Update from the Dean of the College

December 3, 2004

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In the past few weeks President Creighton and I have reported on a series of bias crimes against members of our community. It saddens and angers me to inform you that the student who has been the victim of two of these crimes was, during Thanksgiving break, the target of another sexually harassing phone call. Public Safety's investigation has determined that this call was unrelated to either the previous vandalism or the previous phone calls. I have posted an update with full details on the bias incident Web site.

While one member of our community has been repeatedly targeted and has borne the brunt of these assaults, these are crimes against the entire community and every member of it. For that reason it is important that we stand together in denouncing them and that we at Mount Holyoke work together with authorities to prosecute those who committed them.

These incidents are a reminder that multiple forms of bias are still ingrained deeply in our society. However, they also give us an opportunity to recommit our efforts as a community in working towards a world without pernicious bias. In addition to critically examining larger social structures, we must also continue to examine our own institutional structures, policies, and procedures to insure that we are providing the best support possible to members of our community who are threatened. I encourage you to continue to be in dialogue with each another and with me about how we can support one another in fighting all forms of bias.

In the meantime, I hope that you will join me in supporting our student and admiring, as I do, her courage and insistence on standing up and fighting against both the particular crimes, and the larger social conditions that create their possibility.

Best wishes,


Lee Bowie, Dean of the College