Cornell’s response to 2016 incidents

When the Cornell community experienced racially discriminatory incidents in Block 8 of 2016, the college’s immediate responses were followed by a 19-point action plan to address policies, communication, safety, faculty and staff development, diversity education, and community-building programming related to diversity and inclusion.

Progress has been made, and the work is ongoing. Examples from the action plan include:

  • A statement on diversity and inclusion was written and approved by students, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees
  • A statement on freedom of expression and civil discourse was written and approved by students, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees (see
  • An annual diversity and inclusion workshop for all employees was launched in August 2016.
  • Faculty recruitment processes were adjusted and the college utilized an Associated Colleges of the Midwest Faculty Fellows grant to place an emphasis on attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds.
  • Two all-campus assemblies and two convocations were held in 2016-17 to bring the campus together to explore and celebrate community.
  • The Breaking Bread Series featured multiple activities for students, faculty, and staff to gather around food, and with people different than those they interact with daily.
  • A Sustained Dialogue program was re-established as a system to transform identity-based conflict into productive conversation and learning. Two student organizations, the Black Awareness Cultural Organization (BACO) and Third Wave Resource Group (TWRG) utilized Sustained Dialogue to partner in programs with talkbacks and dialogues.

WEB EXTRA: View the diversity action plan.