Campus leaders regularly share news regarding steps Hamilton is taking to achieve a more equitable and inclusive community or reports of incidents that illustrate we still have work to do in standing up against intolerance. You’ll find those statements below.

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Sean T. Bennett as Hamilton’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, effective August 16, 2022. Sean is currently the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Salem State University. You can learn more about Sean on our website.

Sean will serve on the senior staff and will report to the president. His appointment is part of a broader effort at making Hamilton a more fully welcoming and inclusive community for all. I know Sean will welcome your active participation as we work together toward our goals.

Once again, I want to thank the members of the search committee, especially chairs Steve Wu and Maria Genao-Homs, for the many hours they spent gathering input from the community, screening applicants, and welcoming the finalists to campus earlier this month. I am also grateful to those who offered thoughts and suggestions and met with the candidates during their campus visits.



Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Juneteenth, which last year became a federal holiday, this year falls on Monday, June 20. It is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the day when enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. Although slavery did not end in the United States until adoption of the 13th Amendment in December 1865, Juneteenth has become a celebration of emancipation.

It took nearly 90 years for this country to free enslaved African Americans and another 150 years before Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday. As the horrific shootings in Buffalo and so many other recent events remind us, acts of hatred and anti-Black racism remain all too common, and it is incumbent on all of us to work together to oppose bigotry and discrimination as best we can.

Monday also marks World Refugee Day, which the United Nations recognizes as an opportunity to build empathy and understanding for the plight of those forced to flee their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, and humanitarian crises.

Finally, the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was celebrated earlier this week. DACA is a program that directly benefits some of our students (and therefore the College) and countless other students around the country.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Today we join with people across the United States and around the world to remember the life and legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, when he was just 39 years old, but he inspired more progress toward racial justice and equality during his lifetime than perhaps any other person in recent U.S. history. His leadership led directly to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and his work was recognized with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.

Despite that progress and those accomplishments, systemic racism persists and violence against Black Americans remains far too common. Dr. King envisioned the day when, he said, the United States could finally “live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”

Much still needs to be done to realize the vision of the slain civil rights leader we remember today, and that work falls to all of us. We can start by acknowledging the racism, violence, and inequality around us, and doing what we can to foster a just, safe, and welcoming community. We can take inspiration from Bob Moses ’56, a contemporary of Dr. King in the civil rights movement, and Drew Days ’63, the first Black head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, among other Hamilton graduates who have worked toward achieving equality for all.

I encourage you to pause and think – especially today – about the impact Dr. King has had on your life and, more importantly, what each of us can do to fulfill his vision of a world where all people are treated equally and with dignity.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I have several important updates to share about the search for a full-time chief diversity officer (CDO) at Hamilton.

Earlier this semester, I announced the members of the search committee who would work closely with a national search firm to identify Hamilton’s first full-time chief diversity officer. Since that time, Vice President and Dean of Students Terry Martinez, who was to serve as committee co-chair with Professor of Economics Steve Wu, began a medical leave. In Terry’s place, I asked Maria Genao-Homs, associate dean of diversity and inclusion, to assume co-chair responsibilities with Steve, and she has agreed to serve in this important role for the College.

Additionally, last month, Storbeck Search, the firm we retained to assist us, held several open meetings with students, faculty, and staff, and suggested that we hire an interim CDO to begin on or before July 1, 2022. There is merit in this approach, but I believe, and the members of the search committee agree, that we can and should pursue a permanent full-time hire according to the timetable we outlined earlier.

With this in mind, we have hired Angela Batista, a certified diversity consultant with CDO experience at several colleges and universities, to help us keep the search on track. We have also contracted with Isaacson Miller to take the lead on the next phase of the search. Angela, who has nearly three decades of experience as a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist, began working with us earlier this month. She will make several trips to campus in the coming months to conduct implicit bias training for the senior staff and search committee, and to meet with a cross-section of the community. Isaacson Miller has helped us fill many key positions at Hamilton, and Keight Tucker Kennedy, who will take the lead for Isaacson, has substantial recent experience in hiring CDOs.

