The goal of a liberal arts education is to fight prejudice and ignorance with knowledge and understanding, changing the world for the better. At this pivotal moment in the nation’s history, we have an opportunity to join together to fight systemic racism, racist prejudices, and discrimination.

At Amherst, we are committed to taking action. Enacting real and lasting change, however, takes the ongoing efforts of the entire community. Spontaneous statements of anti-racism support that have appeared on many academic departments’ websites are an indication of the widespread support that is necessary to make our Amherst community truly equitable and inclusive.

painted portrait of Gerald Penny, a young Black man, with a vibrant background

Honoring Gerald Penny

In Amherst’s history, there is no more poignant story than that of Gerald Gilbert Penny, who tragically died in 1973. Join us for a Ceremony of Remembrance on September 12, 2023, and learn more about this accomplished young man. 

Amherst College seal

The Anti-Racism Action Plan

See the Anti-Racism Action Plan, including all updates. 

historical illustration of campus buildings in the 1800s

A Racial History of Amherst College

Created in response to item #1 of the Anti-Racism Action Plan and led by College archivist Mike Kelly, this Amherst website contains research, resources, and blog posts about the racial history of the College.

Presidential Scholars

Saidiya Hartman

Distinguished Voices in Anti-Racist Scholarship

Established in response to item #9 of the Anti-Racism Action Plan, the Presidential Scholars Program brings distinguished voices in anti-racist scholarship and policy to Amherst for short-term residencies. Each Scholar delivers a lecture, holds seminars, and visits classes.

Presidential Scholars
Sheree Ohen

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

May 25, 2023—President Michael Elliott announced that Sheree M. Ohen will be joining the college as our new Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

Portraits of speakers in the provosts series

2020 Provost Lecture Series: The History of Anti-Black Racism in America

In response to item #9 of the Anti-Racism Action Plan, the Provost invited four of the nation’s foremost scholars of African American history to discuss key issues of the legal and political history of anti-Black racism in America. 

screenshot of letter

Alumni Letter on Racism, Truth, and Responsibility

Read the letter written by Chaka Laguerre ’08 and signed by over 350 alumni, sent on June 10, 2020 to President Biddy Martin and Provost and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein.