Messages to the Community

March 26, 2018:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on March 26, 2018:

In a series of recent conversations and in the student press, survivors and allies have proposed changes to the College’s Title IX policies and procedures. Most recently, Organizing for Survivors (O4S) held a rally in Parrish during which they bravely shared their experiences and issued a list of proposed changes with the expectation that President Smith would respond thoroughly and quickly to their letter. Read the full message.


March 23, 2018:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on March 23, 2018:

Earlier this month, following the publication of the second article by a student survivor in Voices, I met with a group of students to hear about their experiences with the Title IX process and their ideas for improving it. I want to thank these students for bravely sharing their stories and for engaging in a candid and thoughtful conversation about these issues. Since then I have been working with colleagues to address their concerns and, more generally, to continue to strengthen our campus Title IX-related processes. Read the full message.


March 9, 2018:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on March 9, 2018:

During the past week, Swarthmore and its surrounding communities have felt the dramatic impacts of winter storms Riley and Quinn, including numerous fallen trees, wind damage, and lost power. Our campus experienced these challenges as well. At times like these, we are all especially grateful to the many members of our community who keep the campus safe and fully functioning. Read the full message.

November 13, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on November 13, 2017:

Late last week I joined Haverford President Kim Benston and Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy ’85 in sending a slightly modified version of the following letter to our elected officials in Washington. It expresses why the recently proposed House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will directly harm higher education in this country. The Act includes a number of changes to the tax code that will significantly increase the cost both of college and of student debt. Read the full message.


October 4, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on October 4, 2017:
 
As we learn more about the devastating massacre that occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, we struggle to make sense of this depraved act of violence. In the aftermath of what has been described as the most deadly mass shooting in recent American history, let us pause to hold the families and friends of the victims – 58 murdered and at least 527 injured – in our thoughts and prayers. Read the full message.

September 29, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 29, 2017:

For the past several weeks, each day has brought news of the effects of catastrophic natural disasters. Devastating hurricanes have wreaked havoc in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and across other Caribbean islands, U.S. states, and Latin American nations; deadly earthquakes in Mexico, and monsoon flooding in South Asia have taken their toll on human lives, property, and infrastructure. Read the full message.


September 28, 2017: 

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 28, 2017:

Last night, at the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign celebration in Washington, D.C., I announced the exciting news that Caro Elise Luhrs ’56 has made a significant bequest to endow the Center for Innovation and Leadership. Once created, the endowment will secure the Center’s long-term financial sustainability, enabling students to contribute to the common good for years to come. Read the full message.


September 22, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 22, 2017:

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the rescission of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and 2014 Q&A related to campus response to sexual misconduct. I write to assure you that Swarthmore College remains wholly committed to upholding equality and freedom from all forms of discrimination and harassment. Our College policies, which remain in effect, are based on our own values and reflective of law, guidance, and best practice. Read the full message.


September 8, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 8, 2017:

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced plans to revisit Title IX guidelines. I write to assure you that Swarthmore College remains wholly committed to upholding equality and freedom from all forms of discrimination and harassment. No new guidance will change that. Read the full message.


September 7, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 7, 2017:

Dear Members of the Swarthmore Community,

With mixed emotions, I write to share the news that Kaaren Williamsen, Title IX Coordinator, has accepted the position of Director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) at the University of Michigan, effective Sept. 29. Read the full message.


September 6, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on September 6, 2017:

Yesterday we learned the distressing news that the Trump administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which for the last five years has allowed young people who came to the United States as children—the “dreamers”—to stay in the country and obtain temporary work permits. This action alters dramatically the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients, including some of our own students. A provision to allow Congress six months to create a legislative solution offers some hope, but there is no guarantee that such a solution will be found. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to continue to support our DACA and undocumented students. Read the full message.


August 29, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on August 29, 2017:

Our thoughts are with all who are experiencing the ongoing devastation of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey. The College is committed to extending compassionate support to those whose lives have been affected by the storm. Read the full message.


August 25, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on August 25, 2017:

During the last four years, we’ve seen many changes to student life, including the creation of the Office of Student Engagement (OSE), the revision of our alcohol policy, and improvements to the Swat Team program to enhance safety at social events on campus. Read the full message.


August 22, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on August 22, 2017:

As we approach the start of a new academic year, our hearts are heavy in the wake of recent acts of violence and hatred in Charlottesville motivated by racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Read the full message.


