Invitation to Community Conversation – February 26, 2019

Dear members of the campus community:

As you know, the discovery of a yearbook photo last week has led to a great deal of discussion among many members of our community. A quick news search will tell you that Gettysburg is not the only institution of higher education that has been confronted with these kinds of issues, and the messages in my inbox have made it quite clear that this is a topic of great interest. Over the past week, I’ve heard from hundreds of concerned community members—students, parents, faculty, and alumni—who have shared their perspectives with me about this specific issue, and also about other yearbook images from the past.

As Bob Garthwait said about his decision to resign from the Board of Trustees, and as I’ve reiterated in my messages to campus, we should use this situation as a learning opportunity. In that spirit I invite you to gather for a conversation, only for the campus community, about this specific situation and the more general topic of college yearbooks and modern interpretation of them. We will gather on Thursday, February 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Mara Auditorium. This will provide an opportunity to listen to and learn from one another as we share our perspectives and think about what more we might do to build an inclusive learning environment here at Gettysburg College.

I’d like to thank Professors Steve Gimbel, Scott Hancock, and Dina Lowy who have agreed to offer brief remarks during the gathering to be used as prompts for our discussion.

In addition, we will be capturing thoughts from this event to be shared with th advisory group I announced last week.

As always, I ask that we all approach this conversation with open-mindedness, a willingness to learn, and respect for one another.


Janet Morgan Riggs