Office of Diversity and Equity
The ideals of the SUNY Geneseo community strive to broaden understanding, heighten awareness, awaken empathy, and foster empowerment of all individuals.
We believe that our differences make us stronger and together, we commit ourselves to sustaining and expanding the diversity of our community and to making equity for all members of our diverse community a measure of our success.
The Office of Diversity and Equity strives to cultivate and uphold an inclusive and diverse campus. We aim to create an environment that educates, empowers, and inspires our students, campus, and community here at SUNY Geneseo.
Calendar of Selected Cultural Holidays
A Note Regarding the Concerned Students Coalition/Do Better Geneseo Campaign
Last summer, the Concerned Students Coalition (CSC) presented the Cabinet with a list of racial justice demands. We subsequently met with them. This month we again met with Coalition students to discuss their demands as the academic year comes to a close. They shared what they described as painful experiences during their time at SUNY Geneseo. While progress has been made toward Geneseo becoming a more inclusive campus, we know that there is more to be done to ensure the impact of our work is felt and experienced. We reaffirm our commitment towards collaborating with individuals across our campus community on this important work, and thank the CSC for sharing their candid, honest, and powerful feedback to help guide our effort.
Progress on Securing a Multicultural Space for Students
Facilities and Administration, together with Student and Campus Life, have identified a few options for multicultural space for students and expect to have a specific update by the end of the summer.
New Curriculum Proposal with Faculty Senate
The Curriculum Development Working Group proposal passed its first Faculty Senate vote in April and will go before the Senate again in May. The revised curriculum includes a requirement for antiracist curricular development and a new general education program. Several faculty incorporated antiracist pedagogy into their intersession courses and a few have blogged about their experiences (scroll down to intersession 2021).
Enrollment Management Develops New Processes and Models to be More Inclusive
Becoming a more inclusive college that attracts and supports more BIPOC, low-income, and first-generation students requires us to develop an approach that isn’t one size fits all, but rather comprehensive. From the enrollment perspective, it includes revamping our evaluation process, eliminating bias testing requirements such as the SAT/ACT, and restructuring our need-based financial aid model and focusing on affordability. We’ve developed a need-based model that considers the need-level of students, combined with academic data to determine how much institutional aid should be applied to their financial aid package. This approach applies more funding to students with the least financial resources.
Academic Affairs Holds Focus Groups
Academic Affairs continued to execute its division-level racial justice plan. This past month focus groups were held with faculty of color and this month, more will be held with Academic Affairs staff of color. Results will be used to better understand climate issues and make informed improvements. See a larger list of department/division-level action plans and statements of support for racial justice here.
Campus Auxiliary Services Supports Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises
Slightly over 17.5 percent of eligible spending was with Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE), during the first quarter of 2021. On a New York state fiscal year basis CAS also had a 41 percent MWBE utilization rate, which is the third highest among SUNY Auxiliary Service Association (SASA) members, and is particularly notable due to constraints caused by the pandemic.
Future Plans for Diversity Summit
In response to one of the demands from BIPOC students this past summer, the President and Provost have advanced to the College Senate Executive Committee a proposal that would allow the Diversity Summit to be held on a class-free day, and that proposal is currently under review.
Memorial for Victims of Racial Violence and Injustice
Students are working with the Office of Student Life to create memorial artwork dedicated to victims of racial violence and injustice. It will be displayed temporarily in the Kinetic Gallery within the MacVittie College Union while a more permanent location is explored. This is in addition to the racial justice mural project that Xiara Colon of Student Association has been coordinating.
All Gender Bathrooms Update
The College has recently converted all single-use bathrooms to all-gender bathrooms, putting 16 more online. We now have 74 total on campus. Some of the new locations include additional all-gender bathrooms in the Clark Service Building, Mary Jemison Dining Hall, Schrader Hall, Steuben Hall, Letchworth Dining Hall, Newton Hall, Merritt Athletic Center, Putnam Hall, Blake Hall and several in the Brodie Fine Arts building.
Campus Climate Survey and Faculty Focus Groups
All students will soon have an opportunity to complete the Campus Climate Survey. The results will help us understand the experiences of students, faculty, and staff, in particular those of minoritized groups, establishing a baseline that will help inform our efforts and measure progress. In addition, Academic Affairs, in partnership with Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans, co-chair of the diversity commission’s Climate Study Subcommittee, is hosting focus groups for faculty of color to better understand climate issues and make informed improvements.
Results from these assessment methods will help inform implementation of some of the BIPOC student demands related to supporting, uplifting and protecting current BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
DEI Training Update
All Cabinet members, as well as the executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services, are currently participating in the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC) program, through which each leader will develop an action plan. In addition, 53 faculty and staff are on track to complete the ACCC program this month.
