New CMC Initiative Sweeps Changes Across Career Services, Faculty, And Curriculum To Support “

In an email to members of the student body sent earlier today, Hiram Chodosh, the President of Claremont McKenna College (CMC), announced changes to college diversity and inclusion policy “[i]n response to the murder of George Floyd.” The email announces new initiatives to increase the college’s offerings on “structural inequality, racism, and the Black experience in America” and pave the way for additional recruitment and retention of Black faculty.

Chodosh set out new mandates, requiring all academic departments to “change any practices, policies and protocols which do not fully support the anti-racist campus environment we aspire to achieve.” To make these changes to the academic system, professors now will be judged on “leadership in developing anti–racism pedagogy.” In addition, staff will be forced to attend “annual experiential learning workshops…[for combatting] racism.” 

Chodosh elaborated that his and CMC’s support extends to “all Black Americans and all who are committed to the full and equal promise of our nation’s constitutionally protected freedoms.” “We must all affirm,” the email reads, “that Black lives matter.” To that end, Chodosh explained that CMC will be developing “a fresh vision, strategy, action plan, and accountable measures for how best to reinforce [its] values in action.” 

In the email, Chodosh introduced a new measure, the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America, to be implemented in the 2020-2021 school year. By June 2021, according to Chodosh, the Initiative “will develop a long-term, structural, integrated educational response to racism, inequality, and inequity.” 

CMC has laid out several concrete points to be addressed by the Initiative in the coming year. These are divided into four categories: Learning Experience, Student Support and Opportunity, Faculty and Curricular Development, and Staff Development. Each of these categories focuses on different aspects of CMC’s mission to combat anti-Black racism. 

The Learning Experience zeroes in on developing “the behavioral commitments, ethical courage, and effective strategies to empower members of our community to combat racism.” It includes such measures as “Intergroup Dialogue Training for expanding skills and capacities for learning and collaborating across differences in solving complex societal problems” and the development of “a branded web and social media series developed by Public Affairs that involves the CMC community and highlights effective dialogues on race, diverse scholarship, and the Black student experience on campus and highlights students, staff, and faculty engaged in leadership roles in combating racism and advancing equality.”

The Student Support and Opportunity section of the Initiative, meanwhile, is dedicated to building “on these programs in order to develop a more visible and effective level of direct support to Black students, students of color, and all students desiring to address racism and systemic violations of civil rights and structures of oppression.” This commitment includes renaming the role of Title IX Coordinator to Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion/Title IX Administrator, a position which will building “on individual student retention efforts from the time of admission to CMC through graduation, maintain Title IX oversight, and provide strengthened capacity to the Office of Civil Rights.”

“The Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement will develop more opportunities for Black community engagement by connecting Black students and families with our alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees,” read the email. 

For Faculty and Curricular Development, the Initiative has committed to working with academic departments “to expand the opportunity to recruit Black faculty and learn about structural inequities and challenges that will guide our solutions.” Some of proposed financially-supported commitments include “recognizing demonstrated leadership in developing anti–racism pedagogy, programming, and applied learning experiences for students,” and additional funding to help departments recruit diverse faculty “on all levels.” The Dean of Faculty will also “support expanded research and curricular offerings on the study of structural inequality, racism, and the Black experience in America.”

CMC will also ensure that a “dedicated, trained member on every search committee will focus on and report diversity and inclusion efforts and achievements in the search and hiring process.”

Staff Development will include “[a]nnual experiential learning workshops for all staff on understanding and combating bias, respecting cultural differences, and racism.” All members of the President’s Executive Cabinet and the Senior Advisory Council will attend similar annual workshops.

The college will assess the effects of its new policies by “institutional outcome assessment[s] and evaluation[s]” of all diversity and inclusion policies. Special attention will be paid to the “opportunities and success” of Black students.

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