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Wendy Raymond’s Response to the HC Strike 2020 Statement & Demands

This letter was published with the permission of the President’s Office.

November 2, 2020 

Dear Women of Color House, Black Students Refusing Further Inaction, Black Student  League, and networks of the BIPOC community who have contributed to the HC Strike 2020  Statement & Demands document: 

I write with deep respect and admiration for the passion and hard work with which Haverford  BIPOC students, and particularly the leadership groups Women of Color House, Black  Students Refusing Further Inaction (BSRFI), and Black Student League, are pursuing a truly  just and equitable society and systemic change at Haverford. The Senior Staff and I, and  many people at Haverford, share the goal of making Haverford College a racially equitable  institution, through visible and systemic institutional change, so that all BIPOC students,  faculty, and staff can thrive. The Senior Staff and I see much overlap between the demands  you have forwarded and our view of what can and will be done, whether immediately and in  the near term, or as part of sustainable, long-term efforts. I will articulate those ongoing  actions and efforts designed to yield real and tangible results in subsequent  communications to the campus. 

Specific responses to your letter of October 29, 2020, enumerated below, are also grounded  in the College’s purpose to promote the personal and intellectual growth of students enrolled  at Haverford, and to foster the pursuit of excellence and a sense of individual and collective  responsibility. 

The responses below include many acknowledgements of institutional failures and  shortcomings, gaps which, over many years, students themselves have worked diligently  and often unrewarded to fill. I cannot make amends for all the years of neglect of our BIPOC  communities at Haverford, but I can make a commitment to effect change. 

Together, let us find ways—through alignment and difference—to enact our shared purpose  in having Haverford College leadership, faculty, staff, and students make structural,  systemic, policy, practical and cultural changes so that all BIPOC students can thrive at  Haverford and beyond, in lives of integrity and consequence. I am immersed in this work as  president, as are the Board of Managers and the Haverford Corporation.  

As you and our community reads our responses, below, I hope you will see therein a good  faith and strong approach to meet you where you are, with substantive, tangible, immediate  action. 

To the extent that further work needs to be done before implementing any particular aspect  of the list, Senior Staff members and I will collaborate in good faith with student groups,  faculty, and staff— in and across relevant groups, departments, offices— to enact and  embrace change that improves the Haverford educational and holistic student experience  for BIPOC students. With the goal of racial equity, this work will build on common ground,  and participants will work with and through difference to expand common ground. This will require focus, dedication, flexibility, and intentionality, which I will lead, as will faculty, staff,  student, Board, and Corporation leaders. 

I have invited you to a Zoom meeting with me and Senior Staff on Wednesday, November 4  at 2 p.m. The invitation came earlier today from Joan Wankmiller, as a follow-up to my email  from yesterday. I look forward to being in conversation with you. 


Wendy E. Raymond 

I. We demand removal of President Raymond as “Chief of Diversity, Equity, and  Inclusion.” 

I have publicly stated from the start that my role as chief diversity officer (CDO) was  an interim measure for the first two years of my presidency because this was not  envisioned or intended as a long-term approach. As president, I will convene by  December 1 a CDO Advisory Group of students, faculty, and staff to recommend the  best way forward for a CDO structure for Haverford. This will include budget and  organizational support, and how to fill that role at Haverford, with the goal of  appointing a new CDO effective no later than July 1, 2021. I invite students  interested in collaborating to design the CDO Advisory Group to work with me  directly on this process by filling out this form. Current protocols would turn to  Academic Council to recommend faculty appointments, Staff Association Executive  Committee to recommend staff appointments, and Students’ Council to recommend  student appointments, in addition to any direct appointments that might be made. 

II. We demand that you follow in the footsteps of Swarthmore College and cancel  classes on Election Day and provide paid leave for college employees. 

Responding to student initiative and demands, the faculty and the Staff Association  Executive Committee both support the recommendation that Election Day 2020 be  made into a paid holiday for all staff, with all classes canceled. The Senior Staff gave  their full support. Hourly (non-exempt) staff who will work on Tuesday, November 3,  will be paid “holiday pay,” as would be typical College practice for any hourly  employee working on a paid holiday.

III. We demand academic leniency for BIPOC and/or FGLI students who are  traumatized by the effects of COVID and constant police violence in their  communities. 

