Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Westchester Community College fosters an intentionally inclusive campus culture that celebrates and respects the diversity of the community while acknowledging the differences among the lived experiences of individuals. The college will promote equity, disseminate knowledge, and take visible actions to remove barriers to access and advancement that adversely affect individuals from marginalized communities.
Westchester Community College has an outstanding record of fostering an environment of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. In fact, the mission of the college focuses on providing accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. In addition, the college was honored in 2009 with a Northeast Regional Equity Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) making the college eligible for the prestigious Charles Kennedy Equity Award.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is committed to the urgent, sustained, and comprehensive work of creating a welcoming campus climate in which all members are valued and have a voice. As a Westchester Community College core value, this work belongs to every member of the WCC community and includes ensuring greater representation of individuals from all backgrounds in every part of the college. The mission of the college focuses on providing accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We do by keeping fairness and accessibility in higher education at the heart of our policies and procedures. We value a deep, collective understanding that an institutional and personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is a genuine commitment to meaningful, lifelong learning.
The DEI office strives to promote stimulating conversations, fostering an environment that promotes civic engagement, widening perspectives, encouraging innovation and connecting people. Through our daily interactions throughout the WCC community, we seek ways to actively promote and recognize principles of fairness and equity. This is done in collaboration with various members of our community, including faculty, staff and students. Our office is led by Dr. Rinardo Reddick, who serves as the Chief Diversity Officer at WCC.
The college’s dedication to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion is fostered by the administration and supported by various committees:
Each time the college forms a Search Committee for a new employee, a member of the committee serves as the Affirmative Action Representative, to ensure that there is a commitment to review qualified applicants with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The college has a variety of active committees who work on extensive, annual celebrations, such as Hispanic culture, African American culture, Asian culture, and LGBTQI+.
The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is working collaboratively to examine various institutional policies and procedures to ensure compliance and to ensure that DEI Core values are engrained in the general college operations.
Westchester Community College is fully accredited and a member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Its college curricula are registered and approved by the New York State Education Department, and the college is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY). Westchester Community College is sponsored locally by the County of Westchester.
Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity
The College will provide equal opportunity in all of its employment practices to all persons without unlawful discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, genetic information, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, arrest or conviction record, membership in any reserve component of the armed forces, or use or non-use of lawful products off College premises during nonworking hours, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law.
Statement on Equal Educational Opportunity
Westchester Community College will provide equal educational opportunities to all students and applicants for admission without unlawful discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, genetic information, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, membership in any reserve component of the armed forces, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. This concept of equal educational opportunity serves as a guide for the College in making decisions relating to selection of educational equipment, materials and regulations affecting students and College facilities. The lack of English-speaking skills is not a barrier for admission to the College or its programs.
Statement Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment
It is the policy of the Westchester Community College to maintain an academic and work environment free of illegal discrimination or harassment for students, faculty and staff. Discrimination and harassment are contrary to the standards of the College’s community; they diminish individual dignity and impede equal employment and educational opportunities. Thus, the College prohibits discrimination or harassment based on political affiliation, age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, genetic information, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, membership in any reserve component of the armed forces, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law.
In addition to our spacious 218-acre campus in Valhalla, the college offers courses in the community where you live. Our Mount Vernon, Yonkers, and Ossining extensions bring the classes directly to your community. We have other sites, too. For instance, you can take courses in the arts in White Plains and Peekskill. See our full list of locations.
Students are invited to join any of more than 70 student clubs, many which are devoted to the exploration of various cultures and ethnicities.
In addition to the many events hosted by the college’s committees which present offerings during annual celebrations of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian culture, the college offers a full range of multicultural events through its Smart Arts Series. Visitors and performers have included Edwidge Danticat (fiction writer from Haiti), Nobel Prize winners Seamus Heaney (Irish poet) and Derek Walcott (West Indies poet), Chinese acrobatic troupes, Spanish guitarists, and Viennese musicians. The college also presents an international film series.
International & ESL Students
The college has the most resources in Westchester for both international students and those striving to improve their English skills. Our International Student Advisor will help you make the transition to college courses while the county’s largest English as a Second Language Program offers affordable classes all year long. Nine levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction are offered at the college through its English Language Institute (ELI). Each level provides balanced instruction and active practice in all English language skills: listening, speaking, standard grammar, reading, and writing. New students take an examination to determine the level at which they begin study. An English-only environment for all activities promotes maximum learning. The courses serve the needs of the general learner and learners preparing for college study. Instructors are professionals in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). ELI serves thousands of students from more than a hundred different countries. They speak 49 different languages. ESL courses are offered year round at the main campus and at our extension centers around the county.
Conversation Partners Program
This program is supported by a dedicated group of 90 volunteers who contribute their time and skills to work individually with the college’s English Language Institute (ELI) students, making them feel welcome and providing them the opportunity to practice the language skills they need to succeed. The Partners meet once a week with their individual students and the students practice speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere at no additional cost to the students. Students in the program range from 18 to older adults and come from all over the world from places as far away as Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Over 1,000 students have participated to date, which has helped them adapt to a new environment and language while accomplishing their academic goals.
Something to Talk About
This program provides students of the English Language Institute the opportunity to practice their English in a small group setting to make them more comfortable speaking in a classroom or group environment. The sessions meet weekly and are run by volunteers who act as facilitators on topics such as the recent presidential election, health care and cultural items. All participants have a chance to speak in a non-judgmental environment that encourages participation and language development.
Although it is true that many of our full-time students are right out of high school or just a little older, the student body diversity extends across various age groups. Many credit classes include a variety – those in their early twenties, middle-aged students coming back to school, and mature adults who love learning and are auditing courses. Some exemplary high school students also take classes here, while a full range of non-credit classes for older adults is offered through our Mainstream Program and our Collegium Program.
Dr. Rinardo Reddick
Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator