Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) collaborates with offices, departments, students, faculty, staff and other members of the Wofford College and local Spartanburg communities to promote an inclusive, equitable and diverse campus climate. In alignment with the mission of the Division of Campus Life and Student Development and the college’s overall mission, ODI supports and advocates for the advancement of all students and is committed to challenging students to think critically and to engage in cultural humility to become lifelong learners of issues that impact society’s most marginalized and under-resourced communities. The goal is to be able to better center the experiences of those communities in examining and implementing community-based solutions to society’s most pressing issues on the journey to becoming equity-minded change agents.

To achieve its goals, ODI engages in and supports the following programming and initiatives:

  • Land acknowledgement.
  • Heritage month celebrations and social justice-based experiential learning opportunities.
  • Diversity council student organizations/
  • Bias incident response protocol.
  • All-gender restrooms.
  • NCBI and other workshop requests.

A land acknowledgement is a formal statement presented at the beginning of all organized college events, celebrations and activities; the statement also can be published in printed materials. The purpose of a land acknowledgment is to recognize, respect and affirm the ongoing relationship between indigenous people and the land. Land acknowledgements also are integral in raising awareness about the indigenous histories, perspectives and experiences that often are suppressed or forgotten. Although land acknowledgments are powerful statements, they are only as meaningful as the authentic and sustained relationships with indigenous communities and community-informed actions.

This section details the various Heritage Months that are celebrated at Wofford College: LatinX Heritage Month, LGBTQIA+ History Month, Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, religious celebrations, Black Heritage Month (BHM), Womxn’s History Month (WHM) and Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM).

In recognition of each of these heritage months celebrations, ODI hosts a series of panels, talks and events throughout the academic year. We are inclusive of all racial, cultural, ethnic, gender and sexual identities and encourage allies to participate in the planning, execution and assessment of all ODI programs and events. If you would like to submit a program idea for ODI to collaborate with your office, department or organization during any of the listed heritage months, please complete the form below.

ODI recognizes that celebrating and uplifting the heritage and history of the LatinX, LGBTQIA+, indigenous peoples, religious minorities, African Diaspora, Womxn, Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is not limited to a single month. As a result, ODI plans and organizes events in response to contemporary events, student issues and needs. Additionally, ODI focuses on highlighting intersectionality and cultivating allyship among the student body.

LatinX Heritage Month

Background: LatinX Heritage Month, or Hispanic Heritage Month, which is the federally recognized designation, honors the enduring contributions and importance of LatinX Americans to the U.S. and celebrates the many heritages and cultures of Americans from or with ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain and Central and South America. Wofford College honors the culturally preferred term of LatinX Heritage Month. The term “Latinx” relates to people of Latin American origin or descent and is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina, to explicitly include transgender individuals.

Hispanic Heritage Month first began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Regan expanded the celebration to cover a 30-day period and it now is federally recognized from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Mid-September was chosen because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.

LGBTQIA+ History Month

LGBTQIA+ History Month celebrates and acknowledges the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and pansexual individuals in creating a more equal society. Some argue that the “a” in LGBTQIA+ also includes allies, which can be defined as individuals who do not identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community yet supports and advocates for the community. An ally also can be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who advocates for another member in the community who identifies differently from them.

Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school history teacher, created LGBT History Month in 1994. October was chosen as LGBT History Month due to National Coming Out Day being recognized on Oct. 11, the anniversary of the first LGBT March on Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14, 1979; Sprit Day on Oct. 20; Ally Week and the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder on Oct. 12, which resulted in Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Wofford also recognizes and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ month during October to intentionally include and increase the visibility of all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution to designate November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, similar proclamations have passed to recognize November as National American Indian Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month and others. In an effort to recognize the rich, diverse cultures, traditions and histories of indigenous peoples while also examining contemporary issues that impact the community, ODI coordinates educational programming focused on Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month each November. ODI also welcomes and invites student, faculty and staff who identify as first peoples, indigenous, native, and/or first citizens to lead and coordinate events of interest during all heritage months, especially Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month.

Religious Celebrations

As a Methodist institution, Wofford College recognizes and values the rich, thriving interfaith community on campus. ODI works closely with faculty, students and departments, including the Halligan Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, to support students’ diverse spiritual needs while also cultivating a climate of understanding, respect and humility. To achieve that goal, ODI hosts a series of religious observance programs, events and initiatives to support students, faculty and staff.

Black Heritage Month

In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to highlight the progress of individuals of African descent from the Civil War to current times. February was initially identified to celebrate Negro History Week to recognize the importance of two individuals who had contributed to the progress of African Americans, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln, who both were born in February.

Currently, Black History Month is no longer limited to a single-week celebration but is instead celebrated at Wofford over the entire month of February to acknowledge the progress of members of the entire African diaspora, but also to celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and struggles of that community and analyze contemporary issues and societal structures that impacts the black community.

Womxn’s History Month

The term “womxn” is an alternative term for the English language word “women.” This alternative term allows women to define themselves outside of the context of being linked to men. Additionally, the term also is used to recognize that there are different ways to be a womxn, which explicitly includes being a transgender womxn. Except in reference to official departments, programs, offices, official national and international programs, ODI uses the term womxn to promote a culture of inclusion.

