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Student Social Events and Community Standards Task Force Updates

Task Force Co-Chair Aixa Pomales shared this message with the campus community on March 8, 2019. A similar version was shared the same day with alumni and parents.

Dear Friends,

As you may recall, President Smith charged the Task Force on Student Social Events and Community Standards last fall to “consult broadly throughout the community and to critically examine social life on campus—including Greek life and programming in campus social spaces.”

Our first step was to listen deeply to our diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We met with a dozen on-campus groups, hosted conference calls with members of Alumni Council, held on-campus conversations open to the community, and received emails from over 150 alumni and students. We heard a range of perspectives on how Swarthmore can best establish a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

We are now sharing “What We’ve Heard” [pdf], a detailed collection of those views. Please note that this is a compilation of what we have heard—including frequently contradictory sentiments–and does not reflect our opinions or those of the task force.

We invite you to review this document and let us know if we have missed anything necessary for our deliberations. Please send us additional thoughts or clarifications by Friday, March 22. You can reach us directly at

In addition to incorporating additional community feedback, our next step will include carefully reviewing five years of Public Safety’s case logs, the College’s Clery crime statistics, and examples of successful social infrastructures at other institutions, as well as meeting with additional key individuals and groups on campus.

Finally, we will deliberate and aim to deliver to President Smith our recommendations by the end of April. In this, as with all of our work, we will be guided by these four principles:

  • Social life on campus should be diverse and inclusive, offering students the chance to relax, discover, and grow.
  • Social events should be safe, fun, and positive experiences, with College-sponsored events that are accessible and open to the campus community.
  • A broad range of social spaces should be equitably available to all students to hold both public and private events.
  • Social events should be reasonably simple for students to plan and should allow both alcohol and alcohol-free options.

Thank you to all of those who have contributed to this process so far. We ultimately hope our work and recommendations will advance these principles and ensure that the College continues to serve all students.


Lisa Meeden, professor of computer science, co-chair
Aixa Pomales, director of support services, ITS, co-chair
David Singleton ’68, Board of Managers, co-chair
On behalf of the Task Force on Student Social Events and Community Standards