Connecticut College in New London cancelled classes on Monday in the face of mounting racial controversy.
Most recently, pictures were obtained of racist graffiti, warning, “No N*****s.”
Earlier in the month, Professor Andrew Pessin was placed on leave from the university after a Facebook post describing Palestinians in Gaza as “a rabid pit bull chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”
Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron sent a letter out to students on Sunday explaining the class cancellation.
“By now, there have been many opinions expressed about the original Facebook post, as well as about subsequent comments on Yik Yak and elsewhere,” Bergeron noted. “But one thing has become extremely clear: the level of harm that incendiary language can have on a community. The post caused an outpouring of anger and pain among many different groups of students, faculty, and staff.”
“The groundswell of reaction makes it clear that the issue goes far beyond the effects of a single post. It is about who we are as a community,” she continued. “Earlier today, as I was writing this letter, I learned of another incident of racist graffiti in the restrooms of Crozier-Williams. We must take action immediately to expose and eradicate this ignorance and hatred. I have decided to cancel tomorrow’s classes to ensure these events receive the proper attention.”
Bergeron made it clear that she would not stand by just because hateful speech was protected by the First Amendment.
“Even though speech may be protected does not mean that we have to approve of the odious things that people choose to say with their freedom. I do not approve,” she explained. “It does mean, though, that we can and should use our freedom to speak out against injustice.”
On Monday, a campus-wide meeting will be held to discuss the recent events.
Video of the coverage is below.