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commit to the long-term process they necessitate.” I commit to the continual shortterm and ongoing long-term processes of structural and institutional change needed
to achieve goals you laid out, as well as multiple other goals that complement and
reinforce the principles you have articulated.
In general, in my work, I do not wish to make any false claims or offer promises that
might not be kept. Thus I will try to be conservative in what I state, knowing that
much more is possible, much more is necessary, and that we aspire and commit to
building a Haverford where anti-Black racism is a thing of the past. I am committed
to moving us into that possibility, and you have accelerated our collective efforts.
I wish to recognize the excellent and good work of many faculty, staff, students, and
alumni who have inspired and mentored Black Haverfordians, Haverford students of
color, and students from other groups underrepresented at Haverford who have
been and have felt marginalized across Haverford’s history. Part of my and our work
will be to recognize and reward these people and this work more systemically than
we have yet done.
Guiding principles and aligned concerns
At Haverford, we are guided by principles that apply to all that we do:
We will provide an excellent liberal arts education
We will ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff
We will contribute to the greater good
We will steward Haverford as a perpetual institution.
I offer this framework here because, in making evident multiple ways in which
Haverford falls short of serving Black students, you have enumerated ways in which
we are not living up to these principles. I expect to use this set of principles
throughout my time as president, and I consider them a helpful framework or set of
reference points in our anti-racism work.
Your concerns and mine align. These concerns begin at the core of our mission:
having world-class faculty members who combine scholarship, creative work, and
teaching to provide an excellent liberal arts curriculum and education to all students.
To thrive as Black faculty members in any academic area, faculty members must
enjoy excellent support for their research and teaching and be professionally
welcomed and supported by their colleagues across Haverford.
Specifically, together with the provost, the Provost’s office, many faculty and staff
members, and students, I am happy to lead and collaborate on the delineated items
on curricular design (I), faculty hiring (III), faculty support (III), faculty thriving
(III), faculty retention (III), faculty and staff professional development in diversity,
equity and inclusion (IV), hiring faculty in Africana Studies to support creation of an
Africana Studies major (IX), and including a question on classroom racial climate in
course evaluations (XI).
Your concerns and mine extend to the “student experience” for Black students at
Haverford, in which students live and grow outside of but in close proximity to the
classroom, laboratory, and studio. Curricular and co-curricular life intertwine, of
course, and the feedback between the two can be positive, negative, or both.
I will take action to increase funding available annually by approximately $40,000 to
support Black and other students from marginalized or underrepresented groups
through “grants for summer programs, affinity groups, multicultural spaces, and
individual expenses” (V). I will collaborate with Dean Bylander and others to
formally recognize “Black History Month as well as allocating funds for events to be
hosted: e.g.) keynote speaker(s), special catered dinner, physical display/banner”
(VII). In addition, members of the faculty and staff are “engag(ing) in active,
dedicated, research toward finding the specific origins of each” artifact formerly
found in display cases in the Koshland Integrated Natural Science Center (KINSC)
To the work ahead, I commit myself first and foremost. I will lead while also learning
All nine Senior Staff members have committed themselves to centering the work of
anti-racism in their areas and thus are effectively co-signatories of this letter.
Faculty, student, and staff leadership will also be required for Haverford’s antiracism work to take off and become embedded in our structures, policies, practices,
and ethos. While I do not have the same kind of structurally embedded and direct
partnership with the full student body, the full faculty, or the full staff as I do with
the Senior Staff, and thus cannot claim these large numbers of individuals as
collaborators, I know that some (and likely many) among them are dedicated to the
work of anti-racism and will be partners in action. Several faculty members have
reached out to me to ask to be involved in actions spurred by your Open Letter, and I
have been happy to invite them into this work. I look forward to their leadership and
that of students and staff members, and of alumni, Board members, and members of
the Haverford Corporation.
I have addressed eleven of the Open Letter’s thirteen requested action items in this
letter. The two items not addressed, II and VII, were specific to Bryn Mawr College.
