Charge for the Steering Committee on A Racial History of Amherst College

In the Amherst Anti-Racism Plan, released on 3 August 2020, President Martin noted the need for a historical study of the College’s ties to slaveholding and to capital accumulation based on slavery. In addition, she called for a racial history of the college extending into present times. To coordinate and disseminate research on the college’s racial past, President Martin has formed a Steering Committee on the Racial History of Amherst College.

The primary functions of the Steering Committee will be:

  • To identify and support specific research projects into college and local history with particular focus on any links between the college and the slave trade;
  • To serve as a hub for cross-divisional coordination for research efforts underway across campus;
  • To identify and coordinate appropriate venues for the dissemination of research findings on the college’s racial past;
  • To facilitate connections among faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and other interested stakeholders within and beyond the college around Amherst’s racial history;
  • To provide information and support for faculty interested in integrating college and local history into their courses; and
  • To initiate public programming and support and coordinate programs initiated by others to foster opportunities for dialogue on the college’s racial history.

The Steering Committee will be co-chaired by Catherine Epstein, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and Mike Kelly, Head of the Archives and Special Collections. The committee will include two faculty members, two students, and one representative from each of the following administrative offices: Advancement; the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the Office of Student Affairs. The committee will also include an external expert. It will be staffed by the Director of Academic Projects. The committee will meet at least twice each semester to carry out its charge.