March 20, 2015

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I am writing to follow up on my letter of March 4 announcing an all-campus forum. The event will take place this coming Wednesday, March 25, in Palmer Auditorium, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Please note that this time is earlier than originally announced. Campus events, programs, and practices will be cancelled in order to allow as many as possible to attend.

I announced this forum in response to a difficult and important campus discussion, begun in the pages of the College Voice, and continuing in many different venues, about our responsibilities as a community that aspires to inclusive excellence. I was moved by the students who expressed their views so cogently in letters to the Voice. I commend them and many others for their courage. Some of the discussion that ensued on social media, however, was far less ennobling, and raised deeper concerns about how far we have to go to attain our aspirations as a community. This forum is an opportunity for us to begin that important work.

A planning committee of students, faculty, and staff met during the break to determine the best format for the event. I will begin with remarks that speak to our institutional values, and then the program will proceed as an open mic session. The committee has invited Liza Talusan '97 to facilitate this part of the program. Liza is a member of the College’s Alumni Association Board and former chair of the Connecticut College Alumni of Color committee. She is also an experienced facilitator who currently serves as director of Intercultural Affairs at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. She was recently on campus for the February screening and discussion of the film by Andre Lee '93, “I'm Not Racist...Am I?” I am grateful that she is able to be with us again for this important dialogue.

Dinner for all participants will be provided following the program in the 1962 Room in Crozier-Williams, Harris Refectory, and Jane Addams. We hope that you will take this opportunity to continue discussions about the ideas and issues raised throughout the evening. If you need childcare assistance, please email Amanda Barnes at abarnes@conncoll.edu by Tuesday, March 24, at noon.

I look forward to your participation.

Yours,
 
Katherine Bergeron
President