July 12, 2021

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

I hope you have been finding time to rest and recharge after a momentous year. I am writing today with news of some forthcoming personnel changes. As you know, Erin Duran, director of gender and sexuality programs, has been serving as interim dean of institutional equity and inclusion since the departure of John McKnight in June. Erin recently informed me that, starting in August, he will be taking a new position as the assistant vice provost for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at the University of Kansas. His last day at Conn will be Aug. 6.

As Erin departs, I am pleased to report that Ariella Rotramel, the Vandana Shiva Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectionality Studies, has graciously agreed to interrupt a sabbatical to succeed Erin in the role of interim dean. Ari will begin Aug. 1, and will continue until a permanent dean is appointed. Having worked closely not only with Erin but also with nearly every staff member in the division of institutional equity and inclusion, Ari is a natural choice to follow him in the interim role. I want to thank both Erin and Ari for their commitment to the division during this period of transition.

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge Erin’s notable contributions over the past five years. In a word, he made a real difference to the College. As the first full-time director of gender and sexuality programs, he worked closely with staff and faculty campuswide to create a welcoming environment for people of all identities. He helped rewrite policies; created new protocols for gender-inclusive language; developed new programs related to LGBTQIA and women’s empowerment; and worked with Advancement to increase alumni engagement. A fierce student advocate, he also partnered productively with student ambassadors to transform the LGBTQIA and Women’s Centers into vibrant community hubs for education and dialogue, establishing two new Conn traditions—the Lavender Graduation and the Pride Rally—that will continue long after he is gone.

Erin was a trusted voice, too, on Staff Council, most recently serving as chair-elect. He contributed to the CARE Team; served as a confidential advocate for survivors of sexual violence; and was a staff adviser for two First-Year Seminars. He took on a critical leadership role with the Agnes Gund ’60 Dialogue Project, training student and faculty leaders and supporting the creation of the student podcast In CONNversation.

We are grateful for all he has done for our community. I ask you to join me in thanking Erin for his service and wishing him well in his new position. I also ask you to thank Ari for stepping in to oversee the important work of the division as we continue our search for a new dean.

Katherine Bergeron