Messages to the Community

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dear Albright Community,

During the past week you have received two communications from me regarding events occurring at the Delaware Valley University football game last week. I have heard from many of you and I appreciate and understand your strong emotions around the many intertwined and complicated issues.

Ongoing review of the details surrounding the game’s events has provided greater clarity. What we understood to be shared agreement among players, student leaders, and coaches has not been adequately supported. As a result, each of the students dismissed from the football team for failure to comply with the team’s shared agreement established for that day has been offered reinstatement to the team.

While we focused on the issue of trust and shared agreement on a football field, much larger issues of social and racial injustice were brought into the spotlight. These must be addressed. We are moving forward quickly and aggressively with a program that will engage our entire community, one that actively supports the full participation of all community members.

As I shared in Friday’s email, our way forward is clear.

Examination of current policies and practices shows that their implementation does not fully align with our core values. I have charged all members of the Athletics Department to partner with Student Affairs to review policies and published practices, so that they are consistent, respect Albright’s core values, and support all of our students. I have charged the provost and the faculty to consider their policies and published practices, as well.

We will work with trained professionals to create and implement programs that will develop and evolve our skills and ability to communicate across difference. This work will engage all constituencies across our campus. Coach Marzka and the athletic directors have committed themselves and their division as partners and active participants in this development process.

The provost and the vice president for student affairs will partner with faculty and staff to intentionally engage the work of understanding and communicating across difference into our curricular and co-curricular programs.

Our Council for an Inclusive, Thriving, and Equitable Community (CITE-C) http://www.albright.edu/president/cite-c.html) will take a leadership role to evolve our programs, including faculty, staff, and students, so that many events bring to our community the work of social and racial justice. Many of those events will involve active reflection.

I will work with the President’s Student Advisory Council (http://www.albright.edu/president/student-advisory-council.html) to be sure that these programs are inclusive of all students, and I encourage students to consider and recommend programs that would be valuable to them. All departments and divisions will be engaged in this development and walk this path.

Many have asked, “What values do we uphold at Albright?” The symbols on Albright’s shield represent our focus on the combined pursuit of truth and justice. Thus, we honor, nurture, and celebrate human diversity in all its forms and call into question whatever negates or endangers the dignity and worth of the human spirit. I have been moved by the energy and commitment that this issue has demonstrated. Our continued momentum will actively move us toward the community we aspire to be.

Regards,

President Fetrow

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry
Albright College, Reading, PA


10/13/2017

Dear Albright Colleagues,

Our Albright community has been through much controversy and turbulence during this past week. We have been forced to examine and reflect on how actions consistent with current policy and practice have clashed with our closely held core values. It greatly concerns me that members of our community do not feel welcomed as fully participating community members. It is time for Albright to recognize our own challenges, so that we can begin to move productively forward. Thus, I write here to share where we are, how we got here, and our path to the fully participating future, one we all imagine is possible.

Where we are…

This week, I have shared conversation with many community members, including the faculty, our Council for an Inclusive, Thriving and Equitable Community (CITE-C), the President’s Student Advisory Council, and others. I have met often with Cabinet, the athletic directors and Coach Marzka. Our dream of a fully participating Albright community is strong. Frustration, bewilderment, anger, and desire to move forward are pervasive.

Our ongoing investigation has uncovered additional evidence from last Saturday’s football game, which demonstrates two additional players chose not to follow the team’s shared commitment to unity. These players did not fully kneel when the team kneeled. As before, these actions represent a failure to comply with team decision, actions which carry consequences. Consistent with existing school, Athletics Department, and football team policy and practice, Coach Marzka validated the evidence, discussed with his staff and with the athletic director, and has dismissed these two players from the team.

