Black faculty member resigns, writes letter to the editor

December 10, 1987

Black faculty member resigns, writes letter to the editor

Johnnella E. Butler, Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies and the first black woman to receive tenure at Smith College, explained her reasons for leaving Smith in a Sophian letter to the editor. Butler said that the College had not remained true to the pluralistic, inclusive vision conceived under President Conway with support from faculty and students. Instead, Butler claimed, “the chosen direction has been to attempt to diminish the significance of problems here at Smith” and to continue marginalizing people of color. Her resignation was shortly followed by the resignation of Gregory Vaughn, assistant director of admissions for minority concerns. Alice Smith, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies and assistant to the dean for minority affairs, also expressed deep dissatisfaction with the treatment of people of color on campus and later on announced plans to leave at the end of the school year.

Professor Butler’s letter to the editor can be found here.

A New York Times article on the resignations can be found here.

[Last updated on October 14, 2018]