From the President

A Message From President Walker—January 7, 2021

The following message was sent to Faculty, Staff, and Students on January 7, 2021.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Like all of you, I have been watching the events in Washington, D.C. with rapt attention. In our lifetimes, none of us have seen such a grave threat to the peaceful transfer of power or democratic institutions in this country. This is an unsettling moment for our nation and a trying time individually as we continue to live under the constraints of a global pandemic.

For members of the Bennington community who are living on campus today or elsewhere around the world, nerves are frayed. While we have not observed any heightened risk to our on-campus population, I want to reiterate our steadfast commitment to your ongoing safety. We are in close contact with on-campus students and will stay vigilant for the foreseeable future. Any student who is concerned for their physical or emotional well-being should not hesitate to reach out to Campus Safety.

As a place of higher learning, Bennington College has a critical role to play in the public sphere. American colleges are invaluable pillars to a functional democracy. We are archivists of world history, training grounds for active citizens, future leaders and journalists, and incubators of critical thinking. This is a moment for higher education to defend democratic principles with rigor and to interrogate the social forces that fomented this insurrection. I can assure you that Bennington College will identify in the coming months opportunities to learn from these events and grow from them. We have always risen to the challenge of the moment and the stakes couldn’t be higher today.

We can also take comfort in the strength of this community. Over the past year, you have made enormous sacrifices to protect one another from the threat of COVID-19 and to support each other across digital divides. The trust, compassion, and creativity you have demonstrated has woven us closer as peers, colleagues, and friends. That trust will serve us well in the months ahead, as we all work to build a more just, healthy, and civil future.

So wherever you are today—whether you’re here on campus or studying and working from afar—please know that the well-being of every member of this community is our first concern. Together, we will get through this.

Laura Walker