The CDO search is one part of a comprehensive plan of action and a priority for making Hamilton a more fully welcoming and inclusive community for all. I look forward to working with you on this important effort.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

As we begin the search for a full-time chief diversity officer, I am happy to announce that the following students, faculty, and staff have agreed to serve on the search committee:

  • Mark Cryer, Associate Professor of Theatre
  • Kathy Guerra Vazquez ’24
  • Lauren Hamilton ’22, President of the Athletes of Color Initiative
  • Gill King, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
  • Michelle LeMasurier, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Paola Lopez, Director of the Days-Massolo Center
  • Terry Martinez, Vice President and Dean of Students
  • Saphire Ruiz ’22, President of Student Assembly
  • Steve Wu, Professor of Economics

The committee will be chaired by Terry Martinez and Steve Wu and work closely with Storbeck Search, the national firm that I announced earlier would be assisting us with this search. I’m grateful to Dean Martinez, Professor Wu, and the other members of the committee for their willingness to assume this important responsibility. I know they will welcome your input and provide opportunities for your feedback and suggestions. You can expect to hear from the committee in the coming weeks as the search process enters a more active phase.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Last month, I summarized for you some of the significant work we accomplished together to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Hamilton, and I highlighted the proposals from the Advisory Council to make the College a more inclusive and equitable community. We are continuing to work on those proposals, including the recommendation that Hamilton establish a full-time chief diversity officer position, reporting to the president.

Hamilton has retained Isaacson Miller [CORRECTED], a highly regarded national firm with expertise in identifying well-qualified candidates for these types of positions. A position description is being developed and an internal search committee composed of students, faculty, and staff will be assembled soon. Once finalists for the position are selected, they will come to campus, COVID permitting, and will meet with community representatives outside of the search committee.

We are also planning to survey students about the campus climate this fall, as part of the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) coordinated by the Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, of which Hamilton is a member. The data we collect will assist the new diversity officer and senior staff, and help inform the development of a Diversity Strategic Plan. Instructions for completing the survey will be shared with students in the coming months. Similar surveys are planned for faculty and staff over the following two years. In addition, students should look for notices about training for peer-facilitated critical conversations around challenging issues.

We will continue this fall with our AHA! (Autonomous Hamilton Affinity) Group programming. A number of these faculty-led programs funded in 2020-21 focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including: “Social Sciences Critical Race Pedagogy”; “STEM Experiential and Active Learning (SEAL)”; and “Race, Pedagogy, and Building an Antiracist Institution,” which will receive funding again in 2021-22. Another proposal with topics pertaining to diversity, “Research, Advising, and other Valiant Endeavors,” which is a revision of the STEM program from a year ago, was also renewed. AHA! discussions that are open to the wider community will be promoted through Hamilton Academy.

I’m also pleased to announce that Hamilton has received preliminary funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to develop pedagogy for enhancing completion rates for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Inclusive Excellence in STEM is an HHMI program geared toward assisting ethnic minorities and first-generation students to persist in all STEM fields. The program also seeks to enhance persistence rates among women in some STEM fields.

Finally, I am happy to report that next month we will welcome the most diverse class in Hamilton’s history. The class of 2025 will set new records in the percentages of U.S. students of color, students who are the first in their families to attend college, and Pell-eligible students.

I look forward to seeing everyone on campus and to working together to make further progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hamilton.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

One year ago, I announced a renewed and more comprehensive plan of action to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Hamilton, and I identified three steps we would take: host listening sessions and form an Advisory Council; expedite a new equity and inclusion plan; and increase resources. These steps were intended to accelerate the work already being done to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus community. I am writing to update you on some of the progress we have made.

Last March, the Advisory Council presented the campus with more than two dozen proposals aimed at fostering a more inclusive and equitable College community. Chief among those proposals was creating a full-time chief diversity officer position, reporting to the president, to help build and coordinate efforts to advance DEI at Hamilton. Since my last message pertaining to DEI initiatives at Hamilton, the College has identified a search firm to work with administrators, students, faculty, and staff to fill this position. Now that the firm has been chosen, the process for identifying and recruiting an appropriate candidate can begin. You can expect to hear soon how interested members of the community can participate.

