25 October 2012
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
This past week we have received two deeply disturbing reports of bias incidents,
both of which are summarized on the web site of the Bias Response Group (BRG):
http://cms.skidmore.edu/bias/upload/BRG-2012-2013.pdf. The BRG is actively
investigating both reports to determine what happened, who might be responsible,
and what the appropriate response(s) might be.
I will not repeat here the racist and sexist language described in these incidents,
which is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. I do encourage you, however, to
take the time to review it yourself. I do that because it will take all of us working
together to root out this ugliness from our community. The BRG will pursue its
work vigorously, fairly, and with all due expedience; but that does not release each
of us from our individual responsibility in these matters.
Skidmore College is a special place, a community that stands on a set of educational
and personal values that begin by affirming the dignity and worth of each of our
members. In many cases, I believe we are that kind of community. These incidents
serve as painful reminders, however, that we still have considerable work to do to
live up fully to those ideals. Moreover, we cannot achieve our aspiration of being
truly inclusive educational community unless we acknowledge that such moments
exist and unless we find the will, both individually and collectively, to expose and
reject the attitudes that give rise to such comments.
These incidents are clearly hurtful to those who are their direct targets and those
individuals are, therefore, deserving of our strongest support and comfort. But such
incidents also do damage to every member of our community. They tear at the
bonds that hold us together, and they erode our own basic humanity. When we
observe actions such as this, therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us (students
faculty, administrators and staff) to notice, to speak out, and to work actively to
ensure that such incidents do not occur on our campus.
In the short term, it is my strong hope that those whose behavior prompted these
reports will step forward to take responsibility for their actions and begin the
process of making amends. In the long term, I hope that we can as a community live
up to the words on the BRG web site: "Give More. Respect More. Skidmore." Those
are words that we all need to take to heart beginning now.
Philip A. Glotzbach