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Union College – New York

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
807 Union Street
Schenectady, New York 12308
(518) 388-6000
Email address
School Information
"Founded in 1795 as the first planned campus in the United States, Union College is a highly selective, private, residential, liberal arts college with engineering that is consistently ranked among the nation's top colleges. Set on 100 acres in downtown Schenectady, N.Y., including eight acres of formal gardens and woodland known as Jackson's Garden, Union is within easy reach of New York City, Boston and Montreal, rural areas and outdoor recreation." The college enrolls over 2,100 students, has over 200 faculty, and offers over 60 academic programs. (Source: (Source:
General Information
So far, Union College has been exploring its options in implementing some anti-racist ideas into its operations. The president of the college started the Presidential Initiative on Race, Power, and Privilege (multiple committees). The committees are exploring possible curricular changes, but have not yet implemented any changes. The college also has anti-racism resources. For instance, the Schaffer Library offers "Diversity, Equity, and, Inclusion Educational Resources," including those on "Structural Racism & Police Violence" and the New York Times' 1619 Project. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • The Committee on Athletics Inclusion at Union College “will identify and deconstruct barriers to equity and access, while seeking opportunities for growth and progress toward greater enrollment, inclusivity and success of underrepresented student-athletes and athletics staff.”
  • The English department has restructured its curriculum “to include and make visible the experiences of underrepresented students” by embedding the “lives and experiences that are explored in texts by BIPOC authors into the undergraduate study of literature.” The department has “developed a new, two-course sequence: a 100-level course, Confronting the Canon, and a BIPOC course requirement” that “together will ensure that students engage with critical race theory and BIOPOC-authored literary texts at multiple points in the time as English majors or minors.”
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • Union created an "Anti-Racism Fight Club" in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The group intends on teaching anti-racism to adults and children.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • Possible changes to curricula to support Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC).
  • Following the death of George Floyd, the Presidential Initiative on Race, Power and Privilege (RPP) was established at Union College. Among its objectives, the RPP committee will “develop curricular and co-curricular RPP requirements.”
  • As part of the major requirements for the Bachelor’s degree in English, all students are required to take “one course focused predominantly on literature by authors who are black, indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).”
Program and Research Funding
  • President David R. Harris was honored with the 2022 American Association of Colleges and Universities AACU-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship for “his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion” by reducing equity gaps, improving inclusion and promoting diversity through his many campus initiatives following the death of George Floyd.
  • On February 2, 2023, the school announced that there was a “renewed commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB)” through “securing $42 million in commitments to bring more Pell-eligible students to Union in perpetuity through the Schuler Education Foundation Access Initiative.”
  • The Schaffer Library offers "Diversity, Equity, and, Inclusion Educational Resources," including those on "Structural Racism & Police Violence" and the New York Times' 1619 Project.
  • The college has a website of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Resources for its faculty “to find the literature, webinars, and general resources for inclusive teaching and learning.”
  • On May 18, 2023, the school invited Doyin Richards, a well-known anti-racism expert and TEDx presenter, to host a lecture on “Real Talk About Racism and Mental Health in America.”
  • On February 1, 2023, it was announced that Victoria Alexander, an expert in “anti-racist pedagogy” and “critical consciousness building,” would be giving a talk at the school.
  • On January 18, 2023, the school announced that Jennifer Mitchell, the assistant dean for DEI, was named as the “NY6 Mellon Academic Leadership Fellow by the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium.”
  • In February of 2023, the school hosted a DEI event on “making collegiate hockey more inclusive” as well as “the challenges and opportunities facing hockey as it looks to increase its racial diversity.”
Symbolic Actions
  • The university's BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Employee Alliance will, "Engage with the campus community on issues related to BIPOC experiences and anti-racism."
  • As of April 2022, Andrew Burkett, associate professor of English, was a guest editor for the publication of volume 70 of the Keats-Shelley Journal. He co-authored the volume's foreword and co-edited the essay cluster, “Toward an Anti-Racist and Undisciplined Romanticism.” Burkett also co-edited with Yasmin Solomonescu the volume's Reviews section.
  • The college's "Presidential Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" intends to create "systemic and sustainable change." The Committee "assesses and implements diversity initiatives to help create an inclusive and equitable campus climate for all students, faculty and staff."
  • The Presidential Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Union College implements diversity initiatives towards “creating an inclusive and equitable campus community.”
  • As part of its diversity and inclusion efforts, the college established a Working Group on History and Symbols to examine how “campus spaces, symbols, and monuments influence and advance an inclusive learning environment.”
  • The school’s Career Center GarnetGrove platform “builds communities around DEI work and a network for regional stakeholders (local municipalities, chambers of commerce and businesses) to contribute to both student and alumni professional development while providing a pipeline of talent to local entreprises.”
  • The school set a goal to “pursue DEIB goals more effectively by clarifying the charges and memberships of DEIB committees across campus.”
  • The school committed that it will “ensure that all students have a sense of belonging critical to achieving their full potential at Union College.”
  • The school made a commitment that it will “increase the retention of students from marginalized backgrounds.”
  • On June 29, 2023, the school made a statement in response to the Supreme Court decision, stating, “What I can say now in full confidence, as I shared in my recent piece in the Chicago Tribune, is that Union’s commitment to cultivating a community where diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are treasured is unwavering. Indeed, we have much to gain by creating a community that is broadly diverse and welcoming in every sense of the word.” Furthermore, the school stated that the decision made by the Supreme Court was “disappointing.”
  • At the convocation of September 2023, the president stated that one of the three themes for the year is diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Last updated July 8th, 2024
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