Collected Departmental Statements on the Haverford Student Strike (end of Oct. 2020-present)
Table of Contents (Departments)
BiCo Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Mathematics and Statistics
Physics and Astronomy
October 30, 2020
Dear Haverford community:
On Monday, October 26 another Black person, Walter Wallace, Jr., was shot and killed by the
police – this time in the city of Philadelphia. As anthropology faculty—one of the only BIPOC
majority departments at Haverford College—we are deeply saddened by the loss of another
Black life, outraged by the ongoing institutionalized violence against Black Americans, and
greatly disappointed by the response of our own administration to this tragic event. As has often
been the case, it is Black students and other students of color (particularly Women of Color
House, Black Students Refusing Further Inaction, and Black Student League) who are
courageously leading the way, in this case a strike action by the student body.
We strongly support, and are in full agreement with, the principles and demands of this student
initiative. Much like the Open Letter to the Bi-Co from Black students, we see the strike
statement as an extraordinary act of love. While these statements are rooted in anger and pain,
the caring labor it takes to articulate clear pathways forward speaks to BIPOC students’ belief
that Haverford has the capacity to do better and work towards redressing institutional racism,
anti-Blackness and white supremacy on our campus.
As anthropologists grappling with the coloniality of our own discipline, we understand the work it
takes to address deeply engrained cultures of white supremacy and settler-colonialism. This will
not be an easy or quick path, but at this moment in history, we believe Haverford has a critical
role to play in shifting institutional structures and cultures towards racial justice, work which
begins with the steps our students have outlined.
To our students, during this difficult time of pain, rage and confusion we wish to express that
you are not alone. For those of us who are BIPOC faculty, we too are not spared from the
aftermath of police violence and how it plays out in our lives. As faculty in the Department of
Anthropology, we declare our solidarity with you, extend our support for you in taking actions
demanded by the ethics of our profession, and commit ourselves to joining you in this strike. We
call on other departments to do the same.
• All classes (synchronous and asynchronous) will be cancelled until further notice
• Students participating in the strike will not be subjected to any grade or attendance penalties
• We remain available to meet with students who are interested in continuing work on their
we likewise support those who decide to suspend thesis work until the end of the strike
• If the strike ends and classes resume in the coming weeks, each professor will touch base in
and consult with students about how to continue forward and finish the remainder of the
• We will be postponing upcoming events planned with the college
• We will be holding a town hall on Monday, November 2nd at 11:00 a.m. EST to create space
the coming week for BIPOC and First Gen anthropology students who would like to reflect, talk
together, and strategize
• We will send the student demand letter and mutual aid links to our networks and organize
the department and College to respond and engage BIPOC student demands
• We encourage members of the anthropology community to support students through the
aid mechanism: Venmo @hcstrikefund Learn more on Instagram @bicomutualaid
• If there are specific organizing endeavors on which we can collaborate, please let us know
We also want to emphasize that we are all available to you both as a community and as
individuals should you have a need to talk. Please take good care of yourselves and each other
and know that we are committed to you and the struggle against racism, anti-Blackness, and
Haverford College Department of Anthropology
BiCo Department of East Asian Languages and
Dear Students of EALC, Chinese Language Program, and Japanese Language Program,
As a unified body, the faculty in the BiCo Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures are
horrified, sickened, and dismayed at the continuing incidents of police murder of Black people
in the streets of America. We also recognize the legacy of oppression and injustice that has
characterized and supported institutions of higher learning. We have heard the pain and anger
of BIPOC and FGLI students calling for immediate change and for no more business as usual.
We are standing in witness and support these efforts towards disruption and reform.
The academic strike organized by the Women of Color House, the Black Students Refusing
Further Inaction, the Black Student League, and others has been occasioned by events related
to the murder of Walter Wallace Jr., another in the long list of Black and Brown people killed by
police. The strike also marks the culmination of many years of dissatisfaction by present and
past students with the response of the two colleges to widespread and systemic racism and
inequity that is endemic in our society and also present in our own institutions, curricula, and
It is important that you know that every one of us on the EALC faculty is deeply committed to
your success and learning and we deeply value each of your contributions. We also recognize
that some students will choose not to participate and we will also hold space for them in various
forms. For all students, we will endeavor in every way we can to foster their education, their
success, and their sense of safety and belonging.
Here are some of the ways we intend to do so:
- we will continue to expand content that represents diverse and non-white points of view and
promote anti-racism in our curriculum and department-hosted events
- we will circulate information about and encourage donations to support the striking students
through the organizations identified by @bicomutualaid
- we have already and will continue to directly appeal to the two administrations to encourage
them to participate in meaningful engagement with the leaders of the student action. We have
and will continue to express the extremely disruptive impact the strike has had on our program,
and the hope that the administrations can act swiftly to meet the demands, resolving the matter
and bringing the strike to a close so that our students can return to learning
- we offer assurance that students will not be penalized for classes or assignments missed
during the period of the strike
The BiCo Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Yuka Usami Casey
Hank Glassman (Haverford chair)
Shiamin Kwa (Bryn Mawr chair)
Pre-strike: Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 11:00 PM
Dear Biology Students,
This most recent horrific act of violence that has happened here in Philadelphia speaks to the
larger issues that have been weighing on us all. I acknowledge that these trying times will of
course impact you as a young person and as a student at Haverford. If there are any specific
things I can do as your professor to help you feel more supported in the many ways we interact
please let me know. I also recognize that focussing on academics and student life is only more
challenged by events in the world around us and the complicated situations we find ourselves
in. Therefore, if you need any flexibility or adjustments on the academic side of things I'm, as
always, open to working through and navigating this with you. I admire the bravery and
persistent passion that is required to fight injustice but I know it also takes a toll, and I hear you.
-Thu, Oct 29, 2020 at 2:32 PM
Dear Biology students,
We have heard about and understand the student strike in response to the first email sent out
by President Raymond and Dean Bylander about the protests in our local community in
response to yet another outrageous and needless killing of a black man dealing with a mental
illness. And we also recognize that this student strike is not simply a response to that one email
but to broader, deeper issues.
Currently, individual professors are working on the ways we can support students in our specific
classes while we also consider options for possibly engaging in broader dialog in ways that
don't place more burden on the very students that are most impacted by all of this.
If you have not heard from the professors of your biology classes by the end of this afternoon
(we have had a series of meetings so not everyone has had access to email) please continue to
keep them informed with respect to your participation in the strike. We will keep in touch also.
-Sun, Nov 1, 2020 at 4:15 PM
Dear Biology students,
We recognize your solidarity with BIPOC students, West Philadelphia, and Walter Wallace Jr.’s
family. We as Biology faculty share in the outrage and frustration and we respect your right to
strike and desire for change.
We understand that the strike is an evolving situation, and we will continue to adjust while the
strike continues. Below, we want to communicate our changes to Biology courses in the coming
week(s), and how the Biology Department is approaching student demands outlined in the BSG
To respond to The Biology Student Group’s points:
Bio200 lectures and labs are currently suspended, as of Oct 29. There are no laboratories in
week 9 (Nov 3-6).
There will be no post-lab assignment for week 8 (Oct 27-30) and no pre- or post-lab assignment
for week 9 (Nov 3-6).
As classes are suspended, there will not be penalties for missing these classes.
We will adjust the syllabus to accommodate the strike.
The current problem set is postponed until after the strike, with time given after the end of the
strike to work on this problem set. Future problem sets will be adjusted; there will not be a
backlog of problem sets to complete once the strike ends.
