Campus update

Mount Holyoke College has zero tolerance for discriminatory acts or hate speech. We condemn all acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination and hatred.

Presidents Letterhead Seal

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,

Mount Holyoke College has zero tolerance for discriminatory acts or hate speech. We condemn all acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination and hatred.

In accordance with state and federal laws, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national or ethnic origin and religion (among other protections) is prohibited. Furthermore, Title VI was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including certain forms of antisemitism, Islamophobia and related forms of bias. The College will pursue investigations and hold any individuals found to be responsible for such acts accountable. If you become aware of any activities such as these or feel as though your or another individual’s personal safety or the safety of the community is at stake, please do not hesitate to contact Public Safety and Service at 413-538-2304. In non-emergency situations, you may also contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for support and to report incidents of bias.

Fostering empathy and showing respect are core principles that guide our interactions. We value diverse perspectives, and we urge everyone to honor each others’ humanity by considering the unique experiences of others, especially when disagreements arise. Acts of bias and discrimination run counter to the inclusivity that underpins our educational environment.

Campus incidents

On October 26, 2023, an alum posted photos of chalking and an antisemitic poster on social media, reporting that the items had been present in Clapp Hall. When made aware, the College responded immediately, and the chalking that violated College policy was removed; posters that were described were not found in Clapp Hall or any other area of campus. Public Safety and Service is investigating and has documented the incident to federal authorities. Individuals with any information about this incident or others should contact Public Safety and Service immediately.

Public Safety and Service began an investigation right away. With investigations of this sort, we are constrained in what and when we can communicate. This fact is, understandably, dissatisfying to many; yet it remains the reality given how we must proceed in such circumstances. Last Friday’s campus alert addressed the rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in general terms, which we felt was most appropriate given the early moment in the investigation. Public Safety and Service, our facilities team and building managers remain on high alert for such posters.

Last week, we removed posters from campus locations that violated the posting policy. We are also aware that approved posters advertising a faculty teach-in disappeared from posting areas; it is unknown at this time who removed them. Today, we observed and removed outdoor chalking, the manner of which violated our guidelines.

Action steps

  • We have been meeting with individuals and student groups who are concerned about antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bias and hatred in our community. As these conversations continue, we will continue to take action that encourages intellectual engagement on our campus and ensures care and support to our campus community. Various divisions, centers and groups have sponsored panels, teach-ins and speakers. We have also provided care and support through vigils, luncheons and small group meetings and will continue to do so. We expect these activities to expand with the goals of increasing understanding of complex issues, and engagement with one another across our many differences.
  • In the coming weeks, we will convene existing campus groups and other interested parties to discuss ways to further our efforts to combat discrimination and bias on our campus. We look forward to sharing outcomes from those discussions as they develop.
  • Campus stewardship:
    • Members of the campus community and visitors are expected to preserve our physical campus, and policies are in place to support that imperative. As a reminder, here are our policies on flyers on campus as well as chalking. Our goal is to protect community members without engaging in content regulation.
    • An important part of keeping our campus safe is regulating building access. Please be consistent in wearing your lanyards and take measures to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering buildings without one. This helps maintain a secure and inclusive campus environment for all members of our community.
  • Support resources:
    • Students can make use of the Counseling Services 24/7 hotline by calling 413-538-2037. 
    • Faculty and staff are encouraged to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program at 888-881-5462.
    • Know Your Neighbor is a weekly program where students have the opportunity to talk about their own experiences of faith, culture and identity and to hear from others with different experiences to their own in a comfortable, supportive space.
    • Students seeking spiritual and faith-based support can contact the chaplains and advisors of the Office of Community and Belonging by appointment for spiritual companionship, individual support and faith and spiritual services/rituals or vigils, programs and events.

In times such as these, we hold hope for peace and justice, and take comfort in the generations of Mount Holyoke students, alums, faculty and staff that have reshaped the world.


Danielle R. Holley

Marcella Runell
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students