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Naropa University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80302
(800) 772-6951
Email address
School Information
"Trained as a Buddhist scholar and educated at Oxford University, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche wanted to create a place where students could study Eastern and Western religions, writing, psychology, science, and the arts while also receiving contemplative and meditation training. He modeled Naropa after Nalanda University, a Buddhist university that flourished in India from the sixth to the 12th centuries, attracting scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and religious traditions. 'Naropa,' was a Buddhist scholar and saint at Nalanda University, who, according to legend embarked on a spiritual journey to find the meaning behind the texts he studied. Like the famous saint, Naropa University was established to help students—through meditation and contemplative practice—find the deeper meaning in their academic disciplines and artistic work" (Source: The undergraduate enrollment is over 400, and the graduate enrollment is over 500. The student to faculty ratio is 8 to 1 and the university offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.
General Information
Following the death of George Floyd, Naropa University has sought to incorporate programming and provide resources related to anti-racism. The university also offers numerous courses discussing diversity and bias. No mandatory Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • On June 29, 2023, Naropa's President issued a statement on the Supreme Court's affirmative action decision which reads in part as follows: "The ability to use tools labeled as 'affirmative action' to achieve diversity in a college’s student body has, for decades, been among the most important ways to address centuries of institutional racism which have left non-white students at the gate. While there are still ways to consider other 'proxies' such as economic need to offer opportunities to Black, Native American, and Latinx applicants, the stark truth is that the Court has determined that the 400 years of historical oppression of those communities in the US is insufficiently violent so as to require that some level of reparation be allowed – in this case, a direct pathway to higher education."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • As part of its "Mission, Culture & Inclusive Community" initiative, Naropa provides JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) training to its employees.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • Naropa students are required to take courses in "Social Justice & Antiracism" as part of the university's 24-credit core curriculum requirements. The courses "address issues of power, privilege, oppression, and collective liberation."
Program and Research Funding
  • The university also hosts the Center for Culture, Identity and Social Justice which was created in 2015. This center provides resources and is "designated for anti-oppression oriented activities and critical consciousness-raising."
  • Naropa University has an Office for Inclusive Community. The callings of this office are three fold. The first is "to build a radically inclusive community in which each member feels vital and celebrated." The second is "To continuously awaken to the oppressive ideologies which perpetuate inequitable patterns, systems and practices." The third is "to actively, consciously and strategically heal the legacy of ongoing colonization in all of its forms."
  • Naropa University hosts many community support groups geared for anti-racist dialogue.
  • Naropa provides resources denoted the Path to Collective Liberation. The university states, "These guidelines turn the Four-I’s of Oppression (Internalized, Interpersonal, Institutional, Ideological) into a path to collective liberation."
  • In order to "begin to work toward understanding and acknowledging the dynamics of privilege, bias and oppression," Naropa provides "learning modules" on microaggression, oppression, privilege, and racism.
  • As part of its "Mission, Culture & Inclusive Community" initiative, Naropa states that the "resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and its widespread impact, necessitates that we whole-heartedly engage with institutional transformation to become more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive (JEDI)." The university goes on to list its initiatives and programs that would accomplish this transformation. 
  • As part of its "Mission, Culture & Inclusive Community" initiative, Naropa states that it would "[d]evelop and maintain an inclusively excellent and engaged co-curricular student experience" and that "[i]nclusivity requires that we continuously awaken, and work to dismantle, the ideologies, patterns, systems and practices that perpetuate oppression while working to fuse forces of collective liberation."
  • In January/February of 2023, in response to "recent legislation that restricts discussions of institutionalized racism and inequity in educational settings," Naropa offered a course titled "Sacred Activism: Social Justice as Spiritual Practice" free of a charge to "affected educators." This course is described as follows: "Created and guided by author, sacred activist and Naropa professor Dr. Jennifer Bacon, you’ll explore the intersection of contemplative practice and social justice. Together you will learn how an action-oriented, spirituality-infused approach to anti-racism can foster compassion and radically transform anger. You’ll also investigate the significance of systemic racism, privilege, and rage, and the impact these oppressive structures have on race, collective consciousness, and the modern social justice movement."
Symbolic Actions
  • The university states that "Diversity and radical inclusivity are central to Naropa's mission."
  • President Chuck Lief released a statement following the death of George Floyd. He stated, "One problem with the notion that we are dealing with deeply embedded “institutional racism” is that such a view invites an “institutional” response. Such responses are so often overly conceptual, too polite and not radical in form or action; and they are based on the pretense that we have the luxury of time."
  • As part of its "Commitment to Diversity," Naropa states that it "believes that inequalities must be acknowledged at Naropa and in the larger world beyond the University."
Last updated December 13th, 2023
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