A wall of windows

Anti-Racism Action Plan

Updated: June 7, 2023

Mount Holyoke College is committed to becoming an anti-racist community. We launched a formal Anti-racism Action Plan in August 2020 and have been providing regular updates on our progress. Here we share the commitments we’ve made, commitments realized and other relevant information and resources.

“Let justice motivate our every action as each of us strives to be better, to do more on our individual journeys toward becoming anti-racist, and as we commit our every effort to equity and to enduring and systemic change at Mount Holyoke and beyond.” – President Sonya Stephens, August 2020, at the launch of the College’s Anti-racism Action Plan

MHC Campus Photo with MHC Logo watermarked over it.

The College worked through the summer of 2020 to develop an action plan to begin the vital work building an anti-racist Mount Holyoke.

Aerial view of MHC with MHC logo watermarked over it.

A December 2020 progress report on the anti-racism action plan made during the fall semester.

MHC campus at dusk, view from the gate with a lit lantern.

A discussion of the actions Mount Holyoke College will take to confront and address racism and to demonstrate that Black lives matter.

Trees on Mount Holyoke College campus, leaves starting to change from green to orange and red.

Information and commitments addressing all forms of oppression in our community.

This week, the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center announced the launch of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance. Mount Holyoke College is an inaugural member.

Mount Holyoke College is an inaugural member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance.

Map of Massachusetts indicating where indigenous tribes lived

The College has established a land acknowledgement policy that seeks to honor the original caretakers of this land situated in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Our progress and commitments realized

As commitments made in Mount Holyoke’s Anti-racism Action Plan are realized, progress updates will be reflected here.

Commitment: Establish a new faculty grants program

The goal of this $50,000 program will be to inform teaching, learning and research practices, and to build an academic culture that seeks to understand, analyze and challenge systems of oppression.

2021 Updates

As of spring 2021, five grants have been awarded, totaling $10,810 of the available $50,000. The grants continue to focus on critical initiatives including expanding the curriculum, supporting the development of BIPOC scholars and creating a more just and inclusive Mount Holyoke for BIPOC community members.

The offices of the Dean of Faculty and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion seek proposals from faculty members for the College’s new Racial Equity Research and Action (RERA) Grants program. Applications can be submitted on a rolling basis and are reviewed monthly. Proposals are sought for research, course development and creative projects in any discipline or subject area that uses race and racial equity as the center of analysis and that promises to enrich the academic curriculum and/or education of the campus community.

Racial Equity Research and Action (RERA) grants committee members:

  • Kate Ballantine, Environmental Studies, Faculty Grants Committee
  • Wei Chen, Chemistry, Faculty Equity in Hiring Committee 
  • Gabriel Hall, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • John Tawa, Psychology, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee

May 2023 Updates

In 2020, the College made a commitment to devote $50,000 toward research and scholarship focused on racial equity under the purview of the dean of the faculty. To date, nine Racial Equity Research and Action (RERA) grants have been awarded for a total of $19,390. Four more grants are slated to be awarded by the end of the year, bringing the total to 13 grants and $32,861. Grants have ranged across disciplines, including a grant for the “Concourse” dance collaboration by Shakia Barron and Barbie Diewald, an “H-STEM” course (Humans in STEM) taught by Jon Ashby (chemistry) and Michelle Markley (geology and geography) that focuses on equity and inclusion, and research on students’ understanding of racism by John Tawa (psychology).

Commitment: Invest in efforts to hire faculty who are Black, Indigenous or people of color 

2021 Updates

The College has renewed or initiated partnerships with several key organizations, both to enhance faculty development and to support efforts to recruit and retain Black, Indigenous or people of color among our faculty, as positions become available. These organizations include the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program, the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, and the Consortium for Faculty Diversity.

As part of the Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, the leaders of Mount Holyoke participated in sessions led by the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center. Leaders who participated in these sessions through January 2022 include the College cabinet, senior leadership team, and other manager and director-level leaders across campus. Session topics included the following:

  • Fostering and Sustaining Inclusive Classroom for Students of Color
  • Confronting Explicit Acts of Racism and Racial Violence on Campus
  • Recovering from COVID-19 Racial Inequities
  • Teaching the Truth About Slavery and America’s Racial History
  • Strategically Hiring Faculty of Color
  • Supporting and Retaining Faculty of Color
  • Recruiting and Strategically Diversifying Staff at All Levels
  • Creating Equitable Pathways to Leadership Roles for Employees of Color

The College has sought to continue to recruit BIPOC faculty by working in partnership with the Southern Regional Education Board. Associate Dean of the Faculty, Liz Markovits and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Kijua Sanders-McMurtry virtually attended the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring in March of 2021 to participate in recruiting for open faculty positions. The College has also engaged in ongoing efforts to recruit BIPOC post-doctoral scholars through our partnership with the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD). Two new BIPOC post-doc fellows will begin this fall. The faculty affirmative action committee is now recalibrated as the faculty diversity in hiring committee. This group has been revising guidelines and search procedures to communicate widely with search committees a set of standards needed to build a diverse and robust candidate pool in an effort to recruit more BIPOC faculty. 

