Diversity at Williams

“Through the increasingly global reach of our curriculum, as well as the diversity of our campus community, we seek to develop in students, staff, and faculty, the capacity to see beyond the limits of their own experience. So many of the world’s problems—from racism to sectarian and nationalistic violence to everyday forms of disrespect—stem from a failure to imagine our way into the lives of other people, a failure to understand the beliefs and contingencies that shape their lives, a failure to hear the stories that other people are trying to tell us.”  – The Williams College Mission Statement, approved in June 2017.

Williams is committed to building and sustaining a community of students, staff, and faculty that is broadly diverse and respectful of all social identities. Diversity refers to all the many ways in which people differ, encompassing the characteristics that make one individual or group different from another, including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, and military/veteran status. We believe it is important to understand how aspects of a person’s identities impact their lived experiences.

A diverse Williams will contribute positively to educating, engaging, and supporting all members of our community so that they are poised to thrive as citizens of an increasingly global, interconnected, and ever-changing world.  We consider diversity through a lens of intersectionality; in doing so, we acknowledge that different aspects of an individual’s identity connect in ways that impact their lived experience.  We pay special attention to the experiences of underserved and underrepresented groups in our community and to the dynamics of social power.

Diversity is central to Williams’s mission and it furthers important goals:

  • It enhances the life-long learning of all members of our community, both inside and outside of the classroom, by bringing in a range of perspectives and experiences.
  • It deepens our understanding and expands our knowledge of a growingly complex world.
  • It builds cultural intelligence and prepares all members of our community for global citizenship.
  • It challenges and encourages critical thinking about systems and structures of oppression.
  • It fosters equity and inclusion; cooperation and collaboration; empathy and compassion.
  • It broadens our contributions to the communities around us.
  • It adds multiple perspectives to help us to achieve excellence in research, learning, teaching, and service.
  • It increases student retention and persistence, by creating inclusive and supporting learning and living environments for those of all identities.