Many other steps have been taken in the past year. Some were already in process, and some began more recently. Here are some highlights:

  • We have recruited an extraordinary entering class. While the exact composition of the Class of 2025 may shift slightly over the summer, we expect to set new records in the percentages of U.S. students of color, first-generation to attend college students, and Pell-eligible students.
  • We added four new faculty members from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds in 2020-21, and the College is committed to continuing this progress. The dean of faculty has also dedicated a dean’s discretionary position to the teaching of transnational race and gender in 2021-22. In addition, Human Resources has added a commitment to diversity statement to the College’s position description template and increased recruitment advertising in media with diverse readership. The College is also intensifying its focus on retaining underrepresented faculty and staff.
  • Hamilton Academy, a professional learning initiative for faculty and staff that foregrounds inclusive pedagogies, launched in January 2021. The Academy’s many offerings include a variety of DEI-related programs, such as the six-part workshop, “Belonging at Work,” hosted by professional DEI consultant Rhodes Perry.
  • A new DEI website launched last fall will continue to be expanded and refreshed with easy-to-find references and resources. A dashboard will be added to show the College’s progress toward measurable DEI objectives.
  • Communications & Marketing invited Hamilton alumna and CNN producer Edvige Jean-Francois ’90 to serve as guest editor for the latest edition of Hamilton magazine. This special issue, We Are Hamilton, included personal contributions written by more than 20 Black alumni and community members, and has sparked a series of follow-up programs and conversations among alumni and other members of our community.
  • The College’s Communications Style Guide was refreshed for inclusive language and respectful and consistent references to specific populations and identities, and a new working group is being formed to ensure this exercise is completed on an annual basis.
  • In October, the College’s Board of Trustees welcomed three alumni of color as new charter trustees. Mason P. Ashe ’85, Manal Ataya ’01, and Sharon D. Madison ’84 are already actively contributing their experiences, perspectives, and talents in invaluable ways. The Board is committed to further increasing the diversity of its membership.
  • Last fall Hamilton joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance as one of 51 inaugural members. As part of this alliance, Hamilton will sponsor participation by our community members in three climate surveys: one for students, one for staff at all levels, and one for faculty (including full-time, adjunct, and part-time instructors). The employee surveys will focus on topics such as perceptions of equitable opportunities for promotion and advancement; mattering and sense of belonging; how different groups experience the workplace environment differently; encounters with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other –isms at work; satisfaction with the College’s responses to reports of abuse, unfair treatment, and climate problems; and appraisals of the institution’s commitment to equity. LACRELA hosts monthly programs on DEI topics that address racial equity, campus systems of oppression, and curricular issues, among others, which Hamilton faculty and staff members may attend.
  • A staff opening created an opportunity to rework some support services for students. Allen Harrison will move to Academic Support Services and his position will focus on accessibility for students with disabilities. We will also hire a director of international student services to support our international students. This position will report into Student Life.
  • Beginning with the 2021-22 academic year, Martin Luther King Day will be added as a College holiday for staff.

The College is also continuing to identify and apply for external grants to fund faculty and other positions related to DEI; reviewing the SSIH requirement and bolstering its implementation; and identifying opportunities, resources, and support to augment how the curriculum includes and explores the histories, identities, and voices of traditionally underrepresented communities. As the current chief diversity officer (CDO), Dean Terry Martinez continues to track progress toward our diversity goals. Once a new CDO is on board, work will begin on a new comprehensive, multi-year DEI Strategic Plan, which will include input from a diverse group of Hamilton community members.

Much has been done to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hamilton, but much work remains to be done to become more fully welcoming and inclusive for all in our community. I look forward to working with you toward that goal.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Late this afternoon, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. While the jury’s decision provides a measure of accountability in this case, the problem of racialized policing remains.

George Floyd’s murder captured the nation’s attention as another painful, visible, and shocking manifestation of the violence with which people of color in this country are all too familiar. But most cases involving police killings of Black Americans do not result in prosecutions, much less convictions.

No single court decision can bring back lives lost or families torn apart. No one prosecution can redress the grief and suffering caused by systemic racism. But all of us can bear witness to injustice and speak up when we see it, and we can and should now renew our commitment to create a more just, inclusive, and supportive community.

In the days ahead, discussions about what the Chauvin case means will undoubtedly take place in classrooms, residence halls, and elsewhere on campus. In addition, the Division of Student Life will be coordinating with other offices on campus an opportunity to gather as a community in support of one another. Please look for information regarding that gathering soon.

In the meantime, many resources are available to anyone who needs support. They include the Counseling Center (315-859-4340), the Dean of Students Office (315-859-4020), and the Chaplaincy (315-859-4130).