Curricula and faculty (I, III, IV, IX, XI)
To be effective, our anti-racist work must impact our curricula and pedagogies,
which occupy the heart of our educational mission. Our curricula and pedagogies are
of course inextricably intertwined with our faculty and all that they contribute as
scholars, educators, mentors, and community members.
I and others are enthusiastic about your proposal to expand our curriculum and
students’ education by implementing a “a Bi-Co course on Blackness and white
Privilege as part of the college-wide requirements implemented in the next academic
year (2021-2022),” with a shared understanding that the full faculty of each college
governs its curriculum. Perhaps more to the point, any such change requires the will
and action of the faculty at Haverford and at Bryn Mawr toward a required Bi-Co
course. The faculty-student-staff Educational Policy Committee, in its formal role in
curricular matters, will be part of this process.
I look forward to actualizing this proposal or another curricular innovation that
accomplishes your stated goals, understanding that such a course(s) is to be
“designed alongside Black students, faculty, and staff with the objectives of exploring
the history of race to understand current social, economic, political, and cultural
conditions. It will educate on the history of police brutality, explicit biases, and
address microaggressions, cultural appropriation and other forms of hidden biases.”
There are multiple ways to offer such a course (e.g., taught by current faculty
members, visiting faculty members with particular expertise, professors from other
institutions, combinations therein), and such aspects will be part of the design
process. I have served as a collaborator and facilitator of transformative student-led
curricular initiatives at two other liberal arts colleges. I will draw from those
experiences to assist us in accomplishing a number of anti-racist actions at
Haverford has long shared an intention to fulfill your call for “an increase in
representation by hiring Black faculty and faculty of color.” Black faculty are and
generally have been sharply underrepresented at Haverford; I know that some Black
faculty members regularly experience Haverford as a racist environment. At times in
the past twenty years, our tenured and tenure-track faculty has included a
significantly higher proportion of Black faculty and faculty of color across a wide
range of fields in the liberal arts. I note this historical framework because it
illustrates our need and my commitment to focus on policies and practices that
support faculty thriving and retention, while we concomitantly take action to
strengthen our policies and practices to increase our proven capacities to attract and
hire outstanding Black faculty and faculty of color. (It is important to note and
remind our campus that hiring data are incomplete in isolation and can be
misleading; in other words, we need to achieve equitable hiring practices that yield
diverse pools of outstanding applicants and simultaneously gain a focus on thriving
and retention for Black faculty.) The Academic Council, the Provost’s Office, and I
agreed this past spring to improve our hiring policies and practices so that they are
equitable in all ways, with a lens of diversity and inclusion and an immediate goal of
aligning them with professional best practices. This action will build and expand
upon recent work by the faculty, Academic Council, the Provost’s Office, and the
Educational Policy Committee to build diversity, equity, and inclusion into the
search process from the start, as well as to launch the position of Faculty Liaison for
Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity (FLIED). I commit to working as chair of Academic
Council and in collaboration with faculty, staff and student colleagues to realize this
goal of diversifying our faculty.
I agree that the process of establishing faculty search committees should create
“opportunities for more Black students to be stakeholders and serve as
representatives in faculty search committees.” I will extend this to other search
committees, including the upcoming search for our next dean of the College.
You note well that we must offer “increased attention to retaining and supporting
existing faculty of color in each department.” I agree. Interim Provost Rob Manning
and I are actively working on mechanisms to do this. I will continue that work with
incoming Provost Linda Strong-Leek.
You call for “creating new administrative positions dedicated to anti-racism within
the colleges.” I am in full agreement that the work of anti-racism needs to be more
fully embedded in the structures of the College’s administration and directly
reflected in the work of senior administrators. My experience as a chief diversity
officer elsewhere and as a past and current member of the Liberal Arts Diversity
Officers has taught me that “creating new administrative positions” is not necessarily
the best model for advancing anti-racism at Haverford, or the best model for any
small liberal arts college. At the same time, I am open to learning more about your
and others’ viewpoints in favor of “new administrative positions dedicated to antiracism” so that we can advance the action that will best move our campus into antiracism. For example, a Haverford staff member has mentioned that their unit is
considering the merits of converting a particular position into one that would be
dedicated to anti-racism work. Such shifts in resources and priorities will help us
accomplish your objective.
