Diversity and Social Justice

students in a booth in library studying.
Terrell Main Library is abuzz with students, particularly during finals week.
Photo credit: Matthew Lester

Oberlin College acknowledges the distinctive cultural identities and histories of those who live, study, and work here while encouraging them to intentionally engage with those whose experiences and perspectives are different from their own.

Oberlin’s founders wrestled with the idea of integration more than185 years ago, at a time when such intermingling of racial groups was uncommon and risky. The decision to admit students to the college without regard to race or gender took place in 1835. If the early leaders recognized that a liberal arts college and community needed to be diverse, what about now?

Today, Oberlin’s faculty, staff, and student body reflect the college’s early dedication to diversity and social justice. Though not perfect, they routinely contribute to it through academic programs, resources, support systems, and cocurricular activities.

This commitment requires us to work to build a community whose members respect and value personal characteristics, choices, and differences; who ask the difficult questions and challenge stereotypes; and who seek mutual understanding and inclusion. We show our commitment to diversity throughout campus and student life—academics, housing, dining, athletics, recreation, organizations, and wellness.

We also provide opportunities for engagement, collaboration, personal growth, leadership development, and the creation of meaningful relationships. We encourage students to involve themselves in activities and organizations that promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Among them:

To further demonstrate our commitment to these values, we launched, in 2020, the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity to address issues of violence, police-community relationships, and racial injustices.

We regularly offer dialogues on topical political and societal issues; events that honor culture and language; concerts and recitals that showcase classical artists and new age musicians; symposia  on such issues as poverty, sustainability, globalization, and gender identity and expression; culturally themed residential housing; and classes on such subjects as peace and conflict, gender, feminist, and sexuality studies, colonialism, and much more.

While the programs and services we offer may change, our commitment has not. We invite you to explore our varied academic, cultural, and artistic programs.