Update on Diversity and Inclusion at Scripps

Posted: March 24, 2017

Dear Scripps College Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As we enter the final phase of the spring semester, I would like to update you on the progress we’ve made on policies, programs, and practices to make Scripps more diverse and inclusive. We have posted a new update on the IDEA website that reports progress on commitments made last year in response to recommendations received from the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusivity (PACDI), students, faculty, and alumnae, as well as student demands. I encourage you to visit the IDEA website news section to see past diversity and inclusion updates, view recent actions such as responses to federal immigration policy changes, and learn more about ongoing diversity and inclusion programming.

Since my last update in September, the College has implemented new initiatives, expanded funding, and enhanced supportive services and resources for marginalized students. I would like to highlight several recent actions that directly address concerns about access and academic experience highlighted by student organizers last November.

  • This year, we have admitted multiple DACA/undocumented students for next year’s class. Beginning with this academic year’s admission cycle, Scripps will provide need-based financial aid (renewable for four years) to these students. The students’ need will be met with a Scripps College grant. The Dean of Students and Dean of Faculty will work with the Admission Office to provide comprehensive support for DACA/undocumented students.
  • The Board of Trustees approved a new budget that increases financial aid funding by more than $400,000 starting next fiscal year. An increased financial aid budget will allow us to better support the financial needs of underrepresented, first-generation, and other students requiring additional assistance.
  • This year, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) has led faculty in a project to assess curricular diversity. Each department has surveyed its strengths and needs when it comes to inclusion of diverse perspectives in their courses, and the full faculty has engaged in several fruitful discussions. In addition, the FEC plans to convene a forum this spring to obtain broad student input on the current curriculum, desired changes, and ideas for making the curriculum more diverse and inclusive.

The senior team, faculty leadership, and I share a genuine desire to effect meaningful and visible changes in these areas, and issues of diversity and inclusion have featured prominently in our agendas, decisions, and discussions throughout this year and in previous years. We also share the frustration of those who feel that the work the College has put into building a more diverse and inclusive community is not reflected in the experience of many students who continue to feel alienated and embattled at Scripps.

To that end, we have decided to partner with Halualani and Associates, a leader in the field of diversity assessment, planning, and program development. My intent is for this assessment to help focus our energy and investment in the areas that will result in concrete changes for the students who are on campus now as well as spur a culture shift for future generations of students, faculty, staff, and alumnae.

Halualani and Associates will map our diversity efforts and programs to assess the effectiveness of what we’ve done and to identify opportunities for growth. The firm will consult with the community so that their analysis and recommendations reflect the diverse perspectives and experiences of our community members. I hope the entire community will participate in on-campus informational sessions next month.

It is important for us to monitor and recognize our progress toward creating the equity and access we envision and to acknowledge that although we have continued to work hard in this domain, our work is far from done. I look forward to working alongside you to make Scripps better for all students.

Sincerely,

Lara Tiedens
President

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