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Faculty Members Express Disappointment in Lagarde Withdrawal

News of Note

Christine Lagarde portrait

Published May 15, 2014

In response to the withdrawal of Christine Lagarde as the college’s Commencement speaker, a number of Smith faculty members released a statement in support of President Kathleen McCartney’s letter sent to students, faculty and staff noting that Lagarde cited student and faculty objections as the reason she withdrew.

To the Smith Community and the Board of Trustees:

We, faculty members at Smith College, are disappointed that Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, has withdrawn as the College’s 2014 commencement speaker. We endorse the view expressed by Kathleen McCartney, President of the College, in her message to the Smith community (May 12): “An invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads. Such a test would preclude virtually anyone in public office or position of influence. Moreover, such a test would seem anathema to our core values of free thought and diversity of opinion.”

Daniel Gardner
Donna Divine
John Connolly
Jocelyne Kolb
Drew Guswa
Ann Leone
Donald Baumer
Andrew Zimbalist
Marc Lendler
Thomas Derr
Eglal Doss-Quinby
Adam Hall
Jefferson Hunter
Roisin O’Sullivan
Tom Riddell
Justin Cammy
Suzan Edwards
Thomas Lowry
Richard Briggs
Vis Taraz
William Oram
Denise Rochat
Richard Millington
Randy Frost
Susan Voss
Eric Reeves
Roger Kaufman
Peter Bloom
Michael Gorra
William Wittig
Mahnaz Mahdavi
Kiki Smith
Susan Etheredge
Margaret Zelljadt
Robert Dorit
Maren Buck
Joan Afferica
Greg White
Robert Newton
Randall Bartlett
Helene Visentin
Barbara Kellum
Dean Flower

Virginia Hayssen
John Davis
Michael Barresi
Joshua Miller
Robert Linck
Simon Halliday
Paul Voss
Susan Levin
Ruth Solie
Jonathan Gosnell
Howard Gold
Stylianos Scordilis
Michael Marcotrigiano
John Brady
Peter de Villiers
Marnie Anderson
Steve Williams
Richard Olivo
Craig Davis
Charles Robertson
Robert Merritt
Kate Queeney
Mark Aldrich
Amy Rhodes
Lester Little
Mary Harrington
Patrick Coby
Kim Dionne
Ruth Haas
Lauren Duncan
Douglas Patey
John Burk
Aurelia Campbell
Nalini Bhushan
Josh Birk
Sharon Seelig
Bill Peterson
Malcolm Smith
Rob Weir
Patricia DiBartolo
Giovanna Bellesia
Alexandra Keller
Gary Felder

Ibtissam Bouachrine
Kevin Shea
Joan Berzoff
Jim Drisko
Joel Kaminsky
Gillian Kendall
Robert Buchele
Susan Sayre
Jeffry Ramsey
Mary Murphy
Patricia Miller
Elizabeth Harries
Ernest Benz
Christophe Golé
Brent Durbin
Phebe Sessions
Robert Haddad
Lâle Burk
Howard Nenner
Olla Al-Shalchi
Nora Crow
Craig Felton
Charles Staelin
Judith Cardell
Glenn Ellis
Mlada Bukovansky
Joseph McVeigh
Ellen Kaplan
Lois Dubin
Joel Westerdale
Doreen Weinberger
Borjana Mikic
Steven Goldstein
Al Rudnitsky
Alfonso Procaccini
Judith Keyler-Mayer
Maria Farina de Parada
Barry Moser
Dwight Pogue
Joseph O’Rourke
Nicholas Howe
Dennis Yasutomo
Carol Zaleski
Nancy Shumate

Members of the college’s economics department issued a similar statement on May 13. Offering a different perspective, Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of the study of women and gender, published an editorial on the subject, “Let’s Agree to Disagree at College Commencements,” in the May 14 Daily Hampshire Gazette. (Content requires registration.)