Colorado College offers 'safe haven' for students to flee anti-DEI states

The Healing and Affirming Village and Empowerment Network (HAVEN) program is specifically designed to attract transfers from Florida, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

President L. Song Richardson developed the initiative as part of her 'vision of creating a more just world' after the Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling and the rise of anti-DEI laws.

In keeping with its mission to advance “anti-racism,” a school in Colorado has developed a novel transfer program to accommodate students who may want to leave certain red states.

On Sept. 14, Colorado College (CC) announced its plans to develop a “safe-haven initiative”: a brand new policy specifically welcoming transfer students from institutions in states with anti-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) laws.

The HAVEN program, or “Healing and Affirming Village and Empowerment Network,” is geared specifically toward students in primarily conservative states: Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Texas. The college is accepting applications through Oct. 15 for January 2024 enrollment and through March 1, 2024 for August 2024 enrollment.

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“Due to fears these actions could lead to a climate of uncertainty, fear, and violence, CC is offering HAVEN specifically for college students from these states for the next two academic years,” the press release states.

“CC hopes to enroll 10 students in our initial cohort,” Associate Vice President of Institutional Equity and Belonging Rosalie Rodriguez told Campus Reform. “Certainly, if we receive more students than that we will need to be sure we have the proper resources to support them.” 

She also clarified that, “This program is not limited to any specific identity background, but rather is open to anyone in these 5 states who feels that CC would provide a more conducive learning environment than they are currently in.”

The HAVEN initiative promises full financial aid consideration, on-campus housing options, and fully transferable credits for coursework from prior institutions. The college also guarantees counseling and “identity-affirming programming” for HAVEN transfers.

In addition to anti-DEI states, Colorado College appears to have launched the program as a result of the fall of affirmative action in the college admissions process in June.

“CC’s Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) team finds increasing anti-DEI legislation problematic, especially when coupled with the dismantling of race-conscious admissions by the U.S. Supreme Court in June,” the school notes.

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CC also credits President L. Song Richardson for working to provide an “affirming space” for potential transfers as part of her “vision of creating a more just world.” According to her CC biography, Richardson is an “expert on implicit racial and gender bias” and is set on “increasing equity in the CC experience for all students.”

“We are excited to launch this new program as the college deepens our commitment to anti-racism,” Vice President Mark Hatch said of HAVEN. “As our staff in admission and financial aid seek to enroll a talented and diverse student body, our faculty, staff, and students remain passionate about creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for the entire Colorado College community.” 

Campus Reform has contacted President Richardson, Vice President Hatch, and the CC admissions office for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.