Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion

As an independent school that draws students from across the country and around the world, we recognize that diversity and inclusion promote cross-cultural dialogue, expose students to a deeper and wider swath of humanity, and ultimately, make our community stronger. We commit to welcoming to this community all segments of society, including members of all racial and ethnic identities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities, abilities, ages, and socio-economic statuses.

At Williston, we’ve laid a foundation that calls for respectful communication; deliberate choices that promote diversity and inclusion both in admissions and in hiring; and frequent activities that work toward equity in the school setting and beyond, such as Community Identity Discussions, an annual Why Not Speak Day, and guest speakers that highlight social justice. Our diversity and inclusion work is also tied to our curriculum, where we endeavor to include multiple perspectives in all disciplines. We believe a diverse and inclusive community helps prepare students for success as they move into college and onto their professional lives.

Read a June 26 letter from Head of School Robert W. Hill III on the steps the Williston Northampton School is taking to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Read a June 1 letter from Head of School Robert W. Hill III addressing diversity and inclusion on campus.

Events

Diversity and inclusion are part of every day at Williston. Scroll down to read about specific programs that take place throughout the year.

Why Not Speak Day

In 2017, Williston launched Why Not Speak Day (WNS Day), organized by Director of Inclusion Erin Davey and a committee of engaged students. The group scheduled a keynote speaker, and organized 30 workshops that were given by students, faculty, and visiting presenters. Workshop topics included issues of race, gender, identity, cultural appropriation, and white privilege. The second annual WNS Day in 2018 doubled the number of workshops to 60 and increased the number of speakers for a full day devoted to examining identity, and in subsequent years, the event has continued to expand.

Social Justice Week

During Social Justice Week, students organized a sandwich drive for the local food pantry, held a voter drive to register young people about to turn 18, hosted a gender equity talk, screened the movie 13th to spur discussion on racial equity, educated classmates on the Endangered Species Act and sustainability, and held a Pride Prom.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Speakers

Presenters have spoken on a variety of topics related to the activism and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., going beyond platitudes and hazy praise to honestly examine the legacy of one of America’s finest leaders.

Community Identity Discussions

Community Identity Discussions are forums where the community gathers to hear powerful stories of family, home, culture, identity, and more from Williston students, faculty, and special guests.

Willy World

Organized by various student clubs with the International Student Office and SAGE Dining Services, Willy World evenings highlight food and music from countries around the globe.

Anti-Racism Coalition

The Anti-Racism Coalition’s mission is to help develop the school’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion, and to serve as an advisory board to the school in its anti-racist institutional efforts. The experience, creativity, diversity, and overall expertise of members of this group will ensure that Williston’s administration and trustees make decisions informed by critical input from the multiple constituencies that make up our Williston community.

Faculty Anti-Racism Group (FUSE)

FUSE, created in 2019, is a standing committee made up of Williston faculty across departments and disciplines, who are committed to creating a diverse and welcoming school. FUSE works to create a stronger and more inclusive community by focusing on initiatives and events that recognize, engage, and benefit students across many types of diversity, including (but not limited to): race, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, educational background, and (dis)ability.

DEI Clubs

Student clubs provide space for affinity groups to gather and support one another, while celebrating their culture and sharing their pride with the wider community. Any student is welcome to form a club at any time.

  • Boys to Men

    Boys to Men is a group that brings young men and faculty together to talk about what it means to be a “man” in the 21st Century.  In our meetings, we foster honest, judgement-free dialogue where we challenge the societal concepts of masculinity through supportive meetings.  We support each person in the room to be that man that one another needs to navigate their journey through positivity, love, fellowship, and brotherhood.

  • Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

    The Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) works to create a school community where all students feel welcome and supported, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By organizing events like Pride Prom, Queer Brunch, PRIDE Week, and Day of Silence, we create more visibility for LGBTQ+ people and provide opportunities for education and celebration. Please reach out to Faculty Advisor Charles Raffetto with any questions about GSA at Williston Northampton.

  • Girls Support Girls

    A club for people who identify as female, who will learn and talk about female empowerment and support one another.

