Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.00
Liaison Cora Kenfield
Submission Date March 15, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vassar College
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
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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:


Vassar is committed to the principles of integrity in an academic community, as articulated in the statement on civility and responsibility. Vassar’s policy is not to discriminate in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships and loan programs, athletics programs, or other College programs and activities, and not to tolerate discrimination or harassment of its faculty, administration, staff, students, or visitors. The College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or religious belief, citizenship status, sex, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, military service or affiliation, genetic information, age, or any other characteristics protected by law.

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) may be convened to ensure that affected student(s) have access to appropriate resources, to assist the division in its response, and to facilitate a coordinated campus response to crisis incidents or to threats or potential threats to the well being of our students or campus community as a whole.

Coordinated responses may include, but are not limited to, identification of and referral to appropriate support services and resources on­ or off­campus, adjudication for violations of College Regulations, informal resolution measures such as mediation, facilitated dialogue between parties, facilitated discussions in residence halls or other campus locations, recommendations for campus notices for fact sharing, and efforts towards wider educational awareness, prevention, and outreach. In the case of a potential violation of College Regulations, the Bias Incident Response Team does not play a role in the investigation of alleged incidents or render any decision concerning guilt or innocence in the parties involved.

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:

Vassar is a Equal Opportunity Employer so it does not discriminate against any underrepresented groups. Everyone is allowed to speak about their experiences and Vassar gives everyone an equal opportunity regardless of where they went to school or where they came from. In job descriptions, Vassar specifically looks for people with certain experiences that can better serve the community. These EOAA statements are part of every job description for hiring practices at Vassar. The EOAA office reviews every job search candidate pool and offers feedback on how to ensure the college is recruiting equitably and reaching the widest audience.

Transitions is an orientation program for low-income and first-generation students at Vassar. Kickstarted in 2012, Transitions gives low-income students four days on campus before New Student Orientation to meet with key administrators and take mock classes.

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:

Campus Life/ALANA Programs
The ALANA Center provides a myriad of resources and programs to support students and employees of color, and fosters cultural, social, academic and creative expressions. The center offers opportunities for leadership development, intra-cultural and cross-cultural dialogues, lectures, big sister/big brother and alumnae/i mentoring programs. Also, a comfortable and affirming gathering space is provided for student organizations with similar goals in supporting students of color. As an extension of cultural/social and academic concerns, resources for interacting with various communities in Poughkeepsie and surrounding areas are provided. Other resources include culturally specific journals/newsletters, educational videos, career development, scholarship and fellowship information and a computer lab. TheALANA Center staff includes the Assistant Director for Campus Life/ALANA Programs and a student staff consisting of a manager, program interns and program assistants who are available to assist in all aspects of the Center's services.
The administrator of the ALANA Center meets with students for personal, academic, and general advising and works with students of color on educational, social and cultural programming. The director also provides support to several student organizations including the ASA, ASU, BSU, CBS, CSA, MEChA, Poder Latino and SASA, and is available to meet with student leaders. To schedule an appointment, to learn more about the ALANA Center and its resources or to talk about an advisement matter, students are encouraged to visit the administrative office located in the ALANA Center or call (845) 437-5954.
The ALANA Center is one of several campus resources on student development, diversity issues, cultural programming and general college life matters.

Campus Life/LGBTQ Programs
The Campus Life LGBTQ Center is the Campus Life Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities and Social Justice Education. The Center hosts social and cultural programs, collaborates with student organizations, and provides leadership opportunities to enhance the campus life experiences of LGBTQ students and employees – all while addressing greater issues of social justice and creating an inclusive and educational campus environment. The LGBTQ Center is located in the College Center, Room 235. As part of the Campus Life Office, the center works with all students to promote cultural pluralism and positive intergroup experiences.

Religious and Spiritual Life
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) at Vassar College is difficult to pigeonhole. Yes, it has to do with religions - all of them. Yes, it has to do with spirituality and the many ways people experience and express the wonder of everyday life. But it's more than that. What makes it difficult, and at the same time wonderfully characteristic of Vassar, is the extraordinary range of practices and beliefs the office seeks to support and embrace - from mindfulness practitioners to Roman Catholics, from Reform Jews to evangelical Christians, from Muslims, secularists to mainline Protestants, from Hindus to environmentalists, RSL is here to help you make what matters most to you part of your learning.

The Learning, Teaching and Research Center (LTRC)

The LTRC addresses the academic needs of students across the curriculum. Three well-developed programs provide guidance and support to students in areas as diverse as writing, math and natural science. The LTRC also provides one-on-one help to students with time management, study practices, note taking and stress/ anxiety reduction techniques.

While the LTRC does not target or specifically serve underrepresented students, its programs are particularly helpful to first-generation students, students from high-schools without advanced academic courses or programs, international students, and students whose first language is not English.

The LTRC also offers faculty development workshops on teaching issues, and early career faculty support in the form of a mentoring program.

Diving into Research

Diving into Research (DIR) is a program which brings prematriculation freshmen to campus for a month of research in the laboratory of a faculty member. Students are drawn from minority and disadvantaged groups. The program is meant to not only encourage the students’ interests in science, but to ease their transition to college life in the Fall. Diving into Research (DIR) is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant and is run concurrently with the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI)

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:

Vassar’s postdoctoral fellows programs actively support the mentoring and professional development of future faculty from diverse backgrounds.

Vassar has an explicit goal of recruiting faculty from diverse backgrounds. This policy extends to the recruiting of postdoctoral fellows for two additional postdoctoral programs. The Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Program recruits a postdoctoral fellow each year for a two-year term. This program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation since 1998, is now supported by a $3,025,000 endowment, jointly funded by the Mellon Foundation and Vassar College.
In addition, a second Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral program, the Mellon Curricular and Career Transitions (CCT) program, an $850,000, multi-year program is supporting postdoctoral positions in three departments in 2010-2012. Vassar College is actively seeking funding to expand this program.

Vassar College’s $1,000,000 Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Minority-Scholars-in-Residence Endowment supports faculty of diverse backgrounds early in their careers. At Vassar, the endowment has funded annually at least one Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges (CFD) postdoctoral fellow since 2004 and has, on occasion, been able to support two fellows. The consortium’s explicit commitment to building the diversity of faculty on liberal arts campuses has allowed it to develop an effective and efficient mechanism for matching postdoctoral or predoctoral candidates (who are close to finishing their dissertations) with liberal arts colleges. Vassar College has been a founding member of this consortium of liberal arts schools, and has actively recruited its applicants since 1987. Since 2008, the Christian A. Johnson Endowment funds have been matched by internal funds from the President’s Office, which allows the College to hire CFD Postdoctoral Fellows on a two-year appointment. Since 1990, the college has hired 23 Postdoctoral Fellows from the CFD ranks. Since 2002, at least one fellow per year was hired; five have been appointed on tenure track lines at Vassar and four are now tenured at the associate level.

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.