Claremont Graduate University Signs the NAACP’s Diversity Pledge
July 20, 2023
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.
“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.”
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.”
About Claremont Graduate University
Claremont Graduate University, 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, serves students in the region, the nation, and beyond. Founded in 1925, it is the second-oldest member of The Claremont Colleges and one of the only all-graduate institutions in the country. A unique research-intensive university, CGU cultivates a diverse community of creative thinkers, adept problem solvers, and leaders for positive change.
About the NAACP
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Its legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, its network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. It is committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.
(Note: The Legal Defense Fund, also referred to as the NAACP-LDF, was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP but now operates as a completely separate entity.
Director of alumni engagement and publicity at CGU
NAACP national press secretary