Institutional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Making diversity, equity and inclusion a priority to how the college functions through intentional actions. When these actions happen continuously, then we are excellent.
Why Diversity Matters
At SUNY Plattsburgh, we know that diversity is more than race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. It is the full range of human experiences.
Diversity includes age, class, ethnicity, race, gender identity, gender expression, romantic orientation, nationality, (dis)ability, religion, sexual orientation, language, personality, communication style, work style, veteran status and more.
What is Inclusion?
Diversity is only a start. Inclusion is what occurs when students feel a strong sense of belonging. We are committed to offering a range of programs, policies, and practices that engage with the unique range of human experience you bring to SUNY Plattsburgh.
At SUNY Plattsburgh, it is our mission to promote equity for all members of the campus community by leading efforts and creating partnerships that cultivate an inclusive academy-institution
SUNY Plattsburgh will promote equity through:
- Learning experiences that include programs, policies and initiatives with alumni, faculty, staff, students and the external community
- Increasing retention and recruitment of diverse faculty and staff.
- Creating and effectively managing data that will help to inform learning experiences and retention and recruitment.
We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.
Max de Pree
What We Believe
Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Core Values
SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes that building and fostering community is vital in enhancing diversity and inclusion on and off-campus.
We embrace academic achievement which helps our students build awareness of the diverse world around them. As a liberal arts institution, we encourage diverse learning experiences while offering different perspectives in and outside of the classroom to contribute to student, staff, and faculty development.
Respect & Integrity
Respect compels us to exercise integrity and understanding despite a broad range of individual experiences, perspectives, and actions. We vow to exercise each, despite our differences.
The college makes a commitment to expand opportunities to broaden the diversity of faculty, staff, students, and visitors to our campus. We commit to the importance of offering diverse educational opportunities that recognize multiple backgrounds, learning styles, and work to offer learning that bridges gaps of misunderstanding.
We recognize that our campus is composed of students, faculty, and staff from a wide range of diverse and unique backgrounds. We not only embrace our community members but pledge to provide a campus environment that celebrates the intersection of identities and experiences.
SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes that each new year brings new energy, ideas, and members to our campus community. We vow to stay open to new ideas and opportunities to continue to expand and enrich our services and educational opportunities.
Accountability & Responsibility
SUNY Plattsburgh holds an expectation that we have a responsibility as individuals and as an institution to uphold campus values and exercise power with good intent. When a member of the campus community or the institution fails to do so, we make a commitment to hold one another accountable with a focus on restoration and healing.
The college understands that a major component of student and employee success is positive and transformative leadership. We commit to making an effort to expand upon opportunities for mentorship, positive role-modeling, and sustainable leadership which fosters trust, growth, and inspiration.
Student Centered (Sustainability)
SUNY Plattsburgh strives to put its students first when making decisions that will leave a lasting impact on their education and experiences. The college strives to lay a strong foundation that will continue to adapt and support future students’ ever-changing needs.
Diversity In Action
Institutional Equity Goals & Tactics
Institutional Equity Strategic Goals & Tactics
This is an initial first year strategic plan of goals and objectives based on three imperatives; education, business, and economics
1. Education: Cultivating the Value of DEI
Based on knowledge and skill development related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging which realize the outcome of enhancing campus climate. Building equity literacy.
- Diversity Incident Response and Education Team
- Providing ongoing community-wide learning opportunity on diversity dynamics (e.g. Bias, ERGs, RP, brave space, racism, genderism, sexism, heterosexism, ability, and classism)
- Conduct campus climate assessment (employees + students) proposed for Spring 2020.
2. Business: Improving Student Outcomes
Based on strategies and initiatives to increase retention and student persistence with emphasis on multicultural populations (e.g. First Generation, ALANA, LGBTQIA+, DESI, International, minoritized). Designed to also recruit and retain minoritized faculty and staff.
- Diversity Abroad network to follow trends in international learning; creating cohort model for student associations for students of color.
- Part of Leading for Change Racial Justice summit to increase retention and graduation for minoritized students, especially students of color
- Search committees, policies and targeted education for search committees
- Created the base for 4 ERGs and will promote and launch these by X (Radius, POC, BIA)
- Create a Multicultural Student Orientation in Summer 2020 for students and families
- Providing programs that recognize and engage with student identities (e.g. First Generation Luncheon).