Under the leadership of Jared Schwarzer and Barbara Rotundo, the College's Multicultural College Life Committee has been recalibrated and is now the DEI Advisory Committee with a restructured membership and charge that was voted into faculty legislation in May of 2021. This critical effort will ensure that the vibrancy of this important faculty led committee that has been in existence through multiple iterations continues to advance causes of equity, justice and inclusion throughout the campus community.

The Department of Human Resources has launched a new applicant tracking system that will improve all efforts to build diverse talent pools and specifically improve the process of recruiting BIPOC faculty and staff.

May 2023 Updates

  • The Provost’s Office worked this year to deepen required search committee training, with a focus on inclusive excellence and equity. This includes pre-search, asynchronous training materials; kick-off workshops for search committees; regular check-ins throughout the search process with feedback regarding composition of candidate pools and post-search reporting. The Provost’s Office also hosted a talk by Marybeth Gasman, “Doing the Right Thing: How Colleges and Universities Can Undo Systemic Racism in Faculty Hiring,” at BOOM!
  • Our incoming faculty cohort is incredibly accomplished and one of our most diverse. We recruited a historian of Native American history to join the history department; three other faculty are part of a cluster hire in Africana studies, joining the departments of history, English and critical race and political economy. Our new faculty also includes a nationally recognized leader in Intergroup Dialogue, a computer scientist specializing in computational biology and robotics, an economist specializing in women and development in Ghana, an early music scholar, a geographer focused on climate change in Ghana, a jazz theorist and a psychologist studying prejudice and intergroup relations.
  • We continued recruitment efforts at the Southern Regional Education Board conference (October 2022).
  • The College has continued its partnership with the Consortium for Faculty Diversity with five CFD fellows in residence 2022–2023, one who will join the tenure track faculty in the fall as an assistant professor of English.
  • The Provost’s Office has coordinated a successful BIPOC Faculty Mentoring Group for the past two years.
  • Athletics applied for and received the DIII NCAA Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant. This is a two-year position that has to be awarded to a woman and/or ethnic minority. This position is to promote our student-athletes and the programming of our department. This position will be critical in organizing and promoting our initiatives.
  • The College is currently conducting a compensation study to make sure that we are compensating our faculty and staff fairly and equitably.
  • College Health Services prioritized recruitment of diverse staff when positions opened:
  • The College Health Services director served on the Disability Cluster Search Committee, which uniquely created intentional recruitment of diverse staff.
  • Residential Life and Orientation updated their selection process for new candidates to ensure the process was equitable and reduced biased.

Commitment: Expand diversity education and curricula

Expand diversity education and curricula that directly challenge anti-Blackness and white supremacy. The Common Read will be dedicated to the interrogation of racism for the foreseeable future.

2021 Updates

  • The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward was the Common Read for 2021. This text is a New York Times bestselling anthology of essays and poems and poems on race in America. It consists of three parts -- Part I: Legacy, Part II; Reckoning, Part III: Jubilee--along with an introductory essay by Jesmyn Ward. The book’s title alludes to James Baldwin’s 1963 book The Fire Next Time.
  • The 1619 Project was the Common Read for 2020: Mount Holyoke College’s Common Read this year is prose essays from The New York Times Magazine’s ongoing initiative. A robust set of programs focused on cultivating an anti-racist community and supporting community members who engaged in these readings was offered throughout the year with specific emphasis on voting enfranchisement, understanding the persistence of racial inequities, etc. 
  • All members of the Mount Holyoke community have access to a wide array of ongoing programs, learning opportunities and events designed to further our collective goal of becoming an anti-racist Mount Holyoke. Specific highlights have included events focused on Latinx Heritage, Indigenous Heritage, LGBTQ+ History, Trans Awareness Month and focused efforts on educating the community around challenging ableism. The work is intersectional and focused.
  • The College held its second annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Week of Racial Justice and Reconciliation from January 18-28 with a series of events including a two-day teach in on Fighting Anti-Semitism with keynote speakers, Rabbi Sandra Lawson and Rabbi Josh Lesser, an affinity-based dialogue for Jewish community members led by Rabby Hilly Haber ‘10, a womanist sermon led by Chaplain Q. Hailey ‘12 and a public keynote lecture with esteemed racial justice scholar, Jelani Cobb. 
  • The College cabinet is participating in ongoing reading, reflections and training sessions led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and with the Liberal Arts Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). These sessions are designed to challenge anti-Blackness and use anti-racist frameworks to inform the development of future policies and practices at the College. 
  • BOOM! Building On Our Momentum: Community Day. The fifth annual BOOM! learning conference was held on March 23, 2021. The keynote speaker for this year’s conference was Clint Smith, which can be viewed here: How the word is passed. Another featured plenary session was a focused panel on the book, Mutual Aid by Dean Spade. This very special panel featured MHC alum, Prentis Hemphill ‘04, Dean Spade, Taylor Alxndr and was moderated by Jina Kim. The discussion focused on the long histories of BIPOC, queer and trans communities that have engaged in mutual aid. It can be viewed here: Mutual Aid with Prentis Hemphill ‘04, Taylor Alxndr, Dean Spade and Jina Kim
  • A number of new educational opportunities were offered including a course that directly addressed racism and the long history of violence that culminated in resistance movements throughout 2020, a course co-taught by Vice Presidents Dorothy Mosby and Kijua Sanders-McMurtry was introduced to first-year international students entitled: COLL-208-01 Histories, Memories, & Legacies: The Social Justice Protests of 2020. The primary course texts were Caste: The Origin of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson and Stamped from the Beginning: The History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi which these two leaders led a talk on in dialogue with Digital and Special Collections Archivist, Micha Broadnax in January 2021
  • With the rise of anti-Asian hate, the College has held the following events and amplified the voices of our AAPI community. This has included events such as “In Solidarity: A Vigil for those targeted by Anti-Asian and Gender Based Violence” and ”Fighting Anti-Asian Hate: A Dialogue on Coalition Building and Community Care with Amer Ahmed and Lydia X.Z. Brown facilitated by Gabe Hall.” The following communications were shared with the community: “Fighting Anti-Asian Hate: Coalition Building and Community Care,”The rise of COVID-19 and anti-Asian bias,” and “No more gaslighting anti-Asian hate.”
  • The College held a number of events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a specific anti-racist lens highlighting specific programming support and healing circles for BIPOC community members analyzing the long legacies of violence towards Black and Indigenous communities rooted in gender-based oppression. A specific event featured the work of A Long Walk Home, a non-profit organization that focuses on girls and women with a focused lens on fighting racial inequities and gender based violence collectively.
  • The Divisions of Business and Finance, LITS, the Art Museum Advisory Board, the Counseling and Psychological Services Team have all been engaged in anti-racism training led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion throughout the year.
  • Dining and Facilities Management have participated in extensive Title IX training throughout the year.

