Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
As the new semester gets underway, we are writing to reintroduce ourselves as Barnard’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Cabinet (DEI); update you on work underway; and invite you to take part in Barnard’s efforts, on multiple fronts and at different scales, toward racial equity, social justice, and greater feelings of inclusion.
As President Beilock wrote in her welcome message, we’ve experienced some extraordinary challenges as a nation and a society over the last 18 months. We have witnessed and experienced violence, conflict, and growing disparity in resources — affecting not just one or two groups, but across a spectrum that includes racial, ethnic and religious groups, gender identities, and different abilities.
Last March, President Beilock gathered five of us working in different areas of DEI at the College and appointed us as the inaugural DEI Cabinet. As the DEI Cabinet, we have the responsibility and opportunity to solidify, coordinate, and expand on the good work already done to address some of these disparities on our campus and in our community. This year we will put a special focus on accessibility and inclusion, building on programs we began with Access Barnard, and expanding our efforts so that students, staff, and faculty feel that they matter in our community and have the resources necessary for success.
Equity and inclusion, of course, are not the work of any one individual or group — they are the responsibility of the whole community. Here are some ways you can engage:
- Join our Monday Assemblies for Racial Justice, open to all members of our community, to discuss issues of identity in relationship to local and global events and issues that highlight and are inflected by difference. Launched in 2020, these assemblies are co-facilitated by Ife Lenard and Ariana Gonzalez-Stokas, who continues to consult for Barnard.
- Learn about our new resources for trans students. The DEI Council, co-chaired by Deans Miller and Tedder, will focus this year on LGBTQIA+ resources and inclusion, along with accessibility.
- Provide your perspectives to the Community Safety Advisory Council, which serves as an Advisory Council to CARES, to help improve campus safety. The council, led by Amy Zavadil, Associate Vice President of CARES and Cammie Jones, Executive Director of Community Engagement and Inclusion will continue to discuss safety on campus, racial and other forms of bias and their consequences; accessibility; who feels welcome in different spaces; and advising on improved structures for relationship building and training.
- Learn more about how Barnard will support academic departments in creating their own DEI plans. The Committee on Faculty Development and Diversity (FDD) and Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) will host a Racial Equity Institute for Chairs of Departments and Programs, a learning community that will assist academic departments in evaluating diversity across departmental demographics and in terms of curriculum and student success; work to increase inclusion across departmental constituencies; and ensure equitable and accessible departmental cultures.
- Join the Office of Community Engagement and Inclusion’s monthly community conversation series where participants engage in thought provoking dialogue while working together to find sustainable solutions to social justice issues of today.
- Contribute to Undesign the Red Line: an interactive exhibition combining history, art, and storytelling with community outreach and collaboration in order to reckon with systemic racism by examining the legacy of redlining in Barnard and Columbia’s neighborhood.
- Later this year, learn more about Barnard’s results in the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates Survey
- Join us at one of a series of events, which kicked off earlier this year with ‘Memory to Legacy,’ Living with the Tragedies of 9/11, an examination of anti-Muslim racism during the last 20 years of war. Upcoming events include:
As a Cabinet we will also provide counsel to the president and leadership to the campus as Barnard searches for its next Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The DEI Cabinet will host an open DEI Cabinet listening session in mid-November. Once the new Vice President is in place, the Cabinet will give that person and office a campus-wide perspective, continuity in our efforts, and advice.
We hope to hear from you via email as well, at firstname.lastname@example.org, which reaches all of us. Please look to our newly designed website which will detail our progress and keep the campus informed about ongoing and future initiatives.
We look forward to working with you to center DEI in the life of the Barnard Community, and reporting back to you with updates and opportunities as the year progresses.
Nikki Youngblood Giles,
Vice-Dean, Campus Life
Monica L. Miller,
Professor of English and Africana Studies
Dean of Faculty Diversity and Development
Executive Director, Community Engagement and Inclusion
Executive Director, Center for Engaged Pedagogy
Dean for Academic Planning and Academic Advising