June 18, 2020
Dear Parents, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Friends of The Haverford School,

The world is calling out for an end to the systemic racism that has long plagued our communities. Millions have taken to the streets and to social media, have called on their elected representatives and on their community leaders. The passion for change has been inspiring; the questions that have been raised have been unsettling, and uncomfortable, and have caused Haverford to think deeply about racism in our School and our community.  

I am deeply sorry for the hurt and the harm that members of our community, past and present, have endured. As a school that prides itself on developing men of character, we must work harder and do better. 

The dialogues in which the School has engaged, the programming we have created, the professional development we have completed – they are only a start. Addressing our nation’s systemic inequality requires examining our own history; creating an America that provides justice and liberty for all requires listening to experiences of racism that have taken place on our campus and in our homes.

To the Black and Brown members of our community who are experiencing hurt and harm: we stand with you, and we stand for change.

To the full Haverford School community: now is the time for meaningful conversation and sustained action. When we listen and when we engage, we become better, stronger, and brighter – as a community, as a country, and as a world.

We have been working hard since my message to the community on June 1 to translate inspiration into action. In these past two weeks, I have met with alumni of color who have shared their own stories and suggestions to create a stronger Haverford; I have read your social media posts and encouraged our faculty to do the same; I have responded to your emails and phone calls in an effort to more fully understand the pain and anguish our Black and Brown families have experienced. Thank you to those who have called on us to do better. This feedback will fuel our work – and there is much to do. 

In the coming days and weeks, the senior leadership of the School, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Director of Community, the “Commitment to Character” Strategic Plan Task Force, and the Board of Trustees will continue to refine and implement our action plan. Our plan will outline the steps required to create a more just and equitable Haverford, impacting not only the experiences of our students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni, but also creating a ripple effect throughout our communities.

As part of our action plan, we will:
  • Complete a full curriculum review and implement an equitable and inclusive approach that educates our boys about racism, injustice, equity, and equality.
  • Review and supplement classroom and school libraries to ensure diverse texts are available.
  • Revise School handbooks to identify and address policies that may create inequity or promote racial bias.
  • Engage in mandatory professional development through reading various texts, as well as in-house and external trainings regarding teaching Black boys, acknowledging bias, and practicing anti-racism.
  • Amplify the voice of the student-led Diversity Alliance, which will report regularly to the Upper School Dean of Students to enhance the overall student experience.
  • Partner with the Alumni Executive Council to elevate the voices of Black and Brown alumni.
  • Continue to diversify our governing bodies in ways that complement the diversity of our community.
These are initial steps toward a shared future in which every Haverford boy is seen, is heard, is treated fairly, and is loved. As we develop and advance our diversity action plan, it is important that our work reflects the priorities and needs of our Black and Brown families, and that we hear and confront the pain and hurt within our community. To that end, we are collecting experiences of bias and racism at Haverford at equity@haverford.org
As a School, we must walk the path laid out in our core virtues, we must love our brothers, and we must move forward with intention and compassion. You can follow our work at haverford.org/diversecommunity, and we will communicate our progress with you over the months to come. 
John A. Nagl, D.Phil.
Ninth Head of School
Opt out from all Haverford School emails using TrueRemove™
Want to view this online? View online

If you would like to update your contact information,
send a request to communications@haverford.org.
The Haverford School
Subscribe to our email list.