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President’s Communications

2020

On June 18, the vice presidents, deans, other senior administrators, and I promised you an update within 30 days on our plan of action to advance the University’s goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am pleased on behalf of my colleagues to provide this update today. …

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I write to share with you our decision to welcome students back to campus and resume in-person classes as fully as possible starting on August 24. This decision, which confirms the intention we expressed in our letter of June 10, follows our continued analysis of public-health information, regular consultation with medical and public-health experts, and important progress we have made as a result of extensive health and safety planning since that previous update. …

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We write to affirm our unequivocal support for our international students and to convey to the Clark community our strong objections to the guidance issued Monday by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This guidance, if implemented, would prohibit international students from remaining in the U.S. if they only take online classes. These guidelines contradict ICE’s policies established this spring in response to the pandemic. They also punish international students only because the pandemic is forcing some institutions to offer only online classes, and run counter to the values that the United States has upheld as a leader in the global academic community. …

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As I start my first day as president of our great university, I can’t help but think back to my earlier beginning here. It was a sweltering day in August of 1983 when I drove from New York to Worcester and moved into Bullock Hall as a first year student knowing little about what my future would hold. That I would someday — today! — be president of Clark was beyond my imagining then. Even now, months after the announcement of my appointment, and despite the serious and immediate challenges we are all facing, I remain delighted by and ever more determined to embrace this opportunity.

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Earlier this month we wrote to you about our decision to commission an independent review of the events that took place in Worcester the night of Monday, June 1, 2020, during which five Clark students were arrested. We indicated at that time that the University would share the results of this independent review with the Clark community once the review was completed. We provide here the full report of the review, which was prepared by Michael Angelini and Brian Mullin of the law firm Bowditch and Dewey.

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Racism and structural inequities have been overlooked, tolerated, and accepted — in fact were institutionalized national practice — in our country for centuries. This painful and shameful reality and its implications in particular for African Americans and Black people have been laid bare again by the recent, senseless killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.

We, leaders of Clark University, are committed to counteracting and doing our very best to end systemic racism and inequity and to actively promoting justice and equality at our institution. We are determined to achieve positive impacts and lasting change not only in the areas for which we have responsibility — teaching, research, community engagement, admissions, athletics, student services, campus police — but also across the entire University. …

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We write with an important update regarding plans for the 2020-21 academic year. Based on a careful analysis of available public-health information and thorough discussion with related medical and public-health experts, as well as input from student surveys and our faculty and staff, we intend to be able to welcome students back to campus and resume classes in-person in August. Our plan is for classes to begin on August 24, the previously announced start of the 2020-21 academic year. …

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This past Tuesday we announced our intention to undertake a review of the events earlier that day in which four Clark students were arrested. We write with an update regarding this commitment. An independent review, which began today, will be led by Michael Angelini from the Worcester law firm of Bowditch and Dewey. The scope of this review is specific. We seek to gather as much information as possible on the events of Monday evening into Tuesday morning as they pertain to Clark University and our students. This process will be conducted thoroughly and expeditiously and we will share the results with you once it has concluded. …

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The killing of George Floyd and the protests that have erupted around the country in its aftermath demand the attention and empathy of all of us educated in the values of understanding, respect for others, and a shared community. We unequivocally support our students and all other Americans who are expressing the rights to free speech and free assembly that are enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution, and their demand for a more just society and fairness before the law and the police who embody it. Without change, we cannot end the fear that people of color, especially those who are Black/African Americans, live with daily. …

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We are horrified by the cruel and unjust killing of George Floyd, by the grave other recent incidents of violence against black men that it mirrors, and by the deeper issues in our society that it reflects. We share with all of you deep concern at the trauma that is once again being experienced by people of color across this country. We know that fear and vulnerability extend to the African American/black members of our own community, and to others who are marginalized. Our community must stand united against racism and injustice. We must not be silent. …

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President's Office

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  • 950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610
    Geography Building
    Room #202
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