Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect comments from John Cramer, Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Connecticut College.
The president of Connecticut College (CC) announced on March 24 that she would be stepping down amid backlash for plans to host an event at a golf club accused of antisemitism and racism, according to the president’s statement.
Katherine Bergeron has been the college’s president for nearly a decade but informed the school that she would be stepping down from her position at the end of the semester, according to her official statement. Her announcement comes after weeks of protests against the president’s plan to host a fundraising event at the Everglades Club, which has allegedly refused service previously to Jewish and black Americans in the past, according to Inside Higher Ed. (RELATED: Women’s College Removes Former President’s Name From Library Due To History Of Antisemitism, ‘White Supremacy’)
Bergeron’s statement made no mention of the protests but instead said that the “events of the past weeks” had impacted her decision.
“I am writing to let you know that I informed the Board of Trustees this week that I will be stepping down as President of Connecticut College at the end of the current semester,” Bergeron wrote. “For my part, I have thought hard about the events of the past weeks, and I know I will continue to learn from them. I hope it is possible for everyone to do the same, for there are many lessons here. It is only through careful, honest discernment that a community can grow towards peace, wisdom, and justice.”
View the full statement from President Katherine Bergeron: https://t.co/LGnEWRHXGN pic.twitter.com/suB0RxKDDA
— Connecticut College (@ConnCollege) March 24, 2023
Everglades Club, which is known for its high-profile members in political and celebrity circles, has a history of alleged discriminatory behavior toward black and Jewish Americans, according to Inside Higher Ed. President John F. Kennedy’s father, Joseph Kennedy, canceled his membership to the club after black singer Sammy Davis Jr. was allegedly barred from entering.
As a result of protests from students, Bergeron canceled the event on Feb. 6, according to the College Voice. Rodmon King, CC’s former dean of institutional equity and inclusion, resigned the following day on Feb. 7, citing Bergeron’s “bullying behaviors” and called for Bergeron to resign, according to a letter to the Board of Trustees.
Following King’s resignation, CC students staged sit-ins on multiple occasions at Bergeron’s office in support of King’s protest of the fundraiser, according to Inside Higher Ed. The students had reportedly planned more protests after spring break on March 27.
John Cramer, CC’s vice president for marketing and communications, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the protests were limited to a “small group of students” during “one sit-in” and claimed that no more protests were planned after the school’s spring break.
The Board of Trustees also released a statement regarding Bergeron’s announcement and thanked her for her “visionary leadership and steadfast commitment to Connecticut College” and informed the campus community that it would begin the search for a new president.
“During [Bergeron’s] tenure, she has championed the College in advancing our mission and goals, led us through the challenges of the pandemic, and recommitted our community to put the liberal arts into action,” the board wrote. “We are very grateful for her years of dedication and service. We will now begin the process of selecting a new President. As is customary, this will involve appointing a representative search committee that includes faculty, staff, students, and trustees.”
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