Nam Phuong Doan ‘18
This term, Lydia Brassard, the College’s Director of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion, and the President’s Task Force, have begun drafting a “Statement on Institutional Diversity & Inclusion,” as part of the administration’s larger effort to develop a campus-wide culture, one with ethics of equity and inclusivity. Faculty, staff, and students of the community are encouraged to provide feedback on the statement, either online or in person with Task Force members, Wednesday, May 25th, 11:30-1:30 in Down Commons.
The Statement is currently as follows:
Statement on Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
President’s Task Force on Campus Inclusivity
Bennington College locates pluralistic diversity at the center of its institutional mission. The College’s approach to diversity and inclusivity—as both a field of inquiry and praxis—is to prioritize flexible and imaginative thought over popular consensus, and invites the examination of access, value, and power through institutional policies and scholarship. The College affirms the multiple and intersecting identities of all its community members – staff, students, faculty, and alumni – and recognizes their contributions to the vitality of our unique living and learning landscape.
The statement itself is meant to be a catalyst for debate and dialogue. Ideally, the individual looking for this statement on our website and other materials will be inspired and challenged. This language will be utilized and reflected in the following places and ways: Student, Staff, and Faculty Handbooks; Orientation; Student Leader Training; Plan Capacities; Job Postings and Hiring; Performance Evaluations; the College website; and Communications, Institutional Development, and Admissions materials.
The Task Force wanted the statement to reflect:
1. Our commitment to pluralism, or pluralistic diversity, an approach that recognizes multiplicity as a starting point. We chose to qualify diversity, as we recognize that diversity as it is generally understood can continue to center the dominant paradigm in its “allowance” for “other” perspectives.
2. Our commitment to affirming staff and alumni as active contributors to our intellectual and social lifeworld.
3. Our commitment to pursuing and cultivating climates and environments in which imaginative yet disciplined thought is valued. “Consensus” currently appears in the statement, other suggestions include: (1) Solipsism; (2) Agreement
4. Our enthusiastic acknowledgement that these questions and the accompanying intellectual rigor required to engage with them are fluid, and thus any diversity agenda must be adaptable and ongoing.
Link to the feedback submission: https://docs.google.com/a/bennington.edu/forms/d/1ZiD6r6l7wxbXL_kVfc6iLJUEfZeVg1kKgnGVLwXN9_Y/viewform?edit_requested=true