May 2023 Updates

  • The College has maintained its membership with the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA) which involved consistent training for faculty and staff between 2021–2022. There were over 75 faculty and staff who participated in sessions which included the following:
    • Centering Racial Equity in Your Student Success Agenda.
    • Reducing Implicit Bias in The Search and Hiring Process.
    • Dismantling Persistent Racial Equity Problems in Stem.
    • Managing and Resolving Racial Tensions in the Workplace.
  • The College participated in the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Institute hosted by the American Associations of Colleges of Universities (AACU) in June of 2022 with a team of 7 faculty and staff. As part of the ongoing professional development, four members of the team - Liz Markovits, Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Politics and Raghu Raghavan, Director of Sustainability. Lauren Gaia, Chief of Staff and Strategic Communications, and Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion participated in an immersive learning Civil Rights Tour to Atlanta, Georgia and Selma, Alabama.
  • The College has hosted a significant number of events related to “Braiding Sweetgrass,” our ’22–’23 Common Read, including the opening event with author and professor Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, the grand opening of the Zowie Banteah Cultural Center
  • , the DEI “Brown Bag Series: Food Sovereignty and Native Ways of Knowing — Reflection on ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’” with Rachel Beth Sayet, the MHC Art Museum’s “Considering Indigeneity” and several sessions at the annual Building On Our Momentum (BOOM!): Community Day in March of 2023. Sessions included “Voices from the Dawnland: Indigenous Writers Speak” and “Ceremonial Herbs of Native America: Sacred Plants.”
  • The College has selected “Disability Visibility” as its ’23–’24 Common Read, which will include an opening event with the text’s editor Alice Wong, a disabled activist, writer, editor, media maker and consultant.
  • The College has established two teach-ins, the teach-in on antisemitism held each January as part of the Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King Series on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Day teach-in, which happens each October on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
  • The President’s Office appointed Dr. Kristie Ford a Presidential Fellow, and she is leading initiatives related to Intergroup Dialogue across campus, including an assessment of current IGD programming for students and a faculty and staff development session in January of 2023. Dr. Ford will join the faculty permanently as a full professor on July 1, 2023.
  • Molly Keehn and Latrina Denson have continued to co-instruct 215-RR Intergroup Dialogue, Race and Racism in the U.S. and Mount Holyoke and 235-RR Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation each semester.
  • Two program coordinators for community and belonging participated in Intergroup Dialogue class and facilitation training in the summer of 2022 with Anna Yankley.
  • Latrina Denson, associate dean of students, community and belonging, was accepted and participated in the AABHE LMI (Leadership Mentoring Institute) summer 2023.
  • The graduate assistant for community and belonging audited the Intergroup Dialogue facilitation class CUSP 235-RR.
  • Members of the Division of Student Life participated in Kristie Ford’s Intergroup Dialogue training January 2023.
  • A College health services nurse practitioner participated in IGD training in January 2023.
  • In partnership with the Five Colleges Consortium, and with the support of the Mellon Foundation, the College has worked to expand offerings in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS).
  • Faculty from Africana Studies, Critical Studies and Latino/a Studies have joined in the new Department of Critical Race and Political Economy, launched in spring 2023. The first cohort of majors in the department will graduate in 2024.
  • Mount Holyoke is part of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 Learning community, “A Comprehensive Toward Achievement-Oriented Thinking and Practices,” fall 2020–2028 ($529,500). This provides the College with the opportunity to reimagine our STEM education, moving from a deficit-orientation to a strength-based curriculum, a key component of an anti-racist approach in higher education.
  • The Teaching & Learning Initiative has continued to provide training and consultations through an anti-racist lens. This year’s sessions include: “Dismantling Deficit Thinking in Library Instruction”; “Equity and Excellence: Challenges and Opportunities for African Americans” with Dr. Terrence Blackman, “Appreciative Advising”; and a keynote and workshop with Dr. Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis titled “The New College Classroom.”
  • College health services co-sponsored with community and belonging Dr. Yolanda Lenzy’s dermatology presentation on skin and hair care for students of color in February 2022.
  • College health services, in collaboration with Be Well, hosted two TGNC workshops: “Safer Binding” and “Trans Tape” in spring of 2023.
  • LITS has been partnering with Tech Foundry, a local organization with a mission to support the region’s growing need for a qualified technology workforce and elevate underrepresented groups into sustainable careers in IT through advocacy, hosting internships and temporary assignments.
  • In celebration of the achievements of our alums and to highlight the many ways Mount Holyoke prepares its graduates to lead in the world, in AY ’22–’23 we presented a conversation series — Launching Leadership — between Interim President Beverly Daniel Tatum and a diverse group of graduates. These alums exemplify an intellectually adventurous Mount Holyoke education in action.
  • Jeannette Marks sponsored a Legal Name Change Workshop with UMASS Stonewall Center on March 23, 2023.
  • Archives and Special Collections co-sponsored a movie night with the Jewish Student Union, showing a documentary that included the life and work of Wendy Wasserstein ’71.
  • Archives and Special Collections continues to release additional LGBTQ alum oral history interviews, making them available to researchers.

