It has been a year of sea change. While our nation has coped with a once-in-a-century public health emergency, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black individuals have unmasked another social contaminant: systemic racism. Although the resulting protests primarily condemned law enforcement’s excessive use of force against Black people, they also fueled conversations about the ways that racial injustice manifests in other areas—including in higher education.
As a predominantly White institution, Scripps College has faced its share of inclusivity hurdles. Due in part to financial aid and recruitment funding limitations, the College has struggled to broaden its diversity, and some students of color have not experienced the sense of belonging and support that the College aspires to create for all students. Launched in 2014, the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Initiative laid out a framework to assess and make changes to Scripps’ curriculum, culture, and policies to help eradicate institutional racism. Yet, as the voices raised in these protests remind us, more can be done.
The College has struggled to broaden its diversity, and some students of color have not experienced the sense of belonging and support that the College aspires to create for all students.
To aid in this work, Scripps Trustee Gale Picker P’14, P’19, parent of two alums, has made an extraordinary gift: $1 million in support of racial justice and equity initiatives, including developing anti-racist curricula and modules, establishing a new fellowship program for racial justice research, and creating the position of associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In addition to Picker’s gift, the College has established the Racial Justice and Equity Fund to advance the work that the IDEA Initiative has already begun and to build on campus-wide efforts to further an inclusive culture. Gifts to the fund will help increase enrollment of underrepresented students of color, provide scholarships to defray their educational expenses, and support their health and mental well-being.
With her gift, Picker also acknowledges those at Scripps who have spent years calling attention to these issues and who have worked diligently to foster an environment where students, faculty, and staff of all races and ethnicities may thrive. She hopes that others will be similarly inspired to add their financial support and expand the impact of the new initiatives.
“For me, this gift embodies Scripps’ ethos and motto—Incipit Vita Nova, ‘Here begins new life’—for our institution, where all the structures of our society can be examined and challenged at the deepest level to create true liberation and equity for Black people,” says Picker. “At Scripps, students learn to take their education and experiences beyond Honnold Gate and into broader society. We need to follow their lead.”
This gift embodies Scripps’ ethos and motto—incipit vita nova, here begins new life.
To join Scripps in our efforts to make higher education more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible, please click here to make a gift to the new Racial Justice and Equity Fund.