Post-Commission Initiatives and Progress
Davidson College is taking a range of steps, in response to the report by the Commission on Race and Slavery, toward equity and racial justice.
When the commission’s report was released in August 2020, the college announced several initiatives. Since the commission’s report was released, Davidson has taken these additional steps.
March 2023 Update
The College created several new positions in the Africana Studies Department, a key step in the commission’s pledge of creating faculty positions in Africana Studies:
- Hilary Green was named as a new member of the Africana Studies Department, specializing in U.S. and African American history. She serves as the College’s public historian.
- Randi Gill-Sadler was named to a new position in Africana Studies and English specializing in African American literature.
- Terrance Wooten (Black Ecologies) and Fernanda Villarroel Lamoza (Africana Visual Culture) have been hired for two new positions in Africana Studies.
- A joint position in Africana and Latin American Studies has been created, with a new hire expected for fall 2023.
- Over the past two years, we completed and submitted our Quality Enhancement Plan, “Opening Wide the Gateways,” which was focused on leveling the playing field for underrepresented populations in STEM gateway courses, to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.
- Our programming in inclusive pedagogy and other anti-racist training for Davidson faculty and staff has continued through the FIRST program. In 2020-21, our FIRST events drew 324 attendees; in 2021-22, the events reached 312 individuals. So far this year, we are on a similar trajectory.
- February 2022 – Continued mandatory departmental DEI experience which included a conversation with Clint Smith about his NYT bestselling book, ‘How The Word Is Passed’
- February 2023 – Continued mandatory departmental DEI experience which included a conversation with Claude Johnson, author of ‘The Black Fives’
- June 2023 – Will finalize a departmental equity study focused on Title IX and diversity progress
- In FY22, College Relations’ hiring and retention committee was formed with the goal of examining policies, practices and processes for recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse staff. The tools and resources the committee provides to College Relations staff are to increase diversity within our candidate pools and are part of our overall recruiting and retention strategy as well as a path to building a sustainable equitable and inclusive culture. That committee’s work continued through FY23.
- In November 2022, faculty and staff from the college and employees and elected officials from the Town of Davidson participated in two-day Phase 1 training offered by the Racial Equity Institute (REI).
- In 2023, all new College Relations managers and additional staff will participate in ModelExpand’s Inclusive Hiring Bootcamp.
- Beginning April 2023, College Relations staff will participate in a comprehensive DEI assessment led by The Inclusion Firm. The assessment is designed to explore and discover organizational gaps and needs. The Inclusion Firm is a national consulting practice that focuses on developing inclusive strategies for organizational change. Their work is grounded in integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion research, theories, and frameworks into nonprofit organizational environments
- The Community Research Fellows program launched its data dashboard highlighting community research using a data equity approach
- CDF Freedom Schools at Davidson College resumed in person operation in the summer of 2022.
- The Experiential Learning Team launched the Fund for Racial Equity
- The Division of Student Life engaged in a DEI evaluation to prioritize existing DEI efforts based on alignment with institutional goals and effectiveness and to support student life staff in developing DEI plans for their respective areas.
- Student Life staff participated in and presented at a regional National Association of Student Personnel Administrators summer symposium focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, Davidson College was represented on the symposium’s planning committee. (Summer 2022)
- The Counseling Center hosted the 2nd annual fall retreat for queer and trans students of color (September 2022)
- The Chaplain’s Office offered an interfaith alternative fall break trip. Trip leaders and students visited a Hindu worship center, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, The King Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the offices of the Georgia Justice Project, and Morehouse College. (October 2022)
- Several Student Life staff members presented workshops for the Fostering Inclusion and Respect in the Sciences Together inclusive excellence initiative funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
- Student Life staff volunteers participated in Unity in Community programming on racial equity and civic engagement, in addition to the Unity in Community 5th Anniversary celebration.
- Staff members from student life took 12 BIPOC students to on a spring break trip to New Orleans to learn about restorative practices, drawing connections between systemic harms (e.g., slavery through visiting Whitney and Laura plantations, response to Hurricane Katrina, redlining in the Tremé neighborhood), collective trauma, and developing skills that promote healing of relationships and communities (March 2023)
- Student Life staff presented on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at several regional and national conferences.
Technology & Innovation
In the two years since the completion of inclusive hiring training, T&I has seen significantly more diverse candidate and finalist pools and has seen a measurable impact in the diversity of our division.
- The Acknowledgment and Naming Committee held a community conversation available for viewing here.
- The Acknowledgment and Naming Committee approved a new policy on naming public structures and spaces.