Students taking Bio200, explicitly including BIPOC, FGLI students, will NOT be penalized for
We further extend the deadline for finalized research proposals (beyond Saturday 10/31).
We extend the deadline for peer review of lab notebooks during the strike.
There will be no penalty for those students striking.
We do not expect students and TAs to come to the lab in person or virtually for the remainder of
Week 8 (10/27 - 11/3) or for the Wednesday (11/4) discussion.
For your lab notebooks, we do not look for a specific number of entries or entries on specific
dates, so if you are not engaging in lab work (in person lab or online) then we do not expect
Senior Thesis Work:
We do not expect students to engage in senior thesis work and will work with individual students
on resolving how to handle animal/cell care issues during the strike.
Faculty have reached out to their seniors with more specific information on extended time for
thesis assignments, no expectation for lab time, and reconciling any previously set thesis goals
to the current situation.
We do not expect student workers to perform lab upkeep or run experiments.
Federal laws prohibit paying students for time not worked. The administration is providing grants
for up to 20 hours of lost work time for students who rely on wages from their campus
employment. With regard to submitting hours into Workday, if you decide to log unworked
hours in Workday we ask that you inform your professors of this so that we can make informed
decisions about our own actions in Workday. Please consult with your advisor on how best to
accommodate your financial requirements.
We expect that less lab work will be done during the strike.
Although the BSG letter did not specifically address the 31X and 45X courses, faculty engaged
in these courses will be reaching out to students with specific details as to how the class will
proceed as the strike develops.
Bio499 and Department Seminar:
Our invited speaker scheduled for Weds Nov 3rd was Dr Judith Simcox. We were looking
forward to this speaker because of her advocacy with underrepresented students in STEM, and
as a high profile indigenous scientist, i.e. enrolled member of the Crow Tribe. As this strike will
impact student engagement with her scientifically and in her DEI-focused discussion session,
and we value this opportunity for you, we are postponing her visit until next semester.
We would like to maintain open lines of communication and we encourage you to reach out to
your advisors about any of these responses or concerns you have. We have valued these
discussions with students and will continue to seek ways of engaging in these conversations
now and in the future. But regardless of student levels of engagement in such conversations
(and we understand why there might be no engagement), we as faculty are continuing to work
on our shared goal of supporting our students.
To provide an update on what the department is currently working on following our September
18th meeting with the Biology Student Group, we are sharing our progress summary that was
prepared for discussion at the 10/30 meeting with the BSG, and we look forward to discussing
with the BSG when we next meet. These updates are posted here (as part of our continued
Biology Department DEI Prioritization Document).
Full copies of emails sent to Bio200 and Bio300 students are maintained in this document.
Dear Chemistry students:
Thank you for all of your outreach to us during the last two days. The Chemistry department
strongly supports each of you in all of your roles at Haverford: as individuals in our classes and
budding scientists, as members of our College community, and as activists committed to
change in our community, our institution, and beyond. And we support you collectively as you
work together to effect change. We acknowledge the disparate impact of many parts of our
community, institutional activities, and academic program on our BIPOC and FGLI students and
we especially convey our appreciation, support, and solidarity with you.
As the current situation evolves, we resolve to continue to be in close contact with all of you, to
provide support and community so that you know that we are engaged and interested in both
the strike and your individual and collective well-being. This will take many forms, including
continuing office/student hours for specific instructors and discussions at many scales (including
in research groups and class groups of varying sizes). We are here to support and engage with
you in the ways that are most meaningful to you. Please reach out to any of us, at any point, as
the strike and the next days unfold. And also please feel free, as always, to use our anonymous
department online feedback box to provide any input that you have for us collectively or
Regarding the student strike, here are some actions that the Chemistry department takes
together, in response to and in solidarity with our students and our Chemistry Student Group.
All Chemistry classes will be cancelled through and including Tuesday Nov. 3 (Election Day).
Instructors will reach out to their students and continue to hold discussion and office hours to
provide support and engagement, and to be available for individual student consultation as
needed. We will continue to evaluate what our support looks like as the strike continues.
There will be no class or academic penalties for students who participate in strike activities, and
we will make necessary adjustments to course syllabi and scheduled assessments.
Chemistry research labs are closed, and research groups/students will have ongoing
conversations and connections with their PIs for purposes of conversation and mutual support.
We reaffirm our anti-racism commitments from earlier this year and ask that you continue to
work with us towards enacting these commitments.
While the pandemic has spread us out physically, we will continue to meet regularly as a group
in our department to share information, ideas, and support between each other, so that we are
best equipped to support our students and their goals.
We look forward to being in close touch and partnership with you in the coming days. Thank
you for your insight, your encouragement and support for us, and your strong actions towards
The Chemistry Department faculty and staff
Dear Chemistry students:
I am writing to update you on our response to the strike, and to repeat and reinforce our
messages of solidarity, with the strike and its goals of making serious anti-racist changes to our
College and community, and of support for all of our students.
All Chemistry classes and department activities are cancelled, and all research labs are closed
through Friday, Nov. 6 unless the strike ends before that date. We remain available for
individual meetings and will continue to hold office hours and make ourselves available in ways
that best support our students. Please let us know what support you need during this time of
local and national uncertainty and less academic structure. And please do your best to take
care of yourselves, each other, and the broader relationships that we all have together. We are
here to support and engage with you.
If you have concerns, questions, or suggestions, please contact any of us (including your
instructors or other faculty) or use our anonymous department feedback dropbox.
The Chemistry department faculty and staff
Thank you for your patience and continued engagement with us, with the strike, and with each
other in our community during this time of crisis, uncertainty, and shared growth. I am writing to
let you know how the Department of Chemistry intends to proceed from here.
1. Scheduled classes are cancelled for the duration of the strike, in strong support of the
goal of becoming a more inclusive institution, towards which satisfaction of the strike’s
demands would provide an incremental step. We are working actively with other
faculty and the administration to enable that step as soon as possible.
2. We will continue to engage with all of you, starting with town hall meetings for 100level students, 200-level students, and majors&minors on Monday Nov. 9 (regardless
of the status of the strike on Monday) and with sessions on following dates as needed.
Please watch for invitations from your instructors to Monday’s meetings: each of these
town halls will include multiple faculty. We strongly, strongly encourage all of you to
attend because we want and need to hear from all of you during a disorienting and
polarizing moment. (You are welcome to mute video and use a pseudonym if that
enables and supports your participation.)
3. When/if the strike does conclude, we will not “return to normal” in our academic
program. This means the following things in the short term:
a. We will work with the College to provide both pass/fail and graded options for
completing this semester’s courses, which will all involve flexible course
content, clear and revised rubrics for transparent assessment, and a variety of
options for engagement that can best support all of our students.
b. We will continue ongoing work, as a department and in engagement with CSG
and other students, to adjust our curriculum to provide greater accessibility and
flexibility to all students to our courses and our major.
4. Regardless of strike status, and going forward into the future, we will continue to
engage with our entire community in our ongoing antiracism commitments as
enunciated earlier this year.
As always you are welcome to use our anonymous feedback form or contact any of us directly.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you on Monday.
With continuing support for all of you
And the Chemistry department faculty and staff
Thank you for your responses to the Chemistry department’s general email of yesterday
afternoon, which we very much appreciate. We look forward to talking to you all more at our
town halls on Monday, when I think that we will be able to offer each of you some more granular
clarity about how our courses will look for the remainder of the semester. Please bring your
questions on Monday!
