Monday, November 27, 2006

And Now A Word From The President ...

In response to students dressing like enlisted negroes at my college (aka The Michael Richards School for Performing Arts), there was obviously much backlash. Amongst the whippers was a TAN friend and Trin alumnus who sent a letter to the President of the school. And while there's not much in the way of scintillating scandalous content here, it's only fair to post the exchange and not let Trin-Trin be solely represented on this blog by people in brownface-body.
To whom it may concern:

I recently saw a series of pictures in which a student was "disguised" as an African-American for a Halloween party. I have never felt so embarrassed to be associated with Trinity College in my 12 year relationship with the school. Clearly this person understands very little about the world; he has no place at an institution of higher learning.

I hope the administration is taking this matter very seriously. As the school continues to drift lower in the national rankings, I can't help wondering whether it is the fault of an admissions process which embraces individuals like this young man. I implore you to get the school on the right track quickly or you will never see a cent from me again.


[Redacted '##]


Dear [Redacted],

I very much appreciate your contacting me. I welcome your concern and am writing to assure you that the College is taking immediate and thorough action in response to recent events on campus.

I believe that intolerance and incivility in any form are antithetical to the mission of this College and should be combated by each and every one of its campus members. To that end, Trinity has taken several steps to improve the climate of the campus. As a first step, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni attended an open forum on November 15 to discuss socially offensive and unacceptable behavior and to engage all of us in identifying and implementing solutions. In addition, the Conversations on Community program, already in progress, will continue, in which campus members are engaged in a series of facilitated discussions from different perspectives about what each of us can do to make our environment more welcoming and inclusive.

Specific incidents are currently being reviewed by the College's official judiciary process. In addition, the Dean of Students office is bringing together a group of students, faculty, and staff to make sure the institution is doing everything possible to respond appropriately and promptly to offensive incidents and to communicate clearly the process for reporting them. The Dean's office will review the College's policies on harassment and the response mechanisms for bias incidents and will communicate these protocols through the annual Orientation programs for incoming students, residence hall meetings, staff training, and print and online materials to clarify what kinds of behavior are offensive and where an offended party can turn to for help and recourse.

Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Raether has stated that "the Board is committed to a diverse student body as well as to a diverse group of faculty and administrators. We are also committed to creating an atmosphere on this campus which encourages civility and sensitivity. Bigotry in all of its forms has no place on our campus. While the Board has not met to discuss this issue, we are certainly prepared to form a joint task force of trustees, faculty, administrators, and students, as well as alumni and parents." The creation of this task force or charter committee will be on the agenda for the Board's December 2006 meeting.

I also want you to know that we will examine the campus climate from a number of perspectives at once: the curriculum, with the faculty, the orientation programs, policies and communications over disciplinary decisions, a common reading of a pertinent book by a living author, even perhaps a Liberal Arts Colloquium initiative. We will examine the whole by examining a number of its constituent parts

We want you to be proud of Trinity and to know that in dealing with specific incidents in a public manner, my goal is to raise awareness, to encourage conversation, and to impact the climate. Join us in this work; now is not the time to turn away. If you would like to be part of the task force, let Kathleen Boelhouwer '85 in the alumni office know, and she will contact you. Thank you for caring enough about Trinity to write to me. And, please help us spread the word among alumni that Trinity needs their input, their ideas, and their vote of confidence in order to continue our work in making this the best possible College for all of us.

James F. Jones, Jr.
President and Trinity College
Professor in the Humanities

Trinity College's Assimilation Program Stronger Than Most [TAN]


  1. Prez needs a friggin editor...shut the fuck up already, Abe Lincoln.

  2. Anonymous5/12/2007

    the president doesn't give a flying fuck what happens. They've yet to get rid of that kid, he apologized and that was that, most schools would probably get rid of him, but they need his parents money. Rich people get leverage in that school and it shouldn't come as no surprise. Had he been a kid on some Financial bullshit, the story would be totally different. the president talks about racism like the actual presidents talk, as if it doesn't exist though it does covertly. Racism will exist as long as terrorism exists. Can you imagine a war on Racism? that would catastrophic to this economy.


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