Letter to the Editor

Dear Smith Community, 

 

Tenney House is severely disturbed by the horrible comments made about our Ada Comstock neighbors on social media. This past weekend, several internet strangers posted on Facebook and the Smith Confessional in response to Ada Comstock Scholars’ posts and comments on Facebook. Many of these responses not only attacked Adas personally and generally but were inherently racist, ageist, classist, and ableist. 

Anonymous commenters used social media to isolate a group of people already excluded from the larger Smith community. These cowardly and shameful words are not just sleazy comments, they hurt people. Which is why members of Tenney House, in conversation with some Adas, have committed to responding to these comments. They are not tolerated in our home and will not be tolerated on our campus. 

The role our house played in the events that sparked Facebook comments is being worked through laterally between Tenney House members and Ada residents in 150 Elm. We are working to build a stronger relationship on our corner of Elm Street. 

Through internet escalations and empty opinions, folks that have nothing to do with what’s being discussed do harm by belittling the conflicts. Aggressive comments like those posted on the Confessional undermine attempts to work through issues between people in the community. Calling people in and calling people out is real work; 150 Elm did their part in calling Tenney House in, and now we want to call the Smith community in. 

It is an underchallenged reality that a deep divide exists between Ada Comstock Scholars and traditional students. Tenney House is committed to changing this reality. We already know the ways to do this: we must foster transparent networks through which to communicate, and protect and support one another. By learning from what happened, we are trying to demonstrate the ways we can build community with all of our neighbors. We invite you to do the same.

 

Sincerely, 

The members of Tenney House