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Commitment to Anti-Racism

The 14 ACM colleges are launching consortial anti-racism initiatives to address the institutional and structural forms of racism that have contributed to the differential experiences and outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.

  1. Beloit College
  2. Carleton College
  3. Coe College
  4. Colorado College
  5. Cornell College
  6. Grinnell College
  7. Knox College
  8. Lake Forest College
  9. Lawrence University
  10. Luther College
  11. Macalester College
  12. Monmouth College
  13. Ripon College
  14. St. Olaf College

The colleges of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) have a longstanding commitment to educational access, diversity, and other dimensions of equity in higher education. Each is committed to the fact that teaching, learning, and civic life are enriched by increased exposure to a broad and diverse range of perspectives, both within the curriculum and among faculty, students, and staff. Current events call on the ACM colleges to intensify their focus on the structures, institutional practices, and policies that evidence this commitment.

The 14 ACM colleges are launching a consortial anti-racism initiative to address the institutional and structural forms of racism that have contributed to the differential experiences and outcomes for students, faculty, and staff. For purposes of this initiative, institutional racism is the result of biased procedures, unfair practices that result in inequitable or disparate outcomes, and other institutional policies. Although these policies are often benign in design and rarely mention race, they highlight the gap between intent and impact when inequitable or disparate outcomes result. Separately, structural racism describes the disparate societal outcomes between white and non-white people – e.g., wealth inequality, educational outcomes, wage gaps, unequal access to health care, and digital divide. Structural racism is relevant to the mission of ACM colleges where it affects access to these educational communities and/or creates barriers for students, faculty, and staff to fully employ their education and scholarship in the world.

Targeted Anti-Racism Activities

The ACM colleges commit to launch these targeted activities during the 2020-2021 academic year:

Professional Development

The ACM consortial office will develop anti-racism skills and knowledge to enhance teaching and learning with the following audience-specific activities:

  • For Faculty and Staff: Curate and host monthly ACM workshops designed to ensure that interracial and intercultural understanding inform the colleges’ curricular and co-curricular programs. Early sessions during the fall semester/term will focus on microaggressions, inclusive discourse, and culturally responsive student mentorship. A full roster of proposed workshop topics is available here.
  • For Administrative Leadership: Develop a collaborative, research-informed process through which consortial groups (e.g., Registrars, Admission Directors, Financial Aid Directors, etc.) can assess their processes and related student touchpoints to determine whether they are resulting in any unintended disparate impact.

Community Building

The ACM consortial office will enhance community and well-being among faculty, staff, and students of color with the following audience-specific activities:

  • For Faculty and Staff: Host a series of consortial virtual convenings, organized around topics identified as salient by campus-based partners; and
  • For Students: Coordinate with campus-based multicultural/intercultural centers to create consortial convenings for student affinity groups.

Data Collection and Analysis

The ACM consortial office will coordinate with the 14 colleges to identify and understand current and past institutional practices that have created disparate impact among faculty, students, and staff of color. This work will proceed in two steps:

  • Producing an inventory of existing commitments, programs and practices on each campus that support diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the goal of identifying best practices and areas for improvement; and
  • Gathering and analysis of the data to illuminate the landscape for racial equity across ACM campuses. Data may include enrollment and persistence of underrepresented students, financial aid packaging, student support structures, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, and campus procurement practices.

The ACM anticipates developing the full scope of this work iteratively, over time, as the full range of campus-based aspirations and needs are revealed. In the short term, the ACM consortial office will:

  • Leverage the power of the consortial approach by developing infrastructure, providing access to resources and expertise, and coordinating collective efforts that the colleges would not be able to do alone; and
  • Collaborate with the Office of the President at each college across the consortia to ensure that these initiatives complement each college’s ongoing anti-racism programs.