Many BIPOC and FGLI students have been disproportionately impacted by the  traumatic effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, of repeated violence against  Black and Brown bodies continuing and throughout US history, and of the political  instability in our country. It is expected that deans and faculty consider these impacts  while teaching and guiding students. I acknowledge that while there are formal  systems at Haverford designed to provide close, individualized support for all  students (e.g., Office of Academic Resources, peer tutoring, Writing Center, deans,  ADS, CAPS, GRASE, Customs People, UCAs, the Chesick Scholars program,  Horizons, etc.), some BIPOC and FGLI students’ experiences demonstrate that we  can and do fall short of what is needed in practice. I will ask our Task Force on  Retention & Persistence (discussed further in Section XI below) to devote a portion  of its research work to learning more from these student experiences. Dean Joyce  Bylander, Provost Linda Strong-Leek, and I will engage with faculty and deans on  long-term structures as well as immediate efforts to create failsafe means of support  for BIPOC and FGLI students. Some of this work has already begun within both the  Dean’s Office and FAPC (Faculty Affairs and Planning Committee), focusing on  reorganizations of support structures and changes to the language and resultant  framework of CSSP, respectively. I know that some faculty are taking extraordinary  measures to ensure that students are able to complete their work under extenuating  circumstances. I applaud this and encourage all faculty and deans to likewise find  creative avenues to student success at this time when BIPOC and FGLI students are  experiencing the impacts of these ongoing traumas. 

IV. We demand that the school encourage and protect student participation in  supporting direct action. 

The College supports students in living out their values with integrity. I want  Haverford to be a place that encourages and supports students to act on their values  in service of a more just world, and that includes through direct action. 

There are many steps Haverford has taken and will take to support students’  engagement with surrounding communities, including West Philadelphia. As a non profit, educational institution, those investments often take the shape of civic  engagement opportunities for students—curricular, co-curricular, or extra curricular—designed intentionally to have bilateral benefit to community organization  partners. For example, building upon long-standing work by the Center for Peace  and Global Citizenship (CPGC) and others, earlier this fall the College announced a  new Philadelphia Justice and Equity fellows program for students made possible by  a new endowed fund created by the Board and Corporation of Haverford College. I  am interested to learn about opportunities students see to use specific “unused  campus resources to directly support impacted communities in West Philadelphia”;  direct payments by Haverford College to other not-for-profit organizations is not  consistent with our own status as a not-for-profit institution with a mission to provide a liberal arts undergraduate education. While I understand the desire to have  Haverford demonstrate its commitment to anti-racism through charitable  contributions to worthwhile causes, this is not an avenue the College will take. 

I affirm students’ right to protest as called by their consciences, and I understand  that students undertake such acts knowing the risks that have been demonstrated  around the country where white supremacist groups and police have escalated  tensions and promoted—directly and indirectly—violent outcomes. As Dean  Bylander and colleagues previously communicated, the College has been  providing—and will continue to provide—necessary health-supporting measures for  students who engage in protest, including COVID-19 testing and campus isolation  spaces. There will be no disciplinary consequences from the College for students  engaging in protests provided they meet the College’s health and safety guidelines,  including the Travel Policy. 

V. We demand the institution recognize and resolve that the increased surveillance  and policing amongst students in regards to COVID-19 primarily affects  students of color, who have always been more prominently surveilled by the  campus community. 

Disproportionate surveillance of BIPOC is a systemic and national injustice; I  recognize that Haverford operates within this context. The College is committed to  ensuring that its own processes are free from, and have zero tolerance for, bias and  will investigate and follow up on any specific concerns and/or issues raised about  surveillance or policing of the campus BIPOC community. Students may submit  concerns or suggestions via their dean or, if they wish to remain anonymous,  through the web-based tip line. The College does not currently have data that point  to bias against BIPOC students within campus efforts to monitor and respond to  health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. This does not mean that we are  free from such bias. I have asked my colleagues in the Operations Planning Group  to evaluate and revise our monitoring and response systems around student health  and safety so we will be better able to understand the extent and nature of any  patterns of bias and then address them. 

VI. We demand Haverford honor and credit the work of Black women driving  institutional change instead of taking credit for their continued labor and  erasing their contributions. 

I wish always to give credit and am mindful of previous errors of omission, of co opting, and/or being perceived to co-opt others’ work. In this, I recognize the  extraordinary efforts and commitment to antiracism on the part of Black women and  Trans people across the Haverford community and pledge to be attentive and  appropriately generous in acknowledging the work of others in all of our  collaborations, and I will expect the same of my faculty and staff colleagues. The  Libraries and Archives are actively working with the Multicultural Alumni Action  Group (MAAG), Alumni Affairs, the community, and specifically with BIPOC student-colleagues to more fully illuminate the work of these individuals and, further, to  correct and address absences where the records of that work are less evident. 