I wish to build strengths in anti-racism throughout our staff, faculty, and students;
this of course is not mutually exclusive with your proposal to create new
administrative positions dedicated to anti-racism, and a both-and approach might
be the best way forward. Two recent examples of gaining anti-racism practice and
expertise within existing staff positions are that we have hired one previous and one
current chief diversity officer as interim dean of the College (Joyce Bylander) and
provost (Linda Strong-Leek). Their diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise and
experience are integral parts of their outstanding professional attributes.
Dovetailing with your stance is that I have openly acknowledged that the current
model of having me serve as Haverford’s first chief diversity officer (CDO) on an
interim basis, ending June 30, 2021, is a temporary solution while we seek and
implement a more sustainable CDO model. That better model for Haverford could be
a “new administrative position” or it could be an integration of this work into
another position’s reimagined portfolio. Either way, I note well that, “The hiring
process for these positions will consider the extreme workload and labor required of
such work, and refrain from attributing multiple jobs’ worth of work onto one/a few
The Provost’s Office, Human Resources, multiple faculty members, Senior Staff and
I stand ready to prepare and implement “yearly faculty diversity training
encompassing cultural competency and the need for social justice in their day to day
work. This training must be developed by people with significant expertise and
scholarship in social justice work.” We will include staff training as part of this action
item. Further, we recognize that annual professional development of this sort must
be supplemented with sustained engagement, facilitated by experts, in cultural
competency and how to embed social justice in one’s daily work. I and others
commit to making this goal happen for the full faculty and staff.
I stand with you on the importance of “the immediate creation of an Africana Studies
major, including taking appropriate actions toward coursework and hiring faculty for
its fruition.” Because we would want an additional Africana Studies faculty
member(s) to be involved in the creation of an Africana Studies major, the approval
of a position(s) in and a successful search(es) for a new faculty member(s) in
Africana Studies must precede the creation of a robust major. That does not preclude
“taking immediate actions toward coursework,” and I will support and encourage
that work by collaborating with faculty and the Provost’s office. I wish to offer as a
point of information that our new provost, Linda Strong-Leek, will be a professor of
Africana Studies (and of Gender and Sexuality Studies). Though her work as provost
will likely not offer opportunities for her to teach regularly, I mention her
membership in Africana Studies so that you know about this aspect of her scholarly
and teaching expertise and interests.
I stand with you on “a revision to course evaluations to include a question
concerning the racial climate of the classroom to be implemented by fall 2020.” In
this action, I will work with students, the Provost’s Office, and the Faculty Affairs
and Planning Committee (FAPC).
Co-curricular life (V, VI, VII, X)
To be effective, our anti-racist work must also impact student well-being outside of
academic work, as you have so keenly articulated.
I commit to working with Senior Staff members to raise or reallocate funding in
order to offer funding of approximately $40,000 annually for “grants for summer
programs, affinity groups, multicultural spaces, and individual expenses such as
books, online courses, and therapy.” This fund could possibly be called a
“reparations fund” and/or be named in tribute to Osmond Pitter 1926 and Enid
Appo Cook 1931, the first Black students to graduate from Haverford College and
Bryn Mawr College, respectively (e.g., as the “3126” or “2631” fund, in line with a
suggestion made in the Open Letter). Fund availability would extend to non-Black
students in a way that is consistent with the spirit and intent of your proposal (for we
cannot specify “Black students,” as you recommended, because race is a protected
class under federal anti-discrimination law). We will work to articulate ways that
some of this funding would be “used to support the local Black community in
Ardmore (and) Lower Merion.”
I will enthusiastically collaborate with Dean Bylander and others to formally
recognize “Black History Month as well as allocating funds for events to be hosted:
e.g.) keynote speaker(s), special catered dinner, physical display/banner” (VII). In
response to students’ and my concern about the near absence of Black History
Month awareness and celebration in 2020, this action was in progress, and I greatly
appreciate your reinforcement and specificity. I invite individuals and departments
across the campus to contribute to our understanding of Black American history,
culture, and inspiring contributions through the lens of your discipline or field.
