Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Colgate

The celebration of Colgate’s Bicentennial year saw the University adopt, first, a Vision Statement that defined a number of foundational pillars of the University. These include the intellectual strength and rigor of the academic program, the enrollment of outstanding students, and the ongoing development of a strong sense of community marked by affection, ritual, and pride.

Through the work of numerous governance committees, both on the campus and within the Board of Trustees, the University, next, adopted a long-term plan for its future, The Third-Century Plan (the “Plan”). Initiatives identified within the Plan encompass the entire University, and envision new academic programs, an enhanced residential structure, new admissions and financial aid strategies, stronger support of the faculty, the achievement of gains in athletics excellence, enhancements to the physical campus and the decrease in the burdens its places on the environment, and, crucially, a plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This document presents a framework for moving the work of creating an inclusive campus forward, and also for engaging the Colgate community in this effort in the years ahead.  Colgate’s vision for its next century makes clear that improved diversity, equity, and inclusion are absolutely necessary if the University is to achieve its ambitions.  As noted in The Vision Statement:

A great institution is a diverse institution. It is one that brings students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnicities, and religions to campus. There are myriad reasons for this to be a priority, not least of which is our obligation to the broader American community in which we have been permitted to prosper. But beyond any responsibilities we might feel to the commonweal, or principles by which we might be motivated, is the simple acknowledgment that an education today is a poor thing if it does not include firsthand engagement with a wide range of perspectives and experiences. We simply cannot claim to be a first-tier institution providing a first-tier education to our students if we do not expose them to a rich diversity of perspectives and backgrounds in their educational and social experiences.

Colgate University's Third Century: A Vision Statement Page 8

As Colgate transitioned from defining a vision for this century to the process of planning for it, the Plan reflected this aspect of the vision:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are absolutely necessary if Colgate is to achieve its third-century ambitions. A Colgate education must include firsthand engagement with a wide range of perspectives and experiences. Students must be exposed to a rich diversity of perspectives and backgrounds in their educational and social experiences in order to be prepared to engage the world beyond college. The faculty, staff, and students must reflect the diversity of the world, and this diversity must be supported through equity and inclusion in all of Colgate’s programs and policies.

This document identifies six high-level goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and provides a list of specific initiatives aimed at moving Colgate toward these goals, with assigned departments and a timeline for implementation. They are, thus, part of the emerging planning structure for Colgate as set forth in The Third-Century Plan.

While the initiatives provided here look forward over the next few years of Colgate’s development, this planning document should not be considered exhaustive; as initiatives are completed, new efforts will be identified to continue to move this work forward. As with all the planning efforts for the University’s third century, the work of becoming more equitable and inclusive must be embedded in the planning structures that move the institution forward. The DEI project must be, always, part of the long-term planning for the university. This work must be part of an overall plan that encompasses academic excellence, financial health, and a sustainable foundation for the future. Too many institutions consider DEI work outside of such a planning structure, and the result in such cases is a tragic and repeated erasure of progress. The impact of the DEI initiatives called for here, and those that will be identified in the years ahead, must be regularly evaluated and assessed to ensure that they move Colgate towards all of its goals.

To the extent that inclusion and equity are understood as foundational requirements for realizing Colgate’s mission, this work must be understood as part of the ongoing work of the University and of all of its ambitions and aspirations for the future.

Please send feedback to Christopher Wells, vice president for administration, at cwells@colgate.edu