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Earlham pauses classes for campus-wide discussion on diversity

February 04, 2016

Earlham College canceled classes and closed most administrative offices on Thursday, Feb. 4, to facilitate a community-wide discussion about diversity on campus.

This action followed a demonstration by a student organization on Monday in which a list of concerns about diversity was distributed across the campus.

Issues discussed in the all-campus discussion included increasing representation of persons of color across the College community, increasing support services and creating additional opportunities for diversity related training and preparation for faculty, staff and students. Community participants underscored the importance of diversity-related education addressing all forms of diversity, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, and physical ability for Earlham to be a genuinely inclusive community.

"The Earlham community chose to dedicate a community-wide discussion to explore how it is ‘living out’ one of its guiding principles, ‘respect for all persons,'" President David Dawson says. "In part, this event springs from the community's response to many of the same issues related to racial sensitivity, justice, and support being raised at colleges and universities across our nation."

Earlham College is seeking to provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment where all students thrive. Following Thursday’s community-wide conversation, a careful review of the students’ concerns will begin by the College’s Diversity Progress Committee.

"As our students are helping us to more fully appreciate, even a college like Earlham, which is especially committed to welcoming persons of all backgrounds and ethnicities, has much room for growth,” Dawson says. “This community-wide discussion with students, faculty, and staff will serve as a launching point for ongoing college dialogue and action toward living out its commitment to diversity."

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at (765) 983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.