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Phillips Exeter Academy

Private K-12 School

Mailing Address
20 Main Street
Exeter, New Hampshire 03833
(603) 772-4311
Email address
School Information
"Now a coeducational residential school with more than 1,000 high school students from the U.S. and 33 foreign countries, Exeter has a centuries-old tradition of academic excellence and a commitment to empowering Exonians to find their place in the world. "We are a community that celebrates curiosity and cultivates potential. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 5:1, more than 450 courses in 18 subject areas, and the opportunity to study on five continents, Exeter provides unparalleled opportunities for discovery and exploration, of both self and subject matter." (Source:
General Information
Exeter's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (DEI TF) will focus on three goals: growing understanding, transforming systems, and cultivating community. Thus far, the school has implemented several initiatives, including anti-racist mini-courses on topics such as the racialization of scientific thought, racial health care disparities, and anti-oppression in athletics, and the creation of the principal's discretionary fund for DEI initiatives.

Actions Taken

Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The school also made "the decision to build dedicated time into the weekly schedule for anti-racism work." "During one period each week, students and faculty engage in sustained conversations about race, racism, anti-racism and the work we are committed to doing as a school." The school has created "mini-courses," such as "Beyond Black and White: The Social Construction of Race in the United States," "The Racialization of Scientific Thought," "Structural Racism in Policies and Practices," and "The Structure and Culture of Racism."
  • The school will establish "a new cross-department faculty working group to focus on incorporating themes of race, equity and justice into the curriculum of each department."
  • Mini-courses are being offered as part of Exeter's anti-racist curriculum. Topics include "racialization of scientific thought to racial health care disparities and anti-oppression in athletics."
  • One goal of the DEI TF is the "Development and implementation of DEI and anti-racist training, curriculum and programming for all key stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, trustees and community members."
Disciplinary Measures
  • The school has expanded its bias reporting tool - “We have expanded our bias response reporting tool (Ethics Point) to be inclusive of students. The system provides a confidential, anonymous method for anyone to report incidents of bias, harassment or other harmful behavior against themselves or other members of our community. The school investigates all reported incidents and supports those who feel harmed. We provide training and education to individuals to prevent future harm, with the mindset of ‘calling in’ persons who are the subject of a report, and we take employment actions when warranted.”
  • The school will "develop and declare reporting, accountability and educational protocols for incidents where adults and students feel they have been harmed based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other personal identity characteristics."
  • Two other goals of the DEI TF are: "Development and implementation of reporting protocols for incidents of racial bias on campus, with emphasis on transparency and restorative justice;" "Working with the DEI contributors to respond to incidents of racial bias or unrest on campus;"
Program and Research Funding
  • The school is planning to expand the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
  • The school also announced "a new Principal’s Discretionary Fund to support the Academy’s anti-racism work and DEI initiatives." Part of the funds will go to a "third Dissertation Year Fellow."
  • The school will fund "a data collection and analytics project that will gather feedback from current and past community members to give us greater visibility into the areas where we need improvement, particularly with respect to our ability to hire and retain diverse teaching faculty, as well as enabling us to systematize our best practices."
  • The school provided a list of resources, including "How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective,” "An Antiracist Reading List, by Ibram X. Kendi," "Educate Yourself, a collection of resources from Black Lives Matter." It also links to "Academy Library Anti-racism Resources," which include books; articles and websites; videos and podcasts; and teaching resources. Lastly, the website links to organizations, such as Black Lives Matter.
  • The school will be creating a DEI dashboard - "We have begun a search for an institutional researcher who will be tasked with helping us collect, understand and organize our data related to diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. This work will lead to the creation of a DEI dashboard that demonstrates the school’s progress toward our goals."
  • The school offered multiple professional development programs and anti-racism trainings to faculty/staff and students, respectively. The "Exeter Diversity Institute... focused on race, racism and anti-racism in our school community and beyond." A psychiatrist "offered a workshop to faculty on 'Racism, Trauma and Equity in Education.'" The same expert "addressed students at assembly and has been working directly with the Dean of Students Office, College Counseling Office, Community Conduct Committee and Academic Advising Committee throughout the year." Student organizations have access to an “'Anti-Racist Starter Pack' of resources to help understand the history of racism, intersectionality and anti-racism." The "Office of Equity and Inclusion is offering monthly conversations about justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) as an optional professional development opportunity open to all employees." Also, "a white anti-racist group formed two years ago has reorganized into smaller groups to build their own cultural awareness and competency and to support various anti-racism initiatives."
  • A 2002 article found that this was not a new issue at Exeter. Diversity, according to several university officials, is a core value and very pronounced at Exeter. The article also reads, "In Exeter’s course 'The Black Experience in White America,' students recently were debating the acceptability of interracial dating—not whether it’s okay for a white teen to date a black, of course, but whether it’s okay for blacks to date whites."
  • Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How To Be an Antiracist," was the keynote speaker at the Exeter MLK Day celebration.
  • The principal sent out a letter on the guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial. He told students that that week's "sessions will include opportunities to learn more about the trial and what it represents, reflect on the past few weeks in discussion groups, and support each other in community."
  • In October, the school launched the "Core Values Project: Conversations about Anti-oppression, Community Values, and Justice." For what has been labeled by a school official as "an invitation for further conversation," the project involves student facilitators "launching projects for the student body and every faculty member."
  • A staff member from the school gave a presentation titled "Small Activists, Big Impact: Cultivating Anti-Racists and Activists in Kindergarten. Summary: In the current climate, it is especially important and necessary to delve into social justice with some of the smallest learners. This workshop aims to expose, offer, and create a new lens for teaching social justice to kindergarten students. Learn how to begin teaching social justice in your classroom, incorporate books and vocabulary into lessons, and discuss the "-isms" with your students. Expect to leave with examples of practical lessons to use in the classroom as well as long-term projects to culminate at the end of the year. Get a roadmap to take your anti-bias and anti-racist teaching to the next level.
  • The school participated in the Association of Independent Schools in New England's 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion conference.
  • On February 16, 2024, City Journal published an article written by Christopher Rufo titled, "Exeter Under Ideology" which reported on how the academy has adopted many new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives since the death of George Floyd in 2020. The article reads in part as follows: "Exeter officials have established large-scale DEI initiatives designed to overhaul administrative and academic life in accordance with BLM-style ideology. Individuals are subordinated into racial groups, such as 'BIPOC' and 'LatinX,' and administrators work on 'building anti-racism practices in academics, dormitory life, extracurricular activities, assessment and discipline, and college counseling.' Policies include an informal affirmative-action program for 'Faculty of Color' and formalized training in 'anti-racism'.” 
Symbolic Actions
  • The school shared an update on its anti-racism initiatives.
  • The school also announced "an initiative and appointed a steering committee to undertake a thorough examination of our school history for any connections between the Academy and the institution of slavery."
  • In a letter to the community, the school promised to hire a new Assistant Dean of Faculty and a new Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • In addition to creating a "Trustee Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion," the school will "create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Response Team on campus to address issues of race in national events, our campus culture and our alumni/ae community."
  • The school will expand the Office of Multicultural Affairs and reimagine "the Assembly Hall and other campus gathering places to reflect and celebrate our diverse and inclusive community, while recognizing past generations of Exonians and the important service of past leaders of our community."
  • Exeter's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (DEI TF) will focus on three goals: "growing understanding – acknowledging and building a comprehensive understanding of our own history, as it intertwines with the institution and legacies of slavery, racism and inequality in our country, and how that history manifests in the experiences of BIPOC students and adults on campus;" "transforming systems – supporting BIPOC students and adults by ensuring the cultivation of an inclusive, equitable community through (a) a comprehensive assessment and, where necessary, revision of current policies, practices and systems; and (b) the building of lasting infrastructure and investment that transforms campus culture to reflect anti-racist principles; and" "cultivating community – guiding the development and launch of teaching and learning initiatives, professional development opportunities, research projects, educational exhibitions and events, and permanent recognition and commemoration, all to foster and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion to the fullest extent.”
  • On July 6, 2020, Exeter highlighted Wole Coaxum on its Facebook page for discussing “racial imbalance” in financial systems. This post was also featured on Exeter’s Twitter account.
  • On June 16, 2020, Exeter posted a statement on its Facebook page from the director of equity and inclusion, stating, “I want to acknowledge the anguished, frustrated and painful stories that Black students and alums have shared based on their experiences at Exeter. I encourage you to read the stories posted on @blackatexeter.” This post was also featured on its Instagram page.
  • On June 12, 2020, Exeter posted a statement on its Facebook page saying, “Thirty-five years ago today, Eddie Perry '85 was shot and killed by police. Eddie's death resonates today amid killings that seem so grimly similar and all too commonplace. But the life he lived at Exeter and the experiences he had here as a Black student resonate, too, as the Academy examines how it can become a more inclusive and actively anti-racist community.”
  • On June 5, 2020, Exeter posted a statement on its Facebook page saying, “We are outraged, and deeply saddened, by this latest evidence of our long history and legacy in this country of anti-Black hatred, violence and injustice.” This post was also featured on Exeter’s Twitter account.
  • On June 6, 2020, Exeter highlighted on its Instagram page the “Unsilenced” event it held for the BLM movement.
  • On June 5, 2020, Exeter posted a statement from Principal Rawson and the Trustees saying, “We are outraged, and deeply saddened, by this latest evidence of our long history and legacy in this country of anti-black hatred, violence, and injustice.”
  • On June 2, 2020, Exeter posted a statement for Black Lives Matter for “Blackout Tuesday.”
Last updated February 19th, 2024
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