November 29, 2022: Power & Privilege Symposium - No More Allies

The Power & Privilege Symposium is coming on February 23, 2023. This year’s theme, No More Allies, names the feeling shared by many in the Whitman community that we need to move beyond isolated words or gestures, and become deeply, authentically, collectively committed to social justice.

November 15, 2022: Inclusive Excellence Council Announced

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the Inclusive Excellence Council (IEC). Guided by a charge from President Bolton, the IEC will function as a new campuswide committee with staff, faculty, student and alumni representation. We want to thank and honor those members of the Whitman community who previously served on WIDE, the Inclusion Task Force, and the 2017 DEI Strategic Planning implementation team. In the wake of pivotal national events, along with considerable changes to both the leadership of the college and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as changes to the organization of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, an updated framework for the collective diversity and inclusion work of the institution was necessary and warranted.

November 9, 2022: The HEDS Diversity and Equity Survey

The HEDS Diversity and Equity climate survey provides students with an opportunity to share information about the multiple identities they hold and their perceptions of the institutional environment. Do you perceive the environment as diverse? Is the institution doing enough to address ableism? Sexism? Racism? Classism? Antisemitism and Islamophobia? Do you perceive the environment as segregated? Have you experienced marginalization or exclusion based on some form of bias associated with an identity you hold or are perceived to hold? These are the types of questions posed in the HEDS Diversity and Equity survey.

November 2, 2022: Fall 2022 Division Update

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively contributing to institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism at the college during Fall semester.

October 26, 2022: Halloween as an Opportunity for Solidarity

Every year around this time, some campus in the United States explodes into turmoil because a student donned a culturally insensitive Halloween costume. Despite warnings from administrators like me, we continue to see people make offensive costume choices.

October 19, 2022: Freedom Songs and Power & Privilege Symposium

Two major student-led programs that contribute to DEIA at Whitman are currently in development. Near the end of fall semester, the Freedom Songs program will provide an evening of liberatory cultural expression and celebration. In the spring semester, our collective attention will turn to the annual Power & Privilege (P&P) Symposium. Both programs provide opportunities for involvement and participation. 

October 12, 2022: Third Space Speaker Series: Critical Disability Studies

The Third Space Speaker Series, sponsored by the Johnston-Fix Foundation, is an intentional manifestation of the College’s commitment to inclusive excellence and stated values of diversity, equity and inclusion. The next Third Space event, on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium, will focus on critical disability studies and disability justice and will feature Dr. Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton, Dr. Lisette E. Torres-Gerald and Alex Locust.

October 5, 2022: Reflecting on Yom Kippur

Today is Yom Kippur, the most solemn religious holy day of the Jewish year, the last of the ten days of penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Also known as the Day of Atonement, many Jews will take steps to restore their relationship with God and with others they may have wronged or harmed in the past year.  

October 5, 2022: Looking Towards Indigenous Peoples' Day

Four-Day is approaching. A valuable mid-semester break not available at most colleges, Four-Day allows time for processing and reflection, and opportunities to catch up on work or catch up on rest. Sleep debt is real y’all. As we head into this extended weekend, we want to remind everyone that when we return to campus on Monday it will be Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

September 28, 2022: Division of Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion was active and productive throughout the 2021-2022 academic year working to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism at Whitman. The Division’s efforts for the year are summarized in a report that is now posted on the college website. Divisional efforts can be classified into five major areas: DEIA Training and Education, DEIA Advocacy and Cultivation, DEIA Recruitment and Retention, DEIA Research and Assessment, and DEIA Transparency and Accountability.

September 21, 2022: Reporting Incidents of Bias

To borrow from Dereca Blackmon, "Bias is the water, not the shark." Blackmon, a diversity and inclusion educator, provides us with language to help us understand that bias is everywhere. We are constantly exposed to biased messages, biased interpretations of events, and we all hold biased views. 

September 14, 2022: DEIA Cultivation Grants

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion is pleased to invite applications for 2022-23 DEIA Cultivation Grants. DEIA Cultivation Grants are intended to support projects, programs, events and initiatives that Whitman community members (students, staff and faculty) are coordinating or pursuing that advance diversity, equity, inclusion or antiracism (DEIA) efforts at the college. Funds may be used to carry out an already designed project, to help cover the costs associated with an event, to compensate invited speakers, artists, or performers, to pay for a student assistant or to travel to a conference, among other possibilities.

September 7, 2022: Third Space Speaker Series Announced

The Third Space Speaker Series launched last year with the generous support of the Johnston-Fix foundation. The concept of a third space emerges from the work of scholars who saw a need to push back against dominant scripts of knowledge production and create new spaces where those who are often confined to the margins can be centered. The series places two scholars in dialogue with each other and with the Whitman community in an intellectual space where values of cultural humility, cultural wealth and cultural pluralism are embraced. 

