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A Message From President Valerie Smith

Flowers in foreground with clothier bell tower in background

President Valerie Smith shared this message with the campus community on Wednesday, May 1.

Earlier tonight, we learned separately from both Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon fraternities that they each decided to disband and relinquish their houses. We respect these students’ decision to take this action, and we appreciate their strong condemnation of behavior described in the 2013-16 materials that have recently come to light. Regardless of their decisions, the work related to the Task Force on Student Social Events and Community Standards will continue as planned and as we have articulated.

Still, as a community, we have much healing to do.

We have heard heartbreaking stories from students who feel unwelcome to the point of wanting to transfer out of our community. Those stories have come from across the spectrum of our student body—from student protesters to fraternity members.

Stories such as these reflect our failure to realize the values we so often espouse.

We cannot tolerate unsubstantiated attacks directed at individual students or student groups—as too many students have recently endured. Social media posts by members of our community that target individual students or make gross generalizations about student groups are unacceptable. Nor can we tolerate attempts to exclude students from open campus events based on their affiliations.   

Genuine, systemic, and lasting change must be based upon a foundation of truth and facts.

At this time, we have no evidence that any current student participated in the behaviors documented in the unofficial “minutes.” An external investigator will still conduct a review.

Without question, those materials provide a vivid account of deeply disturbing, unacceptable behaviors and practices. They have brought deep pain to our community, and they are antithetical to all that our community values. They also serve as a reminder that Swarthmore is not immune from the systemic problems that exist throughout society.

We remain committed to fully investigating any allegations of sexual misconduct and violations of the student code of conduct that we receive from students or any member of the community. If you have information about an assault or other inappropriate behavior, please report it so we can investigate.

I look forward to continuing the process of self-reflection, growth, and healing together.


Valerie Smith


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