Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.38
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Amy Godert
Executive Director
Academic Student Success Programs
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Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:


Cornell University has an enduring commitment to support equality of education and employment opportunity by affirming the value of diversity and by promoting an environment free from discrimination.

Association with Cornell, either as a student, faculty, or staff member, involves participation in a free community where all people are recognized and rewarded on the basis of individual performance rather than personal convictions, appearance, preferences (including sexual or affectional orientation), or happenstance of birth.

Cornell University's history of diversity and inclusion encourages all students, faculty and staff to support a diverse and inclusive university in which to work, study, teach, research and serve.

No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status. Cornell University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Concerns and complaints related to equal opportunity in education and in employment based on aspects of diversity protected under federal, state, and local law should be directed to Angela Winfield, Director of Inclusion & Workforce Diversity; 150 Day Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; 607-255-3976. Questions or complaints arising under Title IX should be directed to Sarah Affel; 150 Day Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; 607-255-2242; titleix@cornell.edu. Inquiries may also be directed to: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights; 32 Old Slip 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005-2500; 646-428-3800; OCR.NewYork@ed.gov.
Cornell University is committed to assisting those persons with disabilities who have special needs related to their educational pursuit or employment. Information on services provided to prospective and current Cornell students with disabilities can be obtained by contacting: Student Disability Services, Cornell Health, Level 5, Ithaca, New York 14853-6601; 607-254-4545. Prospective employees in need of a workplace accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act or New York state law should contact: Workforce Policy and Labor Relations, 391 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, NY 14850; 607-254-7232; equalopportunity@cornell.edu. Current employees in need of a workplace accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act or New York state law should contact: Medical Leaves Administration, Suite 102, 395 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, NY 14850; 607-255-1177; benefits@cornell.edu.
Approved by the Board of Trustees on May 2005.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

Cornell's current Reporting Bias System grew out of a series of events and community-action efforts and evolved from 1999. (See Policy 6.4, Prohibited Discrimination, Protected Status (Including Sexual) Harassment, and Bias Activity.) The system received significant upgrades in 2015 and now extends to all campuses of the university and to all constituents. This program is designed to supplement existing discrimination-related procedures and processes, and support the efforts of administrative units that address bias activity - such as the Cornell Police, the Office of the Judicial Administrator, the Title IX Coordinators, and the Office of the University Ombudsman. The primary goal of this program is to respond to bias activity by advising the university community of the occurrence of bias incidents and crimes, providing support-related resources to individuals who have experienced bias activity, tracking outcomes of bias reports, and developing programs that will help to prevent or eliminate bias activity. The program's process is not intended to be punitive in nature. Anyone who directly witnesses or experiences bias activity (or finds evidence of or hears about past bias activity) on the Cornell campus or in an area that impacts the Cornell community should intervene in the moment as appropriate (e.g., contact Campus Police at 911, if a crime is in progress, or interrupt the behavior in as much as the observer feels skilled and safe) and be sure to also complete this confidential report of the incident, as soon as possible. Reporting bias and the resulting efforts to understand and prevent bias activity are a matter of taking part in a caring community. This report will result in:
1) Appropriate involvement/communication from the Reporting Bias System staff in the Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity (DIWD); 2) Intervention with the agent, target, and witness(es) of the bias activity with assistance from the Bias Assessment and Review Team, Office of the Judicial Administrator, Office of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations and Cornell University Police; 3) Follow up with the reporting person if desired. Reporting is confidential and open to anyone with an internet connection. The reporting form is here: https://publicdocs.maxient.com/reportingform.php?CornellUniv&layout_id=6

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

Undergraduate Admissions has specifically assigned staff members to multicultural recruiting and a College Associate in each college as well as the Office of Academic Opportunity Initiatives. The Graduate School has specifically designated staff for diversity recruitment and support. There are two full-time diversity recruiters for staff in HR. There are diversity review committees in every college to oversee the search process and pools for faculty members in every department across the university on all campuses.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

There are several programs throughout the university designed to support underrepresented groups within the student body.

The Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) provides support and guidance to students from underrepresented racial groups, low-income, and first-generation college students. Students can receive assistance and counseling for a variety of issues and the office acts as a resource and network for students helping to connect them across the campus. This office works closely with the Dean of Students office, which is charged with strengthening the sense of community among the student body and providing student programs.
Programs and opportunities for students in OADI include:
• The Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which are New York State-funded programs that facilitate college access students whose financial and academic environments have not allowed their full potential to come to fruition before college.
• Scholarship programs that support students enrolled at Cornell through the opportunity scholarship programs including Gates Scholars, Jack Kent Cooke Scholars, and the Say Yes to Education Scholars.
• Community Development & Social Justice Programming (CDSJ), which are intentional educational initiatives with a focus on diversity, social justice, community building, and service.
• First-in-Class campaign provides first-generation student support initiatives encourage students to come together to learn about OADI’s academic and professional resources, attend professional development seminars, and build a community with their peers.
• McNair Scholars Program prepares eligible students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Students are from disadvantaged backgrounds (first-generation, low income and underrepresented) demonstrating strong academic potential.
• OADI Research Scholars Program (ORSP) provides underrepresented, first year and sophomore students the opportunity for research-oriented academic preparation in the interpretive social sciences, arts and humanities through coursework, mentoring, and educational events.
• Pre Professional Programs (P3) provides professional support for students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Professional fields. Students are selected from underrepresented, economically disadvantaged, or first-generation backgrounds. They have the opportunity to explore their fields of study through hands-on experience and mentorship.

For assistance with writing, there is an ESL peer mentoring program through the Knight Writing Institute available to students. This program offers a number of Writing Workshops across campus; students can attend drop-in hours and have someone work on a paper and review it for them to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
On a more micro level, each college and school has an office dedicated to its diverse student population. Through this office, counseling and advising services are offered to its students, as well as mentoring in some programs and peer support and guidance in others. The College of Engineering, for example, has Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE). Through this office, the students have regular appointments with the staff and advisors. The staff advises several student lead organizations including the Society for Women Engineers (SWE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), and the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE). Each college has an office that acts in a similar way providing services to students. The College of Arts and Sciences supports the POSSE Program at Cornell; a college access and youth leadership program that matches promising high school students with top-tier colleges and universities across the United States. The Posse Program helps colleges and universities diversify their student body and create an inclusive, welcoming campus.

Also, the university has well-established ethnic studies programs that offer academic support and mentoring and advising to students. These include the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, the Africana Studies and Research Center, Latino Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program.

There are also services provided at a macro level through the Dean of Students Office for students. This includes There are also resource centers and programs for students including the Asian/Asian American Center, the LGBT Resource Center, Student Disability Services Office, and the Women’s Resource Center. The Asian & Asian American Center (A3C, brings together the rich diversity of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander student experiences to support a strong and inclusive campus community. The center nurtures positive student-to-student and group-to-group interaction to contribute to the multicultural education of all students and to the social/cultural development of leaders able to navigate a diverse and complex global society. The A3C is also the home of over 80 undergraduate and graduate student organizations and serves as a community center and gathering space for students, staff, and faculty.
Specific support through the Dean of Students Office includes:
• The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center coordinates efforts to ensure the inclusion of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQQIA) individuals. The LGBT Resource Center affirms LGBTQQIA+ identities and lives and provides education, outreach, advocacy, and support. The LGBT Resource Center is also the home of over 20 undergraduate and graduate student organizations and serves as a community center and gathering space for LGBTQQIA+ students, staff, and faculty. Allies are always welcome!
• The mission of the Women's Resource Center (WRC) is to foster a more vibrant campus community by supporting the full and active participation of women-identified students in both their personal and educational pursuits at Cornell. The WRC values people of all genders coming together to end sexism and all forms of oppression along with maintaining an environment where all are free to affirm and celebrate their differences and commonalities.
• The Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making is the administrative home to Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) an umbrella organization comprised of two dozen affiliated chaplaincies (including Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Mormon, Quaker, and Unitarian-Universalist).
• Anabel’s Grocery, one of the affiliated service organizations of CURW, provides direct support to students with limited financial resources or other food insecurities. The grocery offers nutritious, affordable food for all Cornell students through a student-run grocery store housed in Anabel Taylor Hall. Additionally, the various chaplains work closely with religiously affiliated student organizations, partnering in programming as well as serving as mentors and advisors.
• Student Development Diversity Initiatives (SDDI) advises identity-based organizations that primarily focus on the needs and issues of first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color. The SDDI staff provide leadership development opportunities and campus connections with other identity-based student communities on campus.

There is also the Student Disability Services Office, which is responsible for:
 Establishing and disseminating criteria for disability services
 Meeting with students to discuss access needs
 Receiving and storing confidential disability documentation to support a student’s eligibility for disability services and accommodations
 Collaborating with faculty and staff regarding essential course and/or program requirements and appropriate reasonable accommodations
 Being a leader of diversity efforts on campus that promote disability equity and inclusion

Students can utilize support for large introductory level courses from the Learning Strategies Center. The Learning Strategies Center (LSC) is Cornell’s central academic support unit, providing students with supplemental instruction in foundational courses, tutoring assistance, and study skills courses, consultations and workshops designed to help students succeed at Cornell. The LSC is committed to providing services to ALL Cornell undergraduates, placing particular emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved students.

For staff, there are active Colleague Network Groups for women of color, men of color, LGBT employees, military veterans and people with disabilities as well as an office of workforce diversity and inclusion.

Faculty are regularly convened in a women's faculty organization and faculty of color luncheons as well as the academic directors of LGBT Studies, Women's Studies, Africana Studies, Inequality Studies, Latino Studies, Asian American Studies, and others. The Office of Faculty Development & Diversity (OFDD) provides a range of resources, including training and support for deans, department chairs and individual faculty members, in the areas of faculty development and diversity. OFDD works with deans, chairs and search committees to improve recruitment and retention practices and to increase diversity in faculty hiring. The office provides guidance to the academic leadership and to individual faculty members on mentoring and the tenure and promotion processes. OFDD also offers professional development programming and grants opportunities for faculty. The office actively collaborates with the Division of Human Resources, the Dean of the Faculty, and other offices on campus in its efforts to support the success and wellbeing of all faculty members.

FSAP provides individual support for faculty and staff members, with some counselors with specific expertise for providing support for under-represented individuals.

Cornell partners with local organizations and employers to build a community of inclusion and support as well as mutual recruitment and social activities.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Cornell has several programs that help build a diverse faculty for higher education.
Cornell is a member of the national 21-institution CIRTL Network (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning), whose mission is to develop future faculty particularly in the STEM disciplines, with a specific focus on learning through diversity. The Cornell CIRTL program is housed in the Graduate School. http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/cu-cirtl

Cornell was awarded a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program grant for 2012-2017 and renewed for 2017-2022 to nurture McNair scholars -- undergraduates from underrepresented groups who will go on to complete doctoral study.

The Graduate School and the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives run the Graduate Students Mentoring Undergraduates Program, which provides opportunities for underrepresented graduate students to mentor underrepresented undergraduate students. https://www.oadi.cornell.edu/preprofessional/mentoring.cfm

Our Undergraduate Research Program (led by Laurel Southard) aims to facilitate, coordinate, and support undergraduate research experiences for students. Having students work side-by-side with faculty and graduate students in labs and other research settings may stimulate interest in and capacity for progressing into graduate school and the professoriate. http://undergraduateresearch.cornell.edu/

The Mellon Mays program in the College of Arts and Sciences supports the Ph.D. aspirations of under-represented students in the humanities. The Mellon Post-Doctoral program prepares under-represented scholars for careers at major research 1 universities including successful recruitment to Cornell.

Through the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (as mentioned above), we offer the pre-professional programs Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, and Cornell Professional Opportunities Program. Both of these (CSTEP funded partially by New York state, CPOP funded by Cornell) provide opportunities, encouragement, and programming to build the capacity of undergraduate students to pursue advanced education in the sciences, technical fields, and the professions. https://www.oadi.cornell.edu/preprofessional/index.cfm

Through the Center for Teaching Innovation, we offer future faculty teaching preparation programs, master teaching assistant certificate programs, and a variety of workshops and other support structures to encourage graduate students to be excellent teachers as well as researchers, preparing them for the professoriate.

Through the Graduate School, we offer diversity fellowships for students from groups historically underrepresented in graduate education. The Associate Dean for Inclusion and Student Engagement leads programs for diverse graduate students on transferable skills and professional and career development.

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.