The faculty and staff leadership program is also under way with its first cohort of participants who are leaders from across the campus community. The inaugural session includes a three-hour training on Equity-Minded Leadership, as well as other areas of leadership development, and is designed to promote relationship building and foster collaboration skills, as well as increase awareness and appreciation for various campus roles and responsibilities.
Division and Unit-Level DEI Plans
The Student & Campus Life division is currently updating its mission, vision, and outcomes to include DEI and anti-racist values and themes. See a larger list of department/division-level action plans and statements of support for racial justice here.
Diversity Summit (Theme: Creating an Antiracist Community)
I am thrilled by the level of engagement at Tuesday's Diversity Summit, as well as the daily programming during the week leading up to the Summit. There were over 400 members of our community engaged in several sessions over the course of the day, as well as many individuals unaffiliated with the College participating. I'd like to express my gratitude to the organizers, presenters, and volunteers who made it possible, and those of you who attended sessions in pursuit of Creating an Antiracist Community.
Curricular Design Working Group Update
The Curricular Design Working Group (CDWG) submitted a new curriculum proposal, "A Geneseo Curriculum for a Connected World" to the Senate for the review process. This proposal, which includes a “diversity, pluralism, and power” requirement in the revised general education program, has been developed in response to feedback from the community. We invite you to review this proposal and to share your feedback via the CDWG Wiki page.
New Living-Learning Community in Erie Hall
A new living-learning community is being established in Erie Hall. Umoja House will create an engaged intellectual community where students of diverse backgrounds can come together in a supportive environment to celebrate their identities while nurturing their leadership skills. There is an informational session for returning students scheduled for Friday, March 5 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Register here.
New Public Art Policy Completed
In response to the demands issued this past summer by the Concerned Students Coalition, the Student Association is leading a mural project, under the leadership of Xiara Colón. This initiative has prompted the College to develop a public art policy that would create a pathway for project ideas like this to be officially proposed and approved. The policy has been completed and a committee, which will include student representation, is being formed now.
SUNY Releases DEI Action Plan
Last week, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced a comprehensive 25-point diversity, equity, and inclusion plan to close the racial equity gaps, and eliminate cultural and institutional racial discrimination across SUNY. Geneseo will be enhancing its efforts to align with this new plan.
Black History Month Events
A month-long series of events is under way in support of our ongoing effort to become an antiracist college. The events to celebrate Black History Month are organized by the Antiracism and DEI Education Subcommittee of the President's Commission on Diversity and Community with support of the Provost's Office. Our ultimate goal of becoming an antiracist institution is aspirational and therefore perpetually imperfect. However, we are dedicated to reimagining the inner-workings of the college, propelling individual and institutional growth beyond this month of programmed events in order to sustain movement towards this aspirational goal.
Cultivating Community Series to Resume February 24th
The next session in the Cultivating Community series will be held February 24, focused on the question “In the aftermath of a bias-related incident at a public institution of higher education, how might campus officials effectively communicate with members of the college community?” Case studies will be shared and discussed and participants will be asked to consider how Geneseo responds or should respond when bias-related incidents occur. Subsequent sessions will continue to engage in dialogue about ways the College, as a public institution of higher education, might best respond to bias-related instances. To RSVP, visit the Cultivating Community web page.
Update on Painted Tree and Rock
Contextual signage has been placed near the painted rock, and will soon be installed next to the tree on Sturges Quad, weather permitting. In addition, upon consultation with the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community, I have convened a committee representative of a broad array of college stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff, to initiate and complete by April 2, a review of the College’s current painted tree and rock practices and provide recommendations on the best path moving forward.
Antiracism in the Curriculum
Academic Affairs is taking action to increase and highlight racial justice and antiracism in the curriculum in three ways. First, various academic departments are working to develop new coursework focused on antiracism and racial justice. Many of these new courses will be taught during the Intersession and Spring 2021. Second, several departments are also endeavoring to incorporate antiracism throughout their curriculum rather than in selected courses. The Psychology Department faculty, for example, are meeting regularly to share ideas about new antiracist pedagogical approaches and materials that can be integrated into all their courses. Third, academic affairs is tagging antiracist courses every semester to ensure that students can easily find them. The list for Spring 2021 courses can be found here, and the list for Intersession can be found here.
Units Make Progress on Individual Action Plans
While the College has its own high level plans of actions and strategies, individual departments and offices on campus also have committed to unit-specific plans. Many of them are available on the Statements of Support and Action Plans for Racial Justice web page, which is updated regularly.
