CC Adds Caste to Nondiscrimination Policy

As an institution of higher education founded on the principles of equitable access and inclusion, Colorado College is committed to providing students, faculty, and staff with an environment conducive to learning and working where all people are treated with dignity and respect.

In this spirit, Colorado College will now include caste, a system of inherited social class, in our Notice of Nondiscrimination Policy and Equal Employment Opportunity Statement. Discrimination based on caste will now be expressly prohibited just as discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity or gender expression, perceived gender, sexual preference, and sexual orientation), marital status, disability, veteran status, age, genetic information, or any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local law.  

“Recognizing ‘caste’ and prohibiting caste-based discrimination are critical to the college's mission to become an inclusive and antiracist institution and to its commitment to ensuring that all students and employees are treated with dignity,” says Purvi Mehta, assistant professor of history, who reached out to the Office of Human Resources, the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board, and Faculty Executive Committee to request this change in CC’s policy. “Caste is a form of inherited inequality based on identity assigned at birth. While most often associated with South Asia, caste is found across the world and affects hundreds of millions of people globally. It accompanies migrants and has shaped South Asian diasporic communities.”

The updated policy is posted on the Policy and Compliance website. CC was named in a recent Time magazine article highlighting a recent shift by organizations to include caste as a protected category.

“In the United States, caste-oppressed people continue to face discrimination and harassment in housing, employment, and education,” says Mehta. “This discrimination and harassment has continued, often with impunity, because caste is not easily legible to the American legal system. There is an urgent need to add ‘caste’ as a legally protected category at the federal and state levels. Prohibiting caste discrimination and adding ‘caste’ to institutions’ nondiscrimination statements — as CC has done — is a very important step to providing protection for caste-oppressed people.”

Many thanks to members of DEAB and other faculty and staff who assisted in this important work.
Report an issue - Last updated: 03/09/2022