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

In my March 18 note to the campus, I expressed gratitude to the Advisory Council for its thoughtful and far-reaching proposals to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hamilton. The Council devoted a great deal of time and energy to developing those proposals, and Hamilton will be a stronger institution as a result. It now falls to all of us to carry that work forward. As promised in my earlier message, I am detailing in this document responses to each of the Council’s proposals, with a specific individual or individuals assigned to take the lead on implementation. In the months ahead, we will determine how best to measure and track our response, and will share our progress with the community on the College’s DEI website.

This work is a priority for Hamilton. I hope everyone will join in making Hamilton a more welcoming and inclusive community by helping to implement the council’s proposals or by developing and pursuing other DEI initiatives. I encourage your active participation.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Earlier this week the Advisory Council submitted its final proposals for addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hamilton. I am grateful to the council members for the many hours they invested in this important work for the College and its future. Their proposals are thoughtful and far-reaching.

The proposals call for action by all members of the Hamilton community, including faculty, students, staff, the administration, the board of trustees, and alumni. I have already begun to discuss the final proposals with senior staff, and we have set aside time in future meetings to continue those discussions. I recognize that not everyone supported the process leading to the Advisory Council’s recommendations, but I hope all members of our community will consider how they can continue to contribute to the College’s ongoing DEI work.

At some point in the next few weeks, I will write again with a detailed response to the Advisory Council’s proposals. For the moment, I will just say that I share the council’s belief that we have an obligation to enact the structural changes that will make Hamilton a more inclusive and welcoming community for all its members, and I look forward to working with all of you to make that happen.

We are reminded of the importance of this work on a daily basis. As I write this, jury selection continues in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, one of many recent instances of racialized police violence. Yesterday I wrote about escalating attacks against Asian Americans. Even a cursory look at the news on any given day highlights the continuing suffering caused by systemic racism and inequality.

There is, of course, a limit to what we at Hamilton can do to address these broader societal challenges, but we have an obligation to do what we can and to make Hamilton a community where bigotry of any kind has no place.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

On Tuesday, a gunman killed eight people in Atlanta, six of them Asian American. While the motivation for this terrible crime is still being investigated, it comes in the wake of an appalling series of attacks on Asian Americans around the country. Incidents involving anti-Asian bias have accelerated since the start of the pandemic, driven in part by false claims about its origins. In the last year alone, thousands of such incidents, including violent assaults, verbal abuse, employment discrimination, and online bullying, have been reported across the United States. What these incidents have in common, apart from the ignorance and intolerance of those responsible, is that they violate the most basic values of our community and contribute to a climate of fear and anxiety for those who identify as Asian.

I have heard from members of the Hamilton community who have had their own experience with the kinds of hateful acts now multiplying in so many parts of the country, and who feel acutely the pain of recent events. I want to encourage anyone who needs support to take advantage of the many resources available to them through the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students Office, and the Employee Assistance Program. Dean Martinez has already reached out to the Asian Student Union to express solidarity and concern. In addition, Dean Martinez, along with Associate Dean Maria Genao-Homs and the Days-Massolo Center Director Paola Lopez Fincannon, will host a Zoom drop-in session tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM as a space for students to share their thoughts or join in conversation. Please let them know if you would like to join and they will send you a link.

Racism and bigotry have no place in our community or our country, and while the burdens they impose fall most heavily on those who are the targets of intolerance, it is incumbent on all of us to work together to achieve a better and stronger community for all.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Since students returned to campus for the fall semester, we have had two deplorable incidents of hateful slurs shouted from cars by non-Hamilton community members passing through our campus. These incidents were reported to Campus Safety and the local police, and in both instances, suspects were quickly identified and investigations are underway.

Racism and bigotry in all forms have no place on our campus, in our community, or in our country. The systemic racism that continues to manifest in violence against Black lives feels closer than ever, most recently with the unveiling of a video showing the March death of Daniel Prude in Rochester, N.Y., at the hands of police officers who pinned him to the ground with a hood over his head. Today, the City of Utica released a statement and a video showing that a Black man, Kerwin Taylor, was brutally beaten by a white officer while detained in the back of a police vehicle. The officer has been suspended without pay and the incident has been referred to the Oneida County District Attorney’s office for possible prosecution.

This incident may spark strong emotions with you as it did with me. Recognizing that gathering together can be helpful to many in our community, but that doing so is complicated during a pandemic, we will reach out to others across campus to discuss how to proceed. You will receive more information about a gathering shortly.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

After an extraordinary summer of planning to reopen our campus safely, I am delighted with how smoothly the first couple days of the semester have gone, and I’m grateful to those who worked so hard to welcome our students back to College Hill for another year of intellectual exploration and personal growth.