- The Commemoration Project moved forward with five finalists for designing and creating the commemoration.
- The Commemoration Project finalists were presented on a new webpage.
- Members of the Davidson Community were invited to register for presentations by the five artists.
- Hilary Green was named as a new member of the Africana Studies Department, a key step in the commission’s pledge of creating faculty positions in Africana Studies.
The Duke Endowment, which has generously supported Davidson and three other institutions of higher education for nearly a century, is supporting the creation of an endowed professorship in the Africana Studies Department. That new position moves Davidson another step toward fulfilling its initiatives in response to the college’s Commission on Race & Slavery, which included a pledge to create four new tenure-track professorships, in part or entirely, in Africana Studies.
Jim Vann ’50, and his wife, Lee, worked with the college to transform an existing professorship that they funded into the Vann Professor for Racial Justice and the Vann Fund for Racial Justice. The Vanns have demonstrated an uncommon dedication to Davidson’s primary purpose to produce the principled leaders that society needs, and they see no bigger challenge for the nation right now than racism. The new professorship will be held by Joseph “Piko” Ewoodzie, a sociologist and author who examines how communities structure themselves into “us” versus “them” to the benefit of those who belong and the alienation of those who don’t. He is the author of Break Beats in the Bronx: Revisiting Hip Hop’s Early Years and Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in The American South.
The Trustees Special Committee on Commemoration has released a Request for Qualifications, encouraging creative individuals or teams that include professional artist(s) in partnership with landscape architects, architects, and/or engineers to submit information about their experience and approach to the kind of effort the committee is leading. The next step would be to identify individuals or creative teams from that group to submit more specific proposals. The committee also held a community conversation in October on campus with questions from the audience in the Duke Family Performance Hall and online viewers. A recording is viewable on the committee’s webpage.
The Trustees Special Committee on Acknowledgment and Naming will hold community Zoom gatherings, including audience questions, on December 1, 3 and 13 to present the committee’s proposed policy addressing how Davidson College names buildings, programs and funds and how, on rare occasions, a building, program or fund’s name may be reevaluated.
Employee Wages and Benefits
The college established that non-temporary college staff will start at $15.50-an-hour. All non-temporary employees will be moved to at least that level, and the college is committing to that rate for new hires. College leaders are studying whether some staff employees already making above that level also need to be adjusted. The new rate went into effect October 31, 2021. The $15.50 figure is the living wage for Mecklenburg County, as calculated by MIT, a widely used measure that uses geographically specific expense data on a family’s food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation and other basic needs.
Starting in January, vacation accrual for hourly employees will match that of salaried employees at four weeks per year.
Also effective in January of 2022, all employees will see new health and dental insurance options that will provide more options and lower premiums.
Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance
Eight Davidson faculty and staff participated in the August LACRELA workshop “Teaching the Truth About Slavery and America’s Racial History,” and a separate delegation participated in the September workshop: “Strategically Hiring Faculty of Color.”
Deliberative Citizenship Initiative
The Deliberative Citizenship Initiative, in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement and North Mecklenburg Economic Mobility Collaborative, hosted a virtual forum on important issues related to housing, such as affordability, gentrification, and segregation; the Town of Davidson’s Housing and Equity Director, Eugene Bradley, was amongst the panelists.
Members of the FIRST (Fostering Inclusion & Respect in the Sciences Together) Leadership Team participated in workshops at the 2021 virtual Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence conference.
Each division is also taking responsibility for implementing programs for staff within that area.
- Dr. Andrea D. Domingue participated in a panel on “Black Executive Leadership” for the American College Personnel Association, as part of Careers in Student Affairs Month for the American College Personnel Association in October. That same month, she also led a workshop on student leadership and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the EMERGE! program.
- STRIDE (Students Together Reaching for Individual Development and Education) events in August and September for first-year students of color included: a welcome dinner, peer leader training, pre-orientation and a program on “First-Year Mistakes.”
- Faculty curriculum development grants in the Center for Civic Engagement are supporting research and curricular projects that focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in our surrounding community.
- The summer 2021 Community Research Fellows program engaged in equity-focused, place-based community research projects in North Mecklenburg with the community leaders.
- Civic Engagement and the Dean of Students Office helped facilitate collaboration between the North Mecklenburg Economic Mobility Collaborative and Unity in Community on the development of a study guide for The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. To support Unity in Community’s launch of the study guide, representatives from Student Life hosted and participated in a virtual meeting featuring two speakers, Bob Simmons and Staisha Hamilton. The speakers helped orient participants to the material and provided guidance on facilitating small group discussions about the text.