I would like to clarify and add more context to my comment that “we will not ‘return to normal’ “
when the strike is over.
Our intention is not to end any of our classes, and we commit to making it possible for students
to receive full credit and grades in all our classes in a variety of ways while taking into account
the extraordinary nature of this semester. Even before we started this semester, in the midst of
a global pandemic, we knew that it would not be “normal” and this led to the adjustment of
teaching modalities and some course structures, as well as syllabi. With the additional time that
we have lost due to the strike, many of our courses will now end in ways that won’t exactly
match the original syllabi at the beginning of the semester. And we will not add extra
assignments or content, beyond what we had originally planned, to the remote learning period
at the end of the semester. But this is ok for several reasons. We can adjust subsequent
courses to include or account for specific material that may not be covered this semester, and
we are already planning to do so. Our 100- and 200-level courses already cover material that is
different from the traditional “gen chem” and “organic” courses at other colleges and
universities, and this innovative structure provides flexibility in satisfying prerequisites for other
programs and pre-health requirements. We have strongly prioritized research space and
support for independent research in our facilities in the fall semester, and we will continue to do
so for the spring semester to maximize research lab time for our senior thesis students.
Incremental adjustments to courses taught this semester will not harm students’ academic
programs or progress towards graduation.
We have heard unanimous support from you for the strike’s broader ideals and goals and this
clearly indicates that “returning to normal” is no longer possible nor desirable. Our shared
aspiration is to make the Chemistry department, and the College, more inclusive, accessible,
and antiracist. We look forward to continued engagement with you to successfully realize this
We, and I, look forward to seeing and hearing from you all on Monday. Please continue to be in
As members of the Department of Classics we write to express our outrage at the killing of
Walter Wallace Jr., our condemnation of institutionalized violence against Black communities
and individuals, and our continuing commitment to anti-racist action
In keeping with this commitment, we support the strike organized by the Women of Color
House, the Black Students Refusing Further Inaction, the Black Students’ League, and others; we
acknowledge the importance of their goals, and we express our respect for the careful thought,
hard work, and resolve that have gone into this action.
In keeping with our support:
We have suspended classes from the start of the strike and will continue to do so through Friday
November 6; all ongoing assignments and deadlines are also suspended. Students in our courses
can expect a further update from the department as well as their individual professors by Sunday
● Students participating in the strike will at no point suffer any penalties.
● When classes are resumed, we will seek flexible and creative ways of reworking our
syllabi and modifying our expectations in order to complete the semester in a satisfactory
● Individual faculty members will be available to meet with students to address questions
or concerns, as well as to discuss their views of the ongoing situation and the
● Individual members of the department have donated to the Strike Fund and the Nest and
are committed to continuing this support as we are able in order to provide material
assistance to striking students.
For our larger action plan see: http://classics.sites.haverford.edu/equity/
See Google doc here
Dear Economics student,
We want to thank so many of you who came to our town halls this last Wednesday. We believe
that they were a productive beginning of discussions about making the department a more
welcoming and accessible community for all students, in particular BIPOC, FGLI, LGBQT+ and
other marginalized students. At that meeting, we promised to send you the Economics Diversity
Agenda which we had drafted before the town halls and which has been updated with some of
your suggestions. As a draft, it is truly a living document which we hope will be constantly
revised and improved through faculty and student input. Please feel free to respond and
comment on the agenda by emailing us directly or, as promised at the town halls, through this
anonymous feedback form here that we created for these purposes. It will remain active
In order to get the work of the agenda started, we will be scheduling a meeting with students
next week. More information about this meeting will follow in a future email.
Wishing you peace and justice,
The Economics Department Faculty
November 5, 2020
Draft: To be revised in consultation with economics department students
Economics Department Diversity and Inclusion Agenda
Created this summer in response to the June 2020 BSRFI Open Letter to the BiCollege Community and to President Wendy Raymond's communications about DEI.
Two designated faculty members of the econ department will be appointed each
year to lead the agenda and to guide the formulation and implementation of policy: this
year Anne Preston and Richard Ball fill these roles.
The department would like to add at least two student liaisons, perhaps a student
committee, to inform the agenda. We seek student input on what the form should take,
and those individuals who choose to participate will be paid either a stipend or an hourly
rate similar to TAs.
Primary functions (as conceived of now—we welcome other ideas):
o Initiate discussions on a regularly (monthly) recurring basis among econ
faculty and econ students, about how our classes, curriculum, and department as a
whole are serving, or failing to serve, marginalized students. Particular topics
§ Course content and organization of 104/105
Incorporation of material of high interest to BIPOC, FGLI
and other marginalized students
TA sessions; learning communities
§ Core course content and examples of high interest to marginalized
§ New electives of high interest to marginalized students
§ Pedagogical strategies that create space in which students with a range
of learning styles can succeed. Consider bringing in an expert
speaker/consultant as part of the department's ongoing participation in the
teaching and learning initiative (TLI).
§ A new set of questions that can be included in course evaluations to
elicit feedback on the experiences of marginalized students.
§ An end of the year semester survey of majors and minors to evaluate
their overall experience with the economics department, both in class and
out of class, the results of which will be discussed in the monthly
§ Increased diversity among TAs and RAs hired by economics faculty
§ Formal training for our TAs including training on diversity issues
§ Seminars organized by the economics department that:
Are given by a diverse set of speakers
Have topics that are of interest to a diverse student body
§ Guidance on hiring visitors or new tenure track faculty
§ A data base to keep track of all the above over time so that we can
assess how much progress is being made
o Actions related to outreach and information:
§ Support and implement micro-aggression/anti-racism
training/discussions for faculty and students
§ Create a platform where students can anonymously submit questions or
concerns related to the climate for marginalized students in the economics
department or report incidents
§ Maintain a web page and list-serve to publicize opportunities available
to marginalized students: summer and post-graduation internships and
jobs; grad school; training programs; programs offered by the American
Economic Association; other local and national events that advocate for
and promote the success of marginalized students in economics
§ Contact HC economics alumni to request that they send us information
about internship/job/training/etc. opportunities for marginalized students,
and share this information via web page and list-serve.
§ Establish a BIPOC alumni speaker series (one per semester) where
BIPOC graduates come back to campus to discuss their careers as an
economics alum (or whatever they feel is most worthwhile) and interact
socially with students.
§ Establish robust lines of communication with marginalized students in
the economics department (e.g., through liaisons or a student committee or
monthly meetings as described above).
§ Create a voluntary paid mentoring program where senior economics
students mentor first years and sophomores interested in joining the major
with the intention of making sure all BIPOC and FGLI students have a
mentor and have the opportunity to become a mentor.
§ Reach out to marginalized students in their first and second years to give
information about the economics major, minor, and math/econ
concentration, with the goal of making economics accessible to them and
of discovering where they face obstacles or discouragement in the
economics program. This would include mini workshop opportunities in
job interview training/tips, public speaking, job search strategies, and
other practical extracurricular skills that contribute to both academic and
§ Send information about the economics department to incoming first year
students from marginalized groups as they prepare to enter Haverford, to
provide information about taking economics courses and
majoring/minoring/concentrating in economics
■ Survey all students having taken Econ 104/105 each year, collecting
demographic information and asking why each student enrolled in the
course, whether, and if so why, they will take further courses, in the hopes
of identifying and understanding issues of retention of BIPOC & FGLI
students and possibly formulating policy to increase retention.