Nevertheless, as I discussed in my Convocation remarks on Sunday, the optimism and anticipation that come with the start of a new year are tempered by two extraordinary challenges: systemic racism that continues to manifest in violence against Black lives, most recently with the shootings of Jacob Blake, Trayford Pellerin, and Julian Edwin Roosevelt Lewis, and the coronavirus pandemic that continues to take lives across the country and around the world. Many in our community have been touched directly by one or both of these challenges. Our Black colleagues and friends, in particular, feel the pain and fear of ongoing police shootings, and these incidents should remind all of us of the importance of the anti-racism work that is needed in the country and at the College. Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this summer, in light of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, I noted that Hamilton would devote additional resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion and form an Advisory Council to host listening sessions and help us expedite a new equity and inclusion plan. All of this work is under way.

Just as we want to make Hamilton a safe place for students, faculty, and staff to study and work, despite the pandemic, we also want to make Hamilton a place where everyone feels safe, welcome, and included. Hamilton aims to prepare all students and graduates to change the world and make it a more just and equitable place.

Thank you, in advance, for being an active and committed participant in our efforts. The Advisory Council continues to welcome you to Be Heard, and the Dean of Students Office will soon be in touch about upcoming programming.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Many of you have written to me to offer your ideas, describe your experiences, and share your frustrations with the pace of change at Hamilton. I have carefully reviewed every message, many of which have been distressing to read. They all reinforce the urgency and importance of the task ahead of us, and the need to develop new strategies to ensure an equitable and inclusive community.

In response to feedback in June, a new Advisory Council was established to bring together a cross-section of the entire Hamilton community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, parents, and the Village of Clinton) to assist me and the administration of the College in assessing the effectiveness of existing equity and inclusion efforts. The Council will advise us as we expedite the development and implementation of a robust equity and inclusion plan. The Council has already begun to review College reports and other data on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, and will soon begin to conduct listening sessions to gather testimonials and feedback from members of our community. I encourage you to share your experiences and ideas with the Advisory Council by emailing Advisory-Council@hamilton.edu. The Advisory Council is meeting weekly and will report its progress on the Hamilton DEI website, which is in the process of being substantially revised.

At the same time, senior staff will continue to develop and review divisional goals and will also report progress on the DEI website. Working groups for the DEI strategic plan will meet and report regularly to Dean Martinez, with the goal of sharing a draft plan with focus groups this fall.

Even as we face the continuing challenge of COVID-19, Hamilton is committed to building a stronger and more inclusive community.


Dear Hamilton Community,

A Facebook video came to our attention this morning, showing someone who previously worked at the College as a contract employee of our food services provider making despicable racist slurs. I am appalled by what is on the video. He will not be employed here again and has been banned from our campus effective immediately. The behavior shown on the video is an extreme violation of our community standards and will not be tolerated. We will review our own and our contractors’ employee screening and training policies to be sure appropriate requirements are in place.

I will also reach out to the Utica resident who was the target of this individual's slurs. I want her to know that racism and bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated at Hamilton College.


Dear Hamilton Community,

Last week I announced that the College would establish a new advisory council to help create a more equitable and inclusive campus community. I am gratified that so many of you have offered to help and want to encourage you to share your suggestions and recommendations with me and members of the council. We must act decisively to ensure that every member of our community feels valued and can thrive. That is a top priority for me and for the College.

The advisory council will begin by listening. Council members will benefit immensely from the perspective of individuals and groups who are willing to share their experiences and contribute ideas. At the same time, please remember that membership on this council is just one way to contribute to the process of change. We hope that you will stay involved by educating yourself and others on the movement against racism and discrimination, and by sharing your time and other resources when called to help.

I am grateful to the Hamiltonians who have agreed to serve on the council, recognizing that as we move forward, the membership of the council will evolve. I hope all members of our community will participate in this important undertaking.


