February 16, 2023

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In the past week, our College community has been engaged in a series of complex and difficult conversations related to the sudden departure of Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Rodmon King. While the College considers personnel matters confidential, I can share that the resignation was, in part, a protest of a scheduled fundraising event at a club in Florida that has been associated with discriminatory policies and practices. The resignation also raised questions about the College’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and full participation, and about my leadership. Following dialogue with senior administrators I ultimately canceled the event and apologized in a letter on Feb. 8 that it had ever been planned. I also confirmed the College’s absolute commitment to the ongoing work of equity on this campus. Our chair of the Board of Trustees, Debo Adegbile ’91, followed up with a letter on Feb. 12 presenting the Board’s perspective and offering opportunities for students, faculty, and staff leaders to meet with the trustees this week and next. These discussions will inform immediate actions to be taken.

Our students, faculty, and staff have made it clear this week just how committed they are to making Connecticut College a place where all people thrive and experience a sense of belonging. I share this commitment. As your students work through the issues in their own ways, I wanted to write to you today to let you know that the wellbeing of your student is our highest priority. Dean of Students Victor Arcelus, Dean of the College Erika Smith and their staffs, along with our colleagues in the Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, are actively meeting with individuals and small groups of students—listening intently, answering concerns, and thinking through the questions in conversation. Faculty are also similarly engaged.

There are many other resources in place—both formal and informal—to support your student. Every member of the three divisions mentioned above is engaged. Below I offer a list of key people and offices for your reference, along with contact information. Please know that students can reach out directly to any of these colleagues for help.

One of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education is the ability to grapple with complexity in the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and justice. We will continue to provide space for exactly this type of dialogue.

Katherine Bergeron