Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our Department is a community dedicated to the study and appreciation of French and Italian languages, literatures, and their associated cultures across the world. We value the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff, and are committed to fostering equity and inclusion. We endeavor to respect our differences of race and ethnicity, nationality and immigration status, socio-economic backgrounds, gender and sexual orientation, ability and disability, intellectual, religious, cultural, and political perspectives. Acknowledging these differences is essential to our intellectual and academic mission.

Climate and Inclusion Committee


The mission of the Climate and Inclusion Committee is to support the department’s commitment to serve its entire community and to guarantee the respect of all of its members. It seeks out ways of developing best practices for promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in classrooms, meetings, and events.

Its objectives include:

  • Appraising the ways that diversity and inclusion are respected within the department.
  • Assessing departmental climate, and recommending ways to ensure that the department is supportive of all its members. It does so in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity who administers an anonymous climate survey to evaluate information about the academic environment and general climate in the Department of French and Italian.
  • Providing resources for addressing equity, diversity and inclusion within the curriculum.
  • Suggesting initiatives whose goal is to assess, and, if necessary, remedy systemic bias and to promote diversity in the department through events, outreach activities, and community building.


The committee is composed of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff, nominated by the Chair in consultation with the Associate Chair, the DGS, and the DUS. It meets at least three times a year. It serves as advisory to the Chair, to whom it reports. An annual public report will also be circulated to the whole department.

Members (AY 2023-24)

  • André Benhaïm (Professor), Chair.
  • Yassine Ait Ali (Ph.D. Candidate)
  • Mikaela Avakian ’24
  • Sena Hill (Dept. Manager)
  • Johnny Laforêt (Lecturer)
  • Lynda Musilwa (Ph.D. Candidate)
  • Effie Rentzou (Professor)
  • Josie Smart ’25
  • Sara Teardo (Senior Lecturer)

Length of appointment: 3 years, except Graduate students (2 years), and Undergraduate Majors (1-2 years).