Letter to the Editor: Regarding the BAC Strike

Dear Editors:

We members of the class of 1960 have read with concern the article in The Phoenix of November 16 describing the strike being sponsored by the Black Affinity Coalition.  The BAC’s Open Letter to Faculty and Staff and its letter to President Smith and the administration identify some important issues that should be addressed, but the making of non-negotiable demands by anonymous authors coupled with a strike does not promote meaningful dialogue, resolution, or results.

We should all recognize how far Swarthmore has come in meeting the needs of minority students.  Swarthmore has been a leader in working for disadvantaged groups since its founding, when schools that gave equal places to female and male students were rare.  When we entered Swarthmore, our class included only one person of color.  Our classmates who were gay had to conceal it or suffer disciplinary action.  A look at today’s student body indicates how far Swarthmore has come since we were students there.  We understand that President Smith and the faculty and administration have reached out to Swarthmore’s BIPOC communities in an effort to improve their educational experiences.  The curriculum today is very different from the Euro-centric curriculum that existed when we were at Swarthmore.

Can more be done to improve the educational experiences of BIPOC students?  Undoubtedly.  Swarthmore is not perfect.  The issue that confronts us today is how to bring this about.  We submit that the way to do this is for all segments of the Swarthmore community to come together to engage in reasoned and productive discussions in keeping with Swarthmore’s traditions and Quaker heritage, which emphasize respectful listening and a deep commitment to developing peaceful productive solutions to problems.

Respectfully submitted,

Catherine Pinckney Armington

Fred Breen

Sara Bolyard Chase

Christopher Clague

Georgetta Denhardt

Patricia Brooks Eldridge

Joan Faber

Peter Faber

Will Fairley

Judith Fetterley

John Goodman

Kay Senegas Gottesman

Robert Gurfield

Lolette Sudaka Guthrie

John Harbeson

Robert Heaton

Larry Helm

Mimi Siegmeister Koren

Elise Landau

Linda Lee

William Lee

Margaret Dickie Linden

Janet Lockard

Linda Habas Mantel

Joan Stadler Martin

Peter Offenhartz

John Palka

Jeanette Strasser Pfaff

Sue Ruff

Michael Sananman

Norman Sarachek

Joan Sax

Andries van Dam

Susan Washburn

Michael Westgate

John Urey

Letters to the editor reflect the views of their writers and NOT those of The Phoenix staff or Editorial Board. The Phoenix does not edit letter submissions for content or factual accuracy.

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