This fall, we are pleased to have Dr. Jared Ball, Dr. A.D. Carson, Dr. Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton, and Dr. Subini Ancy Annamma scheduled to share their brilliance with the Whitman community.

August 31, 2022: More Us, More We

On my wall, there is a framed print by the artist Brije with four words creatively displayed: “More Us, More We.” A simple sentiment that encourages a focus beyond oneself and directs our attention to community. As we come together for the 2022-23 academic year, I want to encourage us to examine the balance between our own needs and those of our community. Each Wednesday, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion will provide content for Whitman Today that is related to the work of the Division, the diversity of our community, and information to assist us in our efforts to grow and come together.

May 31, 2022: Johnson Named NADOHE Fellow

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) recently appointed Whitman College Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion John Johnson, PhD, to its highly selective Chief Diversity Officer Fellows Program. 

Johnson is one of just seven members of the cohort chosen to participate during the 2022-23 academic year. The national leadership program provides mentorship and professional development opportunities for new and early career chief diversity officers. 

May 18, 2022: Spring Updates from the Division for Diversity and Inclusion

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively contributing to institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism at the college. Read more for a brief update highlighting some activities since our last update.

May 4, 2022: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the importance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

April 27, 2022: A World Without Rape

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This week, the student Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) Team has organized a series of events and activities to educate the Whitman community about consent, sex positivity, sexual health and sexual assault.

April 20, 2022: Get Involved in DEIA Actions

There are several opportunities right now for you to take action related to diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism (DEIA) work at Whitman. What will you do this week?

April 13, 2022: The Time is Now

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion John Johnson shares observations on Whitman's campus climate and ways that community members, particularly students, are involved in work that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism.

April 6, 2022: DEIA Cultivation Grants

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Whitman Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee, is pleased to invite applications for 2022-23 DEIA Cultivation Grants. DEIA Cultivation Grants are intended to support projects, programs, events and initiatives that Whitman community members (students, staff and faculty) are coordinating or pursuing that advance diversity, equity, inclusion or antiracism (DEIA) efforts at the college.

March 31, 2022: Transgender Day of Visibility

Last fall, we provided some content in Whitman Today regarding Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s critically important that we call attention to the manner in which the trans community is being targeted, brutalized and discriminated against. It’s also important that we work to advance representation, affirmation and visibility. Today, March 31, is International Trans Day of Visibility.

March 30, 2022: Ramadan Mubarak

Most Muslims at Whitman come from places where the holy month of Ramadan is central in the lives of everyone they know. It can be uniquely challenging to navigate this important time when surrounded by others who aren’t aware of their experience. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life invites all of Whitman to seek ways to support these students.

March 23, 2022: Sports, Identity and Society

On April 21, two distinguished scholars will join us for the Third Space Speaker Series, discussing sports, identity and society.

March 16, 2022: Reflecting on DEIA Expectations and Responsibilities

Questions and requests for feedback about the role and responsibility of campus diversity administrators.

March 8, 2022: Diversity and Inclusion Update

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion John Johnson provides updates on activities carried out by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, International Student and Scholar Support, the Intercultural Center and the Division for Diversity and Inclusion.

March 2, 2022: Making History

For this week’s contribution to the Whitman Today newsletter, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion wanted to provide some commentary about Women’s History Month. This is not to reinforce a gender binary or promote particular forms of gender expression, but as an effort to disrupt a sexist status quo. Vice President for Diversitya and Inclusion John Johnson reached out to Associate Professor, Susanne Beechy, who generously offered these thoughts about the significance of the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.

February 23, 2022: Stops Along Our Learning Journeys — P&P and NCORE

With the Power & Privilege (P&P) Symposium underway, we want to encourage people to engage with the different activities and sessions happening this week and also share some information about another diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism (DEIA) learning space in the region, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE).  

February 16, 2022: Third Space Speaker Series Launches Today

The Third Space Speaker Series launches today with Leigh Patel, professor of educational foundations, organizations and policy at the University of Pittsburgh, and Sheeva Sabati, a faculty member in the College of Education at California State University, Sacramento in the area of Educational Leadership.

February 9, 2022: Celebrating Lunar New Year

An estimated 1.5 billion people across the globe mark the Lunar New Year and on Feb. 1, China and several other East Asian countries began celebrating. Whether or not you commemorate Lunar New Year, read more to appreciate how meaningful that holiday is for those who do and be buoyed by the joy it brings to our community.  

January 26, 2022: Walk Through Black Brilliance

As we head toward Black History Month, let's expand the list of people whose names are raised up, whose voices amplified and whose work is honored. 