- The Center for Student Health & Well-Being completed antiracism training provided by Dr. Nathalie Edmond.
- Student Life leaders participated in the workshop “Indicators of an antiracist institution” and will also participate in a workshop on institutional history and racial healing during the fall 2021 semester.
- In FY21, 100% of College Relations staff participated in the Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater Training.
- In 2021, All College Relations hiring managers and other key staff participated in ModelExpand’s Inclusive Hiring Bootcamp.
- In September 2021, College Relations senior staff and members of the CR DEI steering committee participated in CASE’s Unlearning Behaviors that Limit DEIB program.
- All staffers participated in a two-part workshop with ModelExpand on incorporating inclusive language in the various types of content that the college provides to our audiences. Staff from other divisions whose duties include communications also participated.
Adjusted salaries of the college’s lowest paid employees to ensure all regular employees are making at least a living wage for Mecklenburg County.
Partnered with the Town of Davidson and the Racial Equity Institute of Greensboro to offer their “Groundwater” training to 160 participants. The training explores how racial inequities are caused by systems and that transformational change requires a deep examination of these systems.
Trustee Committees on Commemoration and Acknowledgment and Naming established. These two committees were established in light of the recommendations of the Commission on Race and Slavery. One is focused on publicly commemorating the contributions of enslaved persons to Davidson and the other is focused on developing a policy on naming (for example, buildings, programs and scholarships) for the college.
Standing committee to respond to research and community requests established. This committee was established in light of the recommendations of the Commission on Race and Slavery to field requests for research or information about Davidson’s history.
Innovator in Residence program to begin at the Hurt Hub in academic year 2021-22.
Davidson Microaggressions Project funded for two years.
Formed anti-racist Partnership with 3:08 Collective
- Partnership with 3:08 announced to campus 20 January
- Workgroup team (Tamala Bullard, Melissa Gonzalez, Fuji Lozada, Brent Maher, Stacey Riemer) met with 3:08 partners; established weekly check-in, finalization of survey to campus; key process review documents to be uploaded
- Survey launched: 3 February
- Next steps: scheduling 1:1 interviews with faculty and staff
Joined Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA)
- Working team (Tamala Bullard, Stacey Riemer, Fuji Lozada) met to plan representation at monthly LACRELA e-Convenings. SLT briefed. Representatives to also serve as facilitators on campus.
- Working team met with USC Race and Equity Center Staff and other LACRELA schools to discuss National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) survey procedure; Linda LeFauve designated as NACCC liaison, along with T&I representative; Survey of students to be launched 16 Mar-23 April; Stacey Riemer working with SGA and other students on publicity
- First group of representatives (8 staff/faculty) selected for 1st workshop on 17 February
Bias Incident Reporting System (Tamala Bullard, Carley Dix, Fuji Lozada)
- Presented to SLT; full rollout planned during next couple of weeks
- BIRS established on Maxient System
- Monthly report: 1 case resolved, with respondent and complainant satisfied. No further action.
- 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge launched on campus
- A group of alum employees participated in an anti-racism workshop with Dr. T. Day (organized by Maurice Norman and Kristen Eshleman)
- Questbridge: First Gen Community Time (Tu 16 Feb, 4:30-5:30pm: Center for Diversity and Inclusion)
- Applications open for Emerge! Student Leadership Program (starting 14 Feb)
- SmashTalk (Arts-based positive body image; first event 16 Feb)
- Stories Yet to Be Told: Race, Racism and Accountability on Campus grant applications open to students
- Consultation call with EAB - “Hallmarks of an Antiracist Institution” (information gathering)
- Resources for Racial Justice currently highlighted on WildcatSync
- Applications open for Bonner Racial Justice Community Fund which is designed to mobilize students, alumni, staff, faculty, and partners to work for anti-racist and racially just structural, policy, educational, economic, and social change.
- Student Activities and the Dean of Student Office engaged with the Monuments Initiative, created by students to reimagine and evolve Patterson Court; the Committee on Campus and Religious Life, Patterson Court Council and other standing committees will be involved.
- Dean of Students Office is leveraging discretionary funds to support new initiatives created by students to address underserved populations and needs: ex., the Black Femmes organization, survivors of color.
Each division is also taking responsibility for implementing programs for staff within that area.
