Trustee's Statement on Diversity
To Members of the Amherst College Community:
Over many, many years, Amherst College has reached out to include in its midst talented persons of diverse races, nationalities, faiths and social backgrounds. Amherst's first African American student, Edward Jones, graduated in 1826. Joseph Hardy Neesima of the Class of 1870 was among the first citizens of Japan to graduate from an American college or university. The College's commitments both to distinction and to inclusion have brought to Amherst a long line of extraordinarily talented students and scholars who have enriched our campus, our country and the world.
Amherst is a community that draws its strength from the intelligence and experience of those who come here to learn, to teach, to work. We reaffirm our goal of fashioning the Amherst College community from the broadest and deepest possible range of talents that people of many different backgrounds can bring to us.
We reaffirm our commitment to equality of opportunity, and to affirmative action under the law as a means of achieving that goal. We will continue to give special importance to the inclusion within our student body, our faculty and our staff of talented persons from groups that have experienced prejudice and disadvantage. We do so for the simplest, but most urgent, of reasons: because the best and the brightest people are found in many places, not few; because our classrooms and residence halls are places of dialogue, not monologue; because teaching and learning at their best are conversations with persons other than ourselves about ideas other than our own.
We seek an Amherst made stronger because it includes those whose experiences can enrich our understanding of our nation and our world. We do so in the faith that our humanity is an identity forged from differences, and that our differences deepen our knowledge and strengthen our community.
The Board of Trustees
May 25, 1996