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January 29, 2016: Campus Climate – Next Action Steps

Dear Swarthmore College Community:

Last semester we received the results of the campus climate survey conducted by Rankin and Associates: 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.  We will act on other ideas in the months and years ahead.

We write today to ask you to suggest ways we can build a stronger, more equitable, and more supportive campus environment for all persons who live, work, and study here. Please review the study’s findings so that your suggestions can be informed by them. We ask that you submit your ideas to the Self-Study Action Committee* by March 25. The Committee will recommend to the President three to four action steps for measurable change by April 30.

In addition to submitting your individual suggestions directly, here are other ways community members can be involved in this effort:

  • Community Roundtables will be organized during a few different time blocks (early morning, lunchtime, and late afternoon) on Friday, March 18, to generate ideas in response to the survey findings. Stay tuned for further details including times and registration. Contact Betsy Durning if you are interested in participating in or facilitating a discussion. (

  • We invite all formal College committees, ad hoc committees, administrative divisions, academic departments, athletic teams, student groups, etc., to convene their own brainstorming sessions and submit strategies and ideas.

  • We encourage small, private groups to meet and explore their own questions and offer proposals to the Self-Study Action Committee.* The membership of your private discussion groups may remain anonymous. The following staff members have volunteered to assist and support these groups:

    • Michelle Ray, case manager grievance advisor

    • Mo Lotif, assistant director, Intercultural Center

    • Katie Clark, coordinator, Center for Innovation and Leadership

    • Dion Lewis, assistant dean and director, Black Cultural Center, and interim director, IC

Groups may also submit their ideas directly to Betsy Durning or by means of an on-line form. Small stipends will be available for snacks; please contact Betsy for more information.

  • Anonymous "Idea Boxes" will soon be available on campus and on-line.  In the near future, physical "Idea Boxes" can be found at the following locations:

1. Science Center Coffee Bar

2. Kohlberg Coffee Bar

3. Sharples Dining Hall

4. 101 South Chester Road

5. Matchbox

6. Shane Lounge

7. Mephistos Lounge in Willets

8. 502 Fieldhouse Lane

9. Parrish Lower Level

If you have questions about the process, please direct them to: Diane Anderson, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs -- Parrish 108,, or Betsy Durning, Administrative Assistant, Parrish 140,

Thank you in advance for your attention and participation.  We look forward to working together to make Swarthmore a more fair, just, and equitable community.



Valerie Smith, President

Tom Stephenson, Provost

Liz Braun, Dean of Students

Pamela Prescod-Caesar, VP of Human Resources


*The Self-Study Action Committee includes:

Diane Anderson (chair), associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, Educational Studies Department

Katie Clark, coordinator, Center for Innovation and Leadership

Leonie Cohen '16

Betsy Durning, administrative assistant, Dean's Office

Zenobia Hargust, director, Equal Opportunity and Engagement

Kenny Jones, environmental services

Keton Kakkar '19

Meghan Kelly '18

Mohammed Lotif, assistant director, Intercultural Center

Sheila Magee '81, gardener

Jen Moore, administrative assistant, History Department

Gina Patnaik, assistant professor, English Literature

Ben Roebuck '17

Peggy Seiden, college librarian

Robin Huntington Shores, director of institutional research and assessment 

Elizabeth Vallen, professor, Biology

Robert Weinberg, professor, History

Kaaren Williamsen, Title IX coordinator