Commitment: Include diversity, equity and inclusion education in orientation for all new members of the community

Orientation of all new students, faculty and staff will be revised, and in some cases expanded, to include tailored diversity and inclusion education, training and professional development. The First-Gen Network, in collaboration with the First Generation and Low-Income Partnership (FLIP), will enhance the existing pre-Orientation program. In order to continue providing support to students beyond Orientation, the First-Gen Network and FLIP will host a series of monthly virtual sessions for first-generation and low-income students to build a sense of community, while also providing resources tailored to individual needs.

2021 Updates

  • The Center for First-generation Student Success named Mount Holyoke College a First-gen Forward Institution in fall 2020.
  • Orientation of all new students has been revised to include tailored diversity and inclusion education, training and professional development. 
  • The First-Gen Network, in collaboration with the First Generation and Low-Income Partnership (FLIP), is enhancing the existing pre-Orientation program.
  • In order to continue providing support to students beyond Orientation, the First-Gen Network and FLIP has begun hosting a series of monthly virtual sessions for first-generation and low-income students in order to build a sense of community while also providing resources tailored to individual needs.
  • The College hired a new Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Penny Davis, who began in 2021. The AVP for HR leads key elements of the anti-racism action plan goals related to faculty and staff. A new employee orientation incorporating essential anti-bias training will be a part of future developments.

May 2023 Updates

  • We are launching a loaner laptop program for FGLI students in collaboration with LITS so that FGLI students can keep the same laptop for the entire semester.
  • Two monthly (two each month) Fearless First check-ins were held in spring 2023, with an average of 15-20 students in attendance.
  • We are continuing to expand the resources in the Fearless First Resource and Community Center by soliciting books, clothing, school and other supplies for students.
  • We are hiring the Fearless First fellow for the entire academic year to manage the Fearless First Resource and Community Center.
  • We are providing regular dinners for Native and Indigenous students in the Zowie Banteah Cultural Center hosted by the graduate assistant for community and belonging.
  • During the 2022–2023 academic year, community and belonging has worked with facilities to develop proposed renovations to the Interfaith Sanctuary. Mount Holyoke LITS led the effort across the Five Colleges to largely eliminate library fines and fees that have been shown to disproportionately impact FGLI and BIPOC patrons.
  • We are launching the “Pathways to Professoriate” focus on BIPOC mentorship and building pipelines to graduate school.
  • Community and belonging promoted two chaplains to full-time, 10-month program coordinators to increase staff resources. The program coordinator for community and belonging and Muslim chaplain supports international students and advises the Asian Center for Empowerment and the program coordinator for community and belonging, and the Jewish chaplain supports first-generation and low-income students and coordinates the weekly Know Your Neighbor Interfaith Dialogues in addition to their previous part-time chaplaincy work.
  • As an outcome of the Meet the Moment scholarship fundraising initiative, 14 new endowed scholarship funds were established with preferred criteria for BIPOC, first-gen and/or low income students.
  • Efforts to redesign the employee orientation are underway, which include anti-bias training. Improvements will also include a hybrid approach that leverages technology and in-person engagement for a continuous experience.
  • The Presidential Search Committee and senior team participated in an anti-bias training with Dr. Anneliese Singh in August of 2022.

