Silence is Not an Option
Greetings fellow Springfield College Alumni,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am Nathanael Harris, Class of 2008, and a member of the Springfield College Alumni Council.
Over the last month, I have been deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd and all the violent deaths our country has witnessed as evidence of racism and injustice. As the fight for racial justice continues across this country, I would like to take this opportunity as a member of the Alumni Council, to share with you how Springfield College is addressing diversity and inclusion within its campus and community.
Within the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement, led by Dr. Calvin Hill, several new virtual campus programs were created which focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Via the college’s Zoom platform this past March, the Division launched its SoundBite Series, a series that addressed a host of issues focused on diversity, racial stigma, and community engagement within the community as all learned to navigate the campus’ virtual community. This weekly series brought faculty, staff, and students together to engage and reflect upon each community member's shared experiences, while at the same time valuing the differences each member of the college community brought to campus.
On June 2, the Springfield College leadership hosted a campus-wide Zoom session which brought together over 300 attendees to speak and listen based on the theme, Silence Is Not An Option. From that event, the College launched a three-part series entitled Conversations on Race, which were hosted each Tuesday evening during the month of June. Topics included:
- Diversity and Inclusion: The Student Perspective: Moderated by: Student Trustee Kris Rhim, and Student Trustee Elect Sabrina Williams,
- “Defunding” Police: Moderated by: Brian Krylowicz, Ph.D., Director of Counseling Center, David McMahon, Director of Spiritual Life, and Joseph Tiraboschi, Administrative Lieutenant Campus Police
- A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey From the Inner City to the Ivy League: Moderated by Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, President of Springfield College, with special guest Cedric Jennings, who shared his path from troubled Frank W. Ballou Senior High in Washington, DC, to Brown University.
The College is currently planning its July series, and welcomes feedback from the larger community. In addition to the SoundBite Series, and Conversations on Race, a new campus committee has been established called the Campus Program Planning Committee on Race (CPPCR). The CPPCR will identify, engage, and launch campus-wide programming initiatives with a focus on race. The planning committee will also serve as one of several resources to the college community working with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the Vice President of Inclusion and Community Engagement.
I hope like me, you are proud of the work of your alma mater in helping to foster an inclusive and welcoming community for all of its community members. In closing, I am sharing an article written by Student Trustee Kris Rhim ’21 where he discusses the Black and student of color experience at Springfield College. I encourage you to listen to these powerful and poignant voices here. To help achieve lasting progress on racial justice and equality everywhere we must be a part of that transformation. As we continue this work, we look forward to your feedback and guidance, Silence is Not An Option.
Nate Harris ’08
Alumni Council Member