Dear Students:

Congratulations to each of you on your success in making it through the fall semester. I know how difficult it was to maintain focus and momentum during a long and challenging term, and you should feel proud of your perseverance. I am very proud of all of you.

Circumstances have required flexibility from all of us, and we appreciate your adaptability in the face of many changes. While the current increase in COVID-19 spread nationwide is concerning, we remain confident in our plans for the spring semester and believe that delaying the start of the term to Feb. 8 will help ensure a smooth start. In addition, the faculty has approved moving Commencement to May 30, the day after final exams conclude. This change is designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, and while we know that the loss of Senior Week will be disappointing to the Class of 2021, we want to do everything we can to improve our chances of holding an in-person Commencement celebration that can be attended by families.

This semester also has been a time for reflection about ways in which we can strengthen equity and inclusivity in our community. In January, we will resume our ongoing dialogue among students, faculty, staff, and alumni about how to more effectively combat racism at Lafayette. Many conversations and meetings, both large and small, have been held since students raised concerns during the summer months. A new website scheduled to go live next week will make it possible to follow progress on steps we have taken to combat racism at Lafayette. All parts of the College will have an important role to play in this work in the coming months.

Thank you for your resilience, creativity, intellectual energy, and concern for social justice. All of us are being challenged in multiple ways, and our community will be stronger because of how we are facing these challenges.

I hope that you and your families have a pleasant, safe, and restful holiday. We look forward to seeing you on campus in February.


Alison Byerly

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