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Connecticut College cancels fundraiser at venue with antisemitic, racist reputation

Its equity and inclusion dean resigned in protest of the event.

Fanning Hall on the campus of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. In the background is the F.W. Olin Science Center observatory. Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.
Fanning Hall on the campus of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. In the background is the F.W. Olin Science Center observatory. Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.

Dozens of students at Connecticut College in New London are calling on Katherine Bergeron, president of the private, liberal arts college, to resign after a school fundraiser was slated to occur at a venue with an alleged history of discriminating against blacks and Jews.

The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Fla., is reported to have escorted Sammy Davis Jr., who was black and Jewish, from the club. And in 1972, after Jewish cosmetics magnate Estée Lauder attended an event at the club, the member who hosted her was reportedly suspended

The club has claimed to have Jewish members and that it has not turned away black members because none have applied, it has said publicly.

On Feb. 7, in protest over the planned fundraiser, Rodmon Cedric King, dean of institutional equity and inclusion at the college, resigned. 

King was the third person to hold that role, according to Sam Maidenberg, an undergraduate who serves as editor of the student paper The College Voice. He told WSHU public radio that “that position has just been on a constant revolving door.”

Bergeron was reportedly responsible for sticking with the venue even after its history came to light. A “select group of students,” which met with the college president, alleged that she was aware of the club’s reputation and still moved ahead with the event planning, according to The College Voice.

Bergeron canceled the event, stating on Feb. 8 that she regretted the decision. The college’s trustees committed to doing better in the future.

The Everglades Club did not respond to JNS. The college’s vice president of marketing and communications told JNS that its president will not comment beyond the prior released statements.

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