Guidelines for Testimonials

In Spring 2012, the everyday micro-aggressions and institutional racism experienced by many low-income/working class, international, immigrant, queer and students of color, escalated and was made public on Smith campus. Last semester, a letter by Smith alum Anne Spurzem ’84, published in The Sophian, directly insulted queer, international, first-generation, working class, and students of color and in doing so, insulted Smith as an institution. Later in the Spring semester, two anonymous hate notes were received by a student. These incidents are part of an ongoing history of hostility and violence against marginalized students at Smith. The organizing of different student groups on campus represents the equally long history of student activism and resistance to racism, classism, homophobia, etc. throughout Smith’s institutional history.

In order to understand and document the different perspectives regarding what happened last semester, we hope you will share with us your stories and testimonials as Smith students, staff, faculty and/or alumnae, and send them to wvarchivesproject@gmail.com in a word document, pdf file, typed in the email, or video and/or audio recording. The deadline to submit your stories/testimonials is December 15, 2012. The following are questions to consider as you write your story/testimonial:

  • To the best of your memory, describe what happened and what your involvement was during Spring 2012. What were the things you directly experienced and what were the things you heard?

  • Study abroad students: If you were studying abroad, what did it mean to be away when all of the different events happened on campus? How were you getting your news and updates about the campus climate and your peers?

  • First years, new staff and faculty: Had you heard about the incidents of last semester before arriving on campus? If so, how did this affect your feelings about coming to Smith? Have returning students talked to you about the incidents of last semester since you arrived on campus? If so, what was their attitude towards the topic?

  • Reflection: What are your thoughts, feelings, concerns, about what happened? What were your thoughts and feelings about how the hate crimes were handled by the Smith community? What would have been your responses?

  • How did these series of events (Spring 2012) shape, influence and/or change your experience at Smith?

  • From your experiences, what will make Smith College a more inclusive and safer space?


Confidentiality: Please keep in mind that any information you send to us will be documented in the Smith College Archives to build our institutional memory. If you do feel comfortable sharing your identity, please include the following information [if applicable and if you feel comfortable sharing this information]: Name, class year, gender, race, ethnicity, and whether or not you are a first generation college student. If, for any reason, you feel uncomfortable sharing your identity but still want to be a part of this project, please say so in your email so that any published information will not contain your name.