§ Create a data base to keep track of all the above over time so that we can
assess how much progress is being made
Many of the ideas presented here were stimulated by information from the American Economic
Association about promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the economics profession,
available at https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/best-practices.
November 6, 2020
To the Haverford Community:
In July of this year, we wrote to our students and the community to express our support for the
demands articulated in the BSRFI’s Open Letter, and to outline our plans as a department for
disrupting the everyday and spectacular operations of white supremacy as it structures life at
Haverford College. Then as now, we honor the extraordinary work and visionary leadership of
student organizers, including the Women of Color House, Black Students Refusing Further
Inaction, the Black Students League, and other networks of BIPOC students and their allies at
Haverford. Then as now, we condemn white supremacy’s routine violence, the most immediate
instance of which was the murder of Walter Wallace, Jr., on October 20th, 2020 in the midst of a
mental health crisis and as his mother and neighbors attempted to intervene. We join our
students and the broader community in grief and rage, and in profound disappointment with the
administration’s response to this event.
We stand with our BIPOC students, and we support the transformative and ground-shifting work
of the strike. We recognize the strike as a response to these immediate events and as an action
informed by decades of creative organizing, advocating, and community-building. We also
recognize that we have significant work to do to redress the reverberating effects of
institutionalized racism in our respective fields and in our department.
At the prompting of current English majors and recent alums, we write now to reaffirm the
commitments of our July letter (attached), and add to those commitments the following timeline
We will cancel all classes and programming until further notice. We will
remain available to our students for listening sessions, including for
seniors who wish to continue work on their theses.
We assert that students participating in the strike will not face any grading
penalties, and we support seniors who wish to pause work on their theses
for the duration of the strike.
Individually we will participate in teach-ins, contribute to mutual aid and
strike funds, and amplify the demands of the strike organizers on various
In collaboration with students we will create an English department
student advisory council, with members elected by students and with
BIPOC leadership and representation. The council will serve as a
support system for our majors, and will work closely with faculty on
hiring, curricular development, programming, channels for student
feedback, and other departmental issues. Council members will be
compensated for their work.
In collaboration with the student advisory council, we will develop
specific lines of support for BIPOC and FGLI students, including but not
limited to research, travel, and programming funding.
In collaboration with the student advisory council, we will assess our
departmental requirements and introduce new requirement(s) that center
fields such as African-American and African diasporic literature, Latinx,
Asian-American, Native American, and LGBTQ literature as essential for
competence in the major.
We will apply for a tenure-track line in fields historically and currently
under-represented in our department, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx,
and Asian-American studies. As a department and individually, we will
advocate for additional hires and resources for the Africana Studies
Each year, we will conduct a departmental self-study centered on antiracist readings, to include discussion of our teaching and mentoring
practices as well as collaborative efforts to support the success of BIPOC
and FGLI students.
In direct response to this courageous student action, we work with renewed vigor and clarity
toward a relatively new goal for this nearly 200 year-old college, that of creating a more
genuinely ethical anti-racist institution where BIPOC and FGLI students can thrive. As a
department, we acknowledge their work in moving us to act substantively on issues we have
been discussing for a long time.
With genuine gratitude from the tenured members of the department,
See Google doc here
5 November 2020
Dear Tri-Co Linguistics students,
We write to affirm our support for the student strike led by coalitions of BIPOC and FGLI
students at Haverford and Bryn Mawr. We support both students' right to strike and the reasons
behind this particular strike. We acknowledge that this strike occurs in the context of systemic
police violence toward Black individuals, including the recent murder of Walter Wallace Jr. in
West Philadelphia. We acknowledge the systemic inequalities faced by BIPOC and FGLI
students on campus and elsewhere. We also recognize the enormous courage and significant
labor of the strike leaders in showing us what needs to change.
We thank those who reached out to us, and we appreciate your patience as we have navigated
the complexities of being the only Tri-College department. While many of us teach courses that
aspire to embody anti-racism, it is clear to us that academic engagement on its own does not
address the conditions that led to the current strike. We therefore wish to affirm our support for
the strike in the following ways:
Across our Tri-College department, we make a commitment to striking students that
we will not penalize you for participation in the strike and do not expect you to
continue class work at this time.
If the strike ends within the coming weeks, we commit to finding ways to meet the
request to teach material in a way that does not unduly burden students who
participated in the strike, including reassessing syllabi to best use the remaining time
in the semester.
Bi-Co linguistics formal class meetings are suspended until further notice, but faculty
remain available to students for guidance, discussion, and support.
Because Swarthmore students are not on strike at this point, Swarthmore classes will
continue to be offered, but striking students will not be penalized for participating in the
We are actively exploring options for adjusting the thesis timeline to accommodate for
time spent striking. Thesis students should feel free to be in touch with their thesis
We acknowledge that many students are using this time to engage in anti-racist action
and learning, and we commit to doing the same. Some current activities include:
○ Volunteering with organizations that work toward racial justice.
○ Educating ourselves about white supremacy in Linguistics (e.g. Anya 2020,
Motha 2020, Charity Hudley et al. 2018) and in college contexts (e.g. Holliday
& Squires 2020, Charity Hudley & Mallinson 2018) and reflecting on what we
can do differently.
○ Working as a department to strengthen anti-racist and decolonizing
pedagogical approaches in conversation with students and community
○ Compiling and making available resources on linguistic (anti-)racism to Tri-Co
Linguistics students and faculty. We invite you to email us any resources you
would like to add to the list.
Members of the department are contributing funds to the organizations mentioned in
the What Does Striking Mean document and other anti-racist organizations.
We view this as part of larger, ongoing work, and we look forward to working as a collective of
faculty and students to move forward in meaningful ways. We admire and are inspired by the
courage, initiative, and labor of the Women of Color House, the Black Students Refusing
Further Inaction, the Black Student League, and everyone engaged in the strike. We remain
hopeful that this moment will be an opportunity for substantial and lasting change.
In solidarity and hope,
The Tri-Co Linguistics Department Faculty
Theodore B. Fernald
K. David Harrison
Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
See Google doc here
Mathematics and Statistics
Dear Students of Mathematics and Statistics,
We hope that this message finds you safe and well. We write, as a department, in pain and
sadness in response to the horrific murder of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man, by two police
officers in West Philadelphia this past Monday. We also write in response to the academic
strike organized by the Women of Color House, the Black Students Refusing Further Inaction,
the Black Student League, and others.
The faculty members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics support the goals of the
strike and students’ actions to further those goals. Concretely, we have committed to the
We have postponed deadlines for the senior thesis and will revisit the new provisional
deadlines and the nature of the assignments as events warrant.
We will provide flexibility for deadlines and participation in our classes. This flexibility
will take a variety of forms, depending on the class.
We will pool donations as a department to give to the Haverford Strike Fund or other
such funds as directed by the student strikers.
For those of you who may not have seen our commitments towards an anti-racist
pedagogy stemming from the uprisings following the murder of George Floyd, we have
attached a letter that we sent to students in the Haverford Mathematics and Statistics
community this summer. We attach this document both to recommit to the actions
contained therein and as a means to help hold ourselves accountable for taking those
In addition, each of us has our own evolving perspectives on how to respond to this moment.
We share some of these perspectives below. Note that we have not requested or expected
such statements from junior and contingent faculty, nor faculty currently on leave, though some
have volunteered. The statements are in alphabetical order by last name.
