A Message from Dr. Austin

The following email was sent to ASA Co-chairs Mark Chung ’21 and Natasha Leong ’21 this afternoon. Dr. Austin would like the whole community to have an opportunity to read it.

Dear Natasha and Mark,

I appreciate you writing to me. Like you, I have been following closely the tragic and disturbing shootings in Atlanta, and my heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims and everyone who has been impacted by this most recent, senseless and incomprehensible act of violence.

Regardless of the motives, which remain under investigation, acts of hatred, bigotry and xenophobia stand opposed to everything we value at Deerfield.  I know I speak for Ms. Creagh, Dr. Hills, Mr. Bicknell, and Mr. Kelly when I say that we stand in friendship and support with any member of our community who is the target of hatred or violence, and with all of those in communities throughout the United States—and the world—subject to threats, intimidation, and prejudice.

When we return from spring break, we’d like to partner with you and others so that, as a school, we can remain responsive to national and global events and also to provide space and time for conversation. The challenges of this year—a new academic schedule, the requirement to mask and social distance, limits on gatherings—have sometimes worked against efforts to bring students together, but I know that the Asian Student Alliance has, in the past, led important conversations among students, and we are grateful for those. I also know that there are a number of other faculty and student groups on campus working in parallel to establish permanent structures of civic dialogue, discussion, and education. I hope we can bring those efforts together.

I am very proud of your efforts—and other students’ efforts—to lead these conversations forward, and I’m committed to our continued partnership in fostering an inclusive, engaged school community. Thank you.

I hope that your families are safe and well.

With my best regards,

Dr. Austin