Northampton Community College is an institution where diversity is welcomed.
A letter signed by about 500 faculty and staff members was emailed in February to students reflecting the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“As you can see if you poke your head in any classroom on campus, we are an institution that values diversity and thrives because of it,” English professor Cara McClintock-Walsh said in an email. “I feel this letter represents what is best about community colleges, and NCC in particular.”
The letter, written by McClintock-Walsh and professors Eileen Brumitt, Gina A. Turner, Kelly Allen and Precie A. Schroyer, comes during a difficult time in the country with issues like deportation and a travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.
“For many of us, this was a statement about values, not politics,” McClintock-Walsh said.
The letter said: “We wanted NCC students to know that we are here to support them, all of them, as they strive to succeed.”
The letter expresses the belief of its signees that students should be able to express themselves in a multitude of ways through the college’s educational programs, policies, campus life, employment and extracurricular activities.
“NCC serves a vast community of students, and there has been a great deal of upheaval in society recently” the letter said.” So it’s important for all of our students to know that we are here for them.”
The letter affirms that NCC will promote a space where civility and inclusion is offered for all students, faculty and staff, and that it will continue to be a place where intellectual freedom is defended.
The impact of the letter remains to be seen, but those who drafted the letter have hopes about what’s to come.
“We hope that we collectively learn what it means to listen, to act, to pause and to be persistent for others,” they said. “We hope this letter gives students reassurance and helps to strengthen our NCC community.”
The letter also said: “We hope students take three things from this letter. One that every student matters and has a place here at NCC. Two, that we encourage critical thinking and open, honest discussion from multiple perspectives, but lastly that treating each other respectfully, even when we disagree, is an absolute necessity. We hope students see this letter as positive and encouraging.”