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President’s Communications

2021

Today, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph M. Corazzini as Clark University’s next Vice President for Government and Community Affairs (VPGCA). Clark’s legacy of making life better here in our own neighborhood, nationally, and around the world is a distinction we are all very proud of and committed to continuing. As Vice President, Joseph will play a key role in ensuring that we are harnessing all of our great strengths — through our students, our research, our community-based programs, and partnerships, and our social conscience — to be an active, engaged University. …

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One of our highest priorities at Clark is to be a just, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming institution – a place where all of our students, faculty, and staff are valued and given opportunities to flourish. Our Office of Diversity and Inclusion serves as a critical hub for our work in this area and, today, I am pleased to share that we have new, energizing leadership to not only oversee the office, but ensure we fulfill our commitments to DEI.

Effective October 15, Margo R. Foreman, MPH will assume the role of vice president and chief officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion (CODEI) at Clark. …

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I am pleased to announce the appointment of Kendall Isaac, J.D., Ed.D., as Clark’s first general counsel in the University’s history. In addition to serving as the University’s chief legal officer, Kendall will assume the role of vice president and secretary of the University as well as assistant secretary of the Board of Trustees. Kendall brings to Clark broad legal expertise, exceptional judgment, and deep understanding of our higher education landscape. …

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Welcome to the 2021-22 academic year! It is wonderful to have everyone back together again and to see the campus teeming with activity. To our class of 2025, graduate students, and others who are joining us for the first time, we are thrilled you are here. Welcome to the Clark community. …

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We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to our students — new and returning, undergraduate and graduate.

Today, we write to outline Clark University’s preparations and expectations for a safe fall semester beginning August 23. We do so with both great anticipation and some caution. Our goal is to have an academic year that is as close to normal as possible – including in-person classes, face-to-face gatherings, guest lecturers and speakers on campus, athletics and performances, and more direct community involvement. …

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As we prepare to welcome our students back to campus next month, I want to update you on the status of our COVID-19 efforts, and our prospects for reopening under normal operating conditions this fall.

As you know, Clark is requiring that all members of our community return to campus only if they have been fully vaccinated against the virus or received an exemption. …

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The Task Force on Campus Safety and Security working since January to review current policing practices at Clark, explore alternative policing models, and engage the University community in dialogue and assessment of new ideas has now completed and presented its report to me. The report includes ten recommendations.

Here, I share some highlights …

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Clark’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging remains a top priority and our work will continue through the summer in preparation for our next academic year. Following is a quarterly highlight of many of our efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), including an interim CODEI, honoring Juneteenth, affinity housing, and more. …

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As Commencement 2021 approaches, we are writing to share a final update on plans and logistics. We are anticipating a joyful event to celebrate our students as they move on from Clark University to pursue their chosen career and life paths. …

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As we near the end of the academic year, I am writing to let you know that Clark’s search for a chief officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion (CODEI) will continue into the summer. We did recently have the opportunity to offer the position to a very strong candidate who was enthusiastic about Clark and this role but the candidate was given an enhanced role at their current institution and chose to stay. A second strong candidate made a similar decision. I am confident that our search will result in the recruitment of an exceptional new leader in this role. …

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The challenges during the 2020-21 academic year, soon coming to a close, have been profound. We are, more than a year later, still managing through the pandemic. A year ago today, the horrific murder of George Floyd commanded our nation’s attention to ongoing anti-black incidents of police brutality and systemic racism more broadly. The January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the killings of AAPI individuals in March, and most recently the tragedy unfolding in Israel and Palestine have been deeply troubling. All of these events have impacted members of our community and led to upset, anger, frustration, and outrage. …

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I am very pleased to be part of today’s event. You are the fourth graduating class of the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program, and I’m incredibly honored to help celebrate this accomplishment with you. I know that you have been engaging in vital and honest conversations about how we can become a more just and equitable institution, and you’ve explored the tangible ways that you will be essential to this effort. …

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As previously announced, Clark’s plans for fall semester are to resume “normal” operations as nearly as possible. To achieve this goal, I believe we must aim for the fullest possible degree of immunity among us all.