Commitment: Student-leader training

Effective fall 2020, all student organization leaders are required to participate in training that includes an intergroup dialogue framework, focusing on understanding how institutional, cultural and structural oppression may manifest itself in student organizations. Organizations will also receive assistance in developing and implementing action plans detailing their efforts to become inclusive and anti-racist.

2021 Updates

  • Effective fall 2020, recognized student organization leaders participate in intensive anti-racism training. Through this training, student leaders gain access to resources in support of creating anti-racism action plans for their organizations.

May 2023 Updates

  • Anti-racism training for student organizations continued during 2021–2022 and during 2022 shifted as professional staff shifted. MoZone peer educators have filled this gap by providing 21 student organization trainings/workshops/dialogues and consultations such as:
    1. Foundations of Social Justice: Introductory Concepts of Social Justice.
    2. Understanding Race, Racism and Ethnicity (including anti-racism).
    3. Understanding Gender and Sexuality (including unpacking concepts such as heterosexism and transphobia, etc.).
    4. Nationality and Nation of Origin (including concepts such as xenophobia).
    5. Religion and Spirituality: A Workshop Focusing on Religious Identity and Oppression.
    6. Are You Awake, Woke, or Working: Putting Allyship to Action.
    7. Understanding Microaggressions: How They Manifest and Perpetuate Systems of Oppression.
    8. Exploring Whiteness Intragroups.
    9. BIPOC/POC Intragroups.
    10. Socioeconomic Class Dialogue.
    11. International Student Intragroups on Anti-Racism.
  • Each cultural center has up to two student employees who work up to 10 hours per week.
  • The Eliot House now has interfaith assistants who serve as interfaith student-peer programmers and community builders.

Commitment: MoZone Peer Educator Program

The College will bolster the Division of Student Life’s MoZone Peer Educator program by compensating all fellows, effective fall 2020.

2021 Updates

May 2023 Updates

  • MoZone peer educators have continued to be paid for August and January training in addition to an average of six to eight hours per week.

Commitment: Resource the work of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The College will continue to resource the work of this office and its intersectional approaches to education by hiring an assistant director of Campus Diversity Programming and LGBTQ Initiatives in fall 2020. The individual in this role will continue to expand the training, education and professional development of all students, staff and faculty.

2021 Updates

May 2023 Updates

  • The College has hired two new DEI staff members: the assistant vice president for civil rights and Title IX coordinator (awaiting background check), starting in June of 2023, and the Director of Accessible Education and 504 Coordinator Dr. Madeline L. Peters, who began work in April of 2023.
  • Nohelya Zambrano Aguayo ’21 was hired as the LGBTQ+ Community Outreach Coordinator in July of 2022. They have been promoted and will now serve as the assistant director of Campus Diversity Programs and LGBTQ Resources beginning July 1, 2023.

Commitment: Finalize a community standards statement for alum volunteers

The Alumnae Association and the College are working together to finalize a community standards statement to which all volunteers must adhere. The Association will hire a director of inclusion and events. Their role will be to better support the needs of alums who are Black, Indigenous or people of color; place greater emphasis on and provide more robust diversity, equity and inclusion training for the Association, its Board of Directors and all volunteers; and develop anti-racist strategies, including ongoing education and programming for the alum community.

2021 Updates

  • The Alumnae Association established the director of inclusion and events position in 2020, laying the foundation for the future development of an integrated equity and inclusion plan for the Association. Jonencia Rivera Wood served in this position until she departed the Association in 2021. She was rehired at the College in a newly formed collaborative position as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion which is a position shared between the DEI Office and the Alumnae Association.
  • A new volunteer code of conduct with specific emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion was implemented in September 2020.
  • Special DEI programming is offered to alums, and alums are invited to participate in selected community programs, as noted on the College calendar
  • The Alumnae Association recognizes and creates opportunities for alums to connect, based on shared identities.
  • Development of request for proposals process: The Alumnae Association launched an RFP process, affecting the area of diversity education. Reviews are conducted to ensure consistency in method, priority and context.

Commitment: Engage local community leaders

The College will convene local community leaders to discuss furthering efforts toward anti-racism in South Hadley and surrounding areas. This will include expanded opportunities for education and dialogue, focused on ensuring that: students, faculty and staff at Mount Holyoke — particularly Black members of our campus community — are less likely to experience anti-Black racism; the communities in which our students and employees live and work have access to resources to further their own anti-racism work; and cross-collaborative efforts are focused on eradicating racism, including public visibility campaigns, such as signage on and around campus, public events and on-the-ground work with local officials.

2021 Updates

  • The College joined the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council in order to engage in anti-racist practices and transform the surrounding communities.
  • The College has created a new set of visible signage to demonstrate support for racial and social justice. The first of these will be installed on campus in March 2021.
  • The College will lead training sessions on anti-racism and LGBGTQ+ inclusion with businesses in the Village Commons throughout the fall 2021 and spring 2022 beginning with Odyssey Bookshop in early fall.