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics
(message sent June 19, 2020) ----Dear Students of Mathematics and Statistics,
In spite of mathematics being honed and practiced by every culture throughout human history,
mathematics as a professional field is dominated by white people. If you are white, as the
majority of our department is, you didn’t create this reality, nor is it unique to mathematics. It is a
reality that has been shaped over the last several centuries by colonialism, imperialism, and
white supremacy. White mathematicians continue to benefit from this reality in a variety of ways,
including by the presumption by others that they “fit” into mathematics, whereas those of us who
are nonwhite are often presumed not to be naturally talented or even interested in mathematics.
This presumption of “not belonging” can be alienating and incredibly discouraging for nonwhite
mathematicians. On the other hand, the presumption of “belonging” lives so persistently with
white mathematicians that often they don’t see that it’s there. As teachers who chose to come to
Haverford because we wanted to educate *all* Haverford students in the beauty and power of
mathematics, it is especially pressing that we address these inequities.
Over the past two weeks, black people in the United States and all around the world have
spoken loudly and bravely about a different but not unrelated advantage that white Americans
have: the freedom from fear of police violence. This is far from a new message, but this month’s
expression of it has been especially powerful. The fact that many students that we teach live
with a baseline fear for their own physical safety has a profound impact on achieving the liberal
arts mission of “educating the whole student”. Especially for an institution like Haverford, whose
mission points to education in service of the needs of the world, we must not respond to this
moment by continuing business as usual.
Today is June 19th, the national holiday known as Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of
chattel slavery in this country. Chattel slavery was abolished in most of the South by the
Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but it was not fully enforceable until the end of the Civil
War. The timing of Juneteenth derives from the arrival on June 19, 1865 of Union forces in
Galveston, Texas to announce the freedom of all enslaved peoples. Juneteenth is a day of joy
and celebration, but for predominantly white institutions it should simultaneously be a day of
self-reflection and rededication to the ongoing fight for racial justice.
To this end, we, the faculty in the Haverford Department of Mathematics and Statistics, write to
you, all students who have taken a course in our department in the past academic year, today to
share some of our thoughts on how we plan to meet this moment. We will describe some ideas
specifically related to policing and police violence, and the connection of mathematics to it, as
well as some broader ideas about addressing inequities and the lack of inclusiveness in
mathematics and around the world. We invite you to consider our ideas, and to collaborate with
us by telling us how they might be improved and expanded.
In 2018, the Honor Code was not ratified during the annual spring student plenary. As we
understand it, the primary impetus for this failure was a grass-roots uprising by students of color
who were exhausted by the fact that they routinely shared a disproportionate burden to confront
students, faculty, and staff regarding violations of both the social and academic Honor Codes.
Around the same time, a group of math majors of color and several close allies initiated a
conversation directly with faculty in our department about how the issues of race and identity
more generally impact students in our math community. We listened carefully to the campuswide dialogue which eventually helped to reshape the existing Code, in addition to collaborating
with the resulting Mathematics Inclusivity & Diversity (MID) student committee. Spurred by that
moment in Haverford’s history, we committed to making the mathematics community at
Haverford more inclusive to students of color and other students historically underrepresented in
mathematics. Some efforts we have made in the last two years include:
We have formalized MID as a perpetual department subcommittee of students elected
by their peers to engage in collaborative dialogue about current initiatives, new ideas,
or concerns related to inclusivity. These efforts are fostered and propagated by the
structural and financial support of the department. Many of MID’s initiatives, like their
formation, have been student-driven, but we have been in regular dialogue with them,
and collaborated directly on some projects that we especially value. Examples include
MID-run seminars for Math 215 students on identity in mathematics courses and
cultivating inclusive mathematics practice, and an evening seminar in the Fall of 2019
dedicated to algorithms in policing, co-organized by MID and a faculty advisor.
In 2019, the department and several student consultants participated in a year-long
seminar dedicated to best practices for inclusive pedagogy, funded by the Cantor
family and the Teaching & Learning Institute (TLI). The seminar provided crucial time
and space for us to explore some of the mathematical education literature about
equity and inclusion, and to think intentionally about equitable mathematics teaching in
a way that continues to permeate every department discussion. The department is in
the process of implementing best practices that promote inclusivity and improve
outcomes for students historically underrepresented in mathematics, as well as
disseminating our findings to other departments in the sciences and quantitative social
We recognize that much of the work mentioned above does not speak directly to the current
moment, in which we are called to think---both as individuals and professional mathematicians--about how we can contribute to a culture of anti-racism, especially as it applies to the ongoing
and rampant police brutality against black people. Although we acknowledge that these are only
small initial steps, we also want to highlight several newer efforts to which the department has
committed, specifically in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony
McDade and the resulting uprising.
We are pooling our individual resources through PayPal to make a charitable
department donation to Mathematically Gifted and Black. As described at the included
link, “one hundred percent of these donations will go towards supporting predoctoral
mathematicians to pursue career goals related to the mathematical sciences.”
Each day in February, Mathematically Gifted and Black highlights a black
mathematician on social media. We will incorporate these highlights into our classes
during that time. We recognize the importance of representation, and we want to
cultivate an environment in which black and brown mathematicians can see
themselves as invaluable members of our community, and in which they can feel the
same presumed sense of belonging enjoyed by our white peers and colleagues.
In 2020-21, our department will become a member of the National Association of
Mathematicians, whose mission is “promoting excellence in the mathematical
sciences and promoting the mathematical development of all underrepresented
We have a renewed focus on issues of equity in our weekly department meetings in
Summer 2020 to plan for our COVID-era pedagogy and curriculum. We know from
public health data that COVID afflicts communities of color disproportionately.
Analogously, student feedback from Spring 2020 tells us that COVID-era instruction
also brings new risks of inequity in how our students experience our courses. Equity
and inclusion are at the forefront of every departmental discussion this summer about
the 2020-21 academic year, whether it be about class-size, mode of instruction,
material covered, or out-of-class support.
Each summer, the entering first-year class reads one book together over the summer,
in part to provide common material for engaging in meaningful and respectful
academic dialogues throughout Customs Week, in addition to providing a springboard
for related norm-setting discussions. We will participate in the planned 2020 “Common
Read” for the incoming first-year class, which will be focused on anti-racism, and we
will discuss this reading together as a department.
In 2020-21, we will organize a co-curricular seminar (possibly available for course
credit) on the ethical use and study of mathematics, with a lens towards anti-racism.
Because of the nature of its objects of study, it can be tempting to think of math as
“pure” and/or isolated from the world, but of course, math is created by people whose
identities impact their mathematical pursuits, and mathematical skills can be deployed
in the world in ways that could have negative effects. We aim to use this co-curricular
seminar to begin our process of better understanding these issues and building more
intentional discussion of them into the mathematical education through which we
guide our students.
As a means of both deepening and broadening these commitments, we invite you to respond to
any of what we have written here, either by reaching out to any of us, or by working with or
through MID (note that the members of MID can be reached via email at email@example.com, and MID has generously expressed their willingness to pass anonymous
comments to the faculty). Both now and in the future, we hope you will alert us to any concerns
you have about how we address, or fail to address, these issues. We appreciate the thoughtful
and insistent questioning of the status quo that we have seen both at Haverford and in our
country recently, and we value the voices of those who step forward to tell us where we are
We know that what we have described here in this letter are only first steps. We know there is
much more to do and that genuine allyship has no expiration date: it is constantly practiced. We
write today specifically to signal our support for our students of color, and our commitment to
thinking deeply about these issues and how we can employ our professional positions to
contribute to meaningful change.
