You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.
Students at Connecticut College are calling on President Katherine Bergeron to step down over plans for a controversial fundraiser in Florida.
The fundraiser was set to be held at the Everglades Club, one of the oldest and most exclusive country clubs in Palm Beach. The venue has a history of racial discrimination and antisemitism; it famously barred both Black crooner Sammy Davis Jr. and Jewish fashion mogul Estée Lauder from even entering.
Rodmon King, the college’s former dean of institutional equity and inclusion (IEI), resigned in protest over the fundraiser on Tuesday after Bergeron decided to proceed with the event despite his concerns. In an email to students Tuesday, Bergeron said King's resignation left her “saddened and shocked.”
The Everglades fundraiser, part of the college’s “Defy Boundaries” capital campaign, has since been canceled, according to the local news network WTNH.com.
“Full participation is a core value at Conn, which is why I regret our decision to schedule an event at a location whose history and reputation suggest otherwise,” Bergeron wrote in an email to students and staff Wednesday.
Still, a large group of student demonstrators gathered Wednesday evening outside of the Unity House, the college’s home for Race and Ethnicity Programs, to call for “radical change” to the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion policies. As of Friday afternoon, students were still protesting, with many calling for Bergeron’s resignation.
“We would love to have a new president who is able to put our priorities as students in place,” junior Shamar Rule told WTNH.
In the past four years, the College Voice article notes, eight members of the college’s IEI office have resigned, a high rate of turnover that is not uncommon for higher ed DEI workers.
The college’s Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity issued a statement following King’s resignation, decrying the institution’s “continued failure to live up to its stated goals of equity and full participation.”
“At this point, we’d actually recommend that any official verbiage related to these goals be stricken, as very little over the past almost decade has suggested that this is true,” the statement read.