May 2023 Updates

  • The College conducted trainings with the South Hadley Council on Aging through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2022.
  • In 2022 the College partnered with the South Hadley Master Planning Committee to provide insights on diversifying the town of South Hadley.
  • The College moved the Zowie Banteah Cultural Center into a new space in Ham and MacGregor Halls with a blessing from Nipmuc elder, Larry Spotted Crow Mann, and in partnership with local Indigenous artists, activists and community leaders.

Commitment: Student Safety Net Fund

The College has, with the financial support of individual members of the Board of Trustees and others, added resources to continue the Student Safety Net Fund to assist students experiencing financial hardship. 

2021 Updates

The College has continued to provide resources to the Student Safety Net Fund and has now awarded more than $400,000 directly to students in need. Additionally, the College secured endowed commitments totaling approximately $1,000,000 that will make a steady stream of annual funding available to the Student Safety Net Fund in perpetuity.

May 2023 Updates

  • We provided Safety Net funding for the fall 2022 semester totaling $18,222 for 173 students, and for winter housing support totaling $4,600 for 17 students.
  • LITS, in coordination with the Office of Community and Belonging and Student Financial Services, developed a semester-long laptop loan program to address equity of access issues.

Commitment: Training for enrollment staff

In addition to participating in campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion professional development and education programs, the enrollment division, including staff in the Office of Admission and Student Financial Services, will participate in additional anti-racist and anti-bias training with an external consultant who specializes in college access and affordability.

2021 Updates

The Division of Enrollment Management has continued ongoing education and training for the staff, with a specific focus on increased outreach to prospective students who are Black, Indigenous or people of color, and service to those students on campus.

May 2023 Updates

  • Financial aid policy improvements were implemented beginning academic year ’22–’23. We introduced a cap on loans offered in need-based packages, eliminating the use of unsubsidized loans to meet need.
  • Financial aid program improvements were implemented beginning academic year ’23–’24:
    • Outside scholarships may now replace family contributions.
    • Now recognizing family costs associated with siblings in two-year college programs.
    • Indirect expense allowance increased by $400 for every aid recipient.
    • New financial aid offer, reformatted for clarity and understanding, to include the payment due each semester after financial aid and scholarships.
  • New student financial advising model implemented, pairing each student with a dedicated counselor.
  • Direct online booking of appointments with Student Financial Services through youcanbookme.com.
  • Continued waiver of financial course preregistration holds.

Commitment: Launch a Bias Education Response Team

All reports of bias will be managed by the Bias Education Response Team, which will conduct investigations, adjudicate reports and determine actions and responses to incidents. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has worked extensively across campus to present to campus partners a new vision for Bias Response with more than 15 presentations made to students, faculty and staff.

The committee, made up of faculty and staff, began meeting in September 2020 to review and revise the existing bias reporting process to be adapted by the Bias Education and Support Team (BEST). This new framework was presented to campus leadership in December 2020. Subsequent presentations focused on faculty governance groups including FCC, Advisory and FEHC. Presentations were also held with the DEI Advisory Committee (formerly MCCL) and staff groups, including OPC and Counseling Services. Presentations to Student Senate occurred in April 2021. Feedback from each of the sessions has been incorporated into the drafting of the FAQ’s and this will continue through summer 2021. A final draft was then shared with legal counsel for review in April 2021.

A full-day training delivered by a team from TNG/ATIXA was held on February 22, 2021. Thirty faculty and staff who may serve as future hearing panelists and appeals officers participated in this training, developing their awareness with regard to how issues of microaggressions, bias, and cultural competence impact our campus, along with practical techniques to respond to and de-escalate situations as they arise. This training increased the pool of trained and capable partners in the BEST process, a necessary element in the implementation process. The BEST process has been updated and is now being co-chaired by the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Assistant Vice President for Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator.

Commitment: Ensure DEI efforts are reflected in staff performance reviews

The College will ensure that participation in professional development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and efforts toward building an anti-racist Mount Holyoke, are included in annual conversations and performance reviews, and that such efforts by staff are appropriately valued in opportunities for professional advancement.

