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According to Occidental's Mission Statement: The Mission of Occidental College is to provide a gifted and diverse group of students with a total educational experience of the highest quality--one that prepares them for leadership in an increasingly complex, interdependent and pluralistic world.

The distinctive interdisciplinary and multicultural focus of the College's academic program seeks to foster both the fulfillment of individual aspirations and a deeply rooted commitment to the public good.

As a small liberal arts College, Occidental's approach includes the idea of "community" in a way that differs from larger institutions. Occidental prides itself on promoting diversity through its pluralistic community, which is dedicated to addressing the complexity of multicultural issues. Despite these intentions, it is important to continue to provide attention to college's mission to build diversity- so as not to undermine these goals through neglect. The goal of this archive is to critically examine the transformation of equity and diversity at Occidental College by employing a historical approach.

This project was started by a small group of socially conscious students and faculty under the direction of Professor Donna Kay Maeda. During the Spring of 2014, Maeda’s community-based learning course titled, “Culture and Community,” reflected critically upon issues at Occidental within the larger framework of diversity in higher education. Here, students assumed the role of “activist archivists,” as they documented the history of diversity at Occidental in order to better evaluate its presence today.

By providing a publicly accessible archive, we hope to provide others with a centralized space for discussion on diversity and equity at Occidental.

 

Acknowledgements

The CTSJ 320:  Culture and Community class would like to thank the following individuals, without whom this project would not have been possible:

Donna Kay Maeda, Professor of Critical Theory and Social Justice

Anne Mar, Assistant College Archivist and Metadata Specialist

Dale Ann Stieber, Special Collections Librarian and College Archivist

Sue Tyson, Mellon Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow

The class also thanks all of the interviewees for their time and for sharing their thoughts about their experiences at Occidental.