecticut College community,

During these challenging times at home and abroad, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have been contributing – individually and collectively – to Conn’s core values of integrity, civility, respect, responsibility and justice.

In the world at large, the Israel-Hamas war continues to cause concern, anxiety and fear for many in the Conn community, especially for our Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Jewish students and employees. As I have said in my previous campus messages, the College condemns the violence, destruction and loss of all civilian lives and supports a just and swift resolution to the conflict.

Since the war began, the College has taken – and will continue to take – steps to address these concerns, including providing opportunities for meditation, prayer, dialogue and learning, as well as support services and safe spaces for all to come together in peace and find common ground. This includes looking into creating permanent safe spaces and expanding networks and supports for our Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students. I have met with many members of our College to address concerns on our campus and will continue to be in conversation with them and anyone interested.

Also, I want to acknowledge that the Conn community sometimes falls short in meeting our core values. Recently, there have been racist posts on Conn’s Yik Yak, the anonymous social media app where bullying and harassment is common nationwide. Many colleges and universities report anonymous racist comments, as well as homophobic, transphobic and other identity-based harassment. The posts on Conn’s Yik Yak were hateful and antithetical to our values. I urge you to resist the cowardice of hate speech by downvoting and reporting inappropriate posts to Yik Yak and by promoting a healthy multicultural community on our campus.

Let me reiterate that Conn’s top priorities are the safety and well-being of our students and employees. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of hatred and discrimination will not be tolerated and those who violate our standards will be held accountable. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our campus continues to be a safe place for learning, research and service and where all are welcome.

In closing, I would encourage everyone to reflect anew upon the College’s Honor Code (accessible via CamelWeb by searching for Student Handbook), Freedom of Expression policyPrinciples of Community and Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy, Including Sexual Harassment and Nondiscrimination Under Title IX. Please let these values guide each of us in our words and actions.


Leslie Wong

Les Wong, Ph.D.
Interim President

Katherine Bergeron