May 2023 Updates

  • Professional development participation continues to increase within the College. The human resources department is exploring the Summit Initiative to leverage performance-management tools in order to ensure DEI efforts are reflected in the professional development of staff.
  • Seventy-five faculty and staff members have participated in professional development and training sessions led by the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA) throughout 2022. Below are examples of the sessions:
    1. Board Strategies to Achieve Racial Equity.
    2. Centering Racial Equity in Your Student Success Agenda.
    3. Reducing Implicit Bias in the Search and Hiring Process.
    4. Dismantling Persistent Racial Equity Problems in STEM.
  • Division of Student Life all-staff meetings:
    • In September, student life hosted Shawn Ginwright, professor of Africana studies at San Francisco State University and author, in collaboration with the other Five College student affairs areas in early September to discuss his book “The Four Pivots.”
    • In February, psychologist and author Dr. Rahimeh Andalibian facilitated training to increase knowledge and understanding of students who are neurodiverse. In March, Trisha Tanner, executive director of the Alumnae Association, discussed the association’s strategic plan and opportunities for collaboration.
    • At a bonus meeting in February, Dr. Zoe Ragouzeos — AVP of Student Mental Health, executive director of Counseling and Wellness Services at NYU and president and advisor to the Mary Christie Institute — discussed emerging best practices in mental health and wellness of young adults within higher education.
  • All College health services staff participated in BOOM! annually in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
  • Monthly College health services staff trainings with a DEI focus, called “Breakfast and Book Club,” were held 2020 through 2023:
    • AY ’20–’21 completed “The Racial Healing Workbook” in fall of 2020; “1619 Project” (the Common Read) in spring of 2021.
    • AY ’21–’22 “The Fire This Time” (the Common Read) was discussed throughout the year.
    • AY ’22–’23 “Braiding Sweetgrass” (the Common Read) in fall of 2022; “Racial Considerations in Health Care” TED Talk series in spring of 2023.
  • The College health services director attended two half-day conferences related to diversity and equity in health care in May and November of 2021 and participated in the Posse retreat in February 2023.
  • College health services medical providers attend a variety of continuing education programs with a focus on diversity and equity. Examples include: dermatological diagnosis in patients of color, contraception considerations for patients with disabilities, mental health for TGNC patients, HIV/PreP training.
  • All College Health Services staff members have a minimum of one annual goal that relates to DEI since AY ’21–’22 when the new CHS director began in that role.
  • LITS staff participated in extended trainings and facilitated discussions as part of Anti-Racism in Academia (ARIA) https://ariajourney.org/.
  • LITS staff have engaged with the Posse Plus Retreat and the first restorative justice retreat.
  • LITS all staff meetings in spring 2022 and 2023 featured the SANS Neurodiversity Cybersecurity Summit.

Commitment: Ensure DEI efforts by faculty are evaluated

The Office of the Dean of Faculty will work with faculty governance bodies in 2020–2021 to ensure that faculty anti-racism efforts and professional development are evaluated in the holistic review of teaching and form a part of academic review processes in the future.


A new faculty anti-racism reporting section was added to the Faculty Activity and Service Summary (FASS), which is completed by each faculty member. This form provides the basis for annual conversations within each department and for annual reporting by department chairs. The annual report guidelines for department chairs have been updated to include specific language about anti-racism and are now in the implementation stage. Individual faculty are now asked to include discussion of their diversity, equity, and inclusion work in their Faculty Activity and Service Summary and department chairs will include a summary of their department's efforts in their annual report.

Commitment: Launch employee affinity-based dialogue groups and events


The College launched an ongoing series of employee affinity-based dialogue groups and events in fall 2020. To date, these affinity-based dialogues have been: 

  • Affinity-based dialogue for faculty and staff who identify as Black: Throughout summer 2020, and in April 2021.
  • Affinity-based dialogue for faculty and staff who identify as Latinx: September 2020.
  • Affinity-based dialogues for faculty and staff who are caregivers: October 2020 and December 2020.
  • Affinity-based dialogues for faculty and staff who identify as LGBTQ: October 2020, January 2021, and April 2021. 
  • Affinity-based dialogue for faculty and staff who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming: November 2020.
  • Affinity-based dialogue for faculty and staff who identify as Asian/Asian-American/Asian Pacific Islander/South East Asian scheduled for June 2021.

Other affinity based moments for the Fall included our Friday lunchtime Brown Bag Series which brought together faculty and staff groups for the following topic based discussion:

  • 1619 Project Dialogue for BIPOC identified faculty and staff.
  • 1619 Project Dialogue for White faculty and staff as Allies.

The College will continue to build upon this effort with ongoing affinity-based dialogues expanding the program to support BIPOC and community members from other underrepresented groups to provide ongoing support to diverse populations of community members.

New Affinity-based dialogues will begin in the fall of 2023.

Commitment: Reimagining campus safety

2021 Updates

Public Safety and Service is a part of the Division of Student Life and is committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all and to fostering a campus environment that is rooted in understanding and respect. 

  • With the exception of campus emergencies, Public Safety and Service no longer posts outside campus buildings.
  • Implicit bias and other social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion trainings are being reviewed and assessed in the performance evaluations of all staff members.
  • New policies and procedures are being created to define when students might anticipate the presence of Public Safety and Service in residence halls.
    • In collaboration with the Reimagining Campus Safety Committee, Public Safety and Service developed, reviewed and revised several policies related to student interactions in the residence halls and on campus.

May 2023 Updates

  • Public Safety and Service included diversity training as part of the performance review markers in 2022 for staff yearly evaluation. We will continue to work on achievement goals as indicators.
  • Public Safety and Service department training 2023:
    • Trauma-Informed Policing.
    • Responding to Hate Crimes.
    • Duty to Intervene.
    • Officers Responding to Interpersonal Violence.
    • Behavioral Intervention Team Training.
    • CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Training — DMH.

