Open Letter From Associated Colleges Presidents

As the presidents of the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley, our four institutions may have very different histories, missions and strengths—but we all share a respect for humanity and a dedication to diversity. This goes to the core of each of our campuses’ values.

Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam all share an abiding commitment to upholding freedom, equality and liberty for each and every citizen. Our campuses are communities where all are welcome.

That is why the news of a recent hate crime perpetrated against a SUNY Potsdam faculty member, containing threats against the individual and family members, is so disturbing to each of us.

Our hearts go out to the professor and the professor’s family, who can count many friends on all four campuses and beyond among their supporters.

After the first hateful message was discovered, President Esterberg wrote in a letter to campus that “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” This message resonates beyond the SUNY Potsdam campus to our college communities as a whole.

This is not just an attack on one of our own – it is also an attack on SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson, SUNY Canton, St. Lawrence, and the communities that we call home. This cowardly act attempts to strike fear into the hearts of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors throughout St. Lawrence County and the North Country. It is no less than an attack on everything we represent as institutions of higher learning.

Now and always, we join together with one voice to say that we will not tolerate racism, homophobia, bigotry or threats of violence. We will not allow these contemptible acts to sow fear and divide our communities.

We stand together, unified in the belief that only through knowledge and understanding can we end hatred and fear.


Anthony G. Collins, President, Clarkson University

Kristin G. Esterberg, President, SUNY Potsdam

William L. Fox, President, St. Lawrence University

Zvi Szafran, President, SUNY Canton