VII. We demand that the school creates a framework to deal with problematic  professors and generates spaces of accountability– the honor code is not enough  and it never has been

The relationship with faculty plays a critical role in student success. In order to  ensure that Haverford is doing all it can to foster a climate of thriving, the provost is  now reviewing faculty personnel and grievance systems, including the processes  situated in the Dean’s Office and the Office of Human Resources. The provost will  include Associate Provost Rob Manning in this work, as well as the Faculty Liaison  for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Ben Le. These processes must be consistent,  robust, and widely—and clearly—communicated. Given the requirements for faculty  input via campus shared governance, the provost will provide an initial progress  report no later than March 1, 2021. 

The provost will work with Academic Council, Faculty Affairs and Planning  Committee (FAPC), and others to provide support for both tenure-track and visiting  BIPOC faculty. Haverford College has a robust program of faculty support that  includes a pre-sabbatical leave for eligible tenure-track faculty, as well as generous  resources for research. However, it is also true that many BIPOC faculty take on  disproportionate “shadow service” in mentoring and advising BIPOC and FGLI  students. Academic Council began conversations this fall about how such “shadow  work” might be considered during the faculty review processes. The provost also  commits to individual meetings with all tenure-track and visiting faculty to provide  early opportunities for mentoring that may lead to the goal of greater retention of  BIPOC faculty here at Haverford.  

VIII. We demand that the school continue to pay the students who are participating  in the strike. 

Student workers who elect not to work will be eligible to receive up to 20 hours of  compensation for scheduled but lost work; guidance to managers will be forthcoming  from the Office of Human Resources about how to handle this payment and enter  the compensation appropriately. Supervisors will accommodate students who  choose not to work, with no questions asked. Further, the College will continue to  pay additional compensation to all hourly employees who work overtime during the  strike or otherwise, consistent with state and federal law.  

IX. We demand that no student, staff or faculty partaking in the strike face  financial, academic or professional retribution, or penalties of any kind. 

In consideration of students engaging in the strike toward effecting productive  change at Haverford, the College has taken steps to provide extra flexibility. This includes accommodating students who miss work shifts and compensating them for  up to 20 hours (per the above). Professors have discretion about whether and how  to accommodate striking students in their individual courses, understanding that  faculty are responsible for delivering the education they and the College are  committed to providing you this semester. 

In acts of civil disobedience, individuals must and do make decisions of conscience  and consequence. A community premised on trust, concern, and respect, is not  premised on a framework of penalties or retribution. In the event that individuals fall  short of our health, safety, educational, or other rules and guidelines, the College  pursues remedies that seek to address the concern within a humane and restorative  framework. 

To underscore the spirit in which Haverford operates in times of disruption, I note  that during the COVID-19 crisis, the College went to great lengths to support staff  members, including continuous employment (i.e. no furloughs) even when specific  jobs were significantly disrupted or impossible to fulfill. The College paid student  workers who were unable to work through the Spring of 2020 because of forces  beyond their control. 

X. We demand that the Bi-Co stop its violence against disabled students. 

Access & Disability Services (ADS), Facilities, Counseling and Psychological  Services (CAPS), and other departments will be key partners in making tangible  change in support of disabled students. ADS and Facilities conducted an  accessibility deficiency survey of our campus and have been making annual  investments in accessibility based on the survey’s recommendations. There is more  work to be done. CAPS is constantly striving to be available and accessible to any  who need treatment. For instance, as a result of changes made between last year  and this year, CAPS currently does not have a wait list for students while having  more sessions than we had at this time last year. There, too, more work remains to  be done. 

I will work with campus partners to improve support for disabled students including: 

• Continuing the process above, Facilities and ADS will coordinate to make  additional priority improvements to the physical accessibility of campus next  year. The director of ADS welcomes student suggestions for specific  improvements. 

• CAPS will foreground the priority of reflecting our diverse student body in its  current search for a senior CAPS staff member and in its ongoing selection of  trainees. 

• Pennsylvania licensing laws require CAPS staff to be ‘mandated reporters’ for  issues involving child and elder abuse. CAPS also must report information if  there is clear and present danger to self and/or others. Within these  strictures, CAPS will only report when absolutely necessary and, whenever  possible, with students’ consent.

• ADS considers each student’s history, experience, and accommodation  request. While students are a vital source of information, some accommodations legally require documentation. If providing documentation is  a financial hardship, ADS works with the student to help fund testing, if  testing is necessary, and/or assist in finding a health care professional for an  appointment/evaluation. 

