Brown University now explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of caste, joining a number of US colleges and universities in shoring up protections against an ill-understood, insidious form of oppression.
The university’s governing body voted this fall to add caste as a protected characteristic to its nondiscrimination policy, alongside categories such as race, religion, sex and gender identity. It’s the first Ivy League institution to add such protections for the wider campus community, including students, faculty and staff, according to the advocacy organization Equality Labs.
“The previous policy would have protected people experiencing caste discrimination,” Sylvia Carey-Butler, the university’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity, said in a news release. “But we felt it was important to lift this up and explicitly express a position on caste equity.”