Invitation to Community Dialogue
President Valerie Smith and Dean Liz Braun sent the following message to the community on Nov. 25, 2015:
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
In recent months, students across the country have protested against racism and other systemic forms of prejudice as they are expressed both on college and university campuses and in the national and global arenas. They have called for important and essential changes within our educational institutions. Their accounts of their experiences of racism and prejudice both on and off campus have demonstrated how far we must go to create inclusive learning environments where all students are able to thrive. Here at Swarthmore we are not immune to these issues, as the results from our recent climate study have emphasized. Just this week the removal of the faces of students of color from a French and Francophone Studies program poster gives us cause for deep concern. It reminds us of the important work that lies ahead if we are to embrace the richness, vitality, and complexity of living and working together in a diverse community. We embrace this work out of our sense of responsibility to each other, to those who came before us, to the communities we seek to serve, and to generations that will follow us. At what is admittedly a busy point in the semester, we invite students, faculty, and staff to come together in dialogue and reflection about issues of race, justice, and inequality. Please join us on Monday, Nov. 30 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
in the Admissions Commons, 2nd floor of Parrish Hall, as we reflect on the issues we face as a campus and consider how we can continue to work together to achieve our highest ideals. Again, we recognize that this is a very busy time for everyone. If your schedule will not allow you to attend this session, please know that this will be one of many opportunities for us to speak and listen to each other and to think collectively about the actions we need to take as an institution. Indeed, the Swarthmore African American Student Society (SASS) has already organized dialogues around campus related to these issues and recently led a demonstration in solidarity with student activists at the University of Missouri. We wish you all a restful and restorative holiday break, and we look forward to our continued work together.
Valerie Smith, President
Liz Braun, Dean of Students