Of The Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The following high-level goals will guide University activities across all divisions. They have specific initiatives outlined later in this document, all of which are focused on supporting one or more of the following six goals:
I. Foundational DEI Structure
Colgate’s efforts to become a more equitable and inclusive community must be reframed, once and for all, as part of the ongoing work of the University. This will require identified resources in terms of funding and staffing, and regular reports to the campus and communication to external constituencies on the DEI work in which the University is engaged. It will also require that every division of the University be held accountable for moving these efforts forward.
II. Equity in the Student Experience
Given the remarkable potential of every student admitted to Colgate, the University must ensure that every student has equal access to the opportunities afforded on this campus. This includes every academic track, but also the various forms of university housing and dining, and access to desirable spaces for social hosting. Where some students demonstrably partake of campus benefits and opportunities at a lower rate than others, the University must understand why, and remove any barriers that exist. Inequitable access undermines the University’s goals of academic excellence and its sense of shared community.
III. Diversification of Faculty and Staff
Colgate continues to struggle to recruit a diverse faculty and staff. This has a number of negative effects on the life of the campus. A lack of diversity in the University’s employees can undermine students’ sense that Colgate is a welcoming place for those from historically underrepresented groups. It can also hinder efforts to retain employees from these backgrounds. To the extent that students may more frequently turn to faculty and staff with whom they identify for support, this can also lead to an inequitable (and often unrecognized) load of labor on those faculty and staff. Patterns of underutilization suggest that Colgate has work to do in analyzing each step of our search processes. Is Colgate not casting a wide enough net in its efforts to draw the strongest possible candidates to campus? Are evaluation practices explicitly designed to exclude bias? Is there a pattern to be addressed when offers of employment are turned down by desirable candidates? What oversight is required to ensure searches are addressing underutilization?
IV. Retention and Development of Diverse Faculty and Staff
It is not enough for the University to recruit a diverse faculty and staff. If the University’s efforts to diversify its workforce depend upon bringing in employees from historically underrepresented groups for short periods of time, numbers might improve, but this will not have achieved the goal of building a diverse and inclusive community. Colgate must do better in providing pathways for members of underrepresented groups (most notably, faculty and staff of color).
V. Campus Culture
What we say we are matters. In addition to ensuring that the University’s policies are equitable through regular review, University communications, both internal and external, should reflect our commitment to inclusion and equity. Every employee should be well prepared for supporting the University’s mission of living and learning in a diverse community and should understand this as crucial for their work at Colgate.
To the extent that the challenges of living in a diverse community will continue to be keenly felt by members of our campus community, Colgate must do a better job of responding with commitment and compassion when failures of equity and inclusion do harm to community members. This will require better support for those employees who already play this role, but also an exploration of new models that can undermine the current sense often expressed that the University is incapable of responding well to such harms. Students, faculty, and staff must also have access to avenues that allow them to express their concerns without fear of retaliation or loss of control.