Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Washington College is committed to fostering a stronger culture of equity and inclusion on campus and in the community.
What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Diversity is a human asset. It signifies that any significant difference that distinguishes one individual from another is considered a human quality to be treasured and included in the social dynamic, instead of being considered a hurdle for human interaction and comprehension. Embracing diversity often means a shift in values and mindsets.
Being diverse is not enough, if social relations are not fair and only a few individuals can be successful. The desire of and the effective increasing of diversity is the first step in the quest for social justice. Increasing diversity of underrepresented or marginalized groups in an ethical imperative. Once diversity has been increased, inclusion and integration come to play. Inclusion means to provide individuals with a sense of belonging that might surpass the individuals’ own group identities. A culture of inclusion strengthens the individual’s attachment to a larger community. Once included, individuals need to feel that their chances to succeed are as equal as anybody else’s. A culture of equity guarantees that people would be able to access the necessary resources to their own success and to the success of their multiple communities.
We, the students, faculty, staff, and Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College, welcome, invite, value, and support a diverse community of individuals. We strive to create a place where all can study, work, and thrive. We believe in the worth, dignity, and safety of human beings of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, gender identities and/or expressions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, cultural backgrounds, cognitive or physical abilities, emotional and behavioral characteristics, ages, and educational levels. In the pursuit of academic excellence, we endeavor to be a community made up of people from a variety of backgrounds with differing perspectives, life experiences, religious, philosophical, and political beliefs, lifestyles, and ideologies.
We pledge to create a respectful and supportive environment for collaboration, empathy, and the building of meaningful relationships among members of Washington College. We commit to fostering a more equitable, inclusive, and engaged community that embraces all the complexity that each person brings to campus.
- We will empower all members to contribute ideas, ask questions, contest assumptions, and revise points of view through civil debate.
- We will confront and challenge attempts to dehumanize others through prejudiced attitudes, behaviors, and practices that exclude, demean, or marginalize any individual or group.
- We will encourage alumni, parents, visitors, guests, and the wider community to respect and embrace the values and behaviors that we embody.
Our promise is to cultivate a continuous desire and ability to understand and meaningfully engage with different perspectives and experiences, including those of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. We seek to contribute to the full intellectual and emotional development of every person and to the enrichment of our local, regional, national, and global communities.
Programs and Initiatives
Chesapeake Heartland Project
Chesapeake Heartland is a collaboration between the National Museum of African American History and culture, Washington College, and an array of local organizations including Sumner Hall, Kent Cultural Alliance, and Kent County Public Library. Its mission is to preserve, digitize, interpret, and make accessible materials related to African American history and culture in Kent County.CHESAPEAKE HEARTLAND
Slavery and Freedom at Washington College
Since the Spring of 2018, Professor of History Carol Wilson has led teams of undergraduates investigating Washington College's connection to enslavement, sharing the stories of slaveholders associated with the institution as well as those of enslaved people and free blacks working on campus.
The Intercultural Ambassadors (IAs) are students from diverse backgrounds that represent different cultural and life experiences. IAs represent identities that include: first-generation students, the LGBT community, international students, students of color, faith and non-faith efforts on campus, gender, students with disabilities, non-traditional students, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The Ambassadors serve as liaisons to the office by providing programming and outreach opportunities that support these specific communities to create a better understanding of different cultural experiences. IAs develop the monthly office newsletters, market events, and manage social media accounts.
Celebrations - Black Heritage Month and LatinX Heritage Month
The goal of LatinX Heritage Month, each September, is for students and our campus community to experience the beauty and complexity of Spanish culture, and hopefully gained more appreciation of Spanish-speaking cultures and their legacies in the US. The LatinX Heritage Month 2019 featured Dr. Paul Ortiz (U of FLorida) and activist Josie Valadez Freire.
During Black History Month in February, we honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout U.S. History. Black History Month 2020 included a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Day, the African-American Read-In, the MLK Read-In, racial equity training, a talk by author David Blight, and the MSG Blues Trio concert, among many other events.
Members of the College community join hands with community partners to celebrate Legacy Day and Community Unity Day.
The Washington College History Project
The Washington College History Project takes as its charge the honest and forthright examination of the institution’s troubling historical legacy of racism and the urgent need to acknowledge and reconcile this history in order to dismantle racial injustices in the present moment. This project, launched during the summer of 2020 by the President of the College, is the institution's path forward toward change on our campus and in our campus culture in response to this historical legacy.
Center for the Study of Black Culture
This center, located in the Casey Academic Center, provides the College community with cultural, educational, and social events that uniquely illuminate the particular experiences of African Americans.
The Center seeks to preserve and promote African American culture through:
- the development of innovative approaches to provide social activities for the students of Washington College
- encouraging high school students' interest in attending a college or university
- providing a physical space that reflects the perspectives, values and culture of Black students and people
- providing cultural, intellectual, and emotional support to all Black students and the larger Black community
- supporting and challenging students interested in culturally-centered leadership, and becoming an integral part of the College’s effort to provide multicultural education for the greater Chestertown community.