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Reflections on Disturbing Campus News

parrish hall

Dean of Students Jim Terhune shared the following message on Thursday, April 18:

Dear Swarthmore Students,

By now you have likely seen or heard about the documents published in The Phoenix and Voices that describe in graphic detail sexist, homophobic, and racist comments and actions.

Much of what is described in today’s news is deeply hurtful and may be triggering to many in our community. Our first and highest priority is always the health and wellbeing of each of you. I want to make sure we all are aware of the many resources that are available to support you, including your deans, OSE staff, CAPS, Worth Health and Wellness Center, Public Safety, faculty advisors, and the Title IX Office.

We first saw the material dating from 2013 to 2016 when it was published this morning. Although we are just beginning to fully review all that it includes, we share the outrage that has been expressed today. The kind of vulgar and offensive language used and behavior described in these reports contradicts the stated values of our community and is in direct violation of our policies.

There is a natural and understandable desire in these moments to take action. We support your right to express views and demonstrate in response to events and issues affecting our community. We are also a community that is built on, and relies upon, mutual respect and shared responsibility for meeting and upholding community standards.

President Smith charged the Task Force on Student Social Events and Community Standards with examining the questions of Greek life in the context of student social life on campus. As a member of that group, I want to let you know that we are working diligently and thoughtfully to complete our work as soon as possible before the end of the semester. While today’s headlines are alarming, the task force must be allowed to continue and complete its work.

This is a time of year when all of our responsibilities are increasingly demanding. As we work to better understand the content and broader implications of the documents that came to light today, it is crucial that we are also mindful of our collective obligations to each other as members of this community. I urge us all to take care of ourselves and practice kindness and generosity in the days ahead.


Jim Terhune
Dean of Students

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