Vassar College is committed to working toward a more just, diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive college community where all members feel valued and are fully empowered to claim a place in—and responsibility for—our shared working, living, and learning. The College affirms the inherent value of a diverse campus and curriculum reflective of our lives as members of multiple local and global communities.
—Vassar College Statement of Diversity
To support Vassar’s goals of diversity and inclusion, the college has taken important steps to bolster its commitments through increased personnel, programming, and services. This work is ongoing and areas will be continually reviewed for improvement. The following steps have been completed and others are ongoing or slated to be done in the near-term. Comments, questions, and additional ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Completed Campus Actions
- Convened in the spring of 2016 by the President’s Office, the Campus Diversity Structures committee reviewed and evaluated Vassar College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and structures. Their work culminated in the report, Campus Diversity Structures Committee Recommendations.
- For the 2016-17 academic year, The President’s Office appointed a tenured faculty member to serve as liaison to the president and the senior administration for race and inclusion. The focus of this role is to facilitate ways for many voices—especially student voices—to be heard by the president and the senior administration on matters of diversity, race, inclusion, and belonging at Vassar.
- Responding to the Campus Diversity Structures Committee Recommendations, the President’s Office in fall 2016 formed a new President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion to complement the newly-renamed Committee on Inclusion + Equity (formerly the Committee on Inclusion and Excellence.) This group provides high-level leadership and coordination of diversity and inclusion efforts campus-wide.
- Responding to the Committee on Inclusion + Equity 2015-2016 End-of-Year Report, the faculty chairs and directors of academic departments and programs in March 2017 endorsed a pilot project to ask candidates for all tenure-line positions to submit a diversity statement and for all search committees for tenure-line positions to include an extra-departmental –equity adviser— as part of their search processes.
- Several positions that have been academic-year-only have been increased to full-year, to strengthen planning and collaboration in support of diversity and inclusion. These positions in the Campus Life and Diversity area include the directors of the Jeh Vincent Johnson ALANA Cultural Center, the LGBTQ and Women’s Centers, the Office of Health Education, the coordinator of the Support, Advocacy, & Violence Prevention (SAVP) program, and the Rose and Irving Rachlin Director for Jewish Student Life.
- The college now provides bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention training for all students, through additional resources at orientation and other programming throughout the academic year.
- The college completed a full review and will continue to review its Title IX policies and procedures, to ensure a victim-centered approach aimed at eliminating sexual assault while protecting the rights of all parties involved in formal proceedings.
- Mental health services are key to the well-being of our students. The college has established a Mental Health and Wellness Support Fund to eliminate financial barriers to accessing those services both on and off campus, including resources to cover transportation and co-pay expenses.
- The college filled the position of assistant director of the Counseling Service, added one more counselor position and made permanent the post-doctoral fellow position in order to expand group counseling opportunities and decrease the waiting time for appointments.
- Residential life is an extremely important part of students’ experiences at Vassar. The college hired an additional house advisor, assuring that our house advisor team is able to focus more on supporting students in the houses. This has had implications for other areas of student services, so the Director of Residential Life continues to work with his colleagues to determine how best to allocate these resources. Senior staff also is working with Residential Life staff and with students on other proposals to improve student support, including the creation of additional community spaces for dialogue, study, and events.
- The Board of Trustees continues to follow events on campus closely, and is committed to addressing these issues. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, Bill Plapinger, and other trustees met with students and others to discuss and learn more about community concerns.
- The college contracted with Margolis Healy, a nationally noted professional services firm that specializes in higher education safety and security, to assist in a thorough review of Vassar’s safety and security policies and practices.
- The college filled the position of Director of Safety and Security after a thorough search involving a committee that reflected the diversity of the Vassar College community.
- The college created a Safety and Security Advisory Committee comprised of a cross section of the campus. The committee should be charged with periodically meeting to address a wide range of campus security issues.
- The college revised its policy against discrimination and harassment to include an explicit prohibition of racial profiling and the process by which complaints are to be filed.
- The Safety and Security department in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources, the Dean of the College, and the Safety and Security Advisory Committee, has redoubled its efforts in identifying as diverse a pool of candidates as possible.
View a complete list of the Margolis Healy Recommendations, along with the status of each set of recommended actions, and the full report.