On July 6, 2020, President John Swallow announced a plan of action for Carthage to work against racism, to both affirm and demonstrate that Black lives matter.

Ida B. Wells wrote that “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” We take these words, and her actions as an educator, journalist, and leader, as a touchstone for the work Carthage will do.

This plan draws on the excellent work in the Carthage College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2020-2023, which recognized and articulated ideas for action, and both the Equity and Inclusion Committee and the President’s Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which has overseen and encouraged actions during the 2019-20 academic year.

This plan builds on this solid foundation but is not a static document. As we continue to expand and evolve our efforts to combat racism, this plan will necessarily evolve as well.

Reaching Understanding
  • Carthage President John Swallow asked the Carthage faculty to implement the recently approved general education, graduation requirement course Diverse Perspectives for new students in the fall of 2021.
  • President Swallow asked Provost David Timmerman to work with the Carthage faculty to ensure that all students study U.S. racial history as part of their Carthage education in their first or second year, through the graduation requirement beginning in fall 2021, and in as many courses as appropriate in the year 2020-21.
  • Faculty and staff will learn to understand, talk about, and confront racism through increased training and discussion. Our goal will be to ensure that students will know how to report bias incidents, and that faculty and staff will know how to respond, as specifically as they do now for Title IX.
Building Relationships
  • In fall 2020, Carthage inaugurated and staffed an intercultural center (renamed to Engagement & Inclusion Center in 2022) with additional resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion. This center, located in the Todd Wehr Center, serves students, faculty, and staff in having frank discussions about race and outcomes.
  • Carthage will intentionally seek a more diversified faculty and staff through renewed attention to hiring practices. While recognizing that the near-term prospects for new faculty and staff positions are very limited, we will focus our attention on practices that can be used in filling positions as they become vacant.
  • The Carthage campus community will engage in the work of Braver Angels’ movement to de-polarize American society, because we know that polarization is holding back the discussions that need to occur. In particular, Carthage joins Braver Angels’ With Malice Toward None program this fall, in concert with other ELCA colleges and universities.
  • The President will meet regularly with students from diversity, equity, and inclusion groups, in addition to DEI staff, to hear directly from those Carthage serves.
Achieving Results
  • Carthage will eliminate racial and ethnic discrepancies in retention and graduation rates. President Swallow asks Provost Timmerman and Vice President Abigail Hanna to analyze all available data regarding efforts to date, and to present their findings before the end of calendar year 2020. On the basis of that data, Carthage leadership, in conversation with the entire College community, will offer an informed set of metrics and targets, as well as processes and changes across the College to achieve this goal.
  • The President’s Advisory Board on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will continue to monitor our progress and setbacks and gather new ideas in an ongoing way.
  • Toward this end, Carthage will engage fully in the work of the Milwaukee-area Higher Education Regional Alliance, which seeks to eliminate these discrepancies across all 18 institutions of higher education in the seven counties surrounding Milwaukee.
Joining Forces
  • The Carthage Board of Trustees will emphasize further its plan to recruit board members from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds.
  • The Carthage Task Force on Team Names and Mascot will complete its work in the upcoming months, considering by this fall whether to recommend that the team names and/or mascot should be changed. If such a recommendation is presented and approved by the board, a process of change will be complete by the end of the 2020-21 academic year, with a new team name in place for fall 2021.
  • Carthage will both draw on the expertise of organizations doing this work and support their efforts by sharing our expertise. These include local and regional school districts, other colleges and universities, Kenosha’s Building Our Future, and Racine’s Higher Expectations for Racine County.
  • Funding for these efforts, from existing and new funders, will be a priority of Carthage’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

President Swallow is extraordinarily grateful for the concerns expressed, and the suggestions made, by Carthage students, faculty, staff, and alumni through recent listening sessions and one-on-one conversations. These have taken place both in groups specifically dedicated to improving the lives of Black and other underrepresented students as well as in other forums.

He is also deeply appreciative of Carthage’s Equity and Inclusion Committee, especially for its work preparing the Carthage College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2020-2023, and the President’s Advisory Board on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Finally, he is thankful for the ongoing productive and emotional conversations Carthaginians are having with each other, in as depolarized and constructive a manner as possible, allowing Carthage to move forward more quickly.

This plan of action would simply not have been possible without these Carthaginians and their commitments to greater truth, strength, and service together.

Guiding Quotations

Ida B. Wells: “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

James Baldwin: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” This quotation calls us to recognize that while none of us has lived in a society without racism, we go forward in faith and conviction that such a society is possible and commit ourselves to realize it.

Join Us

This plan is not static, but meant to evolve and expand. President Swallow welcomes other Carthage groups and people to declare their own commitments to be offered for inclusion in this plan.

Join us in this work