June 4, 2020
To our dear Rocky community,
We are heartsick. We see your pain and your grief. And yet, we do not want to send you empty words, because we know that they are of little comfort. We know that many of you have received messages already from offices across the University, but Rocky is our shared community, and we cannot be silent. If the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the BIPOC lives before them, and the great inequities of the pandemic that continue to take the lives of Black and brown people in the U.S., have shown us nothing else, they have reminded us that we must disrupt systems that do not create and promote justice. Each time this has happened, as a nation, we are enraged, we grieve, and then we allow our lives and our systems to return to normal, at the expense of other human beings. We can no longer return to “normal."
Anti-racism is not the work of BIPOC and AAPI people; it is the work of all people. As a staff, we have a responsibility to do anti-racist work as white allies. We renew our commitment to that work, both at Rocky and in our own lives, and we hope that you join us. As a residential college, we are focused on community standards and programming that supports an inclusive community, and we will certainly continue to do that. That is work we hope that you will share with us, because our mission as a liberal arts institution is to learn from each other, and we don’t need more “mandatory programming.” But we know, too, that simply adding more optional co-curricular experiences into the buffet of Princeton activities does not move our anti-racist agenda forward.
We encourage you to read, listen to podcasts, and diversify your social media, as we do, regardless of where you are in your journey against racism. And we want to hear from you about how you would like to act and grow together. Nothing we do will help us move towards justice without the involvement of all of us. In the meantime, we can commit to some things:
- Resources matter. We will seek opportunities to buy from Black and brown-owned businesses, for everything from our gear and study breaks to our supplies.
- We will ensure that the iconography in our college spaces celebrates the lives of Black and brown Princetonians. We will look at a variety of high traffic spaces for this purpose.
- We will continue to ensure that Black and brown faculty are well-represented among our faculty advisers, and that our student leaders (PAAs, (A)RCAs, RGSs, and Council) represent our diverse student body and promote underrepresented voices and perspectives.
We will disrupt conversations and systems that promote hate and normalize racism.
This is not the end. This is the beginning. We see you. We hear you. And we will continue to work for justice together.
The Staff of Rocky College
Clancy Rowley, Head
Justine Levine, Dean
Maria Medvedeva, Director of Studies
Amy Ham Johnson, Director of Student Life
Karen Sisti, College Program Administrator
Stephanie Maguire, Office Coordinator