In December 2016, a coalition of seven student groups at Lafayette College presented a thirteen-page document entitled “List of Diversity and Transformation Concerns of Marginalized Students” to President Alison Byerly. These concerns ranged from college curriculum to faculty hiring to Greek life and were accompanied by concrete suggestions for action. Four years later, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social justice movement of the summer of 2020, a new group of students under the banner “Dear Lafayette” released a new 28-page document which escalated the previous concerns: “List of Demands Related to the Black Experience at Lafayette College.”
Though Dear Lafayette is not institutionally recognized at the college, the group is comprised of current and former members of the same groups who were signatories of the 2016 Concerns. With the 2016 Concerns and 2020 Demands in hand, members of the Faculty Diversity Committee felt an opportunity presented itself for a frank and open conversation about Lafayette’s recent historical record on diversity and inclusion. Thus, the committee embarked on a data collection project in fall 2020 to document the extent to which the college has taken up these calls to action of two generations of students.
This data set was compiled to the best of the Faculty Diversity Committee’s abilities through an internal college fact-finding mission by our members and is being shared with the Communications Division for distribution to the campus community. The Faculty Diversity Committee speaks for itself and offers this spreadsheet simply as a service to the campus community. The hope in publishing the spreadsheet here is to make these findings transparent to students and employees of the College so it will serve as a basis for near-future public conversations – opportunities for analysis and interpretation and explanation of our data – with current students and college employees. The ultimate aim is for the Faculty Diversity Committee to synthesize the outcomes of these public conversations into a year-end recommendation for action to college administrators.