College News

Macaulay Honors College Awarded a CUNY Climate Grant to Confront Discrimination Within the Campus Community

The college’s eight consortial campuses collaborate to address racial and ethnic discrimination.

Macaulay Honors College has received an exciting grant allowing the college and its campus partners to develop a series of new initiatives aimed at confronting hate, discrimination, and racism. This programming strengthens the college’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Macaulay’s uniquely consortial structure, with dually-enrolled students across eight senior colleges, provides an opportunity to affect the climate and experience of thousands of students along with the faculty and staff who support them. To that end, Macaulay is leveraging the grant funding, generously provided by CUNY’s Office of Transformation, to simultaneously launch activities across the Macaulay programs at Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Baruch College, City College of New York, Hunter College, Queens College, John Jay College and the College of Staten Island. There, campus Honors Directors and Advisors have designed initiatives attuned to their individual campus climate. Macaulay will also host a number of activities open to students, faculty, and staff in the consortium at its 67th Street building in Manhattan.

“This grant allows us to develop robust programming to combat religious and ethnic discrimination, scale up our efforts to improve our cultural awareness, and authentically celebrate the various identities within the Macaulay community,” explained Dean Dara N. Byrne. “We’re grateful for the university’s support for this cross-campus and deeply collaborative effort.”

The campus offerings will raise awareness, foster cross-cultural competencies, fight racism and antisemitism and provide education for the entire Macaulay population through hands-on experiences, discussions, and field trips.

“The rollout of this new funding is particularly timely and important as it aims to specifically target the pressing needs of our students and staff,” said Sejung Yim, Macaulay’s Associate Director of Institutional Effectiveness. “Our recent DEI Climate Survey results revealed that while our students and staff expressed overall satisfaction about their Macaulay experience, there were systematic differences in the experience of students and staff across racial/ethnic groups.”

Aligned with the Macaulay’s strategic plan, the grant will help to address these systemic differences and equip us with the skills and tools to advance social and racial justice inside and outside our classrooms.

“We want to equip students and professional staff with collaborative skills so they can move forward as a community after something harmful occurs,” added Gianina Chrisman of Macaulay’s DEI Advisory Group. “Broader Title IX or DEI policies often don’t help administrators to restore trust in the wake of conflicts or microaggressions that erode campus climate.”

CUNY’s Office of Transformation, created by the Chancellor in June 2022, serves a vital purpose for The City University of New York: addressing urgent, high-need strategic priorities, partnering with leaders across CUNY to amplify and/or initiate strategic action and accelerating innovation. The office hopes to convene and also to listen, to share best practices so others can learn from inspiring models of successful and equitable change, to solve problems and also to wrestle collectively with seemingly intractable ones. The aim is to be a hopeful beacon for CUNY and all of higher education, showing that change is necessary and transformation possible.

The campus events will take place during the spring 2023 semester.