Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 26.70
Liaison Raymond Bowdish
Submission Date Feb. 4, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

State University of New York at Potsdam
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.42 / 3.00 Heather Sullivan-Catlin
Professor, Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies
"---" 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:

Campus Diversity & Inclusion Vision/Mission Statement
SUNY Potsdam is dedicated to embracing the diversity of its community members.
Students, employees, their families, alumni, friends, allies, guests to our campus, and members
of the surrounding communities are all recognized as valued members of our community. In our
community, we find an increasingly diverse population – with respect to race, ethnicity, culture,
sexual orientation, disability status, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, gender identity and
expression, age, and other social identities – and strive to promote an environment that is
respectful of our differences. In this regard, we are dedicated to creating, empowering, and
sustaining a community that is built on trust and a universal commitment to respect for all,
irrespective of backgrounds, experiences and identities; and which welcomes and encourages the
variety of human experience and the uniqueness of each individual. We believe a commitment to
diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice is essential in preparing engaged global citizens to
lead lives enriched by critical thought, creativity, discovery, and the pursuit of academic
excellence – values which are rooted in our educational mission to support individualized
curricula and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Therefore, we believe we must
continue to educate ourselves and engage with North Country communities, striving to become a
model for diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, within both the region and the SUNY
(Approved by SUNY Potsdam President’s Council on September 14, 2016)

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 Incident Response Team (BIRT) is a committee made up of faculty, staff and student volunteers who are trained to serve as the first line of official response in bias-related incidents.


The SUNY Potsdam Bias Incident Response Protocol was implemented to hold our community accountable and to address situations in which individuals choose to engage in bias-related and hateful acts. The purpose of the BIRT is to provide (or recommend) tools, in both a timely and productive manner, for action, empowerment, assistance and communication in the event of a bias incident or hate crime.

More specifically, the BIRT's role is as follows:

--Assist those who feel that they have been targeted in bias incidents to identify all of the remedies that are available to them;
--Provide educational remedies in response to complaints of bias incidents (e.g. facilitated conversations for those who were involved, passive or active educational programming for groups, etc.)
--Maintain a record of bias incidents and generate reports for use by the campus community.

Anyone may make a report to the BIRT and they may do so anonymously via an online form.
Those who wish to be contacted and to receive additional support and referral (typically to the University Police and/or the Counseling Center) must leave their contact information. Once they identify themselves, they are contacted by a member of the BIRT and offered appropriate support and referral.

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:

SUNY Potsdam has a number of programs to recruit students from underrepresented groups:
Staff and programs in the Center for Diversity (CFD), as well as the campus addition of a Chief Diversity Officer
Programs offered by CFD, involvement in recruitment activities have been integral in recruiting and working with students from underrepresented groups

The Chief Diversity Officer’s focus on DEI Strategic Plan and encouraging campus involvement in programs like Days of Reflection, various trainings, etc have put the entire campus in better position to recruit, enroll, and identify with students from underrepresented groups, who may also come from low-income backgrounds

Multicultural Weekend (MCW) – collaborative effort between SUNY, SUNY Potsdam, and various areas across campus to bring students from underrepresented, many of them low-income, backgrounds. Transportation, lodging, meals all provided. No cost to the students. Gives students an opportunity to experience SUNY Potsdam for a couple days. The yield from the event is very significant each year.
SUNY Potsdam has hosted Camp College twice. Guidance professionals, CBO’s, CBI’s, students, etc. It is a program that provides low-income, at-risk student an opportunity to learn about college. Connects them with experienced college students and education professionals on a college campus.
Excellent partnerships with schools like Uncommon Charter, Ellis Preparatory, College Bound Organizations, etc. Visits to campus, lodging and meals provided, opportunities for students to learn about SUNY Potsdam. Site visits to the schools and CBO’s too.
I believe the Scholarship Coordinator (Kelly Crosbie) has access to certain endowed funds, some of which are marked for low-income students from underrepresented groups.
Academic merit based scholarships for high achieving students, helps defray cost of college.
Special admit opportunities such as Bridges and EOP. Both programs provide Access and student support services to help students achieve success.
TRIO and CSTEP also participate in recruitment efforts and provide students with many terrific opportunities. These students have to qualify for the programs based on certain criteria such as family income, first-generation college student, etc.
Previously, there has been a “Go Further” grant in place to help low-income families close the gap between the amount state and federal aid covers and total cost of attendance. I’m not sure if this is still in place…
The Heckscher Grant that Alan Hersker oversees. Provides opportunity for at risk students to learn about college opportunities. Last summer we hosted students for 3 weeks.
We collaborate with the SUNY Student Recruitment Center to meet with students from the five boroughs closer to their homes. We offer individual appointments, student receptions, etc.
Bus transportation, previously called Bear Bus, now called College Express; also the local shuttle bus to various spots in the community
Student clubs/organizations: Black Student Alliance (BSA), Soca Loca, African Student Association (ASA), Spanish club

SUNY Potsdam participates in a SUNY system-wide programs to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups: PRODiG ("Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth") aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY including underrepresented minority faculty in general, women faculty of all races in STEM fields.

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:

Specific groups include, but are not limited to, the Center For Diversity that represents CSTEP students and Native American students. Other groups include the Diversity In Action Coalition and TRiO to give students opportunities to gain mentors and be active in creating a campus community.

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:

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.