Response to Harassment in our Community

Letters to the Community
February 21, 2023

Dear students, staff and faculty,

We write tonight to offer support to our community, especially Black students and colleagues, in the wake of a series of distressing and unacceptable incidents. In the past week, four students reported being harassed by strangers yelling racial slurs. And just today, Cromwell House was defaced with offensive sexual graffiti.

These incidents are being reviewed by Martha Alexander, director of non-discrimination initiatives and Title IX coordinator, as well as by the Bias Response Team, chaired by Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Floyd Cheung. Our students are being supported by Dean of Multicultural Affairs L’Tanya Richmond and members of the Residence Life staff. In addition, students have been offered support by counselors at the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness.

Harassment of any kind has no place at Smith. Although we cannot control the actions of members of our community, or others from the larger community, we can reaffirm our commitment to working tirelessly to promote racial justice. Still, our hearts break when these incidents occur because we empathize with those who were harmed. An attack on any one of us diminishes our entire community.

To that end, if you see or experience a bias incident, please contact Martha Alexander or report it using EthicsPoint. By speaking up, you help protect the college from those who seek to harm individuals as well as our community.

We know events like these can provoke strong feelings, and some of us may need a place to process them. Students may reach out to Counseling Services to schedule an appointment with a counselor, while faculty and staff may use our Employee Assistance Program. It is important for us all to know we have the resources to help deal with the aftermath of hateful speech and actions.

We will continue to move forward to promote racial justice – our resolve is widely shared and steadfast.


Kathleen McCartney

Floyd Cheung
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion