President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Updates on progress for a more inclusive Reed

April 29, 2022

Dear Reed students, staff and faculty,

I write to update you on recent work to advance Reed toward its aspirations of being an anti-racist institution.

To begin, I want to remind you of a campus community discussion of anti-racism, equity, and belonging that will be held Thursday, May 5, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in Kaul Auditorium. This gathering will consist of a guided Q&A panel followed by small group discussions. The content of the conversations we have will be generated by your questions, using this Google form, so it will be valuable for you to submit your questions by Monday, May 2. Submitted questions will also be answered in a Q&A document to be shared with the campus community.

While looking forward to conversations where we can renew our common purpose as a community, we are taking action. As outlined on April 4, we have identified several immediate steps to pursue. I want to express my gratitude to students who have worked hard over a number of years to organize, advocate, and navigate institutional challenges to inspire Reed faculty to approve Curricular Practical Training at the faculty meeting on April 18, 2022—a transformational change for our international students.

The following are updates on our most recent progress.

Engage in meaningful and sustained conversations.
We are planning four opportunities during the upcoming academic year for community conversations about race, equity, and justice, among other important topics. We also need to build our collective capacity to have these difficult conversations, and not just within structured environments. To date, we have connected with two highly respected organizations to better understand their processes and how they might help our community engage across differences and strengthen sustained collective action. 

Develop more robust education about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We are in the final stages of shaping the diversity, equity, and inclusion training to be included during the onboarding of all new staff and faculty, starting with the fall 2022 hiring season. These sessions will build awareness of bias, discrimination, microaggressions, cultural competencies, and communicating across differences. They will establish a baseline understanding and shared vision of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cultivating a community where all members can flourish, of course, takes more than a single session or workshop. The onboarding training will be augmented with a series of educational and professional development opportunities for staff and faculty throughout the academic year. Additionally, inclusive pedagogy has been and will continue to guide the work at the Center for Teaching and Learning—from training for new advisers and syllabus design workshops, to sessions on accessibility and accommodations, and working with racial anxiety in the classroom—the Center provides essential resources in this effort.

Further invest in programs that support diverse communities.
We are making a commitment to increase student wage support for the Multicultural Resource Center and SEEDS. This coming academic year, a 50% increase in student wage funding has been allocated to these programs. These funds will enhance orientation, the Peer Mentor Program, and annual programming. We continue to explore ways to increase both the profile and the capacity of the MRC. The Center plays an important role in the vibrancy of our community and in providing opportunities for critical engagement. We are also exploring additional support for International Student Services.

Coordinate with the Committees on Diversity.
I will consult the student, staff, and faculty Committees on Diversity as this work progresses, and meet with the joint committees directly each semester.

Expand staff affinity groups.
It is critical that we foster a greater sense of belonging for communities of color and those of minoritized identities. Informed by responses from our community and in consultation with our Staff Committee on Diversity, we have added staff affinity groups dedicated to Latinx, Multiracial, and Indigenous communities at Reed, in addition to our existing staff affinity groups dedicated to Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ communities. Each affinity group has a dedicated budget to support group activities.

Develop Equity and Inclusion plans.
Reed vice presidents are in the process of developing equity and inclusion plans for their administrative divisions. These plans join the development of academic department plans, which launched last year through the work of the Faculty Committee on Diversity. Academic departments are currently completing their annual updates to these plans. I have asked that administrative departments submit their plans to me by September 1, 2022, as part of planning for the coming year.

Streamline Reed’s bias reporting process.
The Office for Institutional Diversity is working to improve the bias reporting process by establishing time frames for the intake, inquiry, and resolution of bias incidents; by creating graphics to better show the pathways that inquiries and formal investigations may follow; and by exploring options for annual reporting on bias incidents at Reed. We believe these actions will improve access, transparency, and clarity of processes.

We will continue to make progress on all of these commitments, ask for your input on new opportunities and ideas, and update you as our work advances. Our student climate survey recently concluded, and our institutional research team is working to compile those results. We are on track to launch staff and faculty climate surveys before the end of 2022. The results of these surveys will further inform action plans for the college. Thank you for your continued dedication to fostering a culture of care at Reed.



Audrey Bilger