Message from President Alison Byerly
Like many students, faculty, staff, and alumni, I have been reading the posts on the Instagram accounts black.at.laf and anti.violence.laf, and have been truly saddened to hear of the pain inflicted on members of our community by experiences of racism and sexual violence at Lafayette.
I am deeply sorry that for many Black members of our community, Lafayette has not lived up to our promise of being a warm and welcoming place. And for those who have experienced sexual misconduct or violence, I hear your pain and outrage.
Last Thursday, members of the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, Bias Response Team, Office of Intercultural Development, Faculty Diversity Committee, and other administrators released a statement calling on the community to take specific, personal actions to condemn and confront racism in our community. These individual actions are critical, but we also recognize that the College bears the ultimate, institutional responsibility for shaping the environment we all inhabit. We will share an update within the next two weeks on actions we have committed to in combating racism at Lafayette, new areas we are exploring, and ways in which the community can continue to offer feedback.
Regarding sexual misconduct and violence, we will discuss the issues raised in these posts, and follow up with members of PASA (Pards Against Sexual Assault) to hear their ideas on possible changes to our processes and educational efforts. We have also just appointed students, faculty, and staff to the Presidential Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct (POCSM), which will be working this summer on some revisions of our handbook language on sexual misconduct. Again, we will provide a more detailed response to the sexual misconduct issues raised within the next two to three weeks.
I am grateful to those who have courageously shared their painful experiences of racism and sexual misconduct. We must and will take these stories seriously, as individuals and as an institution, and work to make Lafayette a more equitable, supportive and safe place for all.
—President Alison Byerly