Tarik, Lynne, Charlie, Rebecca, David, Rob, Weiwen, Liz, Josh, Jeff
As you may infer from individual faculty responses to the strike, all of us in the
Department of Philosophy support all students who have made the decision to strike.
We deplore the systemic racism in the College. And we recognize and respect the
leadership shown by Women of Color House, Black Students Refusing Further
Inaction, Black Student League, and other BIPOC students in calling this strike. We
affirm that students in our classes who stand in solidarity with the strikers will not be
penalized for their actions. In addition, all possible accommodations will be made to
assist students in completing required work. Senior faculty in the department are also
committed to protecting vulnerable departmental faculty from professional penalty for
their actions in connection with the strike.
We look forward to working together with you to make the College, and most
immediately the Department of Philosophy, an accessible and inclusive environment
for all students. We are grateful for your invitation to begin this conversation in which
we are also deeply invested. Your letter occasioned many hours of thoughtful and
productive discussion among us. As a first step, we hope to convene a meeting with
philosophy students in the very near future and will be in touch with you soon.
Qrescent Mali Mason
Physics and Astronomy
Email from Saturday, November 7, 2020
Dear physics and astronomy students,
We continue to support each of you in your individual responses to the strike. We care about you
and want to support BIPOC and FLGI lives, your mental well-being, your academic career here
at Haverford, and your future career, as well as to empower you to engage in meaningful and
lifelong citizenship. However, although we will continue to give extensions and be flexible in
other ways where possible, we will not be cancelling classes without providing equivalent
content, because of serious accreditation concerns (and consequences to all of us as a result,
including and especially our equity agenda).
We are faced with a choice between cancelling classes and assignments and remaining an
accredited institution. If the institution accreditation, international students and employees would
lose their visas. Students would lose the Federal Grants that support them being here, and our
degrees might not meet the requirements for transferring college or for post-graduate programs
like graduate schools, medical schools and law schools, nor would many employers recognize
them. We would also lose grants that we are using to do the anti-racist work described in the
letter linked below.
We support demands that Haverford practice anti-racism. We hope you have read about new and
established anti-racist work we plan to do. No matter what happens with the strike you have our
commitment that we will keep working to sustain and expand our efforts towards anti-racism.
We welcome the opportunity to expand this agenda (attached) collaboratively and we invite you
to dialogue. Stay tuned for an upcoming meeting between department students and faculty. No
matter what happens we want to come together as a department to continue to do this work
Finally, as always, we invite you to talk to any of us one-on-one.
Andrea, Dan, Dave, Karen, Natalia, Paul, Saki, Suzanne, Ted, and Walter
See Google doc here
We are horrified by the widespread police brutality against Black lives and other systemic antiBlack racism in our society. We stand united against the injustices both outside and within our
own community that have motivated the academic strike organized by the Women of Color
House, the Black Students Refusing Further Inaction, the Black Student League, and others.
We spent the summer and fall focusing on beginning to take anti-racist action, not just
producing a document. If you want a longer statement of our response to racism, here is a link
to a much longer letter we composed over many months. This is a work in progress, with many
specific actions to follow imminently.
Motivated by the strike we have been meeting with groups of students including BIPOC in our
department to work to understand their requests and how we can support them. Individuals
are adjusting their class schedules in support, including moving deadlines, removing content,
We stand with you in demanding more resources for BIPOC, FGLI, and queer and trans BIPOC,
and disabled students. In this context, we are concerned about reports that students feel using
CAPS and other campus resources (including meeting with us faculty) might be considered
crossing the strike line, when many students are struggling with deep concerns about events on
and off campus, often while negotiating mental health issues. We think it’s especially important
to encourage all students to use these resources right now.
However, we also think it is essential that students be able to openly question aspects of the
strike while being respected. In our campus community, we highly value the process of
constructive criticism. Protest and dissent by their nature must allow for the free interchange of
ideas and the open discussion of diverse viewpoints. Listening to alternative viewpoints is one
of the fundamental values of diversity and inclusion.
We face enormous challenges in the days ahead. We will need to come together as a
community and as a society to face them. We seek to engage with you on these issues in unity.
Suzanne Amador Kane
David V. Stark
Letter in Response to Open Letter from Students, Summer 2020, sent Monday 26th
We the undersigned, members of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Haverford College,
write to thank you for your passionate, impactful letter this summer, justly demanding action to
dismantle the racism present at Haverford, in the BiCo, and the larger spheres of community
and power we are situated in. On the national stage, the past year has seen the continuation of
violence and devaluation of Black lives, including the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor, and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, compounding the needless deaths of
Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Botham Jean, Philando Castile,
and countless others in years before. This happens on the backdrop of a society built on the
material plunder and deep misery of chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, thousands of
lynchings, redlining, and white supremacy.
In the midst of a pandemic that has laid bare communal disinvestment, a tattered social fabric,
and the daily reality of racism, we affirm wholeheartedly that Black Lives Matter!
We are committed to engaging with & improving from your feedback, beginning with this
response letter, in parallel with concrete actions. As a mere letter, this reply cannot rectify the
deep injustices you describe. We do hope, however, that it communicates transparently our own
recognition of the work we have to do to dismantle structural racism locally, outlines ongoing
and future efforts, and engages you in continued dialogue that helps to hold us accountable.
We recognize that our department must actively work to identify and dismantle systematic
racism, both within our own academic community and in the larger world. Individuals can have
unconscious biases, or exist within racist structures that can lead them to perform racist actions.
Curricula and syllabi can reinforce or allow racist structures to persist, notwithstanding good
intentions. We, the undersigned, commit to work every day to take anti-racist action,
critically examining our own biases, (re)-examining these practices to help dismantle systemic
racism, and engaging in trainings/changed practices as needed. In what follows we describe
some of the actions we have already taken and are committed to expanding or continuing.
Cultural Norms and Code of Conduct
Largely at the urging of you, our students, we have begun a new effort to examine all the
practices and cultural norms in our department, among faculty and students, in order to become
We have looked carefully at how we could change our spaces (e.g. the department
student lounge) to be more welcoming and inclusive, and pre-pandemic had begun
to use the space to host events targeted at students from under-represented groups.
Last year we instituted TA training focused on inclusive practices in our office
hours/recitations/clinics, in collaboration with Brian Cuzzolina, director of the OAR and
Assistant Dean for Student Academic Success and Persistence.
We have incorporated information specific to diversity and inclusion into our
advising materials for summer job opportunities off-campus and for graduate and
We are in the process of creating a department website for sharing professional
society and support resources, including those specific to Black, Latinx, and
We have adapted the American Physical Society Code of Conduct for our
department Slack channels and courses to make it clear that professional and
ethical conduct in the classroom and shared spaces needs to ensure an
inclusive and supportive environment for all especially underrepresented
students. We commit to working with our students to formulate a code of conduct for
our student spaces (real and/or virtual), building upon the policies we have developed
in the last year in our syllabi and classrooms.
We plan for physics and astronomy faculty, student TAs, and anyone in a student-facing
position to participate in bystander training. We currently are working with the College to
identify an appropriate set of trainers. This is one of the few interventions known to help reduce
the level of micro-aggressions afflicting department cultures. We recognize the pernicious role
of micro-aggressions in othering Black, LatinX, and other under-represented minority students in
ways that make it hard for them to feel welcomed or invested in.