Deepening Personal Understanding through 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
In addition to campus-specific initiatives, the College also participates in relevant regional activities including the recent 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge sponsored by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Greater Rochester. More than 100,000 community members and 460 organizations participated. A number of campus leaders were among them, notably the entire University Police Department, Residence Life leadership, divisional directors within Student and Campus Life, members of Cabinet and Campus Auxiliary Services employees. The initiative allowed participants to deepen their understanding of and willingness to confront racism, bias, and other social inequities.
Campus Auxiliary Services Engaging with Student Leaders
Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) is intentionally seeking to engage with students across campus about service offerings to serve a more racially-diverse population. CAS initiated a new bi-weekly meeting with the five student directors of its Board. These ongoing meetings are focused on reviewing how CAS services support the College experience for all students, in particular students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Based on the demands issued, CAS is exploring several new opportunities, including the feasibility of establishing a hair salon on campus to better serve specialized needs that are not currently fully met in the greater Livingston County region. Mat Felthousen, the newly appointed CAS executive director, also met with the Student Association and Inter-Residence Council (IRC) this semester, and welcomes opportunities to meet with other student groups to solicit feedback on opportunities for improvement or new initiatives.
Campus Personal Safety Committee Transitioned to Advisory Committee on Campus Safety
Recognizing that a modern conversation about campus safety must involve greater focus on law enforcement operations, accountability, and transparency, the College modified the Campus Personal Safety Committee to the Advisory Committee on Campus Safety and assigned the Committee additional responsibilities. The Committee comprises a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students. In addition to the traditional responsibilities focusing on environmental and personal safety, the Committee will conduct reviews of all University Police Command investigations into personnel complaints and use of force incidents.
Intergroup Dialogue Program Launches
Across the country, Intergroup Dialogue programs have been promoting empathy and awareness, and ultimately positively transforming campus climates. We have been laying the foundation for an Intergroup Dialogue program here at Geneseo. This spring, Chief Diversity Officer robbie routenberg will teach a Dialogue Facilitation Training course (XLRN 288) to prepare students to facilitate conversations that raise awareness of social justice principles such as social identity, privilege and oppression, and power and conflict. Some enrolled students will help facilitate Intergroup Dialogue courses in Fall 2021.
Election 2020 Resources
Student and Campus Life, in partnership with Academic Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Equity, executed robust programming before, during and after the 2020 Election. Recognizing the significance of the Presidential election in particular, the team mobilized to get out the vote prior to the election, and worked to support the Geneseo campus community during and after Election Day. For a full list of resources see Post-Election Allies, Programming & Resources.
SUNY-Wide Commitment to Diversity
SUNY recently launched a 64 Actions on 64 Campuses listing the various ways in which the 64 SUNY campuses are committed to diversity. The page lists 64 actions on 64 campuses and is intended to show the breadth of the system’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. SUNY Geneseo’s Cultivating Community Chats and antiracism efforts are highlighted.
Units Develop Individual Action Plans
While the College has its own high level plans of actions and strategies, individual departments and offices on campus also have committed to unit-specific plans. Many of them are available on the website (including a video version from the Department of Biology) and many more are in development.
The student and campus life division is developing a socially just strategic plan in order to ensure the entire division is working to become more inclusive, antiracist, and is addressing systemic issues that hinder an inclusive community. This includes evaluating policies, procedures, and all student/campus services. The division’s leadership is working at the departmental level to ensure this work is taking place at all levels.
Admissions has taken steps to ensure an application review and scholarship awarding process that is free of bias. It also seeks to extend its test optional protocol-12 to completely remove college entrance exams from the application review process.
Cabinet to Receive Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC)
The College’s senior leaders recognize the value of further developing our cultural competency as well as participating in ongoing professional development. Accordingly, all members of the President’s Cabinet as well as our CAS Interim Executive Director have committed to complete the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate Program (ACCC) during the current academic year. We encourage all members of our campus community to sign up for workshops, read articles, and engage in reflective conversations that contribute to your continued professional development in this arena, as well.
Antiracism Intersession 2021 Course Incentives
The extended Intersession period in January 2021 presents an opportunity for the College to offer more courses to serve our students as well as incorporate course materials that include diversity, equity and inclusion components. Academic Affairs is offering an incentive to those faculty who teach courses or incorporate course content that advance Geneseo’s pursuit of “Becoming an Antiracist College.” To further support faculty in developing content, Academic Affairs is also offering antiracist pedagogical support through the Teaching and Learning Center.
More Accessible Engagement with Commission
We are making a fundamental change to the membership structure to allow for broader and more accessible campus engagement. Returning members to the Commission will be invited to serve as the Commission’s leadership, providing oversight to the committees and strategic direction of the Commission. Participatory membership will also be made available to all affiliated with our Geneseo community with expectations for engagement communicated to the campus by Commission leadership.
Strategic Communication Plan
The Commission will work with the Offices of Diversity & Equity and Communications & Marketing to establish a strategic DEI communication plan that includes mechanisms for sharing updates with the campus, creating a web-based historical timeline of DEI activities, and soliciting contributions from the campus.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
As part of the Commission’s charge to educate and celebrate cultural diversity by sharing information about different holidays and traditions with the campus, they will be exploring the timing and programming associated with observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on campus. This will be a new observance for our campus.
Campus Climate Study
The Commission will assist with the development of our comprehensive campus climate study. They will also identify and suggest ways to disseminate this information so that it can be used by the campus community to inform decisions and programming.
In partnership with the Office of Diversity & Equity and Student Association, the Commission will continue to assist with the coordination of this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on Tuesday, March 2. It is intentionally scheduled during a Rejuvenation Day so there will be no classes competing with the programming. Additionally, we will be expanding this event to include programming throughout some or all of the week of the Summit.
- Fall 2022
PARYUSHANA (JAINISM) Is the ‘Festival of Forgiveness,’ a significant holy event for Jains coming together to reflect on friendship and forgiveness. August 23-30 ROSH HASHANAH (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish New Year; start of the Ten Days of Penitence. The first two days are observed as full holidays. September 25-27 YOM KIPPUR (JUDAISM) Is the day of Atonement; the most solemn day of the year devoted to fasting, prayer and repentance. October 4-5 SUKKOT (JUDAISM) Is the first two days of Tabernacles, commemorating the dwelling of Israelites in booths in the wilderness. October 9-11 SIMCHAT TORAH (JUDAISM) Is the celebration of the new cycle of annual scriptural readings. October 18 NAVARATRI (HINDUISM) Is the festival representing ‘Nine Nights’ honoring the Devi, the great Goddess and divine Mother, the all-pervading Shakti. September 26-October 5 DIWALI (HINDUISM/JAINISM/SIKHISM/ BUDDHISM) Is the ‘Festival of Lights’, a major festival lasting five days, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. October 24 TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS (BAHA'I) Is the festival to celebrate the births of two central figures of the Baháʼí faith, ‘Báb’ on the first day and ‘Baháʼu'lláh’ on the second day. October 25-26 DAY OF THE COVENANT (BAHA’I) Is the festival commemorating Baháʼu'lláh’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the center of His Covenant. November 26 ASCENSION OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ (BAHA’I) This Holy Day marks the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the appointed successor of the Baha’i faith in Haifa. November 28 HANUKKAH (JUDAISM) Is the ‘Festival of Lights’, celebrating the victory of the Maccabees and rededication of the Ancient temple in Jerusalem. December 19-26 CHRISTMAS (CHRISTIANITY) Is the annual religious and cultural commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Nativity Christmas is celebrated in January.
December 25 (Orthodox)
KWANZAA Is the annual celebration of African-American culture culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, held on the 6th day. December 26-January 1
- Spring 2023
LUNAR NEW YEAR (BUDDHISM) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. January 22 SHIVRATRI (HINDUISM) Is a festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. February 18 LENT (CHRISTIANITY) Is the six week period beginning Ash Wednesday leading to Easter Sunday, where some Christians fast or give something up in solemn observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Period includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. February 22-April 6 PURIM (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish festival commemorating the saving of the Jewish people and the defeat of Haman as recounted in the Book of Esther. March 6-7 HOLI (HINDUISM) Is a popular ancient festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over Hiranyakashipu. March 8 NAW-RUZ (BAHA'I) Is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the New Year and for Baha’is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and coincides with the spring equinox. March 21 RAMADAN (ISLAM) Is the ninth most sacred month in Islamic culture that Muslims observe to mark when Allah sent an angel to Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran, the Islamic holy book. March 22-April 21 MAHAVIRA-JAYANTI (JAINISM/SIKHISM/HINDUISM) Is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpiṇī. April 4 PASSOVER/PESACH (JUDAISM) Is the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The first and last two days are observed as full holidays. Includes a ceremonial meal called the Seder comprising food of symbolic significance, traditions and prayers. April 5-13 EASTER/PASCHA (CHRISTIANITY) Is the Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion.
April 9 (Orthodox)
RIDVAN (BAHA'I) The festival commemorates the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. Elections for local, national and international Baha’i institutions are generally held. April 21, 29, and May 2 EID AL-FITR (ISLAM) Is the "Festival of Breaking the Fast" may be called Lesser Eid or Eid, is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
DECLARATION OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) This Holy Day commemorates when the Báb, announced that He was the Herald of a new Messenger of God. May 24
- Summer 2023
ASCENSION OF THE BAHA’U’LLAH (BAHA’I) This Holy Day marks the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i Faith. May 29 SHAVUOT (JUDAISM) Is the ‘Feast of Weeks’, which marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai, and is often linked with the Confirmation of teenagers. May
EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM) Is the latter of the two Islamic holidays honoring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. June 28-29 MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) The Holy Day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Báb, Herald of the Bahai Faith, in Persia. July 10 TISHA B’AV (JUDAISM) Is an annual fast day and intense day of mourning on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred. July
AL-HIJRA (ISLAM) Is the first day of the month of Muharram representing the Islamic New Year. July
SRI KRISHNA JAYANTI (HINDUISM) Is the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. August 18-19
Periodic DEI Updates
- Fall '20-Spring '21
New accordion content
Sept '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
The President’s Commission on Diversity and Community will conduct a campus climate study this semester to gather feedback on the campus environment. Students can expect a survey invitation to come via email in the coming weeks; a faculty and staff survey will follow later this year.
Expansion of LGBTQ+ and Multicultural Student Services
With the goal of better supporting the success of students, the current part-time position of LGBTQ+ programs and services coordinator will be augmented to become a full-time assistant director of multicultural affairs for LGBTQ+ life in what will now be called the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The assistant director will have an expanded portfolio, with a primary responsibility for serving LGBTQ+ students while supporting multicultural students more broadly.
Progress on Securing a Multicultural Space for Students
Facilities and Administration, together with Student and Campus Life, has identified the Knightspot as a temporary multicultural space for students. Renovations on the space will begin this fall.
New Living Learning Community Opens
Umoja House is the latest Living Learning Community on campus with 20 residents in Erie Hall. An Inquiry and Discovery LLC, Umoja House comprises students from diverse backgrounds who share an interest in unity, for which the LLC is named.
Academic Affairs Executing Racial Justice Plan
Academic Affairs continues to execute its division-level racial justice plan. The division held focus groups with its faculty and staff of color last spring and recommendations based on the feedback are being integrated into the division-level racial justice plan. See a larger list of department/division-level action plans and statements of support for racial justice here.
Finance and Administration Support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
To further advance its commitment to DEI, the Finance and Administration (FA) Division is advancing DEI strategies at multiple levels. In collaboration with related campus efforts, a new FA Division Diversity Group recently reviewed current administrative practices and identified ways to better infuse the division’s commitment to DEI into culture and practices. Examples are highlighted here, many of which represent implemented practices. More updates will be made as our community needs evolve.
Get Involved in the Diversity Summit
The Diversity Summit will be held February 16, 2022. Classes will not be held so everyone can fully participate in the activities. To join a planning committee, complete this form. The session proposal form will be made available in November.
Oct '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
The Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has launched a survey designed to understand students' perspectives and experiences regarding the campus climate. The goal of this survey is to amplify student voices and use student feedback to continue to improve the experiences for all students at SUNY Geneseo. All full-time matriculated undergraduate students have received a survey invitation email from Dr. Monica Schneider (email@example.com) on behalf of the Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee. Please encourage students to complete the survey. A related survey of campus personnel is anticipated in a future phase (timing TBD).
Interim Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs
The Office of Multicultural Affairs now has an interim director: Natalie Weathers. Natalie, who recently completed her master's degree at Syracuse University, has a passion for and strong record of engagement in diversity, equity, and inclusion work as it pertains to the student experience. She will continue the Office’s vibrancy, programming, and student support during this academic year. Natalie’s first day is October 28. Please stop by the office and give her a warm Geneseo welcome.We will announce details about a national search for the office’s next long-term director later in the spring.
A Note about Halloween
With Halloween upon us, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to consider our college value of Belonging and our Community Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as you make choices about costumes, gatherings, and other holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, while Halloween can be a joyful time for many, it also can be a painful time for members of our community whose culture or identity is misrepresented or mocked by others’ choices.
Geneseo To Give Two Honorary Degrees at 2022 Commencement
SUNY Geneseo alum Howard Blumenthal ’74 and Ibram X. Kendi will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees at the college’s 2022 commencement. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, helped inspire the College to spend the 2020–21 academic year exploring topics related to racial (in)equity, (in)justice, and movements for social change.
PRODiG Program Thriving
SUNY Geneseo is pleased to participate in the SUNY PRODiG Program as part of its efforts to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty in its nationally-recognized student-focused community. We currently have six faculty and two fellows, which is among the highest representation of all SUNY comprehensive colleges. Plus, we’ve applied for an additional award to continue to grow this excellent program.
Nov '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
There are two days left for students to complete the climate survey (due November 19). As a reminder, the Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has launched this survey to understand students' perspectives and experiences regarding the campus climate. The goal is to amplify student voices and use student feedback to continue to improve the experiences for all students at SUNY Geneseo. A related survey of campus personnel is anticipated in a future phase (timing TBD).
Diversity Summit Seeks Proposals
This year’s Diversity Summit will take place on February 16th, 2022. All members of the Geneseo community and beyond are invited to submit proposals for sessions they would like to host during the Diversity Summit. Sessions can vary in length and format, including presentations, discussions, art activities, performances, and more! Those who are interested in hosting a session should fill out this Google form by December 15.
Support Services Available
At Geneseo, we are committed to helping every member of our community reach their full potential by fostering an environment that allows everyone in our diverse community to feel affirmed, valued, and a sense of belonging. Individuals who experience a bias-related incident are encouraged to report the incident so that the college can respond effectively. These reports are received by the college’s Bias Prevention and Response Team (BPRT), which is composed of committed students, faculty, and staff. BPRT works to prevent bias-related incidents and to support our community when these incidents occur. Some reports are referred through other appropriate channels for follow up and investigation.
New Identity-Affirming Student Spaces on Campus Coming Soon!
Finance and Administration’s facilities department, together with Student and Campus Life, the Office of Diversity and Equity, Student Association, and student leaders, are hard at work transforming the Knight Spot into new multicultural, identity-affirming spaces for students. Additionally, space near the office of the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life has been renovated for use by LGBTQ+ students and their allies. The team expects these spaces to open before the end of the fall semester. Stay tuned for more information!
Summer Farmers Market Effort Increases Diversity in Sustainability Activities
Students are learning the full cycle of farming — from planting to sale — part of a larger sustainability related effort to increase engagement, business and access opportunities for BIPOC community members. Read more in our News Center.
Dec '21 Updates
New Workshop Program for Faculty and Staff
This spring, we will launch a new branch of the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC) program, allowing departments to request workshops on topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. ACCC alums have been given the opportunity to participate in facilitator training. Trained ACCC alums will serve as workshop facilitators to enhance the range of professional development offerings on these important topics. This complements our existing Diversity and Inclusion Community Educators (DICE) program which engages students as facilitators.
Campus Climate Study
Thank you to all the students who responded to our Campus Climate Study. We received 1,300 responses with 600 full completions. Congratulations to our three raffle prize winners: Bakhita Solenyanu (iPad), Alissa Moeller (Apple Watch), and Isabella Robles (AirPods). We anticipate sharing the results of the survey next semester, and faculty/staff will have a chance to provide feedback in the next phase of the study.
Diversity Summit Seeks Proposals
There is still time to indicate your interest in hosting a session at this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on February 16, 2022. Sessions can vary in length and format, including presentations, discussions, art activities, performances, and more! Those who would like to host should fill out this Google form by December 15.
Leadership Training “Graduates” First Cohort
The inaugural cohort of the faculty and staff leadership program has completed its first year of ongoing training. Leaders from across the campus community learned about equity-minded leadership, as well as other areas of leadership development. The program is also designed to promote relationship building and foster collaboration skills, as well as increase awareness of and appreciation for various campus roles and responsibilities. Participants on multidisciplinary teams identified potential actions for Cabinet consideration that are now under review. More to come!
DEI Training in the School of Business by PwC
The School of Business and PwC worked together to create DEI awareness sessions for over 150 Introduction to Business students. Two Business Advisory Council members and PwC partners (Tom Henk and Dan Book) moderated the Zoom sessions. The first session, by a PwC staff member, focused on developing self-awareness among the students about differences. The second session featured a panel of PwC employees, including Tomas Cesar '20, who talked about their experiences as persons of color at PwC. Student leaders from SOB clubs also participated in the DEI awareness training at the beginning of the semester.
Jan-Feb '22 Updates
Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQ+ Services Move to the Office of Diversity and Equity
In an effort to create a centralized hub for DEI-related initiatives and programs, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, including LGBTQ+ Life and Jewish Student Life, is moving from the Division of Student and Campus Life to the Office of Diversity and Equity. We believe that this reorganization will lead to greater collaboration, innovation, and support for our campus community. The office and its staff will continue to provide a high level of support to students, and the programs and services offered by this office will continue from its new organizational home.
New Identity-Affirming Student Spaces on Campus Coming Soon!
Finance and Administration’s facilities department, together with Student and Campus Life, the Office of Diversity and Equity, Student Association, and student leaders, are nearly done transforming the Knight Spot into a new multicultural space for students. Additionally, space near the office of the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life has been renovated for use by LGBTQ+ students and their allies. The team is currently selecting furniture and decorating the spaces, which are expected to open early in the spring semester.
Diversity Summit Keynote Speaker Announced
Keith Boykin will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on February 16, 2022 at 1 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. Boykin is a CNN political commentator, New York Times best-selling author, and a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton.
Mar/Apr '22 Updates
Multicultural Center Prepares for Opening!
The Knight Spot will officially be renamed the “Multicultural Center” and will serve as a programming and community space for multicultural students. Special thanks to facilities services for completing the renovation during the pandemic. There is temporary furniture in place and new furniture has been ordered with funding from the Student Association. There will be opportunities to visit the new venue this semester. A new sign for the awning will soon be installed, and an official launch of the new Multicultural Center will occur in the fall.
Academic Affairs Updates - DEI Expo, New Racial Justice Website, PRODiG Fellows
Student leaders and Academic Affairs piloted a DEI Expo on March 23. Student leaders, Joelmy Acevedo and Francheska Colon, conceived the event, which was co-implemented by the Provost office, DAPA, and students. Designed to provide students with just-in-time information about all of our DEI classes right before fall registration, departments and units also shared information about their DEI-related activities.
Academic Affairs also created a racial justice website, and implemented a think tank on faculty evaluation designed to make recommendations to reduce bias in the tenure-and-promotion process.
SUNY Geneseo is participating in the continuation of PRODiG Fellows and will collaborate with other SUNY comprehensives to choose a fellow for the 2022-23 academic year. This will be the college’s third PRODiG fellow. These are two-year fellowships designed to introduce late-stage Ph.D. candidates or early stage new Ph.D.s to teaching at comprehensive colleges. Through this program, the College provides Fellows a reduced teaching load, excellent mentorship, and robust networking opportunities.
Upcoming Search for Director of Multicultural Affairs
In the coming days, we will launch the posting to recruit our next Director of Multicultural Affairs. Now under the Office of Diversity and Equity, the holder of this position will also serve as the Assistant Director of that larger entity. Campus community members are asked to help circulate this posting once it is live and are encouraged to participate in the open fora when finalists are interviewed.
- May '22 Updates
Seeking Nominations for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award
The President’s Commission on Diversity and Community is currently soliciting nominations for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award. Nominations are due Friday, May 13. The purpose of this award is to recognize students, student organizations, faculty, staff and alumni who have evidenced an extraordinary commitment to enhancing SUNY Geneseo's environment of mutual respect for all people and points of view. The award process enables us to share success stories as a community and celebrate the leadership and vision of our members and programs as we strive to foster a supportive and welcoming climate for everyone. To view past winners of this award, visit the website.
Hillel Pilots "Understanding Antisemitism on Campus"
This April, SUNY Geneseo Hillel launched a first-of-its-kind training, delving into the origins, evolution, and context of past and present manifestations of antisemitism. To our knowledge, Geneseo was the first Hillel in the country to offer the training to all members of the campus community. The 40 participants represented a range of backgrounds and identities: students, faculty, staff, community members, Jews, and non-Jews. The curriculum, created by Hillel International and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), helped participants understand and feel better equipped to identify, respond to, and proactively educate others about antisemitism.
Identity-Affirming Graduation Celebrations
Three identity-affirming celebrations take place this month as seniors prepare to graduate. The Lavender Graduation Celebration on May 10 honors students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Sankofa Graduation Celebration, to be held on May 19, honors those who self-identify as students of color while acknowledging their resilience and perseverance toward this important milestone. On Friday, May 20, a Senior Sendoff Shabbat will take place followed by dinner to celebrate our Jewish graduates. Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors; we can’t wait to celebrate with the entire Class of 2022!
Neurodivergence Living Learning Community
With a focus on providing a sense of belonging for students with neurodivergence, our new LLC, developed in partnership with students, will be a welcoming community created to be inclusive of all aspiring students who have unique minds and attributes. The Neurodivergent LLC will provide students with an intentional living space designed to accommodate their diverse needs. Spaces in development may include: quiet rooms, calming areas, study zones, stimming sanctuaries, comfortable furniture and fabrics, and staff support.
Geneseo Foundation Allocates Funding for Multicultural Scholars
On Friday April 28, the Geneseo Foundation Board of Directors allocated $250,000 to the multicultural scholars scholarship program. This allocation of funds was made in addition to a $400,000 distribution for unrestricted scholarships, and enabled the College to recruit 39 multicultural scholars for admittance this fall.
Thank You for Participating
As our year comes to a close, we want to thank everyone who has taken the time to participate in the vast opportunities designed to deepen awareness and foster community. These include: the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC) program, Cultivating Community, Diversity and Inclusion Community Educators (DICE), Intergroup Dialogue course sequence, Equity-Minded Leadership Certificate, and more. The investment of time and energy on an individual level really does impact Geneseo on a community level.
- Oct '22 Updates
Update on Multicultural Affairs Staffing
This Thursday, October 13, Amanda Chestnut will begin as the interim coordinator of multicultural affairs with primary oversight over the newly launched Multicultural Center. They will work full-time until a new ongoing director of multicultural affairs begins in the role. On that topic, following an unsuccessful recruitment effort this spring, we have restarted a national search for the director position. I would ask you to share this opportunity with anyone you believe might be qualified and interested. This is a very important position for our campus and I appreciate your participation in this search.
