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Connecticut College president announces resignation following student protest

In this photo, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron offers opening remarks during a regional conversation on housing affordability hosted by the Center for Housing Equity and Opportunity in Eastern Conn. at the school in New London Thusday, March 16, 2023.
Sarah Gordon
/
The Day
Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron offers opening remarks during a regional conversation on housing affordability hosted by the Center for Housing Equity and Opportunity in Eastern Connecticut at the school in New London Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron, who faced sustained protests from students over a canceled fundraising trip to a controversial social club, announced her resignation Friday.

“I am writing to let you know that I informed the Board of Trustees this week that I will be stepping down as President of Connecticut College at the end of the current semester,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron was criticized by protesting students and faculty over a planned but canceled fundraising trip to the Everglades Club in Florida. The club has a racist past, protesting students said. Students subsequently occupied the school’s Fanning Hall, the administration building, demanding Bergeron’s resignation.

But the students also protested over the resignation of the school’s dean of institutional equity and inclusion, Rodmon King, who left the school over the trip, and the college’s treatment of students of color and LGBTQ students, among others.

A college spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the protests led to Bergeron’s resignation. But Bergeron alluded to the protests in her resignation statement.

“Certainly, the road has not always been easy. It never is, when the work is so important and the goals so ambitious,” she said. “The past several weeks have proven particularly challenging, and as president, I fully accept my share of responsibility for the circumstances that have led us to this moment.”

But while Bergeron will resign, protesting students previously said they wanted her to step down immediately, so it's unclear whether protests will continue when classes resume Monday after spring break. Members of the student group Student Voices for Equity. which participated in the protests, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Leila Merhi, a sophomore, who protested outside the school’s administration building says she and other students are pleased with Bergeron's announcement and say they will still call for change.

“Just because she resigned doesn't mean that like everything is, this is going to fix all the issues on campus, like there’s still, like institutional policies that need to be updated and there’s still like, um, administrators that we want to see make change,” she said.

The Board of Trustees is searching for a new college president, it said in a statement also released on Friday. But the school did not say who the interim president will be once Bergeron leaves her position after the spring semester.

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