Welcome to Fall 2018. A lot happened at Swarthmore last year, and here’s some of what we think you need to know.
Last spring, a group of students called Organizing for Survivors conducted a sit-in in the office of then Dean of Students H. Elizabeth Braun. Citing violations of Title IX policy, they called for the resignation of Braun, as well as that of Associate Dean of Students Nathan Miller and then Associate Director for Investigations Elizabeth Pitts. Additionally, O4S demanded change in the Title IX process. Approximately 175 students came to the sit-in and the protest garnered national news attention, making it onto the radar of the Associated Press.
After 8 days, O4S ended their sit-in. Dean Braun resigned on May 16th, and over the summer Elizabeth Pitts became Associate General Counsel of the College. O4S has met with President Smith to discuss demands and is still active this semester.
We encourage you to read more about this movement and the history of campus Title IX reform on our website.
Last fall, Swarthmore Voices formed as a result of student outrage over an op-ed published in The Daily Gazette, the former daily, online newspaper of the College by the then managing editor.
At the end of the spring semester, The Daily Gazette, which was founded in 1996, announced they would be merging with The Phoenix. That merger is now complete.
At the end of the semester, members of the student body, as well as members of the faculty, fasted for divestment over the span of three weeks. This followed a change in structure of Swarthmore’s divestment campaign. In late September, Mountain Justice, the student organization that pushed the college to divest, merged into Sunrise, a national movement fighting climate change.
Later that same month, Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine called for a boycott of Sabra Hummus as part of the group’s effort to help end the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The boycott resulted in the addition of Sun-Ni brand hummus to Essie’s as well as the campus’ coffee bars.
Also in February, students became able to input their gender pronouns into MySwarthmore. This information appears on faculty rosters.
Administratively, the College underwent some structural shifts, as the tenures of both the Chair of the Board of Managers and the Provost expired. Salem Shuchman ’84 replaced Tom Spock ’78 as Chair, and Professor Sarah Willie-LeBreton replaced Professor Tom Stephenson as Provost. You can find extended interviews with each of these individuals on our website.
Following the resignation of Dean Braun, over the summer Swarthmore announced that Jim Terhune, former dean of students at Colby College, would be assuming the role of Interim Dean of Students. Read our coverage of Dean Terhune in this issue.