January 19, 2022: DEIA Resources for Faculty

Through institutional memberships in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity and LACRELA, Whitman faculty have access to a wide variety of content focused on STEM grant funding strategies, preparing tenure and promotion materials, challenging race and gender bias in student evaluations, incivility in academic spaces and inclusive teaching practices.

December 15, 2021: Third Space Speaker Series

In Spring 2022, with support from the Johnston-Fix Foundation, Whitman College will launch the Third Space Speaker Series, which will feature scholars, artists, writers and thought leaders whose work helps to advance inclusive excellence at Whitman and will serve as an intentional manifestation of the college’s stated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism. 

December 8, 2021: Fall 2021 Bias Incident Review

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion John Johnson provides an overview of bias incidents reported in Fall 2021.

December 1, 2021: Whitman and LACRELA

Whitman College is part of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). Whitman’s engagement with LACRELA has provided opportunities for several members of the community to participate in structured eConvenings, a curated collection of three-hour virtual seminars.

November 24, 2021: The Revealing Light of Hanukkah

Adam Kirtley, interfaith chaplain, discusses the story of Hanukkah and what the process of increasing illumination reveals about our campus community.

November 17, 2021: Transgender Day of Remembrance

John Johnson, vice president for diversity and inclusion, reflects on privilege, position and protection in advance of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

November 10, 2021: Faculty and Staff of Color Fall Social

Fall and staff of color are invited to a fall social with faculty and staff of color from Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla University.

November 3, 2021: Division of Diversity and Inclusion Updates

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively contributing to institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College. Read more for brief updates highlighting some activities over the last several weeks.

October 27, 2021: "Dear White People" and Halloween Harm

"Dear White People," written and directed by Justin Simien, was released back in 2014. The film is about the experiences of students of color at an Ivy League college. Rotten Tomatoes describes the film as a “welcome new voice to cinema’s oft-neglected discussion of race, tackling its timely themes with intelligence, honesty, and gratifyingly sharp wit.” 

I can recall how tattered I felt after seeing the film in the theatre some seven years ago. The film focuses on the trauma and institutional fallout surrounding a college party in which students don costumes that appropriate and mock the culture of others. While the film is a satire, I am all too familiar with the “real pain” people feel when others use their culture as a costume. 

October 20, 2021: Freedom Songs

Mark your calendar! At 7 p.m. on Nov. 12  in Cordiner Hall, Freedom Songs returns after a hiatus last year due to COVID-19. Freedom Songs is a program created and organized by students that specifically looks at uplifting various forms of music and art to recognize the differences in our society. The program is specifically a racial justice event that consists of three parts (concert, zine, and reflection party) all of which look at issues of race, privilege and different forms of oppression that come alongside our differences in America.

October 13, 2021: Learning Journeys

For Whitman's faculty and staff, continuous professional development and learning around diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism (DEIA) is a necessary element for inclusive excellence. The Division of Diversity and Inclusion is working to seek out, develop and provide the Whitman community with a broad array of resources that can contribute to the growth of our collective DEIA capacity. 

October 6, 2021: Beyond Recognition, Into Action for Indigenous Peoples' Day

This week is a short one with Thursday and Friday included in October Break, two days without classes when students have the opportunity to pause, reflect, perhaps catch up on some school work or even return home for a quick visit. Classes will resume on Monday, October 11, 2021, which is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As noted by Dennis W. Zotigh and Renee Gokey in their essay published in Smithsonian Magazine, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. And it urges Americans to rethink history.”

September 28, 2021: Division of Diversity and Inclusion Updates

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively contributing to institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College. This brief update highlights some activities, staffing changes and events held by International Student and Scholar Services, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Intercultural Center and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion over the last few months.

September 22, 2021: The Whitman Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (WIDE) Committee

The WIDE committee has evolved considerably since its development some seven years ago, but endeavors to remain true to its charge of articulating and supporting the campus-wide work of inclusion, diversity and equity.

September 15, 2021: Yom Kippur

This evening marks the beginning of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. Members of Whitman's Jewish community will join others around the world in a day-long fast that symbolizes a shift in focus from the physical world to matters of the spirit. While Yom Kippur is a holiday, the day isn’t generally marked by celebration or festivities.

September 15, 2021: Hispanic Heritage Month

Today marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is similar to other heritage month celebrations (Black History Month, Women’s History Month, PRIDE Month, etc.), as an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the valuable contributions made by one of the many communities that comprise our nation, but also provides us with an opportunity to interrogate and expand our understanding of pan-ethnic supercategory classifications like “Hispanic”.

September 8, 2021: Speaking Up to Stop Anti-Asian Hate

A reflection on the role of the media in perpetuating stereotypes that feed anti-Asian hate from Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion John Johnson, along with resources to respond to, intervene in and heal from harassment.

September 1, 2021: Meet John Johnson, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

A note of introduction from John Johnson, who joined Whitman as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion in the summer of 2021.