Commitment: Expand Counseling Service’s capacity to support and treat BIPOC students

From August 2020 through June 2021, the Counseling Service is conducting a bi-weekly inservice on anti-racism and the treatment of the trauma of racism.

May 2023 Updates

  • Counseling Service has continued to work on optimizing opportunities to hire, support and retain clinicians with lived BIPOC experience and expertise in working with BIPOC students and the trauma of racism.
  • Counseling Service continues to offer numerous groups for students with marginalized identities. Groups include: TransFormation (students of trans* experience, including those exploring or questioning their gender identities and those who identify explicitly as transgender, nonbinary, agender, +), Living with Chronic Illness and Deeper than Skin (Asian identified students).

Commitment: Establish a history and legacy task force

The College will establish a history and legacy task force charged with uncovering past histories with regard to race, racism, xenophobia and other forms of bias.


The president has appointed Head Archivist Leslie Fields and Chief Diversity Officer Kijua Sanders-McMurtry as co-chairs of a new History, Legacies and Memory Task Force. The goals and charge of this task force will be included in future updates, following the appointment of its membership and after its first meeting.

The History, Legacies and Memory Task Force held its first orientation meeting with alum, student, faculty and staff task force members in April of 2021. The task force is finalizing the charge in June of 2021 and will fully launch with all of its initiatives in the fall of 2021.

Commitment: Acknowledge the College’s past history with Indigenous communities

In accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the College will conclude the repatriation of the remains of an Indigenous ancestor to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, returning to the earth a tribal member who was for so long rendered culturally unaffiliated by the original collection process and a lack of proper documentation. As of spring 2021, the ancestral remains have been legally repatriated to the Stockbridge Munsee Community through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The Stockbridge-Munsee are working with representatives of the Nipmuc Nation (Hassanamisco Band) regarding the arrangements for the physical transfer and reburial. A public recognition and redress will take place soon after the burial.

Our commitments are focused on centering the lived experiences of Indigenous people. To ensure we begin the process of following through on this stated promise and fulfill the goals of the anti-racism action plan, the College is engaging in an Indigenous Peoples Day Teach-in that will educate all community members about the histories, legacies and voices both past and present of the Indigenous Peoples of North America. The College will continue this work throughout the month of November 2021 with additional speakers as part of Indigenous Heritage Month.

May 2023 Updates

  • The College established two new full-tuition scholarships in honor of Native and Indigenous communities with the goal of awarding two new students in the fall of 2023.
  • The College has established two teach-ins, the teach-in on antisemitism held each January as part of the Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King Series on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Day teach-in, which happens each October on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
  • The College moved the Zowie Banteah Cultural Center for Native and Indigenous Communities into a new space in Ham and MacGregor Halls with a blessing from Nipmuc elder, Larry Spotted Crow Mann, and in partnership with local Indigenous artists, activists and community leaders. This event was coordinated in collaboration with Rachel Beth Sayet, Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Community Development Fellow. The kitchen will be completely renovated in the summer of 2023, during which time another blessing will occur.

Commitment: Establish an Indigenous Histories, Legacies and Student Support Services Working Group

Progress update forthcoming.

Commitment: Acknowledge the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day


Effective fall 2021, the College will acknowledge the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in an effort to accurately reflect the significant histories and legacies of Native peoples.

Commitment: Recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday


The College will recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday, beginning on June 19, 2021. Juneteenth commemorates what has also been referred to as “Freedom Day,” which honors the emancipation of African people who were enslaved in the United States. The College issued an official statement and resources this year to align with our commemoration.

Commitment: Understand and document the experiences of BIPOC community members

In the fall of 2021, the College will conduct a comprehensive campus climate assessment to better understand and document the experiences of community members who are Black, Indigenous or people of color. An oral history project focused on Mount Holyoke’s Black alums, led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will become a part of the permanent collection of Archives and Special Collections.

May 2023 Updates

  • Archives and Special Collections reformatted the cassette tapes from Tiffany McClain ’01 relating to her work on her honors thesis about African American women at Mount Holyoke in order to make them more broadly available to researchers.

A living, growing effort toward an anti-racist Mount Holyoke

We remain stalwart in our convictions and welcome ongoing conversations related to these action steps and the plan as a whole. We will continue to engage our campus community as we move Mount Holyoke forward. Please share your thoughts with us at antiracism@mtholyoke.edu.

The Mount Holyoke College Administration

Happening on Campus

News related to Mount Holyoke’s work on anti-racism

The two Mount Holyoke College students who led the planning and organizing of this year’s Black History Month events wanted to center Black joy.

Mount Holyoke College has repatriated ancestral remains the College had possessed for over a century to their home communities.

Mount Holyoke’s first production of the academic year marks a return of live theater to campus.

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The Office of the President serves as the administrative seat of the College, working in conjunction with the Board of Trustees and the officers of the College to execute the College’s bylaws, advance its academic standards, and ensure its fiscal health.