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Dawson supports students' request to strengthen Earlham's diversity aspirations

February 09, 2016

In a letter to the Earlham College community this week, President David Dawson announced initial steps to respond to issues raised by students regarding diversity.

Dawson asked the College’s Diversity Progress Committee (DPC) to recommend approaches to tackling four important concerns that could be implemented no later than the completion of the fall 2016 semester:

  • Develop diversity and inclusion training for all members of the Earlham teaching faculty, administrative faculty, staff and students; 
  • Establish neutral personnel, place and process for diversity-related complaint reporting and responsiveness;
  • Establish a DPC website providing transparency of committee activity; and
  • Re-establish the Student Diversity Council

In Earlham's tradition of encouraging open participation from faculty, administration, students and staff, a community-wide discussion of the students’ concerns took place on Thursday, Feb. 4.

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.

Following the discussion, Dawson issued a statement reaffirming Earlham’s mission to provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment where all students thrive.

Regarding the all-campus discussion, Dawson commented: "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. 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.

"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,” he 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."

— EC —

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
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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.