Advisory Council Members
Steven Bellona, Mayor, Village of Clinton
Phyllis Breland ’80, Hamilton Director of Opportunity Programs, retired
Josie Collier ’97, P’14, Chair of the Alumni Council and President of the Alumni Association
Mark Fedorcik ’95, Trustee
Todd Franklin, Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies
Gill King P’16, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, ex officio
Maria Genao-Homs, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion
Amari Leigh ’21, Student
Terry Martinez, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President, Dean of Students
Nick Osarenren ’22, Student
Imad Qasim ’79, Trustee
Natalie Sanchez ’07, Chair of the Alumni Equity and Inclusion Committee
Lisa Trivedi, Professor of History
Caleb Williamson ’17, JD
David Wippman, President

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the day African Americans enslaved in Texas 155 years ago learned of their freedom. Consistent with my message earlier this week, and in light of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many others, I encourage all members of our community to reflect on today’s significance and commit to taking action against racism and discrimination whenever and wherever we encounter it.

As outlined in my June 14 message to our community, the College is committed to taking its own actions against racism and discrimination. Next week, I will announce the members of the new Advisory Council that is being formed as part of that commitment. The Council and senior staff will welcome your feedback and ideas for building a community that fully embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hamilton.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Since my statement on May 30, I have heard your reactions to recent community posts. I have also heard your demands for the College to do more. I want to express my deep regret for the pain inflicted on an already hurting community. My initial communication and the two posts did not state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, contained language many found insufficient or confusing and, most importantly, did not identify any action steps. I know that Hamilton must do better – and we will.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now Rayshard Brooks have highlighted yet again the nature and extent of systemic racism in our country. We know that these events have caused enormous pain, particularly for members of the Black community, and for the Black members of our community. We stand in solidarity with them, because Black Lives Matter.

We commit to developing collectively a comprehensive plan of action, beginning with the following three steps.

  1. Host listening sessions and form an Advisory Council to hold us accountable. Listening sessions with members of Student Assembly, the Black and Latinx Student Union, the ALANA Caucus (a group of faculty and staff of color), and alumni representatives, including members of the Equity and Inclusion Committee of Alumni Council, will enable us to engage collectively in a dialogue about the path forward. I will also form an Advisory Council, starting next week, to establish a formal feedback loop on an ongoing basis. We will begin with listening and follow with informed planning and urgent action. You have this commitment from me, from senior leadership, and from the Board of Trustees.
  2. Expedite a new equity and inclusion plan. Last summer we began a strategic planning process to enhance our equity and inclusion efforts and identified a set of institutional goals. We have made progress, but must do more. With input from the Advisory Council and others, we will build on those goals and publicly track our progress.
  3. Increase resources. From my discretionary fund, I am committing $200,000 per year for the next five years to increase funding of the College’s equity and inclusion initiatives, with a focus on how we can support Black and Latinx members of our community. The initiatives may include but will not be limited to expanded microaggression and implicit bias training for community members, additional resources for the development of inclusive pedagogies, and additional funding for the recruitment and retention of faculty, students, and staff of color.

In addition to this commitment of funds, a generous friend of the College has stepped forward to offer a $250,000 match for gifts made by June 30 that are directed to the College’s equity and inclusion initiatives or in support of scholarship aid through the Hamilton Fund. Gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar until we reach the $250,000 maximum.

The actions outlined above are initial steps, but we will develop a more complete action plan in the months ahead, and we will report back to the community on our progress in September. I am grateful to everyone who has spoken up with conviction, and believe that together we can make real progress toward a fully inclusive Hamilton.

Most sincerely,


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

In recent weeks, as protesters gathered to mourn lives lost and condemn all forms of racism and oppression, particularly against Black citizens at the hands of police, the Hamilton community worked to exchange resources, recommit to change, and hold space to process the pain of these deaths. While students witness the impact on their own cities and neighborhoods, they also want to know what Hamilton is doing for racial justice and to support Black Lives Matter initiatives.

My focus as dean of students and chief diversity officer is to build a community where every student knows that they are safe, included, and respected. This cannot be accomplished without consistent effort from every member of faculty and staff, as well as students and their families. Last summer, I facilitated a discussion with the College’s senior staff to reaffirm Hamilton’s overarching diversity goals, which include:

Increasing recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented faculty, staff, and students

Fostering an inclusive climate

Developing culturally competent faculty, staff, and students

Since that time, we have:

Enhanced outreach to targeted markets to diversify our admission pool

Hired 16 new tenure-track faculty since 2018; 10 (62.5%) are women and eight (50%) are people of color (Overall, the tenure-line faculty is now 23% diverse and 47.2% women.)

