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Statement from the Chatham Hall Alumnae Council

Dear Chatham Hall Community Members,
 
As the Chatham Hall Alumnae Council, we care deeply about our fellow alumnae as well as current students. We write to you now to acknowledge the harm that many members of our community have endured at Chatham Hall. Recent accounts on social media detailing acts of racism, homophobia and other types of discrimination committed at Chatham Hall have brought up renewed frustration and sadness among us. This is not in keeping with who we should be as a school or as a community committed to empowering the next generation of leaders. 
The Alumnae Council thanks those of you who shared your stories. You have given our school an opportunity to examine the ways it has failed to foster an environment of true inclusivity, and we are deeply grateful for your courage. As your Alumnae Council, we stand in solidarity with you, and we fully condemn any and all forms of discrimination and oppression you have faced as members of the Chatham Hall community. We pledge to do our part to support Chatham Hall as it takes necessary actions to ensure every community member feels safe and valued. 
 
You have heard from Rector Rachel Connell and the Board of Trustees regarding their action plans to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion. We support the Board and Rector Connell in their plans to take action. We are pleased that, for example, the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group will include alumnae representation. Along with other school constituencies, we plan to take specific actions that relate to our work as an Alumnae Council. We will begin by taking the following steps:

  • Establish a Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on the Alumnae Council. This will be a standing committee and can be made up of both Alumnae Council members as well as alumnae outside the council. This committee will ensure we approach all our work with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion; 
  • Continue to prioritize representation of all marginalized groups, and Black alumnae in particular, on the Alumnae Council to ensure that Alumnae Council membership reflects the alumnae community;
  • Create new pathways to engage international alumnae and alumnae who identify within the LGBTQ+ community, who have been underrepresented, in alumnae community life and leadership; 
  • Revise the Mission and Goals of the Alumnae Council to reflect a commitment to anti-racism and a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  • Participate in annual training on unconscious bias and anti-racism.
We will continue to evaluate our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and will update actions in consultation with the Chatham Hall community. We commit to transparency in communicating our progress and future plans to the wider community. 
 
As members of the Alumnae Council, we want to support you, the members of the Alumnae Association. We are always here to listen and be an avenue of sharing the Chatham Hall of today with our fellow alumnae. We value your experiences, both positive and negative, of your time as a Chatham Hall student. If you have questions, requests, or ideas for making the Alumnae Council and school stronger, please reach out by email at jenniferbamigboye@gmail.com.
 
The diversity of the Chatham Hall community is one of its greatest strengths. We look forward to working with the Chatham Hall community to champion an environment where every student and alumna feels welcome, celebrated and valued.
 
Esto Perpetua,
 
Jennifer Bamigboye '03
Alumnae Council President
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An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.  
800 Chatham Hall Circle | Chatham, VA 24531 | 434.432.2941 | admission@chathamhall.org