Inclusion, Diversity & Equity
The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity supports the college’s belief that diversity in all aspects of the educational environment is necessary for achieving the highest level of academic excellence. Members of an educational community rich in varying perspectives, outlooks and values will be better prepared to deal with complexity and to participate productively in a pluralistic society.
Interim Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity
College Hall 206
Dean of Multicultural Affairs
The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity holds open hours on Friday afternoons. Times are approximate and can change if there are other events taking place; please check our Facebook page often and/or contact Jordan Rios directly for updates.
Katherine Rowe, provost and dean of the faculty, serves as interim vice president for inclusion, diversity and equity while the college searches for a new senior leader in this role. As a teacher, scholar and administrator for more than two decades, she brings to this work long-term commitments to equity, conflict resolution and collaboration among staff, faculty and students. Among her first professional development experiences as an academic, in 1995, was taking “Ombuds 101: an introduction to dispute handling in organizations,” a course offered by the Ombudsman Association of America.
L’Tanya Richmond, the dean of multicultural affairs, is devoted to programs and policies that maximize student opportunities for personal development and academic excellence. She endeavors to implement and manage the diversity goals of the college, especially as they relate to the co-curricular education of undergraduate students of color. She is available to meet regularly and individually with students to support their retention and overall well-being. While communicating by email is great, it's no substitute for talking face-to-face. Dean Richmond is available on a walk-in basis and daily by appointment. She also holds open hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Amy Hunter is Smith’s Title IX coordinator and institutional equity officer. Amy comes to Smith with a background in civil rights and education law. Amy most recently served as interim director of human resources at Hampshire College as well as serving as one of the college’s deputy Title IX coordinators. Before moving to private practice, where her work focused on employment and student law in the school, college and university settings, Amy spent the bulk of her legal career as a senior attorney at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) where she provided legal counsel in the evaluation, investigation and resolution of discrimination complaints involving educational institutions.
Smith College fosters free access to knowledge, its unfettered discovery and communication through research and education, and the creation and sustenance of a community of scholars, students and staff. The Smith community can realize these goals only in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The college aspires to create and maintain an educational, working and living environment that is respectful of differences and free from harassing behavior.
To foster trust and respect in a diverse community, Smith College encourages community members to behave in ways that affirm respect for each other. Within an academic institution, teaching, research and learning are subject to the protections described in the college's policy on academic freedom. Actions or words used in the context of the academic curriculum and teaching environments that serve legitimate and reasonable educational purposes will not be evaluated as violating policies that bar certain behaviors, sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.
In a diverse community, disagreements and conflicts, with varying degrees of seriousness, are inevitable. The college strongly encourages informal resolution of disputes and conflicts. Many issues are best resolved by direct communication between the individuals involved, sometimes with the help of a third party. Community members are expected to engage in good faith attempts to mediate their differences. To that end, all members of the Smith community are encouraged to use the deans, academic department chairs, supervisors and the staff members listed on this site to discuss concerns and seek resolution to differences.
Letters to the Community
A Message to New Students
Congratulations on your acceptance to Smith College. Few things in your life will have such a marked influence as your college experience, and Smith is an outstanding institution at which to complete your education.
At Smith, we will challenge you to stretch beyond your present capacities and become an active partner in your education. You will be encouraged to question, think, write, plan, discuss and present. You will also be given opportunities to develop your leadership potential, to explore the world beyond the classroom and the campus through study abroad, and to prepare for your career and your future responsibilities through internships and service. Your personal and academic growth are at the center of this institution.
Committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect, Smith provides an opportunity for women to live and study among other races and cultures. To be successful in a diverse environment, students can expect support from several administrative and academic departments, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), where our mission is to provide a critical support structure that will enrich the overall experience of students of color at Smith. The key to your success is to take advantage of all that Smith has to offer. Given the variety of activities on campus, you are certain to find one or more that you will enjoy. I challenge you to get involved from the start to ensure that your academic year begins on a positive note.
Your undergraduate experience at Smith College can be just the beginning of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding time of your life. To learn more, contact me at 413-585-4940 any time you have questions.
Director of Multicultural Affairs
Dear Smithie Families,
I am delighted that your daughter will be attending Smith College. In acknowledgement of the ongoing guidance you will be offering her, I am happy to acquaint you with some of the numerous academic and cultural programs available at Smith.
Smith College, a recognized leader in liberal arts education for women, is a vibrant community populated with intriguing people from a variety of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Smith has made an ongoing commitment to cultural diversity, offering students innumerable opportunities to meet a new community of scholars and friends. At Smith, your daughter will encounter new people with whom to share ideas in many ways.
