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Yolanda Caldwell, chief diversity officer and director of the Women’s Leadership Institute and BOLD Women’s Leadership Network sent the following message to the campus community today (November 20):

Good afternoon,

Last Friday, we had the final biweekly Campus Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion for the fall semester. I want to thank everyone for their engagement and passion as we work to build our capacity for inclusive excellence. As has been said many times, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We are cautious and purposeful as we approach this work with integrity.

Of course, our work is not done. We have made great strides this semester including revising our bias reporting policy, the system for investigating complaints, and the vehicle for making reports to create a process that is more accessible and equitable. Our focus for the spring semester is on moving through the lists of priorities generated by our College community to prioritize and address them.

We are grateful to the volunteers who have stepped forward and the many areas of campus that have made diversity and inclusion a topic of focus within their own circles. Looking ahead, please note that Ashton Darrett, associate director of academic advising, will convene a group of faculty, staff, and administrators of color for a virtual lunch and learn. Contact Ashton directly at to sign up.

Our Bias Response Team, which is now our mechanism for investigating bias reports, has begun meeting. The team has received training and will continue to be trained throughout their tenure, and they are currently reviewing complaints received to date. We are still recruiting Bias Response Team members so we are reflective and representative of all voices on campus. Once the team is complete, its members will be announced for full transparency.

Dr. Galen Gomes, our new director of diversity and inclusion, also joined us for Friday’s conversation. Dr. Gomes most recently served as senior staff associate for EOC operations for the State University of New York System. He holds his Ed.D. in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College, his master’s in curriculum and instruction from Boston College, and his B.A. in English and African American studies from the University at Albany. We are thrilled to welcome him to our campus, and we know he will soon be a familiar face to students and employees at the College.

We have much to look forward to in the spring semester, including our celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in February and future Campus Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion to track and share our progress.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving and a strong finish to the fall semester.

Kind regards,