The Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado College implements new program

Transfer initiative for anti-dei states


Colorado College has implemented a transfer initiative for students at schools in states that have passed or are considering anti-diversity, equity and inclusion legislation.

Colorado College’s Healing and Affirming Village and Empowerment Network, or HAVEN, is designed to make transferring easier for students in anti-dei states, CC officials said in a news release last week.

“We are making a special, targeted effort to make it easier for students who may not have had the opportunity to consider the climate of those states at the time they applied, because the legislation is fairly new,” said Rosalie Rodriguez, CC’S associate vice president for equity and belonging, in the news release.

Diversity, equity and inclusion offices in higher education often spearhead services tailored to students of various races, genders, sexual orientations, cultures and abilities. Some college administrators also consider so-called DEI factors when admitting students, providing scholarships or deciding which faculty to hire and promote.

Republican lawmakers in at least a dozen states have proposed more than 30 bills this year targeting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in higher education, an Associated

Press analysis found using the bill-tracking software Plural. The measures have become the latest flashpoint in a cultural battle involving race, ethnicity and gender that has been amplified by prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, potential rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.

Since 2022, five states — Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas — have enacted laws prohibiting certain DEI programs and/or practices in colleges and universities, Rodriguez said.

“For students who find themselves in a situation where they feel it’s no longer welcoming or safe for them, or that it’s not going to be the most conducive learning environment, we are removing many of the barriers that many students face during the transfer process,” Rodriguez said.

Among those removed barriers are financial aid, housing and the transfer of academic credits, Rodriguez said. The HAVEN initiative offers qualified students full financial aid consideration, full credit for transferrable coursework and guaranteed on-campus housing, according to the release. Support systems like counseling and identity-affirming programs will be in place to help smooth the transition.

Earlier this year, in response to a directive from Texas Gov. Rick Abbott, the University of Texas system suspended new DEI policies at its 13 campuses, according to a report from the Texas Standard. Texas A&M has banned diversity and equity statements from job applications.

In March, Florida’s Desantis signed into law Senate Bill 266. The law blocks public universities from diverting state or federal funds toward programs or campus activities that advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion or promote political or social activism.

Meanwhile, Colorado College President L. Song Richardson said she wants the liberal-arts private college to be a national leader in equity, inclusion and educational access.

“We don’t do things the way other schools do,” Richardson told The Gazette in previous reporting. “And we’re proud of that.”

In order to qualify for HAVEN, students must be degree-seeking with the intent to transfer to, and graduate from, Colorado College, officials said. The transfer application period ends Oct. 15, 2023 for January 2024 enrollment, and March 1, 2024 for August 2024 enrollment.

Reaction from universities in two states was muted.

“Thank for providing us with the opportunity to comment, but we have nothing to add,” Cynthia Roldán, director of strategic communications at the University of Florida, said by email.

“We don’t have anyone currently who is prepared to address this topic,” said David Dodds, director of communications at the University of North Dakota.





The Gazette, Colorado Springs