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Fall Break - Welcome Back to Campus

Dear Students,

Welcome back to campus! I hope that you enjoyed the long fall break.

Over the break, you were on my mind. As I read the newspapers and talked with colleagues, friends and family, over and over, I was confronted with the simmering divisiveness left over from the presidential campaign. There are stories of families that did not share Thanksgiving, friends blocking former friends on social media, and strangers screaming at each other in the streets. Most disturbingly, incidents of hate speech are increasing.

Sadly, we see such incidents right here at CC. Before the break, hateful and threatening graffiti was found in Slocum Hall that specifically targeted members of our LGBTQ+ community living there. In addition, there were acts of vandalism in the Revitalizing Nations LLC. We will not tolerate such actions at CC. At a liberal arts college, we can and should disagree on a wide range of issues but bigotry and hatred cannot be part of our intellectual community. As the Faculty Executive Committee wrote in their message to you before the break “Anonymous acts of hate speech are aggressive forms of silencing. They create fear and inhibit intellectual and civic engagement.” 

So, I have been thinking of you, our students, and where we go from here. How do we help to heal the divisiveness that is all around? We start closest to us, right here at CC. I encourage each of you to work on your relationships, including extending them to people who have different backgrounds and politics. Rather than retreating to a small circle of those who share views, let’s increase understanding by engaging those with whom we disagree. Reach out to your peers in the indigenous peoples and queer communities and offer them support. If you know anything about these hateful incidents, report them to Campus Safety. We are doing all that we can to address them.

The richness of a Colorado College education depends on the diversity of our student body. We value the different experiences and perspectives that each of you brings to our community. Therefore, at CC, we are committed to enrolling and educating exceptionally talented students from all backgrounds, including undocumented students and those with legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. Ensuring their access to a CC education is vital to our mission of excellence. As is the case at other colleges and universities, we do not share student records with immigration agencies nor does Campus Safety inquire about student immigration status or participate with other agencies in policing immigration. Before the break, I wrote to our DACA students to assure them of our continued financial support. In addition, the college will provide additional legal services for international and immigrant students. 

At the Loving Send-Off before the break, I urged you all to come back ready to engage in your studies and this community. While it might be tempting to disengage from the ugly discourse (it certainly tempts me), I strongly believe that you, our students, can be forces to counter the current environment and unite people. While it might sound like a cliché marketing slogan, CC truly does educate the leaders of the future who make a difference in the world. I see that truth every time I meet with our alumni. This, your time at CC, is your chance to begin to become who you want to be. Engage in your education. Seek out diverse perspectives and listen to opposing viewpoints. Learn from your professors and mentors, your peers, and the diversity of speakers, performers and exhibits on this campus and in our local community. Be good to each other. Be sources of unity rather than divisiveness and make the most of your time at CC.

As always, I welcome your input. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Warm regards,

Jill