Technology & Innovation
- T&I's entire leadership team, along with some staff from HR and managers in three divisions (the Library, College Communications and College Relations) who hire technology-oriented positions are currently enrolled in a three-session inclusive hiring training from ModelExpand, a San Francisco-based consultancy that works with the tech industry to build more diverse and inclusive teams. A total of 13 Davidson managers and staff are enrolled in this T&I-funded training, which wraps up this Thursday, Feb. 11.
- 22 T&I staff have signed up for the United Way's Racial Equity 21-Day Challenge in February, learning more about racial equity and systemic racism through daily readings. T&I staff are invited to participate in a weekly optional discussion session to reflect on the readings and learnings. This optional program will be completed in February.
Finance and Administration
- F&A is planning a video series to be viewed by managers and employees together. Managers will receive additional preparation to facilitate dialogue about the videos.
- All F&A staff are completing the Safe College's Microaggression Course ~40% have completed to date, all will complete by April 30.
- In collaboration with HR, F&A is working to support a financial literacy program at Davidson, using our credit union relationship. A course is scheduled for the next three months.
- Launched an extensive DEI initiative across training, recruiting, staffing, accountability and performance metrics
- Through a ‘Call to Action’ each sports team is charged with initiatives and programming across education, culture, and community outreach
- Instituted mandatory departmental DEI training, the first of which was conducted by Jen Fry Talks
- Athletics scholar-athletes, coaches and staff participated in the Groundwater workshop offered by the Racial Equity Institute
- All staff taking Coursera’s Anti-Racism I course this academic year.
College Comms staff participated in the Groundwater workshop offered by the Racial Equity Institute.
- Center staff participated in three anti-racism workshops with an external facilitator with more to come during the spring semester.
- Our internal DEI working group is working on a variety ideas and initiatives including an Equity Scorecard to help students evaluate the cultures within specific organizations they are considering for experiential learning and employment.
- Student Life staff (all full-time employees) completed online modules on implicit bias and microaggressions.
- Leaders from Student Life partnered with College Relations and Unity in Community, a local 501c4, to help organize the Racial Equity Institute Groundwater training for Davidson College students and employees, Town of Davidson staff and employees, and community members.
- The Community Research Needs Assessment, developed through an initiative co-advised by the Center for Civic Engagement with faculty collaborators, is being used by Unity in Community to identify programming and advocacy priorities for the calendar year.
- Specialized and focused antiracism training for Student Life division leaders and unit directors.
- College Relations created an Equity and Inclusion Council. The E&I Council leadership is working with the Deliberative Citizenship Initiative to create a formal framework.
- By June 30, 2021, each member of the College Relations team will spend a minimum of 10 hours in educational activities to help create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and antiracist workplace.
- The College Relations E&I Council provided an Antiracism Resource Guide. Each CR staff member also has two goals incorporated in our performance objectives specific to antiracism.
- Alumni and Family Engagement (AFE) created a departmental DEI planning group to advance their work. Reviewed internal and hiring processes.
- AFE staff completed the following educational programs as a team, including: How to Engage Meaningfully in Allyship and Anti-Racism LinkedIn Learning Course, Brené Brown with Aiko Bethea on Inclusivity at Work: The Heart of Hard Conversations, discussed Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and Race Traitor: Who Taught You to Be White podcast.
- Supervisors completed Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging DIBS: An Introduction with Pat Wadors LinkedIn Learning Course.
- In Nov-Dec 2020, College Relations and advancement shops at six liberal arts colleges (Kenyon, Bates, Bowdoin, Haverford, Franklin & Marshall, Vassar) partnered with the Aspen Leadership Group to provide a six-hour program (three two-hour sessions), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Fundraising and Volunteer Management, to staff. 40 College Relations staff members participated.
- In January 2021, College Relations launched the Safe College's Implicit Bias and Microaggression Course to be completed by March 15, 2021.
External Programming (offered to alums and the community)
- From Rodney King to George Floyd: Davidson, Riots, Race and Trump Panel Discussion with Ike Bailey ’95, James K. Batten Professor of Public Policy, Dr. Tiffany Hollis ’04, assistant professor of foundations, curriculum, and instruction at Coastal Carolina University, Mikayla Smalls ’20, Mbye Njie ’04, Addie Turner ’20, Ethan Ehrenhaft ’20, Jaylen Thompson ’20, Imani Bowen '10 and Maurice Norman ’20
- An Evening with Dr. Hilary Green: Reconciling Davidson College’s Slave Past: Why Scipio Torrence and Hiram Potts Matter
- Commission on Race and Slavery Panel Discussion with The Hon. Anthony R. Foxx ’93, chairman of the Commission on Race and Slavery, 2017-2020, Dr. Hilary Green, associate professor of history and the 2020-2021 Vann Professor of Ethics in Society, Dr. Carol E. Quillen, president of Davidson College and Moderated by Dr. Rose Stremlau, associate professor of history and gender and sexuality studies, member of the Commission on Race and Slavery, 2017-2020.