With respect to the artifacts on display at the KINSC, KINSC Director Helen White,
Marielle Latrick (Associate Director of the KINSC), Sarah Horowitz (Curator of Rare
Books and Manuscripts and Head of Quaker and Special Collections), and Terry
Snyder (Librarian of the College) have responded immediately by laying the
groundwork for “active, dedicated research toward finding the specific origins of
each item” on display at the KINSC. Helen has been in direct touch with you and will
continue to remain in touch about this work.
Topics for further discussion (IV, VIII, XII)
Interim Provost Rob Manning and I are open to the following possibility and simply
need time to talk this through with the text and specific chapters in hand:
“Furthermore, as part of new faculty orientation, all faculty will be required to read
chapters of Ruth Enid Zambrana’s Toxic Ivory Towers, The Consequences of Work
Stress on Underrepresented Minority Faculty. Current professors will be required
to read these chapters as well, the summer before the 2021-2022 academic year.”
I think and certainly hope it is possible that we share common ground in valuing a
Campus Safety Department that supports the health, safety, and well-being of our
students, staff, and faculty. I anticipate that engaging with you in conversation
toward finding that common ground will allow me to understand better the reasons
for your specific requests, to which at this time, I am not ready to commit. They are
Currently, the Campus Safety departments at both colleges claim to work very
closely with the Police Departments of Haverford and Lower Merion
Townships. These relationships must be terminated immediately. …In
addition, the departments must reopen all racial discrimination cases
against Campus Safety and take actions accordingly. Finally, we call
for a stop in hiring those who’ve had a history working with law enforcement.
I look forward to continued conversation with you to learn where our values about
Campus Safety’s work overlap and where they diverge, and to move into action from
I have not yet engaged with staff, faculty, or students who have articulated ways we
might or would work toward taking “an active role in Police and Prison Abolition”
(VIII). I therefore cannot in good conscience offer you a commitment at this time. I
will be happy to discuss with you potential ways forward on this topic.
I have greatly appreciated the impetus behind your and others’ calls to the College to
“follow in the footsteps of our peer institutions and make monetary contributions to
local Black Lives Matter efforts. These efforts include but are not limited to BLM
Philadelphia Chapter, The Mainline NAACP, Philly R.E.A.L Justice, Free Mumia
Campaign, The Abolitionist Law Center, Human Rights Coalition, Coalition to
Abolish Death by Incarceration, Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, Shut Down
Berks Coalition, etc.” (XII). Direct payments by Haverford College to other not-forprofit organizations is not consistent with our own status as a not-for-profit
institution with a mission to provide a liberal arts undergraduate education. While I
understand the desire to have Haverford demonstrate its commitment to anti-racism
through charitable contributions to worthwhile causes, this is not an avenue we
expect to take. There are multiple avenues through which monetary investments can
be made indirectly, such as through Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC)
internships offered by not-for-profit groups; I realize, however, that none of the
groups you list currently have opportunities for paid internships through CPGC. I
would be happy to continue this conversation to learn how we can more closely come
together toward our shared goals of contributing to the greater good in the context of
supporting Black Lives Matter efforts.
A few additional notes
I note a few relevant matters related to issues you raised that I believe will positively
impact our capacity to realize new movement forward:
Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Jess Lord will
present and make readily available disaggregated demographic percentages of
domestic and international students of color, so that percentages of Black
students are made transparent.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development work is
underway in Athletics, with Dean Bylander’s support and assistance.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs, with Dean Bylander’s support and
assistance, is reflecting deeply on and engaging openly about its work.
In 2020-21, we will conduct a national search for the next dean of the
college. Students will serve on that search committee and be invited to
participate extensively in finalist interviews.
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Wendy Raymond's reply to BSRFI open letter
Haverford President Wendy Raymond's July 1 reply to the open letter circulated by Black Students Refusing Further Inaction (BSRFI) on June 17, 2020. Raymond's letter responds to the demands outlined by BSRFI. This letter was linked in the timeline of events leading up to the student strike document, which was in turn linked in the document of daily updates on the Haverford College strike created by strike organizers.
Raymond, Wendy (author)