3. Economic: Expand innovative ventures with IA to increase access to higher education; build a culture of philanthropy
Based on developing capital, both economic and human, to support the realization of the other imperatives.
- Developed and implemented an alumni affinity event for alumni of color and LGBTQIA+ alumni
- Formalize targeted affinity group meet ups every semester
- Develop an inclusive excellence fund that supports important X
- Intentional targeted DEI fundraising with institutional advancement
Key to Acronyms
- ERG — Employee Resource groups
- Rp — Restorative practices
- ALANA — African American, Latino/a Asian Native American
- SOC — Students of Color
- POC — People of Color
- LGBTQIA+ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, Pansexual
President’s Inclusive Excellence Council
The President's Inclusive Excellence Council, (PIEC), works to further the SUNY Plattsburgh strategic plan, with particular emphasis on creating and maintaining an inclusive and equitable curriculum, learning environment, and workplace that affirms the dignity of all people.
Comprised of multifunctional college constituencies, the PIEC meets monthly to develop strategies and tactics, assess ongoing implementation efforts, and identifies priorities for the future.
- Sarah Bechtel
- Vincent Carey
- Raymond Carman
- Kerry Chapin-Lavigne
- Michelle Cromwell
- Ethel Facteau
- Jessica Facteau
- Francine Francis
- Jessica Gregg
- Wanda Haby
- Cassie Joseph
- Catherine Keleher
- Shatawndra Lister
- Levi Ritter
- Denise Simard
- Jonathan Slater
- Mila Su
- Michael Thompson
- Michelle Trombley
- Portia Turco
My Dearest SUNY Plattsburgh,
It has been over a month since the murder of George Floyd and though I have not shared directly with you what is on my heart, the work that has happened and that will be happening, it is time to share our plans to make SUNY Plattsburgh a safe campus that protects our Black students, faculty and staff — as well as other marginalized community members.
I appreciated the emails, texts and calls from community members that shared their concern and support for me, for my family and for our work at Plattsburgh. Know that the terror, sadness, and horror you experienced with George Floyd’s homicide has traumatized many of our students and alumni. They need our support more than ever, and not just in words, but in actions.
To be transparent, as a Black Afro-Caribbean woman, I am exhausted, but I am propelled by my hope for what we can do together. I came to Plattsburgh because I was moved by the student activism that I saw as a result of the SnapChat racist comments, and I came to be a change agent. Despite whatever emotions I feel, I am committed to the work of equity and justice, and to lasting change. I am committed to supporting the student activism I saw in 2018.
The idea that many of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, their families and friends need to convince others that they are human and that they should be seen and that they matter, is in itself dehumanizing. But wishing for a change is not enough. Writing about change is not enough. As your Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion, I have to push for the change that will make SUNY Plattsburgh a more inclusive campus. When we do that our students will feel a sense of belonging and know that our actions match our words. And for me that is non-negotiable.
As I push away my fears and my frustrations with the current state of our Plattsburgh community, the North Country, and the country’s state of race relations, I want to insist that we double down our efforts for systemic reform. We can’t change everything, but we can have an impact at SUNY Plattsburgh, in the communities around the college, and in the communities we live in. But these are words and it is important for me to share the actions we have done and plan to do for the summer, fall and spring.
These are the actions:
- We began by hosting a Solidarity Night on May 29 for us to come together as a community to grieve and acknowledge the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, which were lost in the last months.
- We continue to host caucuses or affinity groups over the summer which are digital “Brave Spaces,” to support and lift up voices from within the SUNY Plattsburgh community that are committed to the racial justice and anti-racism work.
- Register for Be About it Act NOW! (Resources->Anti-Racist Resources->What To Do)
- We will host a webinar on July 30 for the bi-state; New York and Vermont region and Canada called Supporting Black Employees, to provide employers with resources and concrete action steps to support Black Employees.
- We will continue in the fall by hosting community dialogues that bring together all the affinity groups to share stories, disrupt unjust narratives and behaviors, and speak as a community.
- We will host a community-wide racial healing event in the fall to begin healing the hurt that has occurred from racist incidents. We are finalizing the appearance of a nationally renowned anti-racism educator.
- We will also host a community event on Black Solidarity Day, November 2 to help catalyze action.
