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Responding to the Nov. 1, 2020 Incident

The discovery of a racial slur on a t-shirt left in a residence hall laundry room was deeply disturbing to the campus community, and particularly for students of color who shared their hurt and anger directly with campus leadership. The following update from those meetings was shared November 2 from President Lindsay:

I wanted to share a quick update following up on the message below from this morning. (Board of Trustees) Chairman Smith, Dan Tymann, and I had the chance to meet personally today with leadership from GCSA and (the student club) Afro-Hamwe. It was a very good, productive discussion. I know you join me in admiration for our students’ incredible hearts for Christ and for our campus. Students were grateful for the specific steps mentioned below, but they also asked for additional details around the timeline in which we hope to achieve these items. We walked carefully through each of the items below and have come to a good, mutual understanding. The student leaders plan to update students accordingly, and I wanted to update you all. 

  1. First, as noted below, we will seek to hire an additional position to provide support for our students of color. Dan Tymann is already working with his Student Life colleagues to develop the position description. We will post the position by Thanksgiving.
  2. We are committed to provide counseling services for students of color who request it with a counselor who is racially diverse, at no additional cost to students. We will seek to accomplish this through outsourcing if necessary, but we do hope to hire an appropriate individual for this role, so please let us know if you have ideas of appropriate individuals as we work on this over the next several days.
  3. As I mention below, we will be working to engage an outside expert to assist the College in comprehensively examining and evaluating issues of race on campus and in helping further develop the College’s strategic work in this area, including work on policies and procedures around how the College responds to racial incidents on campus as well as hiring and recruiting practices at the College. We have already started outreach to appropriate candidates and hope to name the individual—and additional details regarding the scope and timeline of work—before the end of this calendar year.
  4. As noted below, we will be vetting options for adding cameras or other strategic surveillance options in common areas within residence halls. While there are important privacy concerns that need to factor into this evaluation, we will balance that consideration with the need to ensure all of our students feel safe across campus, particularly in light of this most recent incident, which took place in shared student spaces. We aim to have appropriate additional security measures in place by the start of the spring semester.  
  5. We continue to be deeply committed to expanding our work to add diverse voices through recruiting diverse faculty and staff colleagues. This will continue to be an ongoing and important priority. If you know of a diverse candidate who would be a good fit for an open position at Gordon, please be in touch with our colleagues in Human Resources.
  6. Finally, my continued gratitude to my faculty colleagues who are actively working to evaluate the core curriculum to determine how learning around diversity and inclusion can become a more intentional part of a Gordon student’s educational experience. I know our faculty will continue to work diligently toward this end. 

Significant, difficult, and supremely important work remains ahead of us, and all of us among the College’s leadership remain very committed to this work. 

Michael Lindsay signature

D. Michael Lindsay