We are all committed to understand how people find a home in our department. We recognize
that in your letter, the Department of Physics and Astronomy was specifically called out. We
would not only like the diversity of our majors to at least equal that of the student body as a
whole, but for our programs to attract diverse students to the college. Even before your letter,
we knew we had much work to do in order to reach this goal. Some specific examples of our
ongoing efforts are:
We have been working to identify factors driving this underrepresentation, and
changes we can make, both in the relevant courses and how we engage with students
to encourage them to join and continue in the physics and astronomy programs.
We are looking at what our department, first year advisors, UCAs and other students
say to first-year students about Physics and Astronomy as they enter the college, how
we say it, what happens to students in and out of the classroom, and how we support
them in continuing with the physics curriculum.
We are working with the College to understand possible roadblocks that might prevent
students from even taking a first physics course, and to identify what we need to do to
make sure they take our courses and thrive.
We are using an upcoming external review of our programs to think through how our
curriculum as a whole can offer additional support and how we can provide more entry
points for students (the latter has been shown to improve representation of underrepresented students in programs at other institutions).
We recognize that the faculty in our department lack racial diversity, and that in particular we
have no Black faculty. We continue to seek opportunities to increase the representation of
BIPOC scholars in our department. We plan to use our upcoming external review to explore
ways to argue for additional staffing within our department. As opportunities become available,
we commit to work towards the hiring, supporting, and retaining of Black faculty and faculty of
color, and to including BIPOC students as collaborators in our hiring practices. As evidence of
our commitment in this area, in recent hiring rounds, members of our department have led
successful search committees which have increased the number of BIPOC faculty in other
Personal Learning and Growth
As individuals, we are all pursuing various pathways for understanding our own responsibility
and how we can contribute to anti-racism. None of us want (or deserve) a medal for any of this-we just want to be transparent about our thought processes and active efforts. Here are some of
the activities various of us have engaged in:
Outside of working hours, we have engaged in activism this summer to affirm that
Black Lives Matter. We participated in the Academics Strike for Black Lives on June
10, 2020, shutting down our research programs to spend the day engaged in antiracist actions of various kinds.
We have participated in the Academics for Black Lives (A4BL) conference this
summer, in which we acknowledged that racism goes far beyond the intellectual
understanding that skin color doesn’t reflect intelligence, ability, or promise. Rather,
A4BL taught us that racism exists and harms even when individuals are well-meaning
and embrace equity at an intellectual level. We have to work to diagnose racism
where it exists and prevent/undo its harms.
We worked through readings that helped us consider our responsibility for white
supremacy (such as Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, and My Grandmother's
Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by
Resmaa Menakem and How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi.)
We think that the pandemic makes it even more important to concentrate on being anti-racist,
because the issues that we had before are now exacerbated. Access to faculty, the student
community, and departmental resources all have been disrupted. We are working to restore this
access with equity as a core consideration. We recognize our responsibility to create a
community which is welcoming and supportive of Black students and students from other underrepresented groups. That challenge is heightened as the pandemic fundamentally disrupts the
sense of what community means. The study of Physics and Astronomy is and should be a
communal effort, but the community can only be effective if it nurtures the ability and confidence
of individuals to participate. For all these reasons and more, the pandemic is elevating our
attention to becoming an anti-racist department.
This letter is not intended to “solve” the issues you highlighted, but rather to tell you that we hear
you, and to invite you to dialog. We are working hard to address racism in our organization, but
recognize that our response will suffer from blind-spots and our own stake in the status quo.
Thank you for holding us accountable to just expectations, and for expecting us to rise to the
Suzanne Amador Kane
Dear Haverford Community:
We, as faculty members of the Haverford College Political Science Department, write to
support and honor the work of students who have joined together to demand change at
Haverford and beyond. We recognize the work of Black students and other students of
color (particularly Women of Color House, Black Students Refusing Further Inaction,
and Black Student League) who have led the student body in a strike against the
persistent institutional marginalization experienced by Black, indigenous, people of
color, first generation, and low-income students. We also recognize their creative labors
of envisioning how the college might be better and what might be done to make it so.
This is not the first time that such demands for change have been made at the College.
The College has a long history of “hearing” grievances about institutional bias without
instigating meaningful reforms and of declaring commitments to change without
delivering on promises. The student strike makes clear that merely paying lip service to
equity for all members of the College’s diverse community (including along lines of race,
class, gender identity, and ability) should not and will not suffice.
Student demands for social justice and equity force our department and the College to
be self-reflective and, importantly, to take concrete action in order to address the myriad
of ways that we have failed our students and this community.
We are not interested in making a statement of solidarity that is not backed with serious
commitments to change. Indeed, we believe that declarations of solidarity are hurtful
when they are not accompanied by action and when they are only made when it is easy.
Solidarity requires action, even when it is hard to do so. As a department, we accept
We, as a department, commit ourselves to the principles of anti-racism and freedom of
expression; to creating an environment conducive to learning for all students; and to decentering and provincializing perspectives that have long been hegemonic in this
country and in the U.S. academy. In this endeavor, we commit to accountability to one
another, to students, and to the broader Haverford community, and we appreciate the
diversity of knowledge and experiences we all bring to the table. We acknowledge that it
is unjust to privilege only one perspective and ignore the experiences of others. We also
acknowledge that conversations over ideas—inside and outside the classroom—do not
occur in a vacuum and recognize our privilege and power as faculty members.
We, as a department, commit to the following actions in support of these principles:
● Amnesty for strike participation
○ We will not penalize students for not attending class or for not turning
in assignments while the strike is ongoing.
● Internal departmental self-reflection by faculty
● We are committed to self-reflection. The faculty will have honest internal
conversations about their assumptions and prejudices regarding the
marginalization experienced by those who are Black, indigenous, people of
color, first generation, low-income, people who experience oppression due to
their gender identity or sexual orientation, and people of different abilities.
● Classroom culture and student feedback
○ We will create a variety of spaces for students to share their
concerns about classroom and departmental culture so that we may
address these issues. We will provide a diverse array of channels for
students to engage us with reflections, critique and ideas.
○ We will create a feedback form on the department website that will
include an anonymous option. This will be accessible to all students
enrolled in our courses.
○ We will actively listen to concerns and suggestions from students
and colleagues and commit to finding a way for each faculty member
to receive honest, constructive, and safe (for faculty and students)
feedback on their classroom environments as they pertain to
diversity, equity and inclusion.
○ We will report back to students annually on the progress we have
○ We commit to holding annual departmental town halls during which
students can provide feedback and demand answers.
● Ensuring that our teaching and syllabi embrace the diversity of perspectives
on our campuses and in the world
Though syllabi creation is in the hands of individual faculty rather than the department
as a whole, we each commit to taking steps to increase the diversity (broadly
conceived) of the authors/creators included in our collective course offerings and
teaching. This can take many forms. Most syllabi should embrace and attend to
perspectives that are not white, rich, and male. Faculty can learn from the amazing
diversity that already exists within the student body, the faculty, and the curriculum.
● External review of the department
○ We will host an external review team during the academic year 202122. This team will consist of esteemed faculty from political science
departments at peer colleges. These visitors will evaluate the
department through fact gathering that will include majors and give
an opportunity for students to share their concerns anonymously with
the team. The recommendations of the outside review team will
provide an important set of concrete steps that we can take as a
department to do better
○ We commit further to making sure the faculty who comprise this
external review team are themselves diverse and that they are
deeply knowledgeable both about struggles to diversify the Political
Science discipline and about the discipline’s historical entanglement
with patriarchy, imperialism, and white supremacy.
