Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

Affirming that Black Lives Matter

June 3, 2020


Dear Simon's Rock Community,

Following the recent message from Bard College President Leon Botstein, we write with a message of support and solidarity to the Simon’s Rock community, specifically to our Black students, faculty, staff, and families. We are sorry, we are incensed, and we condemn the police brutality and racism that have yet again impacted our nation’s communities of color. We take this time to reiterate to our Black community members that you are valued, you are loved, and you are an integral part of Simon’s Rock.

The recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police—and the callous violence and discrimination enacted on countless numbers of People of Color today and throughout the history of this country—amount to nothing short of a national tragedy. As a society, we have a long road ahead in reckoning with and rectifying the foundations of racism upon which this nation was built, and which continue to enable systems of discrimination and subjugation.

As a community committed to inclusion and social justice, we believe that action and activism create change, and we know that you—our Simon’s Rock family—are the changemakers of today and tomorrow. The values that guide us at Simon’s Rock are predicated on the conviction that every person is inherently valued, respected, and deserving of love and life. We believe that diversity of identity, background, perspective, and opinion is what enhances and distinguishes our community. And we commit to creating spaces where our Black community members feel truly included, heard, supported, and valued.

At Simon’s Rock, we also understand that lamenting and condemning such senseless acts rooted in structural racism and injustice is not enough and never will be. The shift our society requires cannot be achieved through passive means; it demands sustained action, activism, and attention. In order to ensure this moment of national outcry becomes an inflection point on the long path to a more just and equitable society, we must all take action to demand change now. Let us use this time to peacefully protest, to contact our policymakers and elected officials urging action, to listen to our Black peers, and to call out racism when and where we encounter it.

Please visit our Black Lives Matter Solidarity Resources page to become involved or increase your involvement.

Finally, in what has been an already challenging and isolating end to the academic year, we know you may be feeling an acute sense of pain, anger, frustration, and confusion in the wake of these latest tragedies. We want you to know that as part of the Simon’s Rock community, we are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us if you need someone to speak with or if we can offer support in any way.

We will continue to be in contact to share resources for support, pathways for connection and reflection, and opportunities to become involved in activism and furthering social justice.



Simon’s Rock Senior Leadership Team


Ian Bickford, Provost and Vice President (on leave),
Cathy Harding, Director of Institutional Advancement,
Eden-Reneé Hayes, Dean of Equity & Inclusion,
Cindi Jacobs, Director of Admission and Enrollment,
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost,
Kristy McMorris, Dean of Bard Academy,
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration,
Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Provost,
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs,
Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students,
John Weinstein, Provost-elect,