- Students: Naa Abia-Ofosu-Amaah, ’10, Fall 07; Judith Frank, ’10; Patricia Egessa, ’10, Spring 08; Zilin Cui, ’10, Spring 08.
- Faculty: Debbora Battaglia, Fall 07; Lenore Reilly Carlisle, Co-Chair; Sarah Oelker Elizabeth Young, Fall 07; Renee Brodie.
- Staff: Kris Bergbom (Student Affairs), Rebecca Hernandez (Student Financial Services), Catarina Costa-Wofford (Admissions).
- Administrators: Lee Bowie (Dean of the College), Elizabeth Braun (Associate Dean of the College/Students), Gladys Moore (Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life & Director of Diversity and Inclusion).
The responsibilities and authority of this committee, as set out in Faculty Legislation, include: a) issues chosen by the committee from among those brought to it by students, faculty and staff; b) advising the Dean of the College on activities and policies fostering an inclusive community that respects group and individual differences, and that serves the intellectual, educational and social needs of its members; c) advising and overseeing committees addressing all aspects of College life under the jurisdiction of the Dean of the College; d) reviewing, monitoring and proposing College policies to ensure that all practices at Mount Holyoke are unbiased and to provide ongoing anti-bias education throughout the institution. Faculty legislation further stipulates that the MCCL shall create, maintain, and work with permanent subcommittees, task forces, and ad hoc committees such as are necessary to carry out its work; that it shall meet regularly with the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs; and that it shall solicit from the College community suggestions and concerns relevant to the Committee’s charge.
Committee Activities, 2007-2008
Our committee is functioning at full capacity. We have an enthusiastic and committed group of students who regularly attend meetings and have greatly enhanced the full committee’s understanding of issues related to diversity on campus. Likewise, we have a full slate of faculty and staff and have met regularly every other week this year.
The committee continues to focus its efforts on addressing and monitoring progress on the 2005 recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Diverse Community. To that end, our work has been focused in four major ways.
- Pro-active programming: The Committee has had an active funding cycle, providing Inclusiveness Initiative Funding to some twenty-two proposals. Approximately $30,000 was awarded to fund projects and initiatives developed by students, faculty and staff. Examples include the Understanding Labels- Experiencing Diversity program for newly arrived international students; the Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness’ office organizing 30 students, staff and faculty to attend the three day White Privilege Conference in Springfield; and student initiated programming on Native Spirit and the Committee for Native American Heritage Month programs, and the work of MHC’s Students for a Free Tibet.
- Linking our work with the initiatives and work of others: MCCL has played a role in helping groups who are dealing with diversity issues on campus to access resources to support collaborative dialogues and solution-oriented approaches to vexing problems. Examples include working with MHACASA to facilitate a series of dialogues with Public Safety regarding perceived issues of bias; and working with students seeking a productive venue for dialogues related to tensions among Chinese and Tibetan communities on campus. In addition, MCCL has worked closely with the APC on revising the language of the Multicultural Course requirement. We have reached tentative agreement with the APC on language revisions and expect APC to bring a document forward to the faculty at its September meeting. We have also met with individuals in key leadership positions to be updated on diversity work with regard to faculty recruitment and retention, academic support for students to address achievement and opportunity gaps, bias incident reporting and procedures, and multicultural affairs.
- Responding to issues and incidents: MCCL has responded to critical incidents on campus by offering ways to continue needed dialogues and meetings among faculty, staff and students. Examples include working with Tanya Williams, Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs to help facilitate four major student dialogues last fall on issues of race and racism on campus; and assisting students from the Student Coalition on Action in planning a Spring 2008 student-led Alternative Community Breakfast Dialogue on honoring the varieties of work here at Mount Holyoke.
- Building our presence: The DCC report highlights the importance of working toward an improved climate for diversity and inclusion by embedding efforts in all aspects and at all levels of college life. Recognizing its responsibility to oversee these efforts, MCCL has worked to enhance awareness of its role as a clearing house for members of the campus community needing guidance, opportunities for dialogue, and learning. We continue to work to make information easily accessible to all members of the campus community. The MCCL web-subcommittee continued the work of building the Community Updates on Diversity and Inclusiveness website. The sub committee also helped to develop, launch, and integrate with other MHC web based diversity resources, the web pages for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Plans for 2008-2009
The issues identified and goals set forth in the Diversity Report are far-reaching. The report is written with the understanding that a vital campus community is not static, and that new issues will arise and require the determined efforts of the entire campus to addresses them. With this in mind, MCCL hopes to work with other campus offices to conduct a more formal assessment of the climate on campus, both as a way of understanding how the campus community views its progress in addressing long-standing issues and as a way of uncovering newly emerging challenges that will need to be examined and addressed.
A Call for Involvement and Action
The call for new annual updates from departments yielded very few this year, yet it remains a part of the MCCL agenda to find ways to maintain and increase community input to our work and our website as we move further past the initial mandate of the 2005 DCC report. We recognize that excellent work is being done in many corners of campus to answer to the initiatives of the DCC report but because it is often not shared around campus much of the work remains below radar. It is the hope of the committee to continue to assist in broadcasting news about Diversity and Inclusiveness initiatives and ongoing programs around campus. Departments are once again urged to make contributions to the site as one of the primary ways of dispersing information to our resident community and off campus web visitors.
Lenore Reilly Carlisle