The Division of Student Life’s (DSL) mission is to cultivate a dynamic, engaged, and inclusive community that enriches the student experience, promotes wellness and belonging, and supports the purposeful development of every student.
We recognize that although statements are meaningful, positive change will not exist without direct actions taken by everyone in the community. The Division of Student Life believes that each individual can make a positive contribution to improve the lives of Black, Indigenous People of Color and all students of color. We strive to work within an intersectional frame when fighting against all forms of oppression, including ableism, classism, heterosexism, gender based oppression, racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism.
We are committed to addressing racism, xenophobia, and all forms of institutional and systemic oppression by assessing our policies and making the necessary changes to our practices to reflect the needs of our diverse student body. We will continue to collaborate with other departments and organizations on campus, the Five Colleges, and the surrounding community to offer support and engage in necessary dialogue and action to combat racism and other forms of oppression in order to foster a sense of belonging in all Mount Holyoke College students. We believe that, together, we have the means to free ourselves from the cycle of racist conditioning and oppression. To strive towards these goals, the Division of Student Life pledges to:
Acknowledge our privilege and positionality in systemic, institutional and individual oppression:
- We recognize that we have work to do and know that we must take direct action and accountability to promote positive change.
- We will work to change our internalized oppression and to interrupt oppression.
- We will challenge and correct our systemic practices, institutional legacies, and unconscious biases that perpetuate white supremacy, linguistic imperialism and white dominant culture.
Strive towards liberatory consciousness, we will continue to educate ourselves and our community as well as listen to feedback from students, and all DSL employees while integrating these equitable practices and values into our work so that we can be agents of social change and transformation.
Establish an open and supportive environment for individuals to share their perspectives and opinions that will assist in addressing actions and behaviors that are the manifestations of oppression and hegemony.
Acknowledge that systemic racial and religious oppression is a humanitarian crisis that affects many people in different ways. It will require the consistent, on-going work and efforts of all within the Division of Student Life to enact change and to progress towards a more equitable and accessible campus for all.
- Through our Division’s Be Well initiative, we are committed to guiding students towards a life that sustains and empowers wellness (which is not monolithic) and meets the needs of each student.
- We are aware of the harm and intergenerational trauma perpetuated by white supremacy and white dominant culture through institutional practices and behaviors such as microaggressions and are committed to making a more inclusive Division, campus and society to improve the lives and support of all.
- We acknowledge that the intentions of “nice” and/ or “good people” do not mitigate the negative impact of their actions and are also often the result of unconscious bias. We will practice humility when being called-in for perpetuating harm and correcting our actions.
- We acknowledge the intersectional identities of our diverse student body and that Asian, Black, Brown and all students of color are not monolithic.
- We acknowledge that the intersections of race and nationality/nation of origin are often impacted by racism, xenophobism, Antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of religious hatred. We must continue to look at race, racism and anti- Asian racism, anti-Blackness and Antisemitism, Islamophobia from a global lens.
- We recognize the on-going oppression of BIPOC people in the Transgender and Nonbinary community.
- We will continue to ensure that all of these intersections, along with other intersectional identities, are not only recognized and acknowledged, but our practices, procedures, programs and services reflect these intersectional identities in their multiplicity.
- We know that striving to be an anti-racist division will require life-long work and that pushing through discomfort fosters growth.
- We will not be a perfect Division. Although we will make mistakes, we will take collective accountability and our work will not halt.
- We will continue to be vigilant as we learn, listen, hold each other accountable, and take action.
- We will practice cultural humility by remaining humble, curious, and passionate about our commitment to learning and engaging in anti-racist work.
- We pledge to measure ourselves as we fight injustice, racism and other forms of oppression so that we foster a campus community that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive. We want Mount Holyoke College to be a place where every member, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, etc. and the intersections of these identities can thrive.
The Division of Student Life remains in solidarity with the Mount Holyoke College community in expressing our grief to all those impacted by the tremendous pain and horror of current, historical, and global oppression rooted in oppression; specifically but not exclusively white supremacy, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and settler-colonization.
We welcome your feedback. Please fill out the form to share your thoughts and/or suggestions.
To learn more about our commitment to anti-racism please visit the MHC College anti-racism action.