While these actions were consistent with existing policies and practices, they are not fully aligned with our core values. I have directed the coach, the athletic director, and the team to work together, with professional guidance, to thoughtfully consider and understand how this breach of trust, which resulted in the dismissals, happened. In addition, going forward, if players are on the field or court when the anthem is played, all coaches will support their team players who choose to either stand or kneel during the anthem. All other disciplinary actions are in the authority of the coach (as necessary, in consultation with the athletics directors), as is standard policy and practice. This immediate modification to current practice has the full support of the athletics directors and the Cabinet.

How we got here…

Examination of our current policies and practices show that their implementation do not fully align with our core values. We must be certain that this does not happen again. I am charging the Athletics and Student Affairs Departments to review their policies and published practices, so that those policies are consistent, respect Albright’s core values, and support our all of our students.

I’m also charging the provost and the faculty to consider their policies and published practices, as well, to ensure alignment with best practices, core values, and alignment with policies in the other divisions. The most important revisions, including necessary reviews and approvals, will be complete by the end of the academic year and will be instituted for the coming academic year. Next year we will complete these reviews and revisions.

Our path to the future…

The symbols on Albright’s shield represent our focus on the combined pursuit of truth and justice—as such, we state that we honor, nurture, and celebrate human diversity in all its forms and call into question whatever negates or endangers the dignity and worth of the human spirit. This week’s events indicate that we do not fully live up to the values that we purport.

Our energy and focus will be on building a better Albright. We are moving forward quickly and aggressively with a program that will engage our entire community, one that actively supports the full participation of all community members. We will work with trained professionals to create and implement programs that will develop and evolve our skills and ability to communicate across difference. The provost will be partnering with the faculty to engage this work into our academic programs and classrooms, including the Experience Program. The Student Affairs division will intentionally evolve their many programs to engage communication and dialog across difference. I will partner with the faculty and with CITE-C to evolve our programs, so that many events bring to our community the work of social and racial justice, and that those events involve active reflection. CITE-C will also ensure that programs and activities engage staff members across the College. I will work with the President’s Student Advisory Council to be sure that these programs are inclusive of all students, and I will encourage students to consider and recommend programs that would be valuable to them. All of our departments and divisions will be engaged in this development and walk this path.

Coach Marzka and the athletic directors have committed themselves and their division as partners and active participants in this healing and growing process.

Thank you…

What I’ve heard from honest and raw conversations during this past week has shown me that many members of this community dream of the Albright we imagine ourselves to be. That desire gives me hope. This community needs true healing. I look forward to working with you on making Albright the community that we dream of being.

Best regards,

-Jacque

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry
Albright College


Response to Dismissal of Football Player from Team

10/11/2017

At Albright College, we celebrate and value the rights of all students and community members to express their thoughts and opinions civilly, respectfully, and peacefully. Within our college community, student organizations, clubs and teams can establish and uphold their own unique practices to enhance College-stated values. Prior to the football game against Delaware Valley University on Saturday, Oct. 7, and upon the recommendation of the team’s leadership council, which is comprised of 24 student-athletes selected annually by team members, the football team made a team-wide decision to both kneel during the coin toss and stand during the National Anthem. This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences. It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.

The team agreed to uphold the council decision, with the understanding that there may be consequences for those who choose not to support the team. One football player, unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support the decision of the leadership council and team. He has been dismissed from the team, but remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.

To read the football team’s statement, which was read as the team took the field at Saturday’s game, please visit our Homecoming highlights page: http://alumni.albright.edu/homecoming/index.html

If you have additional comments or questions, please email us at collegerelations@albright.edu. Please allow up to 24 hours for a response. Thank you.

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D.
President, Albright College

Statement from President Jacquelyn Fetrow on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy

Dear Albright Community Members,

On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced plans to begin the wind down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, over the next six months while also urging Congress to enact a legislative solution. DACA protects undocumented residents who were brought as children to the United States illegally by their parents. DACA provides these individuals with relief from deportation through a renewable two-year permit, and authorization to legally work and attend school.

This decision affects us all. There are an estimated 800,000 recipients of the program nationwide, including about 6,000 in Pennsylvania alone. Some members of the Albright community are likely directly affected, and many of us are fearful for family, neighbors, co-workers, friends and classmates.  There are many unanswered questions and much uncertainty.

