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Responding to an Incident on Otelia Cromwell Day

November 7, 2017

​Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:

I am writing in response to an incident on Otelia Cromwell Day, brought to my attention by a student group advocating for affinity housing. The students recounted the use of racially charged language by a staff member.

When I spoke with representatives of this student group, they rightfully stressed the importance of holding members of the Smith community accountable for “careless language.” Racially charged language is not appropriate on any day; the fact that this event happened on Otelia Cromwell Day, a day that honors inclusion, diversity and equity, is especially egregious and painful. The college is following up with all parties involved.

We must and will strengthen our education and training to build a more just community at Smith. I am grateful to the students for their advocacy; it is crucial we each take the responsibility to identify and address incidents like this one.


Kathleen McCartney