In the summer of 2020, the Cornell in Washington (CIW) team came together to read Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to Be an Anti-Racist,” which prompted conversation about transforming the current culture, policies, and procedures in order to create a more equitable and inclusive place for students, staff, and faculty to live, learn, and thrive at CIW. Over the past 9 months, the CIW team has been working on creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan. The first draft of this plan is currently available below, along with a progress tracker, in PDF form. We are working with the School of Continuing Education to have an updated page that will be dedicated to the DEI Strategic Plan.

The Fall 2020 semester reminded us why working to be anti-racist was an enormously important effort, one that has to be done on a continuing basis. During the fall, some of our Asian-American students experienced a loss of identity through incidents of implicit bias where their names were forgotten and their identities were attributed to other Asian-American students in the program. They have written about their experiences in this Cornell Daily Sun article. Cornell in Washington’s goal has always been to treat our students with respect and, more, to make them feel respected as people and individuals, and our failure in these instances is deeply regretted by the entire program. We have apologized to the students and put in safeguards with the aim of protecting against similar incidents in the future. They have also been kind enough to work with us on the DEI strategic plan and give enormously valued input, and we appreciate their bravery and effort in doing so.


The Cornell in Washington DEI Strategic Plan includes a statement of our overall vision and strategic goals (Part I) and eleven Action Areas, each with several Action Items (Part II). Each Action Area specifies its strategic objective, person primarily responsible (often in collaboration with other staff), measures of success, anticipated actions and how each Action Area contributes to the 3 overall DEI goals and the 4 CIW domains. Appendix 1 provides a brief description of the CIW Program, for those not familiar with the program. The second PDF is a progress tracker with entries for each of the eleven Action Areas and each of the corresponding Action Items.

This plan will remain a work in progress during 2021 as we gather input from a range of CIW stakeholders, as the new CIW Director is identified and as CIW transitions into the School of Public Policy. We welcome any and all feedback on the DEI Strategic Plan, by emailing cwash@cornell.edu. That said, work has already begun on some of the Action Items as indicated in the Progress Tracker.

If there are any issues with the accessibility of the PDFs, please contact cwash@cornell.edu and we can provide you with a Word and Excel version of each document until our DEI page is updated.

Sincerely,

Cornell in Washington Core Faculty and Staff