CGU President Len Jessup (Courtesy photo)

Claremont Graduate University has signed the NAACP’s Diversity No Matter What pledge for higher education, underscoring its commitment to inclusivity in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on college admissions. CGU joins numerous universities across the country in signing the pledge but is the first to publicly announce its commitment.

“I believe it’s important for us to go on record, not only by signing the NAACP pledge but by publicly sharing our belief in diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of university life: enrollment, hiring, and campus culture,” University President Len Jessup said.

During Jessup’s five-year tenure as president, the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students has grown to 54 percent of the domestic student population, up from 44 percent in the year before his arrival. In addition, 63 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty hired since 2018 are BIPOC, as are 43 percent of Board of Trustees members brought aboard since 2018.

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“This is by no means a victory lap. This is a continuous process, and much remains to be done,” Jessup said. “We cannot change the past—the good or the bad—but we can commit to the present and the future.”

Dr. Ivory Toldson of NAACP (Courtesy photo)

That commitment is manifested in the university’s Strategic Plan, which was approved on March 8, 2020, and includes among its five goals fostering an academic community of inclusive excellence. Achieving this includes:

  • Prioritizing diversity planning and the implementation of initiatives that positively and measurably impact the campus community
  • Promoting the recruitment, retention, success, and full participation of diverse faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees
  • Fostering a sense of respect and just practice across the campus while promoting research, creative work, and community outreach that impact positive social change

“The university has made significant progress in our commitment to recruit and retain diverse students, staff, faculty, and trustees,” said Quamina Carter, vice president of student affairs and chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. “Diversity enhances intellectual discourse, broadens perspectives, and prepares our scholars for this increasingly interconnected world. I am proud to be part of CGU’s reaffirmation to developing global citizens through transformative graduate education.”

The NAACP welcomed the news of CGU’s commitment to the pledge.

“I applaud Claremont Graduate University for signing the Diversity No Matter What pledge,” said Ivory A. Toldson, PhD, national director of education innovation and research. “This demonstrates their commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of inclusion, belonging, and respect for the benefit of all students—and therefore our society.

“Claremont Graduate University is taking concrete steps to ensure that higher education reflects the nation’s diversity and advances equity and justice for historically underrepresented students. I hope that more colleges and universities will follow their example and join us in this vital effort.”