An Open Letter to Stephen Bannon from President Spar and the Seven Sisters Leaders

President Spar, in conjunction with the presidents of the Seven Sisters colleges, released an open letter this morning to Stephen Bannon, the media executive recently tapped by the incoming Trump administration to serve as Chief Strategist in the White House. The letter affirms each college’s respect for and pride in their students and alumnae, and takes exception to his disparaging remarks. 

The full text of the letter may be found below:

An Open letter to Stephen Bannon from the Seven Sisters Presidents

November 21, 2016

Mr. Stephen K. Bannon
Presidential Transition Office
1800 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. Bannon:

Given your appointment as Senior Counselor by President-elect Donald Trump, a number of your comments have been scrutinized by the press. As has been widely reported, in a 2011 interview with Political Vindication Radio, you disparaged lesbians, feminists and alumnae of the historic Seven Sisters Colleges, all in one statement that we deliberately choose not to repeat here. Other reported comments by you reflect other forms of bias, including racism, anti-Semitism and more. As the leaders of the Seven Sisters Colleges, we take deep exception to these comments and ask that you take a more expansive, informed and tolerant world view in your leadership role. 

We are proud of our alumnae and students, who represent the spectrum of sexual orientation, race, class and religion as well as political party. Our alumnae are accomplished leaders in all spheres of public and professional life; they are committed to their work, their families and their countries. Now more than ever, we look to those who would lead the United States of America for a message of inclusion, respect and unity.

Debora Spar
President, Barnard College

Kim Cassidy
President, Bryn Mawr College

Sonya Stephens
President, Mount Holyoke College

Lizabeth Cohen
Dean, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Kathleen McCartney
President, Smith College

Jonathan Chenette
Interim President, Vassar College

Paula Johnson
President, Wellesley College

Over the weekend, President Spar signed two additional joint letters, published by Inside Higher Ed and directed to the Trump administration. A message to President-elect Trump, signed by more than 120 college and university presidents, urged him to condemn the recent harassment and acts of violence that have taken place, often in his name, since the election. A second statement, with more than 90 signatures currently noted, called for the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented individuals to register for work and education permits as well as providing relief from threats of deportation.

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