April 17, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on April 17, 2017:

We are all in this together; I invite all interested parties to find ways to work together to achieve our important common goal in a spirit of collaborative effort and mutual respect. Read the full message.


April 8, 2017:

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on April 8, 2017:

Our community lost one of its most dedicated, inspiring, and generous members when Eugene M. "Gene" Lang ’38 H'81 — entrepreneur, philanthropist, and chair emeritus of the College’s Board of Managers — died peacefully at home this morning. Gene was a giant in the world of education, a champion of the liberal arts, and an acknowledged force in promoting civic and social responsibility among students, faculty members, and educational institutions. He turned 98 on March 16. Read the full message.


April 5, 2017

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on April 5, 2017:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month on campus and across the country. As we all know, sexual assault is an on-going community issue that knows no season. I am committed to ensuring that we maintain our focus on the prevention of, compassionate response to, and adjudication of sexual assault year-round and on nurturing an environment where safe and equitable relationships can flourish. Read the full message.


April 4, 2017

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on April 4, 2017:

As we celebrate Division III week, we also reaffirm our commitment to diversity, gender equity, and inclusive participation.  Garnet athletes hail from 34 states and more than a dozen countries; together they embark on a journey of personal growth that allows them to develop valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork, resilience, and discipline. Read the full message.


March 23, 2017

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on March 23, 2017:

Peaceful protest and free speech have always been central to Swarthmore’s ethos, history, and identity. Today I want to reaffirm our long-standing commitment to the right of our students and all members of our community to protest peacefully. This right is among our proudest traditions and most essential values. Read the full message.


March 20, 2017

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on March 20, 2017:

We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Sam Jenkins ‘19, who died yesterday. At yesterday’s Collection, students, faculty, staff and members of Sam’s family shared heartfelt reflections of a creative, joyful, and gentle individual whose infectious enthusiasm and genuine kindness made a lasting impact on our community. Read the full message.


Feb. 24, 2017

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the Swarthmore community on February 24, 2017:

I want to assure you that we will honor the advice provided in the original Dear Colleague Letter of May 2016 and will continue to do everything we can to fully and holistically support transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming members of our community. Read the full message.


Feb. 22, 2017

President Valerie Smith and Chair of the Board of Managers Tom Spock '78 sent the following message to the Swarthmore community on February 22, 2017:

We write in response to a recent student referendum urging the Board of Managers to pursue partial divestment from separately managed and commingled accounts. We appreciate the time and effort that went into developing this referendum. However, following three years of thoughtful and detailed study and analysis from 2013 to 2015, the Board stated in its Sustainability and Investment Policy that it had reached the decision “not to divest from fossil fuels, either on a full or partial basis.” Read the full message.


Jan. 30, 2017

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on January 30, 2017.

As a nation and as a campus community, we are in unchartered waters with the new administration; our responses must be considered and firm. We stand together in upholding the values that are core to Swarthmore’s mission: our commitment to a diverse, global community; a free and open society and press; and social justice and compassion. Read the full message.


Jan. 24, 2017

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on January 24, 2017.

Our community lost a beloved and loyal staff member when Bitsy Snively, a longtime member of the Dining Services staff, died peacefully in her home on Friday, Jan. 20. She was 47. Read the full message.


Jan. 23, 2017

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on January 23, 2017.

Welcome back to campus!  At the start of the new year, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past semester and look ahead to the spring. In recent months, events on our campus and division across the country have challenged our community. We can look forward to a number of events and initiatives this spring semester that reflect our core values and our aspirations. Read the full message.


Jan. 12, 2017

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on January 12, 2017.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed a restorative break and are looking forward to the start of spring semester. As you return to campus and prepare for the semester ahead, I invite you to reflect on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Read the full message.


Dec. 13, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on December 13, 2016.

Our community lost one of its most devoted and generous members when Julie Lange Hall ’55, an emerita member of the Board of Managers, died on Saturday. She was 83. Read the full message.


Dec. 6, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on December 6, 2016.

I invite everyone to attend the last Collection of the semester tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in Upper Tarble. As I noted last week, the ceremony will explore the symbolism of light through student group performances and opportunities for individual reflection.