Womxn’s History Month was first celebrated in Santa Rosa, California, in 1978. The movement for a national celebration of womxn’s history quickly spread from one end of the country to the other when Sarah Lawrence College’s Women’s History Institute celebrated Womxn’s History Month in 1979. By 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation recognizing the week of International Women’s Day, March 8, as National Womxn’s History Week. International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s. March 8 became the official date for International Women’s Day in recognition of a strike for “bread and peace” carried out by Russian women in the days leading up to the Russian Revolution. Soon after Carter’s proclamation, the movement for a monthlong celebration caused Congress to recognize March as Womxn’s History Month in perpetuity.

Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In an effort to increase visibility, bring broader awareness of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community and its rich history to campus, ODI celebrates Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month during April, a month before the federally recognized national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. ODI collaborates with members of the Wofford community and larger Spartanburg community to celebrate the culture, investigate issues that have and continue to impact the community and showcase talents of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans.

The Diversity Council Student Organizations consists of the president and vice president of diversity-focused organizations on Wofford’s campus. A Diversity Council Student Organization is any student organization that aspires to build a community around the rich diversity of Wofford College, to include, but not to be limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation, national origin, ability and religion.

The Diversity Council Student Organizations promotes awareness of issues and encourages allyship across campus and throughout the local Spartanburg community, while aiming to expand the shared responsibility of creating and sustaining diversity efforts to all student organizations. This is accomplished through mutual support, communication and co-sponsorship.

Diversity Council Student Organizations:

  • Amnesty International
  • Association of Multicultural Students
  • Black Student Association
  • LGBTerriers
  • Nu Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
  • Organization for Latin American Students
  • Tau Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
  • Wofford Men of Color
  • Wofford Women of Color

Religious Council Student Organizations

The Religious Council Student Organizations consists of all the faith-based organizations on Wofford’s campus. The Religious Council Student Organizations provide a space for students to develop and practice their faiths while enrolled at Wofford College. For more information on the religious council student organizations and their events, please reach out to the student leaders of those organizations directly.

Religious Council Organizations:

  • Buddhist Club
  • Canterbury Episcopal Campus Ministry
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Hillel Jewish Student Organization
  • Interfaith Youth Core
  • Muslim Students Association
  • Newman Club
  • Reformed University Fellowship (RUF)
  • Spartanburg Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM)
  • Tae Kwan Do Club
  • Wofford Wesley

In alignment with the overarching missions and goals of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Bias Incident Response Team is charged with responding to, educating and reporting to the campus about hate-bias incidents. The Bias Incident Response Team oversees bias reporting and response, the coordination of campus support services to individuals affected by hate-bias incidents and prevention programming and efforts. The full policy can be found in the Wofford College Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

Everyone attending, working at or visiting Wofford College has at least one thing in common – we all visit the restroom from time to time.

When the only available restroom areas are designated specifically for male or female users, individuals who do not identify as either often are humiliated, confused and may even put themselves in danger by visiting a restroom. Specifically, it can be confusing for individuals who identify as transgender or non-binary to know which of the two available restroom options is best for them. Even worse, research has shown that more than one in 10 transgender individuals report that they have been “harassed, attacked or sexually assaulted in a bathroom.” (2015 U.S. Transgender Survey)

There may be times when caregivers of people with disabilities and parents also may need to accompany people of differing genders into a restroom. All-gender restrooms serve these individuals as well.

In meeting the need of our campus and local community, Wofford College has designated 17 all-gender restrooms on campus in holding steadfast to its mission of making positive contributions to a global society and ensuring that the college is an equitable, inclusive place for all.

FAQs

How is an all-gender restroom different from other restrooms?
Wofford’s all-gender restrooms are single-user spaces that lock from the inside and are open to anyone. Each lockable space includes a toilet and sink. Each all-gender restroom is marked clearly with signage.

Do I have to use an all-gender restroom?
You are free to use the restroom with which you feel most comfortable. Each building has gender-specific restrooms that individuals may choose to use.

Who is allowed to use an all-gender restroom?
Everyone! An all-gender restroom is a restroom for any, all and no gender identities and expressions.

What should I do if I feel unsafe using a restroom?
If you are uncomfortable using an all-gender restroom, please know that you are free to use the available restrooms available in every campus building. If you feel unsafe, observe threatening or suspicious behavior, or notice a safety hazard, please contact Campus Safety at 864-597-4911. Additionally, please complete a Bias Incident Report.

What can I do to support?
Educate yourself about this issue to be a better, more equity-minded change agent for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Refrain from staring, questioning, making someone uncomfortable or asking someone to leave the restroom.

Submit a Bias Incident Report when you witness any “gender policing” or harassment in relation to another individual using an all-gender restroom.

To request National Coalition Building Institute workshops, unconscious bias training or another workshop to build diversity, equity or inclusion in our community, contact Taifha Alexander at alexandertn@wofford.edu, 864-597-4066.