Campus Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity, equality and inclusion efforts

At Union, we recognize that meeting our goals in diversity and inclusion is a continual process that often requires an examination of our own perspectives and a willingness to appreciate the perspectives of others. It also requires an honest and open acknowledgement of our personal and institutional history. The following is a list of some of the ongoing initiatives aimed at fostering a community that embraces and achieves our diversity and inclusion goals.

  • A four-member diversity leadership team supports a campus-wide culture that values diversity and inclusion.
  • In the wake of national events in spring 2020, the College held a forum on racial injustice that included students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and community leaders.
  • Union established a Presidential Initiative on Race, Power and Privilege, with initial discussions around five key areas: cultural competency, curricular change, faculty and staff diversity, campus safety and increased support for BIPOC students.
  • The College established a series – the Forum on Constructive Engagement – to explore issues from a range of differing perspectives in an open and respectful environment.
  • President David Harris created the Union College Challenge, asking each member of the Union community to commit to something that takes them out of their comfort zone, and to share the experience with their peers.
  • The College is committed to AOP, which supports first-generation students, and Posse, which brings to campus a small and diverse group of talented students that reflect the demographic mix of the nation.
  • Union created the Empowerment Social Justice Retreat to help students become active allies through the exploration of self-identities and others' perspectives.
  • A coordinator of multicultural recruiting is a senior member of the admissions team.
  • Updated faculty search guidelines provide departments with greater autonomy, but also more accountability for diversifying the faculty. Enhanced training for faculty searches has also been implemented.
  • Union established the Making U Possible program to meet the full financial need of all admitted students through family grants and to provide a persistence fund to cover incidental student expenses.
  • Union's Coalition for Inclusiveness and Diversity is comprised of faculty and staff who are committed to creating a diverse and welcoming campus. UCID meetings are held regularly and include discussions on attracting, recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse faculty and staff. It is also a safe space where faculty and staff can discuss challenges they are facing around diversity, and strategies for creating more inclusive classrooms and office environments.
  • Grants from National Science Foundation, Hearst Foundation and NYS HEOP support promising students from economically disadvantaged households and students from underrepresented groups in STEM.
  • In Dining, we host cultural food celebrations and work closely with campus spiritual leaders to meet the needs of students who are observing religious holidays.
  • Student Activities supports organizations that bring cultural diversity to campus. It also hosts Identity Dialogues, a partnership between Student Forum and other organizations (like the Black Student Union and Womens U) that examines common misperceptions about cultures.
  • Intercultural Affairs hosts events on social justice and events around Lunar New Year, Black History Month and Pride Month.
  • The College celebrated the impact of Union women on their communities and the world with the Making Our Mark commemorative site.
  • A Lavender Graduation Ceremony honors LGBTQIA+ and ally students, and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the College.
  • An ALANA Celebration of Success honors the accomplishments of graduating ALANA seniors (African-American/Black, Latina/o, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Indigenous/Native American and other students of color).
  • The Bridges Program pairs first-generation, first-year students with staff and faculty who were the first in their families to graduate from college.
  • Minerva Houses provide intentional diversity and inclusion programs and promotion of intercultural affairs.
  • New fraternity and sorority members are required to participate in a cultural competency workshop. The College also continues to focus on the growth and sustainability of its Multicultural Greek Council to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in a culturally-based Greek organization.
  • Students have many opportunities to volunteer in the local community and engage with people from a range of backgrounds in meaningful ways. Union's Kenney Community Center is a hub of volunteerism.
  • The Eye to Eye Program enables students with disabilities to visit local elementary schools to mentor youth with disabilities and help them learn to advocate for themselves.
  • A multicultural specialist clinician provides services in the Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center.
  • New courses and experiential offerings focusing on DEI have been developed as part of the College's expanded options for students studying remotely.
  • Union partners with other private liberal arts colleges in New York on faculty diversity programming and mentoring.
  • Coaches engage in ongoing individual and team conversations about social issues to establish inclusive team environments.
  • Updated systems permit transitioning students, international students and others to be known by chosen or preferred first names.
  • Union has partnered with alumni to support AOP and HEOP through endowed and annual fund contributions.