- With the help of our faculty, we will have a Super Teach-in in the spring to broaden our anti-oppression efforts.
As I create, I am asking you to join me, plan with me, lead with me, and when I reach out for your help, please answer my call in both your words and your actions. I will call on the community; faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external community members.
Thank you for hearing my voice. Know that your voices and experiences matter, and let’s be open as a community to listen to the voices of others who want to share their stories and work to move this mountain of injustice to a place of justice for those in the margins.
In Solidarity and with good wishes always!
Michelle Cromwell, Ph.D.
Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/ Chief Diversity Officer
We at SUNY Plattsburgh stand with our Chinese students, faculty, staff and other community members of other Asian descent. We see you, you are valued, and your experiences related to COVID-19 matter. We have no tolerance for racial or ethnic discrimination.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is committed to working with other members of the college to keep the SUNY Plattsburgh community safe and informed. We encourage community members to stay updated by visiting the campus COVID-19 information page.
As we continue to hear updates on COVID-19 and are impacted on local, state and global levels, there have been heightened levels of uneasiness, uncertainty and a general concern for the well-being of ourselves, friends, and family.
These levels of uneasiness and uncertainty have also caused an increase in broad generalizations, assumptions, and acts of bias as it relates to individuals from China, other Asian countries, and people of Asian descent. We’d like to share an earlier statement from The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) made on February 7:
“While the coronavirus represents a legitimate public health concern, it is not a green light to target Asian Americans and Asian immigrants with racism and hate. We are concerned with the growing xenophobic rhetoric that harkens back to the dehumanizing, anti-Asian trope of the ‘yellow peril,’ that was used during the 19th century. We have consistently stood against efforts to cast our community as ‘perpetual foreigners,’ and sadly, we find ourselves having to do so again. We call on news outlets and social media platforms to do more to curb racist and inaccurate content in addition to removing misinformation on the coronavirus alone.”
Making broad generalizations that people of Asian descent are dangerous or sick, or making assumptions about a person’s nationality based on their physical features perpetuates long-standing histories of xenophobia and racism, whether intentional or not.
Our Asian students, faculty and staff are valued members of the SUNY Plattsburgh community. We are here for you and want to emphasize and highlight the following:
- If you or someone you know has experienced bias or discrimination please report these incidents on the Bias Reporting Form and connect with someone you trust for social support.
- See the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a campus resource and seek our assistance.
- Recognize that acts of bias can negatively impact your physical and mental health. Know that it is okay to seek medical and mental health care as needed and seek the Student Health and Counseling Center if you are a student and our EAP resource if you are an employee.
If you find that you are maintaining distance from or worried about interacting with people of Asian descent we urge you to strongly consider the following:
- Avoid the inclination to make broad stereotypes about people of Asian descent and explore the root causes of your fears and disdain. Confusion and uncertainty about COVID-19 can lead to increased anxiety and fear. Projection of this fear onto entire groups of people often leads to dangerous behaviors. These types of behaviors harm the physical and mental wellbeing of targeted groups and does nothing to protect or keep others safe.
- Educate and maintain perspective. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop acts of bias. Continue to educate yourself on the facts of COVID-19 and the accurate and evidence based ways to protect yourself and each other.
- Exercise empathy, compassion and a sense of community. We do not have to neglect and treat community members with disrespect or hostility. Instead we can extend our collegiality and social support by standing with each other in this time of crisis. Understand that people are worried about family or friends, and be mindful of this as we interact with each other.
We continue to advise you to take care of yourself and each other. Treat each other with care and compassion and demonstrate the Cardinal spirit by making our community members all feel safe and that they belong. We are Cardinal Strong!
Land Acknowledgement Statement
As an institution who takes great pride in conscious efforts towards building a more inclusive community, we must take the time to acknowledge that our campus is situated on land that belongs to the Iroquois, Western Abenaki, Mohican and Mohawk peoples.
This land and body of water, now known as Lake Champlain, was inhabited and nurtured by these peoples for thousands of years. We must do the same to nurture and protect this sacred land. This statement is only a mere fraction of the necessary steps it will take to fight against systemic indigenous erasure.
SUNY Plattsburgh is a community of active learners and we pledge today that we will continue to learn more about the history of the land our community is situated on and of the people who it was stolen from.