  • The Jewish Club

    The Jewish Club educates students who are not familiar with the religion, and serves as a gathering space for Jewish students. They cook Jewish foods, talk about birth right to Israel, and this year will be organizing a sports equipment drive for schools in Israel. They also celebrate Jewish Holidays.

  • Latinx Club

    The Latinx Club is a student run club dedicated to spreading knowledge and appreciation of the languages and cultures of Spain, Mexico, Central and South America to the Williston Northampton community. Faculty Advisor: Eugenio Garcia

  • Multicultural Student Union (MSU)

    The Multicultural Student Union offers students a space to uplift and celebrate our diverse community, while also becoming educated and having courageous conversations.

  • Williston Asian Alliance

    The Williston Asian Alliance Club’s mission is to offer a relatable and supportive environment for the Asian community at Williston, while educating other members of the Williston community on Asian culture and what it means to be an Asian student at Williston through various activities and events.


2020-21 Guest Speakers

Throughout the year, students hear from guest speakers who bring a variety of perspectives, building connections and a creating community that’s welcoming and fosters belonging.

  • Dr. Liza Talusan

    Student leaders learned about self-care in unprecedented times. When we take care of ourselves, she said, we are able to create a space that welcomes others.

  • Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee

    Since 2004, Lee has been a diversity speaker and trainer on a variety of topics, including cross cultural communication, identity development, implicit and unconscious bias, gender and sexuality diversity, facilitation skills, and bullying in schools. Read coverage of her presentations to the school community.

  • Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson

    The president and co-founder of Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP), Amante-Jackson’s organization works with clients with the aim of creating a more equitable organizational culture and infrastructure.

Past Guest Speakers

Dena Simmons Speaker Dena Simmons encouraged teachers to consider the backstory of each student in their class.

Jen Croneberger A motivational speaker who encouraged students to embrace compassionate leadership and culture change.

Mike Fowlin With humor and pathos, Fowlin presented a message of hope for those struggling with trauma.

Phil Kaye This Japanese-American poet, writer, and filmmaker spoke about the shifts that bicultural people often must make to survive.

Arno Michaelis A former neo-Nazi turned against racism, Michaelis encouraged students to fight hatred with love.

Karen Shepard This Writers’ Workshop presenter discussed, among other things, her identity as a child of Chinese-American and Jewish parents.

Mark Guglielmo During multiple journeys to Cuba, Guglielmo befriended island dwellers and documented life there.

Leigh Fondakowski Fondakowski is a writer for Tectonic Theater Company, which created the documentary play The Laramie Project, which Williston presented in 2018.

Pierce Freelon ’02 Entrepreneur, activist, filmmaker, musician, professor, and community-builder, Freelon delivered the 2018 commencement address.

Nic Stone This New York Times bestselling author discussed her book Dear Martin, which explores race and coming of age.

Maxine Maxwell Performing multiple roles, Maxwell shared a historical narrative that expressed racial pain.

Rob Kearney Williston’s former strength trainer and pro-strongman described how it felt to come out as “the world’s strongest gay.”

Nyle Fort Fort asked students to look critically at their country, and ask, as Dr. King did, “Why do we have poverty, war, injustice?”

Rev. E. Taylor Doctor A two-time speaker at Why Not Speak Day, Rev. Doctor speaks about the power of words, and how to look beyond labels to see the people behind them.

Sydney Satchell Satchell spoke to students about confronting each obstacle with joy, faith, and resilience.


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Director of Inclusion and Community Life

Erin Davey serves as Director of Inclusion and Community Life and Assistant Dean of Students. The difference between empathy—akin to “celebrating diversity”—and inclusion, where true connection begins, is important to Davey, who studied sociology at Connecticut College and has taught psychology at Williston. “Inclusion is a practice, it’s active,” she said.

Assistant Director of Inclusion

Rachel Gordon serves as Assistant Director of Inclusion as well as a member of the English faculty. “As a Jamaican-American woman,” she said, “it is important to me that students from various backgrounds feel safe, welcomed and supported in our community.”

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