Nov. 15, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on November 15, 2016:

I write to you today to affirm that the College is committed to nurturing and maintaining an environment where all members of our community can fully flourish and participate without fear of physical and verbal intimidation. In light of the hateful and sometimes violent acts of prejudice that have occurred in the Philadelphia region and around the country during the past week, I want you to know that I am committed to the safety and security of every member of our community. Read the full message.


Nov. 10, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on Nov. 10, 2016:

During yesterday's Collection many individuals expressed their pain, uncertainty, and fear in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign and election. The divisive nature of the long campaign has wounded many people deeply, particularly in light of threats to the values that we as a community hold dear. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, this is a time when we must reach out to one another with support and respect. Read the full message.


Nov. 4, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on November 4, 2016.

Our community lost one of its most highly-regarded and dedicated members when Raymond “Ray” Scott, longtime athletics equipment manager and No. 1 fan of the Garnet, died of cancer on Tues., Nov. 1. He was 59. Read the full message.


Oct. 5, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on Oct. 5, 2016:

I write to invite you to attend Re-imagining the Swarthmore Student Experience: A Visioning Workshop on October 17, 2016, from 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Pearson Hall, Lang Performing Center. Read the full message.


Sept. 11, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on Sept. 11, 2016:

We reflect today on the lives lost and countless injured, the bereaved families and courageous first responders, and those who survived but were forever changed by the devastating events.  On this solemn occasion let us take a moment to remember and honor them. Read the full message.


Sept. 2, 2016

After today's collection, President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the Swarthmore community:

At today’s Collection, I expressed my own and our community’s pain, grief, and outrage over the hateful incidents discovered over the past week. As you know, two swastikas were found on a bathroom wall in McCabe Library. This morning I learned that another swastika was found in the Crum Woods. Read the full message.


Aug. 31, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the Swarthmore community at 11:30 am on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. last night, a Swarthmore student found two swastikas that had been spray-painted on the interior wall of a stall in a second-floor bathroom in McCabe Library and reported this discovery to Public Safety. Read the full message.


Aug. 29, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the community on Aug. 29, 2016:

I would like to share with you some exciting work that began during the summer.  With help from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, we have begun a visioning exercise that will help us create campus spaces that align with student needs, interests, and activities. Read the full message.


July 14, 2016

Self-Study Action Committee has produced a detailed report of recommendations designed to foster a more inclusive community. Let me begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to Diane Anderson and the entire Self-Study Action Committee for their work over the spring semester. Read the full message.


June 13, 2016

President Valerie Smith and Dean of Student Liz Braun shared the following in a community message earlier today:

With heavy hearts, we write in solidarity and support for the victims of the Orlando shooting, their families and friends, the entire LGBTQ community, and all who mourn this tragic loss of life. Read the full message.


May 24, 2016

President Valerie Smith shared the following in a community message earlier today:

With great sadness, I write with the news that Robert E. Savage, Isaac H. Clothier Jr. Professor Emeritus of Biology, died in his sleep on Friday, May 20. The College has lost a beloved teacher, colleague, and mentor who was revered as much for his dignity and wit as for his brilliant teaching and devotion to generations of students. Read the full message.


Mar. 24, 2016

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the campus community on March 24, 2016:

I’d like to tell you about a new opportunity: Dinners with Strangers. This program is designed to bring together groups of 10-12 faculty, staff, students, and local alumni to share a meal and get to know each other. Read the full message.


Jan. 29, 2016

Last semester we received the results of the campus climate survey conducted by Rankin and Associates: http://www.swarthmore.edu/study-learning-working-living/outcomes. We have committed to identifying three to four specific actions by the end of spring semester 2016, based on input from members of the campus community, that will help us respond to the concerns raised in the report. Read the full message


Nov. 25, 2015

President Valerie Smith and Dean Liz Braun sent the following message to the community on Nov. 25, 2015:

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. Read the full message.


Oct. 5, 2015

President Valerie Smith shared the following community message on Mon., Oct. 5:

We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Anthony Chiarenza ’18, who died on Saturday. At last night’s deeply moving Collection in the Friends Meeting House, many of us came to seek and to offer support to one another. Read the full message


Aug. 3, 2015

I write with the sad news that Emeritus Member of the Board of Managers Jerry Kohlberg ’46 passed away peacefully on Thursday night on Martha's Vineyard. The College has lost one of its most ardent and loyal supporters whose influence on campus is as far reaching as it may be, by design, unheralded. Read the full message.