Photo Credit: Nancy Pelosi
Connecticut College appoints alleged antisemite Leslie Wong as interim President.

In March, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron was forced to resign following student protests of her alleged pro-racist and anti-LGBTQ policies. Bergeron said at the time: “The past several weeks have proven particularly challenging, and as president, I fully accept my share of responsibility for the circumstances that have led us to this moment.”

Last week, the Liberal Arts College in New London, CT, replaced Bergeron with an alleged antisemite, psychology professor Leslie Wong.


Back in 2018, as president of San Francisco State University (SFSU), Wong, who is of Chinese and Mexican descent, was accused of permitting the exclusion of Jewish student pro-Israel activists from campus. San Francisco State blamed a “self-organized and self-appointed planning committee,” but according to Jewish News of Northern California, a lawsuit alleged that the university administration was complicit. Wong said at the time: “Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone? Gosh, of course not.”

In 2019 the university reversed its anti-Israel policy, and Wong apologized, stating that “Zionists are welcome on our campus.”

We later reported (Faith-Based Groups Demand Investigation of SFSU Professor’s Anti-Zionist Diatribe) that within hours of President Wong’s public apology to Jewish students and affirmation that “Zionists are welcome on our campus,” an SFSU professor shot back with a hateful and discriminatory message targeting Jewish and Zionist students.

The message reads: “I consider the statement below from President Wong, welcoming Zionists to campus, equating Jewishness with Zionism, and giving Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness to be a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, [and] Palestinians…”

That same day, numerous fliers, chalking, and graffiti stating “Zionists Are NOT Welcome” were placed across the SFSU campus, including on an employee bulletin board. A few days later, Professor Abdulhadi further clarified her position on her personal Facebook page, stating, “Zionists are NOT welcomed on our campus.”

Davi Schulman, a Connecticut College undergraduate and co-president of the university Hillel, last week told JTA: “I find it unbelievable that Connecticut College chose to hire an antisemitic interim president right after our previous antisemitic president resigned,” and, “I feel extremely disappointed in the administration’s continued disregard toward students of all identities, and Jewish students in particular. I worry about what the incoming Jewish students will think when they learn about their new president’s history.”

In his announcement to the Conn community, Debo P. Adegbile, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, said, “Les[lie] has deep experience in higher education leadership and a strong understanding of Connecticut College through his Board of Trustees service and committee-related work. As a member of the Board of Trustees since 2019, Les is well known to many in the Conn community. His commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been evident throughout his academic career. Due to his extensive presidential leadership experience and knowledge of Connecticut College, Les is uniquely positioned to assume this important role.”

Wong’s initial message to the Conn community was, “It is such an honor to be named interim president of Connecticut College. Since I joined the Board in 2019, the faculty, staff, students, administrators, and alumni have shown me the resolve, the persistence, and the spirit that are needed for a great college to confront whatever comes before it.”

He can say that again.

Connecticut College response:

Outgoing President Katherine Bergeron has an extensive record as an advocate of DEI issues, programs and people, including creating Conn’s Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion.

And our new interim president, Leslie Wong, also has a demonstrated record as a strong advocate of DEI, which includes his thoughtful work trying to find solutions and mediate the long-standing difficult relationship between Jewish and Arab campus groups at San Francisco State University. Despite these efforts, he was criticized equally by Jewish and Arab groups on campus who each perceived that he favored the other.

To say or imply that President Bergeron and President Wong are anti-LGBTQ, pro-racist and/or anti-Semitic is inaccurate and unfair.

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