News

Interim President Jonathan Chenette has joined other college and university presidents in signing letters to President-Elect Trump and Stephen Bannon, as well as signing onto a statement supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

Letter From Presidents to President-Elect Trump
 
Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.


In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.


One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As president-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.


Presidents and Chancellors Who Signed Letter (to see the full list of signatures click here)

An Open letter to Stephen Bannon from the Seven Sisters Presidents

November 21, 2016
Mr. Stephen K. Bannon
Presidential Transition Office
1800 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20006


Dear Mr. Bannon:

Given your appointment as Senior Counselor by President-elect Donald Trump, a number of your comments have been scrutinized by the press. As has been widely reported, in a 2011 interview with Political Vindication Radio [http://nyti.ms/2fTQR9s], you disparaged lesbians, feminists and alumnae of the historic Seven Sisters Colleges, all in one statement that we deliberately choose not to repeat here. Other reported comments by you reflect other forms of bias, including racism, anti-Semitism and more. As the leaders of the Seven Sisters Colleges, we take deep exception to these comments and ask that you take a more expansive, informed and tolerant world view in your leadership role.

We are proud of our alumnae and students, who represent the spectrum of sexual orientation, race, class and religion as well as political party. Our alumnae are accomplished leaders in all spheres of public and professional life; they are committed to their work, their families and their countries. Now more than ever, we look to those who would lead the United States of America for a message of inclusion, respect and unity.
Debora Spar
President, Barnard College
Kim Cassidy
President, Bryn Mawr College
Sonya Stephens
President, Mount Holyoke College
Lizabeth Cohen
Dean, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Kathleen McCartney
President, Smith College
Jonathan Chenette
Interim President, Vassar College
Paula Johnson
President, Wellesley College

Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students

The core mission of higher education is the advancement of knowledge, people, and society. As educational leaders, we are committed to upholding free inquiry and education in our colleges and universities, and to providing the opportunity for all our students to pursue their learning and life goals.

Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we have seen the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institutions and communities. DACA beneficiaries on our campuses have been exemplary student scholars and student leaders, working across campus and in the community. With DACA, our students and alumni have been able to pursue opportunities in business, education, high tech, and the non-profit sector; they have gone to medical school, law school, and graduate schools in numerous disciplines. They are actively contributing to their local communities and economies.

To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. We are prepared to meet with you to present our case. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.

We call on our colleagues and other leaders across the business, civic, religious, and non-profit sectors to join with us in this urgent matter.

Signatures (to see the full list of signatures click here)

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, November 21, 2016