Amherst has a rich history of reaching out to include 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 to both distinction and inclusion have brought Amherst many extraordinarily talented students and scholars who have enriched the campus, our country and the world.
To continue this legacy and to extend it into the future, Amherst will continue to create an environment that appreciates and values the unique backgrounds, skills and experiences of its students, faculty and staff. As the people who comprise the college community continually change, the environment that the college strives to create rests on a foundation of three values: Respect, Inclusion and Equity.
Respect is embodied in many behaviors. Respect begins with mutual understanding, knowing how others wish to be treated. It is thoughtful consideration of others that starts with awareness and leads to an acceptance and valuing of differences. Respect is a mutual regard that honors the values, ideals, beliefs and needs of each person.
Inclusion is also a way of behaving. Inclusion seeks to enable a wider and broader range of people to join in the work of the College. It allows individuals to fully contribute their energies, talents, ideas and passion. Inclusion implies joining together in a positive manner to co-create our work environment.
Equity is a belief that opportunities should be open and accessible to all. Equity assumes that each individual will be provided an equal chance to succeed, to advance, and to be treated as others are treated. It also acknowledges that talented people and groups may have experienced prejudice and disadvantages in the past, and the College will proactively work to address these injustices.
Amherst supports diversity for the simplest, and most urgent, of reasons: because the best and the brightest people are found in many places, not few; because our classrooms, residence halls and offices are places of dialogue, not monologue; because teaching, learning and working at their best involve 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 community, our nation, our world. We do so in the faith that our humanity is forged from differences, and that our differences deepen our knowledge and strengthen community.