Siena strives to embody the vision and values of St. Francis of Assisi, including his commitment to building a more just, peaceful, and humane world. We must recommit to strengthening the bonds of racial justice to fulfill that mission and ensure people of color in our community feel safe, accepted, appreciated and affirmed. This effort starts with education and conversation. It requires action.
After several listening sessions and town halls with students, faculty and staff, President Gibson identified several areas of focus in his first year in office to make meaningful.
- Siena proudly welcomed its most diverse class in history this year. We must strengthen this commitment to ensure our community reaches its full potential.
- Three working groups were formed focusing on the following areas: recruitment, newly enrolled students, and retention.
- A faculty committee has been organized with the intention of examining hiring protocols at the College. Systemic changes are needed and particular steps, such as proposing guidelines and changes to institutional policy and practice are among the issues being reviewed at the committee level.
Education and Training
- An interactive Equity Summit was hosted on campus in August for First Year Seminar faculty and efforts are underway to expand educational programming throughout the community.
- On January 21, the College held a Staff Day of Practice titled, Reflecting on our Values and Identities to Lead Boldly for Racial Justice, for the 150 staff and administrators who participated in the 3-hour diversity and identity training facilitated by Matt Grimes ’12. The Council of Administrators organized this event.
Curriculum Development and Reform
- The College’s first Provost and Senior Vice President Margaret Madden, Ph.D. is working with faculty to develop a criminal justice major that meets market demand and reflects Siena’s mission and values. This is well under way with approximately 20 faculty members working since the summer to close in on advancing a proposal. The major will consist of three separate but related tracks all pinned to specific career opportunities.
- Additionally, grants have been awarded to various academic departments to help diversify curriculum.
- The Damietta Cross-Cultural Center has received new funding to expand programming and activities. They are currently conducting a book club with the title, “When They Call You a Terrorist.” Ten year anniversary tee shirts are being created to mark this important milestone for the Damietta Center. Larger presentations with events, speakers and some collaboration with The Women’s Center are among future plans.
- The Spirit of ’68 endowment committee has adopted the Strengthening the Bonds of Racial Justice theme for this year’s programming, which included an October panel discussion with Capital Region community activists about race and social justice. Learn and register for the the spring event, Redefining Inclusivity: How COVID-19 Spotlights Injustice.
- The Athletic Department has formed E.D.I.T. (Education, Diversity, Inclusion, and Togetherness) – a movement focused on engaging in healthy conversation to create awareness and meaningful change through social justice initiatives. Men’s Basketball Coach Carmen Maciariello ’01 has organized a nationwide effort entitled Coaches for Change to engage, educate, and empower college student athletes on issues of social injustice.
- President Gibson signed Siena onto the All-In Campus Democracy Challenge on his first official day in office. The community responded this fall with Siena Votes – a comprehensive grassroots effort that got out the vote on campus.