Carthage takes action to become more inclusive
Putting more elbow grease behind its stated commitment to an educational environment where everyone belongs, Carthage has set in motion a number of equity and inclusion initiatives in recent months.
The College’s ongoing work has taken on greater urgency this year, in light of the killing of George Floyd, the shooting of Jacob Blake, and pleas for change from many in the campus community.
Here is a recap of some of the concrete steps Carthage has taken:
Anti-Racism Plan of Action
In July, President John Swallow announced this expansive plan, which is designed to combat systemic racism by achieving three primary goals: closing the racial achievement gap in Carthage graduation rates; expanding resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion work; and incorporating the study of the legacy of race and racism in each student’s curriculum. Carthage also intends to revisit and update its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan – 2020 to 2023.
This fall, Carthage launched the Anti-Racism and Intercultural Seminar Experience (ARISE) for first-year students’ personal and relational growth. Already, more than 90 percent of them have completed a baseline assessment called the Intercultural Development Inventory to gauge their intercultural competency. With those results and guidance from one of 23 trained equity coaches on campus, each student will carry out an intercultural service learning activity next spring.
Bias Incident Reporting/Response
An online form launched in January makes it simpler for students to confidentially report an incident of bias based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, or ability level. Based on the severity of a particular incident, our Bias Education Response Team (BERT) can provide direct support to affected individuals and educational programs that empower the student community. To learn more about BERT and access the online form, go to www.carthage.edu/bias-incident.
The Intercultural Center for Equity, Advocacy, and Engagement — a new dedicated space on the main floor of the Todd Wehr Center — opens Oct. 28. Besides being a welcoming place for students to gather, it serves as the hub for inclusive campus programming. Carthage added another full-time staff position to help guide the center’s vital work, bringing in Cicely Hunter as assistant director for the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Embodying Carthage’s long-term strategy to integrate regionally, the Intercultural Center is working to partner with social justice organizations in Racine and Kenosha. In addition, Carthage is exploring exciting opportunities for partnerships with other organizations. Look for more news in the coming days. “Forming strong coalitions and support networks can only benefit us and our students, and I am confident these collaborations will bring forth programs that enhance our mutual learning,” President John Swallow said.
Attendance at weekly town hall-style virtual meetings has topped 100 at times, and events tied to Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBT+ History Month, and Native American History Month this fall are designed to amplify diverse viewpoints. Soon, the Intercultural Center will introduce the Building Beloved Community series. Borrowing its name from a quote by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the series employs love to combat hate. And a new podcast-style interview program, “Java & Justice,” will feature weekly guests from diverse backgrounds.
Team Name Change
Acting on a recommendation from President Swallow, the Carthage Board of Trustees voted in August to retire the team names Red Men and Lady Reds. The same Task Force on Team Names and Mascot that conducted the nine-month review is now gathering input in the search for a unifying replacement. An Athletics Advocacy Task Force also laid out a 17-point equity and inclusion plan to support the hundreds of student-athletes who compete for Carthage.