Diversity Statement

Drafted by the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with input from the Executive Committee; approved by the Linguistics Program Executive Committee on 4/1/2022.


Program values relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The members of the Linguistics Program wish to express our core values and our commitment to understanding how we can better live up to them. We affirm our strong commitment to the following values:

  • recruiting, mentoring, and supporting students of color and students from other under-represented groups, especially from CUNY colleges and New York City as per CUNY’s mission.
  • recruiting, mentoring, and supporting faculty of color and under-represented groups
  • ensuring that students with disabilities receive accommodations whenever possible, and are welcomed and supported even when official teaching and learning accommodations are not available.
  • ensuring that our courses and syllabi include diverse viewpoints and scholars creating a welcoming environment so that our students, faculty, and staff are safe from harassment, discrimination, and bias.
  • striving to collaborate with language communities in our research and find meaningful ways to advocate for their goals.
  • supporting speakers of minority languages/varieties, endangered languages/varieties, and language revival and revitalization movements in line with the needs and goals of these speakers and their communities.

Action Plan

In order to identify and address possible gaps between our values and the lived experiences of our students, faculty, and staff, we conducted a Climate Survey in Spring 2021. In response to the results, we are taking the following actions. The Linguistics Program will continue to advocate on behalf of the community and work to invite discussion on these issues.

Our current plan is as follows:

  1. Create a Code of Conduct that outlines expectations and guidelines defining proper conduct of students, staff, and faculty in academic settings (both in and outside the classroom).  To ensure widespread knowledge of the guidelines, the Code of Conduct will appear in the Linguistics Program Handbook and the New Student Program Orientation. Additionally, faculty will be encouraged to share the Code of Conduct in their course syllabi.
  2. Develop a contract for mentors/advisors and students that outlines their rights and obligations as members of the program;
  3. Continue to encourage all members of our program to complete annual institutional training as well as annual in-house sexual harassment and discrimination training through the Office of Compliance and Diversity.
  4. Hold periodic workshops on inclusive course syllabi.
  5. Revise Linguistics Program Handbook to make more accessible and to empower students in their academic/professional journeys (i.e., basic advice regarding critical steps to becoming a scholar; writing abstracts, applying to conferences, applying for grants/funding, and other topics important to students).
  6. Conduct periodic surveys like the 2021 Climate Survey to gather community feedback, and to assess the program’s progress on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  7. Continue to refine our admissions procedures to address bias within the evaluation of applications and to make the process more transparent to all applicants. So far, this has included eliminating the GRE requirement, taking diversity into account in assessments, and providing better guidance for applicants and letter writers on the department website.
  8. Make efforts to recruit scholars of color and scholars from under-represented backgrounds in our upcoming faculty searches.
  9. Ensure that students understand the process for reporting incidents of misconduct (including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and micro/macroaggressions); and better address students’ needs for accommodation (See flyer below)
  10. Distribute flyer (Student Resources Reference Guide: “Which Office Should I Go to For Help?) with clear instructions for students about how and where to file complaints about sexual harassment, discrimination, and lack of accommodation, and post them in the Linguistics Program offices as well as in the Linguistics Program Handbook.
  11. Advocate for full and equitable funding for all Graduate Center students ($7K/course for adjuncts; Full and Fair Funding)
  12. Develop a system for sharing academic/professional opportunities with all students.

As this is a living statement that represents work in progress, we welcome comments from all members of the CUNY community, other linguists, and readers. Please address your comments to Cecelia Cutler (Executive Officer) and/or to (Linguistics Students Association representative)


Links to Graduate Center resources:

  1. GC Compliance and Diversity
  2. Title IX Coordinator, Edith Rivera
  3. Diversity and Anti-Racism Resources
  4. Student Disability Services
  5. Student Resources Reference Guide: “Which Office Should I Go to For Help?
  6. GC demographics data