Union recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion

Publication Date

Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, has again recognized the College for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The College is among 91 schools chosen as winners of the magazine’s HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) Award. This marks the seventh straight year Union has been honored. The winners will be featured in the magazine’s November issue.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees - and best practices for both; continued leadership support for diversity; and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, the magazine’s publisher.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

A gathering of students at the Henle Pavilion

Among the innovative and impactful diversity- and inclusion-related programs, initiatives, policies or practices at Union:

Social Justice Retreat, an annual event, gives students a forum in which to further develop knowledge and skills to support them in becoming better change agents around areas of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, religious oppression, classism, global citizenship and many identities and power differences.

Diversity and Inclusion Certification Course is offered to all employees and is designed to expand employees’ knowledge of issues related to diversity, and broaden the campus learning environment beyond the classroom.

Diversity remains central to Union’s institutional identity and mission and is a key priority of the College’s strategic plan. A key objective of the plan is to “cultivate respect and understanding for all members of the Union College and broader communities, and welcome, include and support a measurably more diverse college community.”

In spring 2019, President David R. Harris established a new lecture series, the Union College Forum on Constructive Engagement. The series brings in notable speakers that expose the campus community to a range of topics and perspectives.

And this past June, Harris announced a new Presidential Initiative on Race, Power and Privilege. The initiative came in the wake of nationwide protests sparked by the death in May of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Voicing their anger and frustration with systemic racism, police brutality and social inequality, protesters have demanded change.

“As a liberal arts college, we must provide ongoing, purposeful and diverse opportunities for our students, faculty, staff and alumni to engage on issues of race, privilege and power,” Harris said in a message to the campus community. “We must create brave spaces across campus that engage all of us where we are, and help us grow and be part of positive change.”