Smith is truly a wonderful place. Yet, as on most predominantly white campuses, students from diverse backgrounds face challenges. The college is steadfast in its efforts to maintain a community that embraces diversity. It continually sponsors educational and social events with this goal in mind. Beginning with its orientation programs, notably the Bridge program, students of color are afforded numerous opportunities to become an integral part of the Smith community. Once enrolled at Smith, most students of color find a niche in both Unity House and Mwangi Cultural Center, which serve as forums for discussing ideas about diversity and multiculturalism. They are also the venues for many multicultural events throughout the year, ranging from "A Celebration of Unity" to Big Sibling/Little Sibling teas.
By choosing Smith, your daughter will receive an excellent liberal arts education on a campus that values academic excellence and diversity. As such, the Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a holistic support to students of color: monitoring their progress, advising student organizations, promoting positive community relations and representing their concerns. I look forward to meeting and getting to know your daughter, and I invite you to contact me if I can be of assistance. Your comments and feedback are welcome.
Director of Multicultural Affairs
Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Update
April 27, 2016
Creating an inclusive campus requires sustained attention and intentional action from the Smith community — students, staff and faculty. At the beginning of this semester, President McCartney and I wrote to the Smith community about actions that we would undertake to invest in inclusion at Smith. As we close the academic year, I am writing to document our progress on these commitments and next steps.
Supporting students of color: The Office of Multicultural Affairs is closing in on the selection of an assistant director and anticipates filling this new position in early summer. Through this position, we will provide increased support to our Unity organizations and present additional inclusive programming in collaboration with others in our community.
Holding listening sessions: In partnership with the Student Government Association and House Presidents Association, President McCartney and I began hosting listening sessions for students, facilitated by Director of Multicultural Affairs L’Tanya Richmond. Students discussed barriers to inclusion at Smith and shared their ideas about how to break these barriers down. Going forward, we will continue to solicit student input by holding more listening sessions and by partnering with groups like the Chief Diversity Officer’s Student Advisory Board.
Diversifying the college: The class of 2019 is the most diverse in Smith’s history. We have had an increase of more than 17 percent in applications for admission to Smith during the last two years. Admissions anticipates that the incoming class of 2020 will also be notably diverse. With respect to staff, we are applying best practices to address implicit bias in staff hiring. And with respect to faculty hiring, department chairs and directors are similarly committed to best practices that ensure diverse applicant pools. As a result, our faculty searches continue to recruit exceptional scholar-teachers from richly diverse backgrounds — each of whom brings a track record of promoting success for students who are underrepresented in their disciplines.
Advancing inclusion: Our faculty recently devoted time during two faculty meetings to discussing ways to make our classrooms more inclusive. Next year, the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning will focus its programming on creating inclusive classrooms. The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity has also conducted training on creating inclusive workplaces for various administrative departments; our goal is to reach all departments within the next academic year.
Campus climate survey: Earlier this term, we held focus groups to surface issues that will ensure that our Pathways Campus Climate Survey, to be launched next fall, reflects the experiences of our community. Through Pathways, we will seek the voices of all members of the Smith community and use those findings to take tangible actions to improve the college.
Addressing mental health and wellness: In partnership with Dean of Students Julie Ohotnicky, I have assembled a task force to examine our mental health resources and provide recommendations on improving them. The task force includes representatives from the Counseling Center, institutional research, wellness education and the psychology faculty. We will be consulting with the SGA’s Committee on Health and Mental Health Services to ensure students’ experiences are reflected in our recommendations. We expect to complete our assessment in the fall.
Hosting thought leaders: Through the Presidential Colloquium series, visiting speakers such as Imani Perry, danah boyd, and Lawrence Lessig have brought their unique perspectives on what it means to have an inclusive society. Further, the Science Center Committee on Diversity hosted Evelynn Hammonds, who engaged the Smith community in a discussion titled “Being Color Brave Not Color Blind: Creating an Inclusive Academy.” Students have also shown leadership by inviting and hosting powerful speakers like Cornel West and Viola Davis. At the request of the Black Student Alliance, President McCartney has invited the historian and literary critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to deliver a Presidential Colloquium next academic year.
Honoring our pioneers: On May 6, 2016, in the company of our board of trustees, we will honor our pioneering alumnae Salome Amelia Machado (class of 1883), Angel DeCora (class of 1896), Otelia Cromwell (class of 1900), Tei Ninomiya (class of 1910) and Sabiha Yassin Hashimy (class of 1937) who opened doors at Smith for students of color and international students, by naming our apartments in the new Friedman Complex after them. Acknowledging their important place in Smith’s history affirms the kind of community we aspire to be today and in the future.
As President McCartney wrote in her column in the Spring 2016 Smith Alumnae Quarterly, “This generation [of students] is raising real and important issues about inequities on our campuses and in society at large.” She and I realize that we need more than a statement of values about the importance of inclusion — we need sustained attention. Despite the advances outlined in this letter, much work remains, on our campus and beyond. I am fortunate to have so many allies, partners, and colleagues who believe in Smith and have contributed their time and expertise to our efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable community. Going forward, President McCartney and I will continue to make this work a priority. We hope we can count on your partnership.
Dwight K Hamilton
Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity