The President's Advisory Committee on Diversity at Pomona College represents a new and unique undertaking for the college, one that brings together all its various campus constituencies to study and address the matter of diversity on the campus. Traditionally, the college had approached matters of diversity by attempting to expand the number of historically underrepresented faculty and students. Over the years, various programs and efforts have been implemented by the administration, the faculty and the office of admissions to further these objectives.
As a premier educational institution in the United States, Pomona College seeks to educate and prepare students to meet the present and future challenges as responsible citizens of this nation and as members of a global community. To ensure that goal, it is important that our own community mirror the society and world in which students will live and function. The College has the obligation to lead by example, to create the conditions and climate where people of different backgrounds, genders, cultures, races/ethnicity, sexual orientation and national origin can constructively engage each other in a climate free of discrimination and prejudice of any kind. Education without diversity would be a failed enterprise. Diversity therefore should not simply be a slogan, but is at the core of our educational mission.
The programs we developed to achieve these goals occurred largely in isolation, with little exchange of information, or actual cooperation between the various campus entities charged with this responsibility. The campus wide Irvine initiative, conversations within the various ethnic studies departments and the restructuring of the faculty recruitment plan in the aftermath of the Michigan case compelled us to rethink how we approached diversity. Out of these discussions, it became clear that in order to fully address and grapple with diversity the entire campus community faculty, students, staff and alumni had to be engaged and drawn into the discussion. Moreover, our administrative approach largely isolated to faculty, student recruitment and several outreach programs had to be expanded to include representation from all sectors of the campus community. President David Oxtoby accepted the recommendation of these committees and the faculty and formed the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity
The committee has been charged by the president to "monitor all aspects of institutional diversity pertaining to faculty, students and staff. ....That charge includes, at a minimum, providing the community with reports on the status of diversity and advising the President on strategies to enhance diversity on the campus"(Faculty Hand Book p. 18).
In keeping with its charge, the committee began to gather information regarding the state of diversity on the campus. This has meant, attempting to decipher data on faculty, students and the various staff categories and develop a comprehensive view of diversity on campus. In addition, we have also been collecting information on the various programs and initiatives which the college has implemented over the years. This has not been as simple as it may sound since many of these programs and activities are dispersed throughout different campus offices, departments or programs. The different constituencies represented on the committee have also met independently and established priorities that we have discussed as a group. A list of concerns and areas that require attention is beginning to emerge.
One of our first recommendations was to establish a Pomona College Diversity web page where we could centralize information and share with the campus community the material we have gathered. The only way in which this committee can effectively implement its charge is by involving the campus community, to that end we welcome your comments and suggestions.