Connecticut College head to quit over planned event golf club with antisemitic past
JTA – The president of Connecticut College has announced she will step down at the end of the semester, following weeks of student protests stemming from a fundraiser she planned for a golf club with a racist history and reported anti-Semitic.
Katherine Bergeron’s announcement on Friday capped a saga in which the dress backlash spread across the small liberal arts campus in New London. For about a month, ad-hoc groups of students occupied a central administration building on campus to demand Bergeron’s resignation, and in early March, the school’s faculty passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence. for her leadership.
The main student activist organization leading the protests held its initial meeting in the Hillel building on campus, and its organizers sought and encouraged Jewish representation. During the weeks when the occupation of the administration building was underway, Hillel canceled a planned Shabbat dinner with Bergeron and issued a statement in solidarity with the activists.
“It has been an honor to attend this College for the past nine and a half years,” Bergeron wrote in his resignation letter. Although he did not specifically mention the student protests or the inciting incident, Bergeron wrote, “The past several weeks have been very challenging, and as president, I fully accept my responsibility for the circumstances that have led to this moment us.”
The controversy at Connecticut College began in February when the dean of institutional equity and inclusion resigned after a disagreement with Bergeron over a planned fundraiser at the Everglades Club, an exclusive golf club in Palm Beach, Florida. The club has reportedly excluded Jews and blacks in the past.
Although the fundraiser was canceled, a larger movement on the campus around it soon grew to push the college to direct more funding to causes related to diversity and inclusion. These include campus education on anti-Semitism and more funding for Jewish studies.
Debo Adegbile, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, said in a statement that the board would be committed to “providing additional resources” to promote the campus office of institutional equity and inclusion. A spokesman for the college declined to comment further.
“We are so proud that our consistent protests have taken off and had such an impact,” Davi Schulman, a Jewish sophomore at the college and a member of Hillel’s leadership team, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We can now look forward to the future of the College.”