- “Art. Murals. Legacy.” Stuart Robertson ’15 and Makayla Binter ’20 discussed life during and after Davidson as professional artists while reflecting on the brief history of mural art on campus. Makayla interviewed Stuart and, in retracing his education and career, the pair imagined updated paths forward for freshly minted artists and audiences beyond the upheaval of 2020.
- “Why Didn’t We Riot” with Ike Bailey ’95.
Each academic department chair and program director was asked to develop anti-racism plans, yielding a great variety of approaches within academic affairs
Planning and Academic Assessment, EPC
- Support for EPC review of JEC and Cultural Diversity requirements
- Assessment of inclusive pedagogy
- Using institutional data to support FoC – in response to COACHE
- Expanding Anti-racism resources guide as library resource for the college
- Reaching out to faculty and students for archival research in problematic areas of college history
- With the CTL, implement open access educational resources to address issues of textbook affordability/access
- Renew commitment to recruit, hire, and retain a diverse and engaged library staff
The Office of Sponsored Programs
- Review demographics of faculty applicant and grant recipients
- Engage in anti-racism education for staff
Research and Creative Works
- Review demographics of student application and successful receipt of grants awarded by academic affairs (e.g., DRI, Abernethy)
- Review application/deliberation process for hidden, implicit bias
Academic Affairs Staff
- Identify and correct bias in recruiting and hiring student works in Academic Affairs
- Review faculty access to professional travel expenditures
- Expand VPAA student travel program to make more accessible
- Write brief history of race and CIS
- Use this to determine how race has been a factor in the Center
- Identify institutional or structural racism in CIS processes
- Implement national standards and practices on academic advising focused on anti-racism;
- Expand anti-racism education for the faculty advising committee, registrar staff, and premajor advisors
- Review application and grant receipt process to ensure adherence to DEI/anti-racism
- Expand work with national/international organizations that are committed to expanding international internships/experiential learning opportunities to underrepresented minorities
Davidson Arts and Creative Engagement
- DACE grants refocused to anti-racism through the deployment of the STAND grant
- Review statistics for participation rates of domestic students of color, international students for past 5 yrs.
- Collaborate with RLO and D&I offices to provide outreach, information on education abroad opportunities
- Ongoing professional development opportunities focused on anti-racism education
- The college has joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance as one of 51 inaugural member institutions. This membership gives us access to high quality learning opportunities and climate surveys that address all areas of campus. Each division is identifying a point person to participate in this effort and share their learnings with campus.
- Each division has completed or scheduled mandatory antiracism education, as pledged when the commission released its report.
- Working with one of our trustees who has expertise and experience in this field, we have identified and are in the process of engaging a consultant to review key practices (including those in hiring, contract bidding, compensation, admission, student discipline, and policing) through the lens of racial equity and building a just and inclusive campus. (The review was announced in August.)
- Davidson adjusted salaries of the college’s lowest paid employees to ensure all regular employees are making at least a living wage for Mecklenburg County, a pledge made when the commission released their report.
- The Board committees on Commemoration and Acknowledgment and Naming, which were announced when the commission report was released, are starting their work. In November they joined the new campus standing committee, also announced in August and formed to address research inquiries and community collaborations, for a joint orientation session with the Hon. Anthony Foxx, chair of the Commission on Race and Slavery, and Dr. Hilary Green, our public historian and 2020-2021 Vann Professor of Ethics in Society.
- Also in November we partnered with the Town of Davidson and the Racial Equity Institute of Greensboro to offer their “Groundwater” training to 160 participants. The training explores how racial inequities are caused by systems and that transformational change requires a deep examination of these systems.
- On December 9, Davidson hosted, via Zoom, a discussion around exploring the college’s history and implementing the action steps formed in response to the work of the Commission on Race and Slavery. The panelists included:
- The Hon. Anthony R. Foxx ’93, chair of the Commission on Race and Slavery, 2017-2020
- Dr. Hilary Green, associate professor of history and the 2020-2021 Vann Professor of Ethics in Society
- Dr. Carol E. Quillen, president of Davidson College
- Moderated by Dr. Rose Stremlau, associate professor of history and gender and sexuality studies, member of the Commission on Race and Slavery, 2017-2020