A Closer Look at Cutten

Rebecca Chopp

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the commentary article by Dan Murphy published in the February 24 edition of the Maroon-News. Comments made by former Colgate President George B. Cutten, who served from 1922-1942, are raising questions at Colgate about immigration, diversity and globalization. I am writing to put forward a plan to advance the dialogue in coming weeks.

It is important for a community to question its past, to explore its roots and focus in on those parts if its history that are not in line with current thinking. Clearly, President Cutten’s views on immigration and race are not representative of where Colgate stands – and where we seek to be – on immigration, diversity and globalization and, if put forward today, would be highly controversial.

This is not the first time that President Cutten’s remarks have been raised as an issue for Colgate. In 2001, a group of students advanced this topic. Their efforts set the ground for an annual “Race and Education” lecture series, which will next be held on April 4. Colgate is an institution built on inquiry and I hope we will all take the time to study the issues and advance a dialogue about immigration, diversity and globalization – and how our nation’s position and views have changed over the past century.

To advance the discourse around this issue, I will be consulting with Colgate’s elected bodies — the Student Government Association, the Faculty Affairs Committee and the ALANA Affairs Committee – as well as the executive committee of the university’s Diversity Council, and asking them to propose students, faculty and staff members to serve on a working group to coordinate this discussion. I will then consult with the working group on positive ways to develop a process for our deliberations. If you are interested in serving on this group, please contact the SGA or appropriate governance committee.

Rebecca S. Chopp

University President