Skip to content

Vanderbilt University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
2305 West End Ave
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
(615) 322-7311
School Information
"Founded in 1873 with a $1 million gift from 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt to establish an institution that would “contribute to strengthening the ties that should exist between all sections of our common country,” today Vanderbilt University is globally renowned for its transformative education and research. The university's 10 schools reside on a parklike campus set in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, providing a collaborative culture that empowers leaders of tomorrow." The university enrolls over 13,500 students, has a student-faculty ratio of 7:1, and has over 70 undergraduate majors. (Source: (Source: (Source:
General Information
Vanderbilt University has taken multiple steps towards "equity". One such step was symbolic in nature. The School of Nursing added an anti-racism language to its official diversity and inclusion position statement. No mandatory Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • On June 29, 2023, Vanderbilt's Chancellor issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on race-based admissions which reads in part as follows: "As a university leader, I am deeply disappointed by the court’s decision. We strongly believe that a university must be able to enroll the students that allow it to best serve its mission and deliver an outstanding educational experience for all. Diversity, broadly defined, is essential to dialogue, learning, innovation and growth for every member of our community. The court’s decision makes it more difficult for colleges and universities to create a dynamic campus community composed of people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The Center for Teaching (CFT) has created a suggested curriculum for other colleges to incorporate social justice issues and "difficult discussions" into their classrooms: "For most teachers, leading classroom discussion on difficult topics is a perennial challenge. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that we never fully know which issues will be 'hot buttons' for our students. Conversations can become heated very quickly, and before long, it can feel like the class is careening out of control. This guide seeks to help teachers feel more confident leading difficult dialogues by encouraging reflection on how such discussions connect with larger learning goals, and by providing specific strategies and resources that teachers can use to create more productive conversations in their classrooms."
  • "Vanderbilt is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and care where every community member feels supported and experiences a strong sense of belonging. As part of this commitment, university leaders are actively working to mitigate the effects of unconscious bias, along with implementing new educational opportunities for community members to meaningfully engage with this issue."
  • The Student Center for Social Justice and Identity “offers a variety of interactive training and workshop sessions to help Vanderbilt students, student groups, and student organizations unlearn and disrupt stereotypes and biases, and challenge inequity on campus and in their broader community.” Trainings include Microaggressions, unconscious bias, The Impact of Power and Privilege,Decolonization, and Ally and Accomplice.
  • Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development offers the "Dean's Diversity Lecture Series" and the "Conversations around equity and inclusion" program.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • As part of the Bachelor's degree requirements, all students in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to complete one course in the Perspectives category, which “gives significant attention to individual and cultural diversity.”
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • On February 2, 2022, Vanderbilt University professor, Gilman W. Whiting, called parents ``ignorant racists” for opposing Critical Race Theory by tweeting that “ignorant racist are worried about scarring their kids with CRT.” Whiting holds three positions at the university as Associate Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, the Director of the Scholar Identity Institute, and the Director of Graduate Studies for African American and Diaspora Studies.
Program and Research Funding
  • On June 21, 2023, Vanderbilt News announced that the university and Medical Center are "launching a $17 million multiyear transformative program with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the biomedical research community."
  • The Center for Teaching (CFT) has created a guide for developing and writing a diversity statement: What is a diversity statement, and what purpose does it serve? "Increasingly, institutions of higher education are becoming more intentional and programmatic about their efforts to embrace principles of inclusion, equity, justice, and diversity throughout campus life. As they do so, they are more focused on finding faculty who have experiences and competencies that can contribute to these efforts. Consequently, universities and colleges frequently are requesting that job applicants address how they can contribute to a culture of inclusion and equity within the campus community in the form of a 'diversity statement'.”
  • The Vanderbilt Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion promotes environments that are “affirming, welcoming, equitable, inclusive, and diverse.”
  • The Student Care Network at Vanderbilt University “recognizes that Black students are struggling with systemic racism in our society” and “continue to experience anguish and harm from conscious and subconscious bias.” They provide services and resources for social justice and anti-racism educational materials.
  • The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion offers a three-module workshop curriculum with modules in “Towards a Culture of Inclusion at Vanderbilt,” “Navigating Unconscious Bias,” and “Challenging Microaggressions.”
  • The Black Cultural Center hosts an initiative titled the "Vanderbilt Intentional Diversity Experience" which is "intended to create structured and informal opportunities for students at Vanderbilt University to engage in meaningful conversations and meaningful experiences with individuals outside of the typical demographics of their friendship circles."
  • Vanderbilt Libraries provide resources on the Black Lives Matter movement and state, "Librarians will continue to add resources and links to this page to help our Vanderbilt community learn about the Black Lives Matter movement and the interplays of race, class, and policing in the United States."
  • Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development states that it "envision[s] a campus where [s]ocial justice and equity are used as a primary lens for creating and evaluating institutional policies and procedures" and where "[e]quity, diversity, and inclusion principles are institutionalized through campus policies and procedures, and are considered germane to academic and social success."
  • Vanderbilt provides a list of anti-racism resources which includes "How to be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi and "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo."
Symbolic Actions
  • The School of Nursing added an anti-racism language to its official diversity and inclusion position statement.
  • On February 3, 2023, the school's newspaper "The Vanderbilt Hustler" published an article titled "'Deeply disturbing’: Vanderbilt community reacts to death of Tyre Nichols." Dean of students G.L. Black is quoted in the article as saying, "Our thoughts are with Tyre Nichols’ family and the people of Memphis at this incredibly trying time. “We understand that many of you may be struggling to process these events."
  • In Spring 2023, Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching will be hosting discussions on “anti-racist teaching with the goal of better understanding how higher education systems, teaching and learning practices, and our disciplines can resolve rather than reproduce racial marginalization and exclusion.” The focus will be “on the challenges and opportunities white anti-racist educators confront.”
  • At the Joint Mathematics Meetings on January 4, 2023, Vanderbilt University assistant professor of mathematics, Luis Leyva, described math education as being a “white, cisheteropatriarchal space.” The meeting, held in Boston, is one of the “largest mathematics gatherings in the world.”
  • In a commentary published in the journal Science, Vanderbilt University professor of diversity and STEM education Ebony Omotola McGee, “calls for the dominant culture in STEM fields to step up to provide remedies for dismantling racism in science.”
  • The university’s 2021-2022 Report for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion detailed EDI accomplishments including the “development of a Graduate and Professional EDI Council, special programming centered on education around racial equity; increased LGBTQIA+ demographic data collection in systems and surveys and a strategic plan for the division of EDI.”
  • The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion endeavors to "[d]ismantle systemic barriers for marginalized and underserved populations to thrive."
  • In collaboration with the Black Cultural Center, Vanderbilt holds a "Black Graduates’ Recognition Ceremony" which takes place on "Thursday evening before the official Commencement ceremony...."
Last updated July 10th, 2024
©2024 Critical Race Training in Education. All rights reserved.