October 28, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Tuesday, November 3 is fast approaching. As we all look forward to next week’s consequential election, we are aware of the deep social and political divides across our nation and even on our campus. And so, we find ourselves reflecting even more deeply on the importance of our mission at Connecticut College: educating students to put the liberal arts into action. We are reminded, too, of the central priority of our strategic plan—the ideal of full participation—with its vision of a community that empowers all people to thrive, to reach their potential, and to contribute to the flourishing of others.  

In that twin spirit of action and participation, we offer the following thoughts to help us all maintain a respectful work environment in the days and weeks to come: 

1. Adhere to Connecticut College’s Principles of Community.

Always work to foster a climate of civility; to express opinions respectfully; and to act with integrity. Consider the impact of your words and actions at all times. While disagreement is inevitable, it is how we express our differences that matters. Hate speech will never be tolerated nor will retaliation of any kind. You may review the Anti-Harassment & Anti-Discrimination policy available on CamelWeb for more information.

2. Show empathy to yourself and others.

Acknowledge the stress that you, your colleagues, and your students are feeling. You may have trouble keeping strong emotions out of your classroom or workplace but you should try. To minimize the impact, you may want to refer to these election coping tips compiled by our staff in Student Counseling Services (attached), as well as the free confidential counseling offered through the College’s EAP program.

3. Exercise your right to vote.

Ensure that your voice is heard by taking time to vote. Lines at polling places will be longer than usual this year, and that may make people late to class or to work. Be as understanding and flexible as you can. Avoid scheduling important meetings on Election Day. And find time to express gratitude to faculty and staff colleagues who have volunteered to work the polls.

4. Keep it up post-election.

Finally, be aware that this year election results may be inconclusive or even contested. As you await the final results, continue to adhere to our Principles of Community and to respect the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and political perspectives held by Connecticut College students and employees.

We are grateful that the Holleran Center has established a comprehensive website that includes information about voter registration, engagement opportunities, and support services that will be available on Election Day and in the days to follow.

Most of all, we want you to know that we are all available to help during what may be a challenging period. Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us. 

Wishing you health and safety in this historic election season.


Katherine Bergeron, President
Victor Arcelus, Dean of Students
Jeff Cole, Dean of the Faculty
Pamela Dumas Serfes, Vice President for Communications
W. Lee Hisle, Vice President for Information Services
Rich Madonna, Vice President for Finance and Administration
John McKnight, Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion
Cheryl Miller, Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development
Jefferson Singer, Dean of the College
Andy Strickler, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Kim Verstandig, Vice President for Advancement

Katherine Bergeron