Home News
Colgate News


Update on campus-climate demonstration in James B. Colgate Hall

By Contributing Writer on September 22, 2014

(Update: Demonstration ends with on-campus celebration.)

Dear members of the Colgate community:

We are writing to publicly state our solidarity with members of our community who are concerned about acts of racism and bias that have happened on Colgate’s campus.

More than 100 students have been peacefully demonstrating at James B. Colgate Hall since early this morning. We have been with them, hearing stories that disturb and deeply sadden us. As recently as this weekend, a community member witnessed Colgate students yelling racial and homophobic slurs. We are also aware of appalling anonymous social media posts from members of our community that disparage persons of color, and students have reported having to endure offensive remarks. We are outraged that not all students feel fully included or welcomed on our campus.

Acts of racism and homophobia have no place at Colgate and will not be tolerated. Prejudice can devastate our community: it chills the campus climate, making members of our community feel unwelcome, shackles the mind with stereotypical thinking and bigotry, and keeps us from reaching our true potential as caring, intelligent people who are prepared to live in an increasingly global and diverse society. While we understand that many of our peer institutions face these challenges, we can do better. Together as a community, we can and must hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard.

We encourage reporting of all bias-related incidents. Each will be taken seriously, with the Equity Grievance Process used for review.

We pledge to join with the whole community to create positive change on our campus.

Jeffrey Herbst, President
Douglas Hicks, Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Suzy Nelson, Dean of the College


  • Anders Mikkelsen said:

    This is a little scary:

    “a community that will purge those who can not or will not live by the new paradigm.”

    Reminds me of the Death Camp of Tolerance (a south park episode.)

    What I liked about Colgate was that people got along and one had the time and freedom and opportunity to explore.

    If Colgate takes the time to purge everyone who is wrong on some level there won’t be many people left. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover many of the demonstrators claim to espouse values that are on the slippery road to Pol Pot, but in reality they’ll end up living productive lives helping others.

    Religious fanaticism never ends well.



  • Ashley Ludwinski '08 said:

    I appreciate this letter and the efforts to hear and validate the stories/experiences of students who have experienced even micro aggressions on a regular basis at Colgate.

    However, standing in solidarity is not enough. A similar movement occurred at Colgate in 2001 and still, people of color are marginalized, hatred is spewed at them through various social media forums or even in person. Likely, there will be individuals either ignorant or intentionally hateful who as the years progress.

    What is the administration doing to go beyond standing in solidarity, but truly addressing these systemic issues? How are students truly being challenged to reconsider their perspectives on whiteness, privilege, class, diversity in general? Proactive action in addition to response to reports of hatred?

    Ashley Ludwinski ’08

  • Bob Malley '66 said:

    It is very disappointing and upsetting to read about the negative actions described in the email. Congratulations to the students who stood up yesterday and to those who brought the actions into the open, and to the administration for taking a strong and supportive position. I hope that the entire student body joins in and lives the values described by the administration in their daily lives on campus.

    Bob Malley ’66

  • Diane Ciccone'74 P'10 said:

    I have been following the sit in on social media and read the response from the University.

    I hope some sustainable action develops from this for structural change at the University. I am cautiously optimistic that we are moving away from the days of yore. Colgate is striving to become a diverse and inclusive campus community. These students are telling us it “ain’t so”.

    We have a moment in time to change course and become an institution that sends a strong message that racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance and all the other ism not by writing lofty platitudes but by a community that will purge those who can not or will not live by the new paradigm.

    Diane Ciccone ’74 P’10
    Trustee Emeritus
    Founding member of AOC

  • Larry Lepard said:

    Bravo President Herbst and the Administration!

    In my opinion and experience Colgate is generally a very kind community. Talented, modest people. That is our brand.

    I applaud the Administration and the students who have the guts to stand up for what is right.

    Larry Lepard ’79

  • Maura Sullivan said:

    There is no place for homophobia or racism at Colgate or anywhere. It saddens me to hear that these events occurred. Kudos to the students who are taking a stand and to the administration for listening and not hesitating in also taking a public stand. In this day of reluctance to stand up for values in institutions (colleges/sports franchises) I am proud to be part of an institution that is unapologetically supporting the values they espouse and work to instill in their students.