Sarah Lawrence Becomes Inaugural Member of Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

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Sarah Lawrence is proud to announce that this past November it became an inaugural member of LACRELA, the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, hosted by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.

Joining peer institutions across the country, this alliance of more than 60 colleges will advance important work regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism and serve as an opportunity for collaboration supporting institutions as they address and respond to the urgent racial matters the country currently faces, not only on their campuses, but in the communities in which they are located. 

“Our country is in the midst of a long-overdue racial reckoning and the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the disparities in our society,” said Sarah Lawrence College president Cristle Collins Judd. “Sarah Lawrence’s curriculum is rooted in the transformational power of education. We know that deep exploration and critical pursuit of knowledge can empower students to connect their passions and use their skills to benefit society. But we also must acknowledge that higher education has, throughout history, contributed to perpetuating the very disparities our students study. This Alliance provides an opportunity for the College to work in partnership with its peers, to utilize our collective knowledge and expertise, and to continue to confront our pasts and move forward, together, with real and meaningful action on our campuses and in our communities.”

Racial Equity eConvening Series and Equity Resource Portal
Beginning in January 2021, the USC Center will host 12 eConvenings, each on a particular aspect of racial equity. These professional development experiences will be facilitated by leaders of national higher education associations, faculty whose scholarship focuses on race relations and people of color, chief diversity officers and other experienced administrators, and specialists from the Center. Sessions will be grounded in topical research and centered around strategies and practical approaches that individuals and institutions can use to develop equitable leadership and organizational strategies. 

The Center is also developing an online database of resources and tools for Alliance member colleges. Employees at Alliance member colleges will have access to the virtual resource portal, which will include case studies, equity-related rubrics, readings, and other important research and information.

Campus Climate Surveys
The Center is developing workplace climate surveys for Alliance member colleges: one for staff, another for faculty, and a third for students, based on guidelines from the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC). This will allow the College to build on the foundation of the Sarah Lawrence campus climate survey conducted in February 2020.

These surveys will focus on topics like perceptions of equitable opportunities for promotion and advancement; mattering and sense of belonging; how different groups differently experience the workplace environment; employees’ encounters with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other -isms at work; employee satisfaction with the College’s responses to reports of abuse, unfair treatment, and climate problems; and appraisals of the institution’s commitment to equity.

Alliance member colleges will implement these campus climate surveys on a three-year rotational basis: the student survey in year one, the faculty survey in year two, and the staff survey in the third year.

Presidential Leadership
The Alliance will connect with every part of member institutions. Presidents of Alliance member colleges will meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice, and identify ways to leverage the Alliance for collective impact on racial equity in higher education. In addition, presidents will occasionally come together to respond to urgent racial issues confronting the nation.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.