CC's Antiracism Initiative
Our antiracism initiative is a collegewide effort to actively examine and oppose the ways that racism exists and persists at CC. With antiracism central to our mission, our faculty, staff, and students will experience greater equity and inclusion, our teaching will be more impactful, and our students will be better prepared to make positive change in the world.
Antiracism Progress Update
June 29, 2020
Making diversity and inclusion central to college leadership
A key goal of our Antiracism Implementation Plan is to make diversity and inclusion central to college leadership. This includes hiring diversity, equity, and inclusion experts in the academic, student life, and administration divisions who will help us evolve and activate our plan across the college. With the recent economic impacts of COVID-19, the college halted searches for many positions, but the searches for these roles remained a top priority. The following experts will lead this work at CC:
Peony Fhagen, Ph.D. will be our new senior associate dean for equity, inclusion, and faculty development. Fhagen comes to CC from Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, where she was associate provost of diversity and faculty development. In that role she co-developed and co-led Wheaton’s overarching campus entity that monitors and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion across the campus. In addition she managed Title IX and discrimination concerns and complaints involving faculty; developed and led workshops and faculty forums on teaching, learning, and diversity; and chaired the campus scholar-at-risk committee.
Fhagen is an associate professor of psychology and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and chaired the Wheaton Psychology Department for several years. In conjunction with her hire, the CC Board of Trustees granted Fhagen tenure at its June meeting.
Claire Oberon Garcia, dean of the faculty and chair of the search committee, says, “The senior associate dean will be responsible for advancing and implementing the antiracism goals in the academic realm. All academic departments and programs are evaluating the structures of their majors and minors, their curricula, and their hiring practices through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. The SAD will create a new and meaningful program of professional development for faculty through all stages of their career that recognizes our commitment to be an institution that values each employee and helps them to thrive.”
“Dr. Fhagen brings a wealth of experience in thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion issues with creativity and generosity,” Garcia says. “When her previous institution decided to hire an inaugural chief diversity officer, she proposed instead a collaborative model of diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership similar to our own at CC. A graduate of Wellesley College, Dr. Fhagen is deeply committed to the relevance of a liberal arts education and active learning.”
Rosalie M. Rodriguez will become our senior associate dean of students for equity and inclusion/director of the Butler Center. She comes to CC from Bucknell University, where she was most recently the director of multicultural student services. In that role she worked closely with students of color, advising, mentoring, and connecting students to resources. In addition she developed and facilitated campus-wide programs to increase cultural awareness, understanding, and competence, and promoted the understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives including privilege and power relationships. She advised and supported multicultural student organizations.
“I am thrilled to have Rosalie join the Colorado College community,” says Manya Whitaker, associate professor of education, chair of the Education Department, interim director of the Butler Center, advisor to the Black Student Union, and search committee chair. “She brings with her an interdisciplinary perspective of antiracism and extensive experience working with students to find their entry point into social justice work.”
In response to campus feedback, the position of director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff is being revised to elevate its reporting structure to a similar level as the other two positions. It will now be housed in Finance & Administration, rather than in Human Resources, and will report directly to the senior vice president for Finance & Administration. Barbara J. Wilson has been named to serve in the interim capacity in this role until the position is filled permanently. A national search will be conducted in Spring 2021.
Wilson, who currently serves as associate vice president for administrative services, has been at Colorado College since August 2000 when she was hired as director of Human Resources. Her role included working with staff to resolve issues of discrimination and harassment complaints. Wilson served as the deputy Title IX coordinator for staff from 2012 to 2018. In 2013-2015 she served as chair and co-chair on the faculty and staff diversity action team that focused on recruitment and retention issues. Wilson is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
“I am very pleased and grateful that Barbara has agreed to continue to serve the college in this interim role,” says Robert G. Moore, senior vice president for Finance & Administration and acting co-president-elect. “She brings years of experience in working with the staff of the college and a personal dedication to the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
This team will introduce the antiracism framework to all incoming trustees, faculty, staff, and students, and develop understanding, accountability, structure, and opportunities to embrace the Antiracism Initiative. They will be a primary resource for the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board, and will meet regularly with the president. They are charged with ensuring the college meets its antiracism goals.
Each of these new leaders will start in mid-July and be on campus by August.
Major gift to accelerate antiracism work
To enhance and accelerate the work of our new DEI leadership team, CC Board of Trustees Chair Susie Burghart ’77 has generously donated $1 million to further our Antiracism Initiative.
In February, Burghart asked Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Mike Edmonds what she could do to help the college’s antiracism efforts. “I wanted to underscore how important this initiative is to all of us — as educators, parents, students, staff, and alumni,” Burghart says. She wanted the gift to be announced in tandem with news of the leadership team, because it is connected to the work they will do. “These experts will guide the college in long-needed work that is now even more crucial. This is a moment when CC can lead, and make a difference.”
Edmonds says this major gift will be transformative for the college.
“Board Chair Burghart long has been a champion of the college and its mission. With this wonderful gift, she saw an important need, and stepped forward to help the college thoughtfully propel its antiracism efforts ahead,” Edmonds says. “Her support for this work will allow us to make greater strides for diversity, equity, and inclusion for students, faculty, staff, and alumni for years to come.”
