Liberal arts colleges band together on racial equity

Initiative aims to create inclusive climates across U.S. college campuses.
By: | November 17, 2020
The Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance will prepare campus staff to lead on social justice issues. (GettyImages/Aja Koska)The Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance will prepare campus staff to lead on social justice issues. (GettyImages/Aja Koska)

Preparing campus employees to lead on issues of racial justice and equity is the goal of a newly formed coalition of liberal arts colleges.

The Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, also known as ACRELA, was founded by DePauw University, Macalaster College, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Pomona College and Skidmore College.

More than 50 other schools have joined as inaugural members of the initiative that also aims to create more inclusive climates across U.S. college campuses.

“In the midst of a reawakened reckoning on racial justice issues and other historical and contemporary inequalities, there is no more important time for liberal arts colleges, with our emphasis on critical thinking, deep inquiry and shaping diverse leaders, to work and stand together to transform teaching, scholarship and student experiences,” said Lori S. White, who became president of DePauw in July.


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The USC Race and Equity Center, which will serve as a hub for the alliance, will host virtual gatherings throughout 2021, each focused on a particular aspect of racial equity.

Each institutions’ employees—including custodians, food service workers, faculty members and others—will have 24/7 access to online resources and tools, such as case studies, videos, and conversational scripts.

The Race and Equity Center will also conduct workplace climate surveys at participating institutions.

“LACRELA will help liberal arts institutions across the country benefit from self-examination, improvement, and collective examination of how we all can improve circumstances for people of color and make a difference in this world,” Oberlin President Carmen Twillie Ambar said.


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