What is certain is Albright College’s mission and our core values. We have an unwavering commitment to educate students – all students – of academic promise, regardless of country of origin. At Albright, we welcome and support these young men and women into our vibrant, diverse and inclusive learning community. As our admission policies focus on academic promise, we do not take into account the immigration status of the students who apply, nor do we track or record DACA status.

Many among our community may be feeling uncertainty, anxiousness, or fear.  Many offices and individuals on campus are available to support anyone in need, including the Counseling Center, the Office of the Chaplain, the Dean of Students, the Gable Health CenterHuman Resources, and our campus ombudspersons.  In addition, Nicole Christie in Admissions and Chris Hanlon in Financial Aid are available for consultation and conversation.

There are many unanswered questions about how – or if – Congress will respond. For those who wish to know more, the bipartisan proposal known as the Dream Act of 2017 , if adopted, would provide legal status, security and a path to citizenship for Dreamers. If you wish to make your voice heard in any way, the legislative contacts in our region are listed below my signature.

Each and every member of this community is an Albrightian. The distinctive qualities and experiences that each of us bring make our learning community a special place.  Thank you for being uniquely Albrightian.

With warm regards,

Jacque

-Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82

*****


Legislative Contacts:

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey
https://www.casey.senate.gov/contact
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-6324
866-802-2833

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 301
Allentown, PA 18101
610-782-9470

U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey
https://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=offices
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-4254

1150 S. Cedar Crest Blvd Suite 101
Allentown, PA 18103
610-434-1444
1-855-552-1831

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (6th District)
https://costello.house.gov/contact
326 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4315

840 North Park Road
Wyomissing, PA 19610
610-376-7630

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (15th District)
https://dent.house.gov/officeinformation
2082 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202-225-6411

61 N. 3rd Street
Hamburg, PA 19526
610-562-4281

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (7th District)
https://meehan.house.gov/contact/offices
2305 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2011

2004 Weavertown Road
Douglassville, PA 19518

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (16th District)
https://smucker.house.gov/contact/offices
516 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202-225-2411

51 South Duke St., Suite 201
Lancaster, PA 17602
717-393-0667
1-888-217-0231

*****

A Message on the Tragic Events in Charlottesville

Like many of you, I have been following the tragic events that have taken place near the University of Virginia in the Charlottesville community this past weekend.  I have felt a deep sadness for the victims and anger at those individuals who feel the need to exert their self-proclaimed cultural and/or racial primacy through terror and violence on others.  Perhaps like some of you, I feel uncertainty at what the future holds.

Our thoughts are with the victims of this violence, their families and their loved ones. At Albright, we stand with the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community. I borrow here some of the compelling words of Kenneth Frazier, CEO and Chairman of Merck, whose moral leadership I honor and respect. At Albright, we honor our community values by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy in all forms.  We value open dialogue, active listening, and free expression of experiences and ideas that lead to increased understanding and stronger community.

Indeed, the symbols on Albright’s seal represent our focus on the combined pursuit of truth and justice; therefore, we honor, nurture, and celebrate human diversity in all its forms and call into question whatever negates or endangers the dignity and worth of the human spirit.  Violence, intimidation, bigotry and racism inherently conflict with our deeply held core values.

At Albright, we will work together to engage in shared conversations and to continue to develop our skills of actively and respectfully listening to each other’s experiences and stories.  In the near future, you will hear more on these initiatives from the Council for an Inclusive, Thriving, and Equitable Community, a group which has been reconstituted this summer.  As always, Albright’s Counseling CenterChaplain’s Office, and Office of Human Resources are available to all who would like further support.  As a community, we will work towards truly living our cherished American value that all persons are created equal and we will aim to carry our Albright learning into the wider world.

As the new academic year commences, I wish us all a new beginning of shared understanding and re-dedicated commitment to our common values, here in the Albright community and throughout our American society.

-Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82