February 19, 2023
In the past week, our College community has been deeply engaged in a series of complex and difficult conversations related to the sudden resignation of former Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Rodmon King. His resignation raised questions about my leadership and about the College’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and full participation, in part related to the decision of the College to schedule a fundraising event at a venue that has been associated with discriminatory policies and practices. That decision was a mistake, inconsistent with our College’s commitment to equity and inclusion. The event was canceled and I apologized in a letter to the campus community on Feb. 8. In that letter I also made it clear that Connecticut College is fully committed to the ongoing work of equity, inclusion, and full participation. Our chair of the Board of Trustees, Debo Adegbile ’91, followed up with a letter to the campus community on Feb. 12 presenting the Board’s perspective and offering opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni leaders to meet with trustees this week and next. These discussions are underway and 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. Students are working through the issues in their own ways, as are faculty and staff across the College. People are listening intently, thinking through the questions, and sharing their perspectives and recommendations with the Board and with me. We have heard from many alumni who care deeply about these issues as well.
Full participation is at the center of our strategic plan, Building on Strength, and the College has advanced this priority in notable ways over the past several years, with new curricula, programs, staffing, and resources. But there is more work to do. Following the Board’s meetings at the end of the coming week, further actions will be taken to enhance and accelerate the work on our Equity and Inclusion Action Plan and other projects. I look forward to sharing those actions with you.
One of the greatest gifts your education at Connecticut College gave you—gifts that you continue to use in your lives today—is the ability to grapple with complexity in the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and justice. This is exactly the kind of work our community is doing on campus right now, with the aim of making Conn a better place.