• Faculty are required to implement the accommodations identified in a  student’s accommodation letter. If a student opts not to implement  accommodations in a course, the student should notify the director of ADS  immediately. If a student prefers not to speak directly with a professor on  their own, ADS can assist in notifying professors of a student’s accommodations and/or meet with students and their professor to discuss  accommodations. The provost, in her review of faculty personnel systems  above, will ensure that there is accountability for faculty who provide  inadequate attention to this responsibility. 

• CAPS will review the use of Campus Safety during mental health  emergencies and explore alternatives to ensure that students are able to  access the on-call counseling services they need, in a safe way. 

All of our campus partners are open to dialogue and committed to accountability and  partnership. I have invited them to produce expanded documents about the  concerns you have raised that they will make available to the campus community for  fuller engagement of these important issues. 

XI. We demand more robust aid and support for queer and trans students of color. 

I share your concern about the experiences of LGBTQ+ students and BIPOC  LGBTQ+ students. Last year, building off our learnings in the 2018-19 Clearness  Committee’s report, I convened a Task Force on Retention and Persistence with  leadership from Associate Director of Institutional Research Kevin Iglesias and  Professors Matt McKeever and Ben Le. This group is undertaking a detailed study of  student experiences especially among student cohorts identified by the Clearness  Report, including BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students, in order to identify causes of  student attrition and ways Haverford can better support thriving. 

• Consistent with Section X above, CAPS will prioritize the identification of  candidates with demonstrated successes in support of LGBTQ+ clients in its  current and future hiring processes in order to better reflect the needs of the  student body. 

• In direct response to this request, we will immediately provide new, ongoing  financial support to enable BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students to access  therapeutic practices off campus with diverse professionals. 

• Students must be able to identify and work with clinicians of their choosing  and have that priority be supported by CAPS through its intake procedures.  CAPS will explore the possibility of reserving specific hours for LGBTQ+  identified students and other strategies to ensure that CAPS meets LGBTQ+  students’ needs.

• The College will support students working through trauma. In cases when an  accommodation is legally documented, it will fall under the framework  discussed in Section X above. In other cases, the work I described in Section  III above about mechanisms to support students’ academic work under  extenuating circumstances will apply. 

• This summer, our new BiCo Title IX Coordinator developed and implemented  a new comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy that applies to students,  faculty, and staff. This policy and the accompanying procedures provide  multiple options for addressing and resolving complaints, including an  alternative resolution option. The College is committed to equitable treatment  for any community member who has experienced sexual misconduct or  gender-based discrimination. Our BiCo Title IX Coordinator is available to  meet with students to further understand concerns about policing. 

XII. We Demand that the college terminate all relationships with the Philadelphia  Police Department (PPD), and actively work toward police and prison abolition.  The (college) will also divest, both in and of themselves, from any partnerships  that may exist, with companies that rely on prison labor. 

The College does not maintain a relationship with the Philadelphia Police  Department. 

The endowment has no direct investment in prison companies and does not seek to  invest in such companies. Our Investment Office also performed a look-through  analysis to the underlying holdings of investment funds in the endowment to  determine any indirect exposure to prison companies. The endowment has no  indirect exposure to prison companies based in the U.S. Underlying holdings of an  international equity index fund, which is meant to provide broad exposure to all  international equities and holds approximately 4,000 companies, results in effectively  zero, or about 0.001%, exposure to internationally-based prison companies in the  endowment. This exposure is due to the nature of index funds’ investment in all  publicly-traded companies. The endowment maintains no actively-managed funds  that seek to invest in such companies, as the College maintains open dialogues with  investment managers regarding our condemnation of such investments. With  respect to prison labor, the College does not invest directly in any companies at all  and are unaware of any indirect exposure through investment funds; the Investment  Office will continue to investigate how we can learn more. 

Our Investment Office has been engaged with students interested in these issues and has already been in the process of completing a DEI and ESG survey of all investment managers in the endowment. Findings from this survey will be shared with the community through our annual endowment letter, which will be released by the end of November 2020 and discussed by the Investment Committee of the Board of Managers by December 15, to determine the impact of our investment policies with regard to these areas and to determine additional steps for further progress.


  1. Your conscience November 6, 2020

    Why in the world would Wendy Raymond or any other sane person want to be President of Haverford College?

  2. Let456 November 10, 2020

    Were disabled students physically attacked by staff?

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