The actions detailed above are not meant to constitute an exhaustive list; they are a
beginning. The Political Science department acknowledges that we have work to do to
learn and understand our shortcomings. We hear the student demands as a call to
reckoning that we must do better. We thank students for courageously calling us to this
See Google doc here
Dear psychology majors and minors,
The psychology department shares your outrage at the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
and the college administration’s inadequate response to student protest and concern. We share
your commitment to racial justice, to ending police brutality, and to making the world better and
more just, particularly for BIPOC and other marginalized groups. We admire and respect your
activism and courage.
The department is engaged in extensive discussion about the student strike and associated
demands and the complex and critically important issues they raise for students, faculty, and
staff. We met at length this morning as a department to reflect on the situation and the best path
forward. It is our strong and shared desire to simultaneously support both robust social justice
action and the high-quality education that you rightly expect from Haverford. We will continue to
meet in the coming days and to work towards a consensus statement addressing specific steps
related to these issues. It will take us some time to develop a statement that is sufficiently
thoughtful, reflective, and responsive to these important issues. In the meantime, please do not
take the absence of a fuller statement at this time as the silence of complicity. We take these
issues seriously, as we take seriously our responsibility to respond to them with care, respect,
Mary Ellen Kelly
See Google Doc here
Religion Department Statement
November 9, 2020
We in the Haverford Religion Department are grateful for the courageous actions of Haverford’s
student body in responding to the College’s statements regarding the brutal killings of George Floyd
and Walter Wallace Jr. by highlighting how the College is implicated in and actively perpetuating the
racist structures that negatively impact the lives and livelihoods of Haverford’s BIPOC, LGBTQI+,
disabled, lower income, and other marginalized staff, students, and faculty. We stand inspired and
indicted by the criticisms of the College presented by Black Students Refusing Further Inaction in
their open letter to Wendy Raymond. The College has failed to make good on its promises of
diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As a Religion Department, we have reflected on our practices, policies, and attitudes and begun
considering how we must change if we are to contribute to dismantling structural injustice and
racism at Haverford. As a department, we acknowledge that we have inadequately met the needs of
BIPOC, LGBQTI+, disabled, FGLI, and other marginalized students who have enrolled in Religion
classes, and who have majored or minored in Religion.
Not only does this failure compromise the joy, mental health, and academic pursuits of BIPOC,
LGBTQI+, disabled, FGLI, and other marginalized students, it adversely impacts Haverford’s
community at large, undermining the College’s stated mission to provide an outstanding liberal arts
education. Being committed to that mission entails being committed to urgently, actively, and
immediately working toward sustainable institutional transformation.
In this spirit, the Haverford Religion Department is committed to immediately developing advising,
curricular, extracurricular, and pedagogical reforms. No aspect of our departmental practices can go
unexamined or unassessed, including how we recruit majors and faculty, hire student assistants,
organize departmental events, select course offerings, structure and evaluate student assignments,
and relate as a department to other College programs, initiatives, and student organizations.
But even were it possible to become a just and anti-racist department, that alone would not suffice.
Haverford College and the Religion Department must cultivate relationships and connections to
social justice-oriented initiatives, practices, and organizations beyond campus and the township.
Reorienting the department in this way will be challenging for many reasons, including the College’s
history and persisting identity as a quaint, safe liberal arts learning community set apart from the
urban--Philadelphia. Still, we must collectively reimagine how we are connected to one another in
our intellectual projects and how we are connected to Haverford alumni, organizations, and scholars
in the wider society. This will have implications for daily habits that include pedagogical practices.
We are excited about this work. We are committed to this work. We have already started. We
don't know if we are in the middle, but we know that we are not close to the end.
We call upon the whole college – the administration, the faculty, the staff, and the students – to
seize this moment and commit to doing everything that is reasonably within our control to abolish
racist, sexist, patriarchal, heteronormative, ablest policies, attitudes, and practices.
As individuals and as a department, we commit to:
● Revising existing courses to substantially incorporate work by Black scholars and scholars of
● Integrating critical analysis of how race and racism coincide with the development of
“religion” as a discourse and field of study into required courses such as REL299; ●
Creating a slate of new courses that address social movements, racial and gender justice; ●
Reimagining our departmental curriculum and requirements to account for the
interdisciplinary nature of the problems we face and the forms of inquiry best suited to
addressing those problems;
● Using departmental funds to support programming that centers BIPOC, LGBTQI+, and
disabled scholars, activists, and artists, and ensuring that students are actively engaged in the
speaker selection process;
● Educating ourselves about and implementing best practices for supporting BIPOC, FGLI,
LGBTQI+, and disabled students in our roles as advisors and mentors;
● Prioritizing the hiring of faculty in Africana studies, gender and sexuality studies, and
indigenous religious traditions, and including BIPOC students in the recruitment process for
● Developing a departmental process for students, staff, and faculty to report and address
concerns related to classroom and departmental climate; this process will be informed by
restorative and transformative justice practice.
We call on the College to:
● Create and fully fund a cluster hire in BIPOC and Gender Justice, in line with the proposal
currently under development, which would result in the hiring of 7-8 new tenure-track faculty
members in these underrepresented areas of the curriculum over three years;
● Prioritize social and racial justice initiatives, including new TT lines and an academic center
in social justice, in ongoing fundraising and new fundraising campaigns;
● Support faculty in the design and implementation of a social justice requirement for all
● Chart a path toward a curriculum in which knowledge is understood as networked, rather
than disciplinary, recognizing that the problems facing us locally, nationally, and globally
require new forms of thinking and collaborating; this should be developed in relationship to
the social justice center, bringing together the interdisciplinary programs under the social
● Increase the budget and capacity of CAPS and other physical and mental health services on
campus, with particular attention to the hiring and retention of BIPOC and LGBTQI+
● Develop a campus safety plan that recognizes that the harms of policing and surveillance are
largely borne by BIPOC, LGBTQI+, and disabled people, and that transitions to a community
safety model based in principles of transformative justice and abolition;
We commit ourselves to working together to effect all of these changes and to transform Haverford
College into a community where all will be able to flourish and thrive.
Anne McGuire, The Kies Family Professor of Humanities; Associate Professor and Chair of
Ken Koltun-Fromm, Robert and Constance MacCrate Professor of Social Responsibility and
Professor of Religion; Director of HCAH
Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Professor of Religion
Pika Ghosh, Visiting Associate Professor of Religion
Molly Farneth, Assistant Professor of Religion
Guangtian Ha, Assistant Professor of Religion
Terrance Wiley, Assistant Professor of Religion and Coordinator of African and Africana Studies
See Google doc here
Departmental Strike Statements
A collection of statements issued by Haverford College, Bi-College, and Tri-College academic departments in response to the 2020 student strike.
Haverford College. Faculty (author)
Haverford College. Department of Anthropology (author)
Bi-College Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (author)
Haverford College. Department of Biology (author)
Haverford College. Department of Chemistry (author)
Haverford College. Department of Classics (author)
Haverford College. Department of Economics (author)
Haverford College. Department of English (author)
Tri-College Department in Linguistics (author)
Haverford College. Department of Mathematics and Statistics (author)
Haverford College. Department of Philosophy (author)
Haverford College. Departments of Physics and Astronomy (author)
Haverford College. Department of Political Science (author)
Haverford College. Department of Psychology (author)
Haverford College. Department of Religion (author)
2020-06-19 - 2020-11-09
Departmental strike statements