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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Letter to the Community

November 6, 2017

Dear Spelman Community,

This weekend began on a heartbreaking note. Through the efforts of the National Action Network Spelhouse Collegiate Chapter last week, we have come to learn that the problem of food insecurity at Spelman might be of a scale that requires the College to explore more robust options than we have previously employed.

In the past, we have made use of contributions from Publix Super Markets, Inc., that allowed us to provide a limited number of emergency meal passes to students. Our students have also benefited from Mimi’s Pantry, a service of the Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute at Clark Atlanta University. Through the work of the NAN Spelhouse Collegiate Chapter, we realize that our current measures are not enough.

More must be done to assure the safety and well-being of students who are experiencing hunger. We are concerned, as well, for the safety and well-being of the students participating in a hunger strike to raise awareness about food insecurity in the Atlanta University Center.

The College is taking further steps to address the problem. Spelman’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Darnita Killian, is leading the examination of the extent of the problem on our campus. While we are evaluating the depth of the problem, I will meet with the Spelman Student Government Association to develop a survey for the community about campus food insecurity and members of the administration are scheduled to meet with Aramark to consider the students’ proposal to transfer portions of their meal plans to classmates in need.

No student should go hungry on our campus. We take this opportunity to thank the members of the NAN Spelhouse Collegiate Chapter for highlighting the scale of a growing problem. We are committed to expediting the development of more solutions.

The weekend brought even more sad news as we learned of the passing of Professor Tamara Madden, a talented painter and lecturer in the Department of Art & Visual Culture. While relatively new to the College, she was an extraordinary artist who enjoyed teaching and especially loved her talented Spelman students that she taught in her drawing classes and the Materials & Concepts courses she developed. We share our heartfelt sympathy with her family, students, faculty and staff colleagues at Spelman.

Sunday, as we know, brought news of yet another senseless assault, this time on dozens of parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. We send our condolences and prayers to the Sutherland community as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

During these times of tragedy and concern, please remember to take care of each other and ourselves, and to appreciate those closest to us as we work together to improve our campus and extended community.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.