Increased training for staff, students, and faculty members to guard against implicit bias (in interviewing, programming, teaching, and daily interactions)

Worked to remove financial barriers to achieve an equivalent educational experience inside and outside the classroom for all students

Piloted an initiative that trains student facilitators to develop skills in deep listening and engaging in deliberative conversations

Conversations around racism did not begin with recent events, and there is ongoing dialogue campuswide about how we can continue and deepen this work. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are how we put ideas into action, with facilitated training, policy review, and cross-campus collaborations to address these issues. Our senior staff retreat this summer will build on past efforts and lay out actions for the coming year.

I appreciate your support and engagement as we work toward a just and inclusive campus experience for all students, faculty, and staff.

Please take care of yourself and each other,

Terry Martinez
Chief Diversity Officer
Vice President and Dean of Students

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

In recent days, I have watched with grief and dismay the news from my hometown, Minneapolis. Despite its progressive history and the civil rights advocacy of leaders like former vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, Minneapolis has continued to be plagued by racism and police violence. The video of George Floyd’s death is shocking, but, alas, also unsurprising, given the country’s failure to address systemic racism and inequality.

This failure has been vividly displayed in recent months, in a string of racially charged incidents. The ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has so disproportionately affected communities of color has also demonstrated the persistence and far-reaching nature of racial inequality in the United States.

Hamilton is not immune from the toxic effects of racism in America, and we have seen recent reminders of that in bigoted posts on the anonymous Jodel platform. While far different in degree from the events in Minneapolis and elsewhere, these posts violate the basic norms of decency and inclusion we seek to promote at Hamilton.

The pain of recent events falls disproportionately on some members of our community, and that is yet another legacy of inequality in our society. But it is incumbent on all of us to work toward creating more just, inclusive, and supportive communities, at Hamilton and in the broader society.

I hope you will all join me in condemning racism whenever you see it and share in the work needed to foster meaningful change.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

We have received reports of three incidents that appear to be racist in nature. They include a post in a residence hall, a comment on an anonymous online app, and a remark made at a party. Each incident is being investigated.

Hamilton College is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. Racism or any other form of bigotry directly contradicts our values as a community and the principles that we pledge to uphold, and will not be tolerated. Such incidents on campus impose particular burdens on faculty, students, and staff of color who must deal with assaults on their dignity and at the same time may be called upon disproportionately to support other members of the community.

I call upon each of us to stand up against intolerance and to think deeply about how we can play a role in creating an environment where all are valued and feel welcome.


Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Hamilton’s senior staff met last summer to review the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts. We acknowledged the previous work done by many at the College, including the faculty hiring processes developed with Romney Associates. We also agreed that the importance of the work ahead requires renewed attention at the highest levels of the College. In her role as chief diversity officer, Vice President and Dean of Students Terry Martinez facilitated our discussion about how we can support Hamilton’s overarching diversity goals, which include:

  • Increasing recruitment of historically underrepresented faculty, staff, and students
  • Increasing retention of historically underrepresented faculty, staff, and students
  • Fostering an inclusive climate
  • Developing culturally competent faculty, staff, and students

Each vice president submitted plans for advancing these goals within their divisions. I am encouraged by each division’s efforts and am writing to share broad-based themes emerging from the progress made thus far. We are developing a website that will detail the work happening in each area and hope to have that in place by the end of the semester.

  • Recruiting individuals from historically underrepresented communities remains a central focus in each of the College’s divisions. Enhanced outreach to targeted markets plays a key role in diversifying our pool.
  • Increased training to guard against implicit bias (in interviewing, programming, teaching, and daily interactions) continues to develop and grow within each division
  • Reviewing, assessing, and enhancing our internal processes and protocols to eliminate bias is underway in each area, with a special focus on initiatives that bring differing perspectives together, and ensuring that all students have access to various opportunities and experiences
  • Removing financial barriers continues to be an important part of our efforts to ensure an equivalent educational experience inside and outside the classroom for all students.

Fostering a campus culture of diversity and inclusion takes care and ongoing attention. I’m grateful to all faculty, staff, and students who contribute formally and informally to ensuring Hamilton is a community in which all members can achieve their full intellectual, social, and moral capacities.


Every Hamilton voice deserves to be heard. Add to the conversation by sharing your thoughts, ideas, and feedback with Maria Genao-Homs, associate dean of diversity and inclusion.

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