I am, therefore, announcing today that Clark students, faculty, and staff members will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than July 15 (or earlier for those planning to live or work on campus this summer). …

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I am very pleased to announce that Sebastián Royo, vice president of international affairs and professor of political science at Suffolk University, has been appointed provost and vice president of academic affairs at Clark University effective July 1. In addition to serving as provost, Sebastián will hold a tenured position as professor in Clark’s Department of Political Science. …

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We write today to share further details about Commencement 2021 that we hope will help our students and families formalize plans for observing this milestone occasion. As you know, Clark University’s in-person Commencement ceremonies will be held on June 12 for students receiving graduate degrees and on June 13 for students receiving undergraduate degrees. …

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I am very pleased to announce a $6 million gift to Clark University from the late Tina Sweeney, MA ’49. Ms. Sweeney’s gift, a bequest, is dedicated to fostering broader music-education opportunities here at the University and to establishing music programs, through Clark, that inspire and bring music arts education to children in Worcester. …

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This evening, we learned of the verdict in the trial of the police officer who took George Floyd’s life through an act of police brutality, shocking for its inhumanity. While nothing can ease the pain of the senseless loss of Mr. Floyd, we hope the decision by the jury to hold Mr. Floyd’s killer accountable and to bring justice for his killing provides some comfort to his family, friends, and loved ones. For our country, we hope this will mark the beginning of a healing process and be a catalyst for systemic change. …

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It is with a heavy heart that we mourn another senseless killing of a black man at the hands of law enforcement, this time in a Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright, a twenty year old unarmed black man, was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer.

The killing of Daunte Wright is especially painful in light of the collective trauma being relived as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd, is underway. The deep pain and suffering of black communities, people of color, and others who have suffered from police brutality is a deep and festering wound rooted in racialized injustice that we all must acknowledge if we are ever to begin to heal. …

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I write to share the good news that Clark University will hold 2021 in-person Commencement ceremonies on June 12 for students receiving graduate degrees and June 13 for students receiving undergraduate degrees.

The ceremonies will be held, rain or shine, on one of Clark’s athletic fields, at a time yet to be determined. So we may accommodate the maximum number of safely distanced people on the field, students and their guests will not be under tents. The ceremonies will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing on demand. …

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Last month we reached the one-year milestone of the pandemic, a time that has truly tested us — yet one that also proved how adeptly we can meet an extraordinary challenge. Today, with tremendous optimism, I am pleased to announce that Clark will be returning to fully in-person classes and on-campus activities this fall. …

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As a neighbor to Becker College for over 100 years, Clark University sincerely regrets that the college has had to make the painful decision to close. We know this is an extremely difficult time for Becker’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni and that the closure is a loss for our region. Clark stands ready to support the Becker community as it moves through this challenging transition. To that end, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark University, allowing one of Becker College’s most renowned programs to remain within the city. …

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We write to share the news that Francy Magee, Clark’s Associate Provost and Dean of Students, has chosen to step down from her role at the University to explore new opportunities and challenges that coincide with her professional goals. Francy’s last day with Clark will be March 28th. …

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Last night in Atlanta, we witnessed violence committed against Asians and Asian Americans. Acts of hate against Asians in the U.S. surged by nearly 150 percent over the past year, fueled by the anti-Asian rhetoric propagated during our national fight against COVID-19. We say “surged,” because anti-Asian racism is not new. It has always been a part of the racist history and landscape of this country, and it has always been chronically under-reported. Now, the frequency of these attacks are rapidly escalating. And the numbers continue to rise. …

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As I walked on campus yesterday (and stopped by the Kneller for my COVID test), it was wonderful to see signs of our University coming back to life. Students with whom I spoke at the Kneller all felt their classes were off to a good start and everyone was excited for the reopening of residence halls and, next week, our classrooms. Welcome back!

All of you deserve the credit for the confidence I feel in our decision to reopen campus for spring semester despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. …

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Our work to develop a strategic framework for the University is underway. We have begun with a visioning phase in which we – together – are establishing a sense of what defines Clark and Clarkies, and how we can bring that forward into an even stronger, bolder Clark of the future. …

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Following is a quarterly highlight of our efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), including the University Diversity Action Council, campus safety, undergraduate admissions, strategic planning, a new DEI initiatives website, and ombudsperson. …

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We write today to announce our plan for Clark University’s Spring 2021 semester. …

Spring-term classes will begin as planned on Monday, February 22. However, all classes will be conducted online to start, as we think it best to delay the return of students to campus. …

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On October 27th, when I announced the appointment of Lauren Misale as Chief of the Clark University Police Department (CUPD), I noted that an immediate priority will be working with her to conduct a thorough assessment of our police practices and overall approach to campus safety and security. Today, I am announcing the formation of a Task Force on Campus Safety and Security that will help to channel engagement of the entire University community in this review and look to practices and expertise outside of Clark. …

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Today we honor the extraordinary life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a champion of racial equality and social justice, and an advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience,  Dr. King taught us that change requires persistence and resolve. He challenged us to open our hearts and minds to others’ realities, and to widen our eyes to the injustice that must be overcome to truly realize the foundational principles of our democracy. …

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We want to acknowledge the concerns surrounding matters of race, policing, and affordability at Clark amplified last night by our Black Student Union and the Clark University Student Council. These issues are critically important and therefore we wanted to respond quickly, especially given the events unfolding nationally. …

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The images emerging from our nation’s capital today are alarming, unprecedented, and very likely affecting each of us in ways both shared and personal. …

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2020

One hundred years ago, on September 15, 1920, our undergraduate college and our research university were joined to form one great institution. Leadership at the time seized that pivotal moment to set Clark on an ambitious, bold march into the future. A century later, we find ourselves at a similar transformative juncture — a moment when we can harness our great strengths and, at the same time, challenge our own convention and welcome and embrace a world of new opportunity for Clark.

It is both a privilege and an honor for me to be able to share with you this, my first State of the University address. …

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This morning, we raised Clark’s COVID-19 alert status to Level 3 based on two factors: the return of five new positive test results overnight through our University testing process, and the overall trends in the Worcester region and nationally. There is no evidence to suggest that the five positive test results are linked. Nonetheless, it does raise concern.

While this is not an emergency situation, it is serious. Our highest priority remains maintaining the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and finishing the semester strong.

Therefore, effective immediately, we are taking the following precautionary measures …

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The final hours of this extraordinary election season are upon us. We are witnessing historic levels of participation, which is a powerful outcome for our country. At the same time, the election has generated deep emotions, across the political spectrum. I have no doubt that many of you are feeling anxious. The coming day or days likely will challenge us further as we learn the results of the election or that the results will be delayed for some time. …

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On behalf of the entire administration, I have made a promise to you that we will become a more just, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming institution. This is an imperative for Clark.

Many of you — students, faculty, and staff — continue to raise your voices and hold us accountable for remaining focused, vigilant, and determined in this effort. We have heard from individuals and organizations, including the Black Student Union and our staff of color, through protests, correspondence, and conversation.

I am writing to you today to underscore, unequivocally, that it is our responsibility not only to listen and hear but also to understand, empathize, and act. …

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We write today to share the news that Clark University intends to welcome students back to campus and resume in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester under the same general operating philosophy that we have followed for the current Fall semester: physical presence on campus is optional, and coursework will be conducted through a mix of in-class and online teaching. …

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I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Sgt. Lauren Misale, MPA ’12 as Chief of the Clark University Police Department (CUPD), effective November 2. Lauren is a 12-year veteran of CUPD and therefore brings to this leadership role deep familiarity with, and long experience at, Clark. In addition, she brings tremendous energy, focus and commitment to providing safety and security in the special context of an educational environment. Being able to promote a longstanding and dedicated member of our staff — and a Clarkie — makes me especially proud of this appointment. …

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I am pleased to provide several updates pertaining to Clark’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). …

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I recently shared with you the news that Sheree Ohen, Clark’s Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) since 2016, would be leaving her role here at the University on September 18 for a new opportunity at Harvard. Sheree’s work has contributed significantly to Clark’s efforts at inclusive excellence, even as we recognize the need to do more—more of what our institutional values demand of us as we strive to build a truly inclusive community, counteract systemic racism, and actively promote justice and equality at Clark.

I am therefore moving expeditiously to launch a national search for a new leader to shape, direct, and advance the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Clark. …

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In a normal year, the challenges involved with planning and launching a new semester are imposing. In 2020, they have been simply extraordinary. With the second full week of the semester drawing to a close, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has made reopening possible. This starts with each of you, for your diligent and admirable willingness to take the many personal steps that ensure that you and the Clark community stay healthy as we fulfill our educational mission together. …

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As classes begin today, I want to extend my very best wishes to each of you for a successful semester. Thanks to you, Clark is back in session despite the challenges of COVID-19. Students and faculty who have chosen to return to the classroom in person are working together as never before. Others — any student or faculty member who could not and did not wish to return to campus — will work together in virtual classrooms, making progress towards degrees through remote instruction that faculty have worked hard this summer to ensure is engaging and effective. …

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I write to share with you the bittersweet news that Sheree Ohen, Clark’s first full-time Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion (CODI), has accepted a new position at Harvard University and will be concluding her work at Clark on September 18. …

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We are writing to inform you that as of today, Clark is a smoke-free campus. Smoking of any kind, including any electronic nicotine-delivery system or smoking device, is prohibited for the entire campus community in or within close proximity to all Clark facilities, Clark-owned or -leased properties, and areas occupied or controlled by the University — both indoors and outdoors. …

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It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Jill D. Friedman as Clark’s next Vice President of Marketing and Communications. As a key member of the leadership team, Jill will oversee Clark’s marketing and branding efforts and shape communications strategies that will expand and amplify the University’s standing as a premiere academic and research institution. Our news release, which will be distributed this afternoon, contains more information. Jill will start at Clark on September 15. …

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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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    Worcester, MA 01610
    Geography Building
    Room #202
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