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COVID Weekly Report: Block 1 Week 4

Dear CC Community, 

We are writing to share the COVID Weekly Report with you, and will send this update to you each Monday. You can find additional resources on the coronavirus resource page, and access our filmed sessions and transcripts here.

Today is the first day of fourth week, and students are working hard to prepare for final exams, finish projects, and write papers before the end of the block on Wednesday. We wish our students all the best as they complete Block 1 and encourage them to take time to rest and rejuvenate this Block Break. You can access information on virtual and small scale in-person Block Break programming here. Should you have any questions about our programming, safety measures, or further updates, please reach out to us via covid19@coloradocollege.edu

You can access the report here. Be well and stay safe!

Sincerely,

Mike Edmonds, Acting Co-President
Robert Moore, Acting Co-President

A Conversation with Professor Michael Sawyer: CC and Police Reform

As activists are calling nationally for police reform, so too have members of the Colorado College community called for a thorough reexamination of the college’s relationship with policing. In June, Acting Co-President Mike Edmonds asked Assistant Professor Michael Sawyer (Race, Ethnicity & Migration Studies; English) to lead a community-informed process that will reform and reimagine CC’s relationship to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). Many students, including CC’s student-led Collective for Anti-Racism and Liberation, have also contacted the college administration with concerns about the college’s relationship to the police. Sawyer emphasizes that student leadership and engagement are central to this review process.

This Campus Safety Initiative comes in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and amidst ongoing violence against countless other Black Americans. Yet while the national conversation about police violence has recently gained momentum, Black activists have been organizing, protesting, and fighting against police violence and racism for centuries. For Sawyer, their legacies and wisdom are the backbone of the anti-racism work and police reform that we are engaging in today.

“We don’t want to recreate the mistakes of the past,” Sawyer says. “We have a long and storied history through which we can examine and understand contemporary issues, and yet we’re having the same conversations that the Black Panther party was having in 1968 [following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. To ignore our history is to risk going in circles just to get back to where we were in 1968. We can actually cut to the chase and move forward since we already have the answers to many of these questions.”

Sawyer is beginning this Campus Safety Initiative with open community dialogue and opportunities for feedback and write-ins. Several virtual town halls are in the works for the fall semester, during which students and student-led organizations, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the wider Colorado Springs community will be encouraged to share their concerns and experiences of policing. He is also collaborating with Colorado College Campus Safety (led by Director Maggie Santos ’86) and is scheduled to meet with local law enforcement to have candid conversations through which they can discuss and identify avenues for reform. Sawyer will also take part in a local panel later this month, which will air on FOX21 News Colorado.

Sawyer explains that while many of these conversations are difficult and complicated, they are critical. “If a cop is driving around and sees someone with a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker and becomes angry about that, we need to interrogate where their reaction comes from,” he says.

Sawyer also hopes that dialogue and action will extend beyond Colorado Springs. “With today’s technology, we have the opportunity to connect with grassroots organizers across the country, even across the globe,” he says. “This conversation about campus policing is bigger than Colorado College, and we need to be talking to students and community leaders at other institutions. At other colleges and universities, students’ experiences with campus safety and police are vastly different from CC, and we have much to learn from one another.”

Sawyer emphasizes that in order for lasting change to occur, this process must be both multilayered and sustained. “This is not a one-off project that we can complete within a few months. Rather, we’re setting up the groundwork to be having these conversations over time, while also creating a working document that we can present as a vision for the short, medium, and long-term. Furthermore, much of what we’re doing will benefit students 10, 20, 50 years from now. We’re not in the position to enjoy all of the changes that are happening; instead, we have to think about those who will come after us, as we strive to leave CC and the world better than it was when we found it.”

An Update from the FAC

Idris Goodwin is a nationally renowned playwright, poet, director, educator, organizer, and we are so excited that he is also the new director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

“In times of crisis and celebration, tragedy and triumph, artists are there to tell the story, to express the complicated or complicate the overly simplistic,” says Goodwin in a recent update on the Fine Arts Center’s strategic plan.

Goodwin and the FAC team invite you to take a look back at the first three years since the FAC joined Colorado College, and join them, as work continues to actualize the three guiding principles of the FAC’s strategic plan: excellence, access, and collaboration.

Presidential Search Update

I’m writing to share this update on Colorado College’s Presidential Search from Search Committee Chair Jeff Keller ’91, P’22, below:

Dear Colorado College Community,

While I realize that the CC community is navigating the challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic, I felt you would appreciate an update on the presidential search.

To put it succinctly: the search is going very well. Through the efforts of our search consultants, Storbeck Search & Associates, and members of the search committee, we have completed the recruitment phase of the search. The pool of candidates for the presidency is extraordinary—deep, diverse, very talented, and very exciting.

The search committee is now in the process of assessing candidates, narrowing the pool, and conducting interviews. After completing this assessment phase of the search, the committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which will appoint the new president. The new president will join CC by the summer of 2021.

Neither the pool of candidates, nor the search schedule, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. CC’s excellent academic program, faculty, students, staff, location, and reputation have attracted a very impressive group of applicants.

I want to thank the entire community for sending your thoughts about the presidency and the search and for nominating candidates. I particularly want to thank the search committee, which includes CC faculty, staff, and students as well as trustees, for their hard work over the summer, and in the weeks and months to come.

Please stay safe and well.

Best Regards,

Jeff Keller ’91, P’22

Search Committee Chair
Trustee and Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Deadlines Extended Until Sept. 14

Dear First-Year Students and Families,

The changes we’ve made to our fall plan in response to recent quarantines have been stressful and challenging for you all. We are very sorry this has been so difficult. We are dedicated to providing an outstanding liberal arts education, and doing so while also mitigating spread of the COVID-19 virus is our top priority.

We hope to ease some of the pressure you are feeling right now, and want to provide you more information. Therefore, we are extending the deadline for requesting gap semesters and gap years to Monday, Sept. 14. We are also extending the deadline for dropping CC100 classes to Monday, Sept. 14.

We know you have many questions, and we plan to offer a virtual information session next week specifically for our first-year students and families so we may focus on your particular concerns. You’ll receive information about this session early next week.

First-year students: We do encourage you to complete your CC100 and CC120 classes this fall so you can easily progress in your CC academic career without further disruption. This also will allow you greater flexibility in course placement when you return to campus. We will have limited CC100 and CC120 seats available in January. In addition, we want to remind you that our expanded block calendar this year allows you to have greater opportunity to complete a full eight blocks – or take two additional blocks this year for the same cost – during this very uncertain time.

We also have suspended our three-year residency requirement for the 2020-21 academic year and all students have an option to seek off-campus housing in Colorado Springs. For students receiving need-based financial aid who choose to relocate to a Colorado Springs apartment, we will maintain the same cost of attendance. For students who relocate to their home address, the cost of attendance is adjusted to reflect a reduced cost of living allowance. All students residing in Colorado Springs will be supported by our on-campus health center and will be part of our testing and contact-tracing protocols.

Again, we will email you early next week about a virtual information session for your class and your families.

Thank you for your commitment, care, and concern as we navigate this unprecedented year.

Sincerely,

Pedro de Araujo
Vice Provost

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