Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action


Cornell has been accessible to students from all backgrounds since the university’s inception. The first female undergraduate student entered in the fall of 1870, and in 1880, May Preston became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. In 1906, seven Cornell students founded the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African American men, Alpha Phi Alpha. In 1921, Thomas Wyatt Turner became the first African American man to earn a Ph.D. at Cornell and in 1936, Flemmie Kittrell became the first African American woman to do so.

In Depth

Association with Cornell, either as a student, faculty, or staff member, involves participation in a free community where all people are recognized and rewarded on the basis of individual performance rather than personal convictions, appearance, preferences (including sexual or affectional orientation), or happenstance of birth.

No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or veteran status. Diversity and inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

The Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity (DIWD) provides institutional leadership on equal education and employment opportunities and ensures the university’s compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including the development of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs.

Concerns and complaints:

  1. Concerns and complaints related to equal opportunity in education and in employment based on aspects of diversity protected under federal, state, and local law should be directed to Angela Winfield, Associate Vice President for Inclusion & Workforce Diversity; 150 Day Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; 607-255-3976.
  2. Cornell University is committed to assisting those persons with disabilities who have special needs related to their educational pursuit or employment. Information on services provided to prospective and current Cornell students with disabilities can be obtained by contacting: Student Disability Services Office, Cornell Health, 110 Ho Plaza, Ithaca, New York 14853-6601; 607-254-4545.
  3. Questions or complaints arising under Title IX should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX; 500 Day Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; 607-255-2242; titleix@cornell.edu. Inquiries may also be directed to: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights; 32 Old Slip 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005-2500; 646-428-3800; OCR.NewYork@ed.gov.