Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Whitman

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values in Whitman College’s commitment to providing a supportive learning and working environment for all students, staff and faculty. We build the framework for a successful diverse learning environment by creating a community that equally values all people and where each individual feels a sense of belonging accompanied by opportunities for transformative educational and professional experiences, learning from a variety of traditions and engaging in respectful and informed discussion.

Statement of Solidarity

Black. Lives. Matter.

At Whitman College we stand committed to deepening our anti-racist work on campus and in our community. For many years, we have supported diversity, equity and inclusion in our declarations and documents; now we must act more deeply and decisively in ways that lead to meaningful and impactful systemic change.

We are outraged at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others. Let us use the momentum as a catalyst for deep, meaningful and long-lasting change. We cannot engage in this work only at the most volatile moments when violence against Black bodies is at its most visible, only to lose interest until the next incident. Anti-racist work is collective, ongoing work. It is never done. 

We invite all members of the Whitman community to engage in the thoughtful action plan put together by the Inclusion Task Force. 

In the words of Whitman College President Kathleen Murray, “Our community, like our nation, is imperfect. But we will continue to work to make it better.”

The commitment to building an antiracist campus that holistically embodies diversity, equity and inclusion is emphasized in Whitman's Strategic Priorites 2017-2022:

Our mission focuses on educating a broad range of talented students in a college community where everyone can participate fully in the life of the college and experience a genuine sense of belonging. For Whitman, diversity includes the composition of the students, faculty and staff, as well as the curriculum, ideas, experiences, relations and cultural traditions across our community. We must become a place where both majority and minority members of our community experience difference every day, where diversity is woven throughout our cultural fabric: our values, our behavior, our culture.

The Inclusion Task Force

The Inclusion Task Force was created to build off previously shared information and give President Kathy Murray and the Cabinet clear and impactful action steps that will move the college forward on its journey to becoming a successfully diverse, equitable and inclusive learning and working environment. 

A time period of eight weeks spanning mid-June to mid-August 2020 was set in order to drive the work in a focused manner and provide space for next steps to begin prior to the start of the fall semester. Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Thomas Witherspoon was named as chair for the committee of 14 faculty, students and staff.

Strategic Goals

Building an antiracist community will not just happen. It requires specific goals to drive impactful action. We have identified three strategic goals that will guide our journey to becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive college.

Next Steps

The final report from the Inclusion Task Force outlines the key themes and suggestions from the task force. Following review of the final report, the President's Cabinet committed to a specific list of Inclusion Action Items to turn the strategic goals into substantive, measurable changes in our community. Each action item is listed with its key leaders and partners and implementation date.