Diversity and civility are essential to the quality of education at Sweet Briar and they are therefore central values to the College community.
Each of us enters a world limited by very specific circumstances. Education expands those limits. We learn the languages of other nations, explore historical periods we don’t live in, study philosophies based on assumptions we never imagined, contemplate arts that baffle us. We learn that life looks different through a microscope and the sky looks different through a telescope. Education, when it’s good, shows us a bigger and more diverse world than our own personal experience could ever allow us to know. Human diversity as lived experience is therefore an essential component of a first-rate education.
Civility comes into it because the essence of education is the open sharing of information, perspective, analysis and interpretation. It is simply impossible for such open discourse to occur in an environment contaminated by personal invective, racism, bullying, harassment, or prejudice.
It is appropriate for contentious or “politically incorrect” thoughts to be expressed. And it is essential for educated people to disagree vigorously with those whose views we believe are mistaken, to stand up proudly for what they care about, and to express their convictions with passion. But it is equally essential to do all that within the bounds of respect for persons and respect for evidence. (From Page 73 of our 2012-13 Student Handbook)
Engagement with diversity — both intellectual, academic engagement and engagement through lived experience — is fundamental to an education in the liberal arts. The respectful exchange of information, ideas and perspectives among people of diverse views is essential to intellectual discourse. It is simply impossible for such open discourse to occur in an environment contaminated by personal attack, racism, bullying, harassment, prejudice, or simple meanness.
Embracing diversity and instilling civility are therefore central to our College’s mission and its excellence. Sweet Briar students uphold their Honor Code by respecting and appreciating the differences that every individual brings to the College. The College understands racist, bullying, or harassing behavior to be a violation of the rights of others and therefore not consistent with the values of the Honor Code. The student body promotes cultural, religious, political and sexual orientation diversity through a variety of student-led organizations and clubs and international clubs.
Further, students, faculty and staff are held to an anti-discrimination and equal opportunity policy (2012-13 Student Handbook, p.71).
The College recognizes that there are many types of diversity. Our use of the term “diversity” is meant to include not only racial and ethnic diversity but also diversity of religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, sexual identity, physical ability, nation of origin, language spoken in the home and political conviction.
Highlights about some of the ways in which we encourage and support diversity at Sweet Briar College:
Common Ground: Peer Mentor Program/Network
Caring Sisters: Sweet Briar College Resource Program for Students
The peer mentoring relationship is designed to foster a network of support for new African-American students at SBC.
Upper class student mentors serve as peer support for new students (Mentees) and share program goals and responsibilities aimed at ensuring a positive transition and experience for students.
Upper class students and faculty/staff are closely involved in developing the maximum potential of these first year students.
Several staff members serve as volunteer resource persons for students to encourage, empower, support and engage students at the College. They respond to student questions, serve as sources of information about the College and community and act as referral resources on campus.
Eboni Preston, Head Lacrosse Coach/Asst.Facilities Director, Fitness and Athletic Center, ext. 6291
"I like that the community is so supportive and welcoming. It becomes a second home. I want to help students in any way that I can. I want to be a mentor, a supporter, a cheerleader, a contact person, an encourager. If I can do for others, I will."
Gloria Smith, Administrative Assistant, Co-Curricular Life, second floor-Prothro Hall, ext. 6134 or 6352
"I have worked for the College for 30 years (so does my brother, Jimmy [Rose] in the Post Office) and my late father worked here for 42 years! I love every aspect of my job,including meeting new and returning students and their families. I am here to listen. Please feel free to stop by my desk any time to chat or if you need assistance—nothing is too big or small to ask."
Masia Miller, Admissions Counselor, Admissions office—2nd floor (first office on the right) ext. 6720
"Sweet Briar is comprised of faculty and staff who value a strong sense of community and a high commitment to the individual growth and social development of its young women. I want to connect students to campus through encouraging resources and activities. Each student truly contributes to what makes the College diverse and beautiful. I look forward to assisting students in their journey at SBC!"
|Through our general education courses and classes specific to students’ majors, students are educated about aspects of human diversity in the context of their larger academic programs.|
The Faculty Diversity Committee regularly discusses the role of diversity in the academic program.
Recent readings for the campus Common Reading have highlighted important diversity issues.
Sweet Briar’s faculty is famous for its engaged and interactive teaching style, which emphasizes the importance of each student “finding her voice” and contributing her point of view, whatever it may be.
The College's International Studies Office contributes to Sweet Briar's diversity by:
Sweet Briar’s Tusculum Institute advances research on the history of African-Americans at Sweet Briar.
Sweet Briar provides an accepting environment for students, faculty and staff regardless of gender identity or status.
The College has had a domestic partner policy for employee benefits, including healthcare and tuition benefits, for many years. Partners of our employees — whether by marriage or by other commitment — may be listed in our printed directory.
GLOW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever), a student-organized club that embraces a variety of lifestyles, hosts a variety of events on campus to increase awareness and promote diversity. Coming Out Day is one way GLOW celebrates diversity.
The Chaplain's Office seeks to promote faith, values and spirituality on campus through weekly opportunities for worship, study and community service.
Any member of the Sweet Briar community who feels that he or she has been the subject of any form of discrimination should promptly report the incident to the following college officials:
• Student complaint: Dean of Co-Curricular Life, Cheryl Steele email@example.com
• Faculty complaint: Dean of the Faculty, Amy Jessen-Marshall firstname.lastname@example.org
• Staff complaint: Director of Human Resources, Carolyn Burton email@example.com