Recently, stories in several media outlets have distorted the purpose and objectives of two separate Ithaca College initiatives, creating a false and disingenuous narrative.
IC’s year-long Antiracism Institute is an interdisciplinary learning community of faculty as well as staff who have teaching responsibilities. It is a space for frank dialogues on race and racism that builds on and goes beyond work done at IC and in the Ithaca community regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The program is now in its third year and participation is completely voluntary.
This year, based on feedback from faculty of color who had participated previously, the facilitators created affinity groups for the first half of the year; all groups will then come together and work collaboratively in the second half of the year. Affinity groups are a commonly used method of helping organizations create more authentic and honest spaces for this work, as people are more willing to speak in these settings.
Completely unrelated to the Antiracism Institute, our Human Resources department is requesting that employees validate and update our HR database, which includes basic personal information as well as emergency contact information.
With recent changes in our HR information system, as well as to ensure that our demographic data are consistent with the federal categories for race and ethnicity, the college requested that employees review their individual information and update it if needed. This information is also an important part of Ithaca College’s qualification for certain New York State aid related to faculty diversity.
All employees were asked to update their personal information in the HR database, and an email that was later sent specifically to faculty was simply a reminder notice to do so. Any implication that this request is connected to the Antiracism Institute is false.
The goal of becoming a national model for colleges committed to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is one of the nine pillars that comprise Ithaca College’s strategic plan. We are proud of our programs and initiatives that seek to promote and support those values.