COA was founded in the heat of the civil rights and environmental movements. Our mission calls us to not only investigate but also improve the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. Further, our vision states that valuing the diversity of nature and human cultures is a core value of the college. Over the years we have failed to explicitly and actively translate our mission and vision into actions toward more racially and socially just communities and institutions, including our own. We know we must do better. We know that much work lies ahead.

College of the Atlantic is unequivocally opposed to racism and White supremacy. We are committed to engaging deeply with the ways in which our institution is complicit in perpetuating racism and White supremacy, and we are committed to undertaking long-needed work to address structural racism on all levels of our institution and within our community. We have developed this page to share our ongoing efforts on these topics. There is much work to do, both here and in communities everywhere. We hope you will join us in this critically important work, and being part of this movement now and moving forward.

There are several collective efforts underway, including:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Planning Task Force (2019-2021)

  • Tasked with coordinating an institutional planning effort related to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at COA.
  • Hired Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo to facilitate an institutional climate study that includes focus groups, listening sessions, and a survey of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Engaged with Dr. Lynn Hernández to conduct workshops and training for faculty and staff on topics of implicit bias and microaggressions, and to offer one-on-one coaching for faculty on these and other DEI-related topics.
  • The DEI phase 1 strategic plan was completed and approved during spring term 2021.

Student Persistence Working Group (2018-2019)

  • Researched and designed  the COAprogram to improve the persistence and graduation rates of students from groups that on average tend to persist and graduate at lower rates nationally and at COA, including students who self-identify as traditionally underrepresented on US college campuses, such as: students of color, first-generation college students, and students with high financial need.

College Opportunity and Access (COA2) Program (2019-present)

  • The College Opportunity and Access Program is a pre-orientation and year-round program designed to build a supportive, educational, and communal advocacy space designed for students who self-identify with the experiences of minoritized, first generation, and/or low income college students. COA2 was piloted in 2019-2020.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group (2018-present)

  • Coordinates All College Meetings, dialogues, visioning sessions, and campus events to discuss diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and decolonization.
  • Organizes community education events, including a weekly reading and discussion group. 
  • Coordinates with other DEI events and organizations on MDI.

Faculty Diversity Working Group (2017-present)

  • Tasked with developing and recommending processes and protocols for recruiting and supporting a more racially and ethnically diverse faculty.

Black Student Union (2018-present)

  • The Black Student Union is a student-founded and student-led affinity group for students who identify as Black. They plan events for the school to share Black culture, and also come together to forge community and a sense of belonging.

 New Student Orientation (2019-present)

  • Implemented a new, three-hour, DEI-themed workshop as part of 2019 orientation, focusing on the history of structural racism in the US as well as alumnx and student experiences within COA.

Trainings for Faculty and Staff (2018-present)

  • We are committed to providing training for all faculty and staff on a range of topics related to racism in the US, higher education, and our institution. As of June 2020 more than 50 staff, faculty, and students have participated in educational workshops on structural racism. Additional trainings are planned on implicit bias, microaggressions and other related topics.

Engaging With our Alumnx (2020-present)

  • In response to alumnx concerns, we will hold several listening sessions with alumnx during summer 2020.
  • We anticipate developing several ways for alumnx to work with us in addressing these issues on campus.

Statements from President Darron Collins ’92