Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is central to the College's commitment to developing a comprehensive infrastructure for the advancement of inclusion, equity, and pluralism at Bennington.

"The College affirms the intersecting identities of all its community members—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—and recognizes their contributions to the vitality of our unique living and learning environment. The College’s approach to pluralism and inclusivity—both as fields of inquiry and practice—is to prioritize flexible thought, and to invite the examination of access, value, and power through its institutional policies and areas of study."

- Bennington College's Vision Statement for Institutional Pluralism and Inclusion

Mission Statement 

The Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (ODEI) warmly and intentionally embraces collective and collaborative approaches that nurture a just, equitable, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating educational atmosphere, along with fostering a culture of critical and compassionate campus engagement rooted in antiracism and social justice.

In pursuit of this mission, ODEI concentrates on four key areas of involvement:

    •    Fostering a sense of belongingness and community
    •    Connecting theory and practice
    •    Ensuring inclusive recruitment and retention
    •    Advocating for systemic and progressive change

Land Acknowledgment 

Bennington College sits on land which has served as a site of meeting and exchange among indigenous peoples since time immemorial. The Western Abenaki and Mohican people are the traditional caretakers of these Vermont lands and waters, which they call Ndakinna, or “homeland.” We remember their connection to this region and the hardships they continue to endure. We give thanks for the opportunity to share in the bounty of this place and to protect it.

Diversity at Bennington

Diversity is a natural condition of the modern world, and something that we celebrate at Bennington. And, not coincidentally, it is a foundational part of a Bennington education and our community.
(Data below from January, 2023) 

Total undergraduates: 785

  • 63% Female
  • 23% U.S. students of color
  • 15% International
  • 50 countries represented (including the US)
  • 95% from out of state (among domestic students)
  • Top 5 states represented: NY, MA, CA, VT, TX

Office Hours

Open Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm
 
 

Location

Barn 101 & EAC-West

Contact

Email Melissa Smith for Appointment

What We're Reading and Thinking About

An array of readings, videos, and podcasts; ranging from identity development, to Whiteness Studies, and more. Search the resources available in this collection and the variety of places on campus where you can find them.

Bias Incident Reporting Form

If you witness or feel that you are the target of a bias-related act, you may report the incident using this form and your bennington.edu email address. Note: This reporting form is not a 911 or Emergency Service. Do not use this form to report immediate security threats. If this is an emergency, please contact Bennington Campus Safety.

Anti-Racism at Bennington

We underscore the importance of a specifically anti-racist vision for Bennington.

Resources

U.S. Department of Education Reminds Schools of Their Legal Obligation to Address Discrimination, Including Harassment (Press Release)

Combating Antisemitism

On Anti-Arab Bias and Combating Islamophobia 

Our Team

Alfredo Medina, Jr., Ph.D.
Alfredo Medina, Jr.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and College Diversity Officer
Barn 101

bio

call alfredomedina@bennington.edu call 802-440-4300
Rojay Bryan headshot
Rojay R. Bryan '22
Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
EAC-West

bio

Rojay's Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm

call rojaybryan@bennington.edu
Rage Hezekiah headshot
Rage Hezekiah
Chair of Tapestry
Barn 106

bio

call ragehezekiah@bennington.edu
Isabel Harper
Isabel Harper
ODEI Student Intern
EAC-West

Isabel Harper a 7th term student studying political science and environmental studies, with secondary focuses in Spanish and migration studies. Her senior work discusses climate reparations and climate change induced migration. Her coursework and career experiences with environmental advocacy groups over the last three years have been informed by theories of justice and social inequity. She looks forward to another term of supporting students in the DEI office!  

Office Hours: Monday & Thursday, 12:30-2:30pm

Taha Ahmar Qadeer
Taha Ahmar Qadeer
ODEI Student Intern
EAC-West

Taha Ahmar Qadeer (he/him) is an international student from Lahore, Pakistan. Taha's Plan focuses on identity development, specifically diasporic and post-colonial studies in Psychology, along with English Literature. Taha is a Junior and has been an assistant in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) since his sophomore year. Taha's passion project includes promoting community-oriented events at Bennington. Beyond Bennington, Taha is a writer and editor for r0ver magazine.

Office Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday, 12-2pm

Melissa Smith
Melissa Smith
Senior Assistant
Remote
call melissasmith@bennington.edu