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Responding to Concerns in the Wake of the Election

November 15, 2016

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

I have heard from many of you in the wake of the election, especially students. I want to address concerns I am hearing about safety, support and the need for community.

First and foremost is the matter of your safety. Already, we have heard reports of harassment and intimidating language directed at members of our community, on campus and off. I have spoken with Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz about our shared concerns for students and citizens to feel safe in our community. He and Jody Kasper, Northampton Police Department chief, along with Scott Graham, deputy chief of public safety at Smith, will meet with our community noon–1 p.m. Thursday,  November 17, in Campus Center 103-104, to hear concerns and to talk about ways to make our city and our campus safe for all. Chief Kasper issued a statement yesterday committing her department to stand with all residents and visitors: “I’m writing to you now to assure you that your police department stands with you and will not tolerate hateful acts in our community. We understand that a single event fueled by discrimination and hate impacts not only the direct victim but many others who feel threatened and who fear for their personal safety.”

A new post-election resources page carries information about reporting threats, acts of intimidation and harassment, as well as ways to seek support. Also noted on that site are small-group post-election conversations, every day at noon, in the conference room at Clark Hall, facilitated by volunteers. They are sponsored by the Dean of the College and will start Friday. Everyone is welcome to join.

I know that many of us are searching for community right now. I wanted to highlight a post-election vigil to be held at noon today at the Campus Center. It is co-sponsored by Religious and Spiritual Life and the Interfaith Alliance student org and is intended by the organizers as a space of strength and solidarity. I plan to attend and look forward to seeing many of you there.