The new DEI leadership team will collaborate to plan the most effective ways to use the gift, extending its impact over multiple years.
Making antiracism a central value in CC’s academic and co-curricular programs
Changes adopted by the faculty to diversify the curriculum in May 2019 and developed over the past year will go into effect with the 2020-21 academic year. This new general-education curriculum includes a requirement that students take two Equity & Power courses. The new general education requirements are responsive to longtime student requests for a more diversified curriculum.
Establishing antiracism, equity, and inclusion as foundational to our community expectations
Another key goal in our plan is to critically examine our policies, procedures, and practices to find ways in which inequities, bias, and injustice are embedded. During the 2019-20 academic year, Takiyah Amin, Ph.D., a scholar, educator, and consultant, completed an examination of student-conduct policies (known to many as The Pathfinder) through an antiracism and anti-oppression lens and recommended changes to be implemented for the next academic year. An internal review and focus groups were also conducted. Amin, Senior Associate Dean of Students Rochelle Dickey, and Community Standards and Conduct Specialist Josh Isringhausen then redrafted the conduct policies based on feedback from the reviews and focus groups. The changes focus on increasing accessibility to the conduct process and reducing subjectivity and bias through more community involvement in the process, and include revisions based on best practices and strategies. Restorative justice practices were updated as a way to resolve conduct cases. Changes are being vetted with key stakeholders, including students, with plans to roll out the revised policies for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. A Student Conduct Advisory Group was formed to review the policies annually.
A collaboration team was formed in late February to review non-personnel and non-student policies, procedures, and guidelines that are formal and informal, documented and undocumented. The team of 13 staff members, representing every area of the college, was tasked with creating an inventory of existing policies, procedures, guidelines, and practices, and developing a plan to prioritize the list and a process for review and modification. The team has completed reviewing 16 out of nearly 50 non-personnel and non-student formal college-wide policies, with four recommended for revision to remove perceived embedded biases; three others are recommended for change to improve clarity. The team has also completed its initial documentation of other campus procedures, guidelines, and practices that are less formal and/or undocumented. Over the rest of the summer, the team will develop its plan and priorities for reviewing the inventory of the “other procedures, guidelines, and practices,” while also examining at least 10 more collegewide policies. Review of the prioritized inventory, and completion of the review of the remaining college-wide policies will begin with the new academic year.
A new system of support was developed for international students to address concerns and needs ranging from visa issues to housing, academics, and mental health support. Shiyanke Goonetilleke, who has years of experience working with CC’s international students on many fronts, now serves as a primary resource for international students, working with the directors of both Global Education and the Butler Center.
Antiracism Evaluation Tool
Amin developed an antiracism evaluation tool that will be rolled out initially in the Student Life division this fall. The tool measures DEI efforts across five areas including personnel, policies, practices, assessment, and collaborative efforts. It helps offices and programs examine their policies, practices, and cultures to identify areas of racial bias and inequity, and make changes to support the college’s antiracism efforts. After the pilot phase in Student Life and an assessment, the tool will be shared with other divisions, departments, offices, and programs.
Making antiracism central to CC’s communication
The Office of Communications recently launched “CC Conversations,” a series of live Facebook/Zoom panel discussions drawing on the expertise of CC faculty, staff, and alumni on important topics. The first, “CC Conversations on Racism, Policing, & Protest,” was moderated and organized by Associate Professor Manya Whitaker, and included Assistant Professor Christopher Hunt, Assistant Professor Florencia Rojo, Assistant Professor Michael Sawyer, and Assistant Professor Christian Sorace. The discussion drew more than 1,200 viewers, including many alumni, from across the nation.
College social media platforms have been elevating Black voices and perspectives, sharing quotes and content from many of the major speakers who have visited the campus in the past year to speak on issues of racism.
Untold Stories, a collection of the lived experiences of marginalized members of the CC community, continues to grow, with the stories of author and attorney Michael Nava ’76, who shared his experience as a gay Latino writer; and psychologist, educator, and leadership consultant Pam Shipp ’69, who shared her experiences, including of being one of just three Black women at the college in the mid- to late-1960s.
Some work was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This work will resume in the fall.
- An Antiracism Oversight Committee will be formed. The new diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership team will work with acting co-presidents Mike Edmonds and Robert G. Moore to get this group started, as well as meet with constituencies to prioritize how best to use Susie Burghart’s gift to accelerate our work. The oversight committee will ensure that the Antiracism Implementation Plan initiatives are being carried out, and will assess the impact of the work. The committee will provide an annual report to the CC Board of Trustees. Nominations have been received from the Faculty Executive Committee, CCSGA, and Staff Council, and the new DEI leadership team will be integral to the committee’s work.
- Faculty are participating in a virtual workshop in July on inherent biases and internalized racism with Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility” author, scholar, and social justice educator. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty is funding a limited number of participants; faculty should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
- The Office of Communications will develop an antiracism strategic communications plan, consulting with our new DEI leadership team on the most effective ways to make antiracism communications central to the college and build shared understanding of our goals.
Contact Lyrae Williams in the President's Office:
14 E. Cache La Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903