Opening of the Multicultural Center
The Multicultural Center in Blake Hall officially opened on September 12, with a ribbon cutting event on September 9. A collaborative outcome of Geneseo voices from past and present generations, the Center is intended to serve as not only a physical space for community and cultural development, but also a spiritual and mental space for relaxation and creative expression. The Multicultural Center has been open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; weekend hours are now available as well (also 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.). For more information and to reserve the space for events, visit the website.
Planned opening of the LGBTQ+ Lounge
A brand new LGBTQ+ Lounge will be opening this semester. This space is the result of collaboration between students, faculty, staff, and administrators in an effort to provide a student-centered space which supports the belonging of LGBTQ+ community members. The furnishings for this space were provided by the Student Association, and were supported by student activity fees. A ribbon-cutting will take place on Thursday, November 10 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the hallway outside MacVittie College Union 345. After this event, the LGBTQ+ Lounge will be open daily during Union hours. Students are welcome to use this space as a place to relax and make connections with each other. The space includes a living room, conference room, and two all-gender bathrooms.
Hispanic Heritage Month
The Global Languages and Cultures Department together with the Latinx Student Association have presented several events in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, including music performances, dance instruction, and a panel discussion and keynote speaker focused on the Spanish culture and language respectively. One more event, a Poetry Reading, takes place this Thursday, October 13, at 6 p.m. in Bailey 101. All are invited.
Multicultural Meet and Greet
The 15th Annual Multicultural Meet and Greet is Friday, October 14, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. This event helps foster informal mentorship relationships among faculty, staff, and students, and cultivate a sense of community and belonging for BIPOC students and those from minoritized groups. RSVP to attend.
Climate Study Report Results Shared with Campus
Last month, the results of the Campus Climate Study, administered in Fall of 2021 by a subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community, were distributed to the campus community. A range of ways will be offered for members of our community to engage with the data to inform change. The Cultivating Community dialogue series this semester is focused on these findings. The next session is November 9, and all are welcome and encouraged to participate. Register on the website.
Join a Diversity Summit Planning Committee
This year’s Diversity Summit will take place on February 28, 2023. Four planning committees will help make the summit a success: logistics, programming, volunteerism, and marketing. We would love to have students, staff, and faculty involved on each of these committees. You can sign up here to participate on a committee. Information about how to submit a session proposal will be available later this fall semester.
- Nov. '22 Updates
Indigenous Peoples' Heritage Month Featured Speaker
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting an event with Emmy Award-winning social justice storyteller, entrepreneur, and philanthropic leader Sarah Eagle Heart. Join Residence Director Tim Snider on Tuesday, November 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. for the Zoom webinar conversation about the culture, art, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples. Learn how their voices can be amplified in the Geneseo community. This event is sponsored by the Student Association and supported by mandatory student activity fees.
Transgender Awareness Week
Around the country, many people, organizations, and institutions celebrate Transgender Awareness Week (also called Trans Awareness Week). This is an opportunity to deepen knowledge, increase support, and uplift members of our community who identify as transgender. Geneseo holds many events this week (full schedule on Instagram @geneseolgbtqia), including a ceremony to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Gazebo on Wednesday, November 16, at 6 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting for LGBTQ+ Lounge and Opening of the Lavender House
Two important LGBTQ+ affirming spaces opened last week: LGBTQ+ Lounge (in the MacVittie College Union) and Lavender House (Living-Learning Communities in Suffolk, Putnam, and Genesee Halls).
The LGBTQ+ Lounge provides a student-centered space that supports the belonging of LGBTQ+ community members. The Student Association provided the furnishings, which were supported by student activity fees. Students are welcome to use this space during Union hours as a place to relax and make connections with each other.
The Lavender House Living-Learning Community was named by students; the color lavender has had a long and strong historical tie to the LGBTQ+ community. While its true origin is unknown, the most common belief is that purple represents the mixing of gender normative colors such as pink and blue. This new Living-Learning Community aims to strengthen the sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ students within the residence halls.
Celebrating First-Generation Students
November 8 was National First-Generation College Student Day. Nearly 40 students, individuals who identify as first in their families to attend a four-year college, enjoyed brunch and giveaways in the MacVittie College Union Hunt Room. Many thanks to Summit Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the event.
Cultivating Community Focuses on Climate Study Report Results
Our Cultivating Community dialogue series continues to focus on the findings of the Campus Climate Study report, released earlier this semester. On November 9, participants discussed how to use the insight on microaggressions to cultivate a better community.