The founding and history of the United States of America is rooted in genocide, colonialism, and enslavement. This fact foregrounds the history of higher education and informs the model of learning and inclusion/exclusion that cast colleges and universities, especially elite ones. These realities are difficult to acknowledge and wrestle with, if we are to confront them and meaningfully pursue our best selves as individuals and institutions. Yet, we must.
Colorado College remains committed to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence as central principles that inform our sense of identity, place, and mission. Our commitment is bold in the face of historical, cultural, and perpetual challenges to an anti-racist agenda — challenges external and internal. Every American institution is steeped in a culture of racism that is difficult to root out — precisely because of the normalizing nature of this reality. Hence, we have dedicated ourselves to work against the grain, to swim against the current, and to make the invisible visible. We are now more energized than ever about our work against the many ways racism might manifest within our own portals and toward racial justice. This critical commitment (of doing anti-racist work) is a necessary element in inclusive excellence and diversity practice, without which these concepts have no integrity.
The college is at a critical juncture in our history. The president of the college has been clear that we will excavate the stories, examine the structures and culture, and do our interpersonal work to understand and resist racism in any form institution-wide. This places us in a new phase in the process of equity consciousness and building the capacity of the college to be an anti-racist institution. This is a profoundly challenging project that underscores and even queries our mission to “provide the finest liberal arts education in the country.” Yet, in this process, the best future of the college awaits.
As a learning community, Colorado College students, staff, and faculty have the ongoing responsibility to engage in anti-racist education that positions us to do and be better. In addition to other diversity teaching and learning opportunities, the college now offers a strategic educational session for faculty and staff titled: “Toward a Daily Anti-Racist Agenda.” This four-hour session, presented by the Butler Center staff, focuses on understanding and interrogating racial bias and white supremacy, and guides participants in developing individual action plans for confronting and resisting these systems in their roles at the college. To date, more than 150 employees have registered for the summer sessions. Additional sessions, including presentations for students, will be offered throughout the regular academic year.
The Butler Center will maintain its everyday work to help foster a more inclusive campus community with a variety of activities, programs, and strategies that resist the centering of whiteness and engage all students and the entire community in the shared work toward an equitable, anti-racist education. This work extends beyond initiatives, activities, and learning opportunities; it is reflected in everyday approaches to the very identityand operationof the college. This is the calling before us — every person, every department, every process, every program, every block.
We hope alumni will join us in our efforts by their interest and support for Colorado College to be ever forward moving and on the right side of history. There is much work to do.
Select Initiatives From 2017-18:
- “Good to Great: The Journey to Inclusion at CC” (two-day faculty and staff sessions)
- Diversity workshops for student leaders and employees
- The Butler Center newsletter series dedicated to education on white supremacy (Blocks 2 and 3)
- White Supremacy Education Series (presentations, dialogues, and film screening)
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day workshop
- Common Reading: “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine
- Cultural appropriation all-campus workshop
- Crown Center faculty retreat (“Good to Great in the CC Classroom”)
- Individual work with students through holistic advising and mentoring activities
- Campus departments inclusive excellence consultations
- New Student Orientation session on “Solidarity Development”
- Community development and support initiatives for students of color
- The first CCSGA vice president for inclusion took office
- Dialogue Partner Program (in conjunction with First Mondays)