Toward Inclusion, Equity & Diversity
December 8, 2015
Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:
In recent weeks, students across the country have been demonstrating for greater diversity in higher education as well as for concrete steps to promote inclusion and equity on campuses. I am following this movement closely, especially on our campus, where I have heard the frustration and anger of many concerned students. In speaking up and speaking out, these students exemplify the best of Smith. Smithies have a long and proud history of leading movements that change the course of history for the better.
I care deeply about our students. I have been moved by the experiences of those who have encountered racism and/or exclusion on our campus. We must ensure that all members of our community know that they are a treasured part of Smith; no goal is more important to me. As others have noted, inclusion is recognizing and valuing the dignity and worth of all people. It is a core value of Smith College.
All members of the faculty, staff and administration are here for a single purpose—to provide Smith students with the best education a liberal arts college can offer. To ensure that Smith makes good on its promise of an inclusive, equitable and diverse campus, we need the best thinking of everyone in our community. We must recommit ourselves to making better and faster progress.
Specifically, we will:
- organize listening events, formal and informal, early in the spring semester, with the support of Chief Diversity Officer Dwight Hamilton;
- recruit, retain and support more students, staff and faculty of color;
- promote a climate of full inclusion in our classrooms, houses and workplace;
- provide sustained education on living, learning and working in an intercultural context; and
- develop additional programming based on ideas that emerge from members of our community.
Smith is an activist campus, which is a point of pride for all members of this community, including alumnae. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I recognize that the work we are called to do requires additional outreach. Dean of the College Donna Lisker, Dean of the Faculty Katherine Rowe, Dwight Hamilton and I are working on a plan. I look forward to working with every member of the Smith community to answer the call our students have voiced.