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President’s Communications

2020

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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President's Office

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