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Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
375 Church Street
North Adams, Massachusetts 01247
(413) 662-5000
Email address
School Information
"Since our inception as the Normal School in North Adams in 1894, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has provided educational access and exceptional learning opportunities to generations of students and alumni. Over the years, MCLA has evolved to meet the needs of changing times" (Source: The college offers over 80 programs of study and 21 majors. The total undergraduate enrollment is approximately 1,500 and the total graduate enrollment is approximately 350. The student to faculty ratio is 11 to 1.
General Information
MCLA has enacted numerous reforms in response to the anti-racism movement. MCLA created a Committee on DEI. MCLA received grants by Grants for Arts Projects and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities respectively. In 2020, MCLA held events for the Annual Day of Dialogue and the DEI Conference, both of which were programs intended to promote discussion surrounding the topic of anti-racism. No mandatory Critical Race Training is required at this time. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • MCLA creates a campus culture that "honors" diversity by "actively endeavor[ing] to recruit and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff."
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The college states the following regarding its curriculum: "MCLA strives to integrate topics of diversity in the curricular, co-curricular, residential, and work life of the MCLA community. In so doing, MCLA works towards collaboration and purposeful engagement to achieve social justice on campus and in the wider community."
Disciplinary Measures
  • The college outlines its bias reporting system which includes information about its Bias Incident Response Team which "supports the college’s efforts to maintain an inclusive campus climate by establishing a mechanism by which it responds to bias incidents."
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • MCLA has partnered and collaborated with many other institutes entities, such as the North Adams Artist Impact Coalition and MASS MoCA, in order to promote anti-racism through events and programming.
Program and Research Funding
  • It was announced on May 13, 2021 that "MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support the MCLA Institute for the Dismantling of Racism."
  • On December 13, 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave a grant of $360,000 in order to create the MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities in order "to support a public humanities initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through community engagement, experiential learning opportunities, and a summer institute."
  • The Artist Lab Residency at MCLA is "dedicated to supporting the creation, exhibition, criticism, and documentation of work by historically underrepresented artists."
  • The Freel Library offers numerous anti-racism resources.
  • MCLA created a Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • MCLA Athletics has created the role of an Athletics DEI Coordinator who serves as the NCAA Diversity and Inclusion designee. MCLA Athletics has also created a Trailblazer DEI Working Group.
  • In 2020, MCLA announced that the "First Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference" would take place. On June 11-14, this event was held and brought in numerous keynote speakers.
  • MCLA Professor Dr. Hannah Haynes contributed a chapter to a book titled "White Supremacy and the American Media" (Nov. 2022), and "continues to research and publish work as an expert in critical race studies."
  • Introduction to Cross-Cultural & Social Justice Studies is an Interdisciplinary Studies Course and "[c]onsiders social justice and (in)equality by studying themes such as racism; classism; migration; globalization and labor rights; human trafficking; Islamophobia; and environmental justice."
  • MCLA offers a course titled "Sex and Violence" which "engage[s] in readings in the general areas of psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, and critical race theory...."
  • As part of its "Diversity Statement," MCLA states that it "critically addresses dynamics of inequality, exposing ways in which privilege and oppression are produced and maintained over time in society."
  • MCLA's Diversity Task Force facilitates the "Campus Conversations on Race" program which is "an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to come together to talk about race."
  • The Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is "deeply concerned with radical inclusion and will allow all community members the ability to have their voice heard as well as get involved with equity work." Additionally, the Committee "[e]valuate[s] existing policies, programs, and organizational structures that promote diversity and inclusion and recommend[s] additional policies, programming and institutional changes...."
  • As part of the English Department's "Anti-Racist Commitments," the Department "commit[s] to offering a high percentage of readings by BIPOC and gender diverse authors" which would "amplify the voices of the oppressed, while also encouraging a relational and intersectional understanding of how BIPOC, gender diverse people, and white people navigate—and thus interpret—the world differently because of existing power relationships."
  • MCLA provides a list of anti-racist resources which includes the books "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo and "How to be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi.
Symbolic Actions
  • The Freel Library released a Statement and Commitment to Anti-Racism on June 9, 2020, stating, "Freel Library believes unequivocally that Black lives matter. We add our voices to those condemning the continued shooting and killing of Black individuals by police and mourning the lives shattered and lost: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, David McAtee, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and too many others."
  • The Freel Library committed to "using our role as selectors and disseminators of information, literature, and scholarship to amplify BIPOC voices" on June, 9 2020.
  • The MCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors released a BLM Board Statement saying that the association will "acknowledge and actively work against the structural inequalities that are ingrained in the fabric of our society."
  • MCLA holds an Annual Day of Dialogue, and the 2020 theme was "Creating Change Through Community: Action and Organizing" on October 21. The Day of Dialogue constitutes "a campus-wide day of workshops and discussions that focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion."
  • As part of its "Anti-Racist Commitments," the English Department issued the following statement: "As a department, we recognize that faculty and students of color have long navigated a racist system built upon and maintained by rhetorical and physical violence against their populations and upheld today by white silence. Discussing race and our country’s racist legacy has long been a matter of survival for some citizens, and a voluntary choice for others. To ensure transformative justice, white folks can no longer choose to ignore how we/they are implicated in the oppression and silencing of our/their fellow community members."
Last updated November 21st, 2023
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