Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Smith College
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Dwight Hamilton
Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity
Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

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

Smith College is committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of differences.

Smith College does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies on the bases of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, or with regard to the bases outlined in the Veterans Readjustment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Smith's admission policies and practices are guided by the same principle, concerning women applying to the undergraduate program and all applicants to the graduate programs.

URL: https://www.smith.edu/about-smith/smith-glance/notice-nondiscrimination

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):

The Bias Response Team acts as the college’s first response team in addressing reported bias incidents. All reported bias incidents will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and Institutional Equity Officer (“Equity Officer”) who will make an initial determination of whether the matter should be referred to the entire Bias Response Team for review. In making this determination, the Equity Officer may consult with the Dean of Students, the Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Development, or the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, depending on the nature of the bias incident and the involved parties. Should the Equity Officer decide not to refer the incident to the entire Bias Response Team, the Equity Officer may take any action that the Bias Response Team may perform, as stated below.

The Bias Response Team will meet in response to receiving a bias incident report referral from the Equity Officer. The Bias Incident Response team shall consider and undertake the appropriate measures to address the incident. Such measures, depending on the nature and severity of the incident, may include:

-Supporting the affected person(s) through referrals to appropriate resources;
-Engaging community members to maintain a living, learning and working environment free from acts of bigotry, harassment, and intimidation;
-Assessing the circumstances of the incident as thoroughly and quickly as possible;
-Making referrals to appropriate campus officials so that action can be taken; and
-Identifying and assisting in implementing an appropriate educational response and community outreach; and
-Notifying the community as appropriate.

In March of 2016 The Bias Response Team responded to an incident involving a racist and anti-Semitic flyer transmitted to several networked printers and fax machines at Smith. After some investigation, the incident appeared to have occurred at several institutions within the Five College community. The team determined that this document was sent from an off-campus computer; Campus Police and ITS are working to identify and block its source.

The Vice President for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity issued a statement on the incident to the campus community, including the above information, and also stating that, “This document and its contents have no place in our community. We reject its hateful message as well as its intention to shock and intimidate. Our work to create an inclusive Smith community, where each member is safe, valued, and respected, will not be derailed by this cowardly act nor the hateful mindset that drove it. We are not intimidated; we are emboldened in our resolve. If you receive one of these documents, please notify ITS at4its@smith.edu or Campus Police at 413-585-2490. Please include the name of your office, the type of device through which it was received, the sender’s IP address (if known), and the telephone number of a contact person.”

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:

Smith College has many programs and policies to recruit and support students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented groups.

The AEMES (Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Science) program serves students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and promotes the success of students from social groups historically underrepresented in those fields. The program seeks to ensure access for all students interested in enrolling in STEM courses and in obtaining research experiences. The AEMES program focuses on recruitment to increase the number and retention of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines (e.g., students of color and students who are the first in their families to attend college) by helping them succeed in STEM courses and majors at Smith College. AEMES students also receive peer mentoring and participate in study groups and community-building events.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. The MMUF provides qualified students with intensive faculty mentoring, term-time financial support for research projects, summer stipends to continue work on research and the possibility of undergraduate loan repayment if a fellow enters a doctoral program in a Mellon-designated field. The committee selects up to five sophomores per year (students must be U.S. citizens). Candidates are chosen through a competitive application process that identifies those who demonstrate academic promise and are committed to the MMUF's goal of reducing underrepresentation of minority groups on academic faculties.

Women of Distinction is a program for high school seniors that highlights the opportunities at Smith College for African American, Asian American, Latina and Native American students. Participants in this three-day program will explore Smith College and determine whether it might be an appropriate college choice for them. Students will live in campus houses, experience the academic and social life at Smith and attend panels and workshops on student life and the college admission process. Admission to Women of Distinction is a competitive process based on academic and personal qualities. Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously visited Smith. Smith will provide round-trip transportation, meals and accommodations for all selected participants.

Dwight Hamilton, Vice President for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity works with faculty members to train them on inclusive recruiting. Hamilton ensures a diverse pool of candidates have been selected, and signs off on final hires to make sure that best practices have been followed.

Additionally, as a federal contractor, Smith College has an Affirmative Action Plan designed to recruit individuals from the protected classes, (staff and faculty from underrepresented groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities).

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:

As mentioned previously, students in the AEMES program, which promotes the success of students from social groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields, receive peer mentoring and participate in study groups and community-building events.

The Bridge Preorientation Program welcomes first year and transfer students of color who demonstrate a commitment to creating and maintaining culturally inclusive communities. Bridge provides opportunities for finding mentors, friends, resources and a community—all before other students even arrive on campus. Through a variety of interactive student-led seminars and group activities, participants share their perspectives and listen to those of their peers to better understand and appreciate their similarities and differences.

Smith is home to the Unity Organizations, which are cultural organizations that serve as a network support for their members. Unity organizations include the Black Students’ Alliance, the Asian Students’ Association, International Students’ Organization, Indigenous Smith Students and Allies, and Nosotr@s. Unity organizations share meeting and workroom space in Unity House and the Mwangi Cultural Center. Throughout the academic year, Unity organizations sponsor fine arts forums, conferences, cultural celebrations, workshops and other activities, just to name a few, such as Mehndi Night, Rhythm Nations, Asian Tea House, Five College Pa’lante, Pan-African Conference, Kwanzaa Celebration, Chinese Moon Festival, Taste of Latin America and Unity Fall Festival.

Smith is also home to Prism, Smith’s organization for queer students of color. Prism’s main goal is to create a safe space for all QPOC on (and off) Smith’s campus. Prism is an organization that values and fosters community, and strives to create an environment that allows for critical and progressive discourse about issues of race, ethnicity, class, and queer identity on Smith campus. The structure of meetings varies: some meetings are casual and social, while others have facilitated conversations about issues that are relevant to life both on and off campus in Smith’s QPOC community.

The Disability Services Office coordinates a Peer Mentoring Program, launched in 2013, in response to a history of disabled students expressing an interest in connecting with one another socially and academically. The Peer Mentoring Program matches older students with disabilities to incoming disabled students in a mentor/mentee relationship. These older students provide support and advice to their mentees based on their own experiences navigating Smith with a disability. The Peer Mentoring Program hosts monthly mentor/mentee bonding events, an annual Disability Awareness Day event, and a special first-year orientation. Individual weekly meetings between mentor and mentee are encouraged. The Disability Services Office also hosts disability culture and community events at Smith throughout the year, open to students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The College Council on Community Policy (CCCP), with members from faculty, staff, students, the alumnae association, and the community, evaluate college policies in response to specific questions raised by members of the community. They make recommendations to the President regarding changes in college community policies; Identify ways to educate the community and provide guidance for dealing with community issues; Address issues of campus climate, diversity, and the composition of the community; Serve as a sounding board for students, faculty and staff concerned about matters affecting the college community; Act as an advisory group to the President and other campus offices and committees; Communicate findings and recommendations to the community on a regular basis to the wider community

The Staff Council has a subcommittee on diversity. The Diversity Committee is responsible for identifying and planning activities on campus that promote diversity. The committee collaborates with the offices of Institutional Diversity and Equity, and the President's Diversity Council in carrying out its mission. All staff are welcome to participate and join in the meetings.

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:

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. There are MMUF programs at 81 colleges and universities around the country as well as international programs (in South Africa). Faculty/student mentoring relationships form the core of the MMUF program. Faculty mentors help to orient undergraduates towards the pursuit of a Ph.D. and a faculty career through two years of a close research relationship.

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:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.