Status

The milestones for this demand have been met; the status of this demand is complete. For more information, please email communityequity [at] emerson.edu.

Overview

One of the demands students sought to address was a public apology for the way the College has handled incidents of bias and general racial equity.

Point Person(s)

The individuals involved in completing this task included:

Specific Actions

Acknowledgment of culpability regarding incidents involving bias and general racial equity.

Dates/Timeframe Updates

The following apology was issued on February 5, 2021.

Originally published on Emerson Today.


Dear members of the Emerson community,

The ESOC Week of Action in November of last year shared once again the struggles and conflict experienced by BIPOC-identifying students on our campus.

These issues are not new, and we are sorry that students were yet again put in the position of having to organize to make their voices heard.

On Friday, 29 January, more than 60 members of the Emerson community met to re-affirm the College’s commitment to creating a culture of equity and anti-racism at Emerson. Those in attendance were broadly representative of the College: faculty, students, senior administrators, deans, departmental chairs, and staff. This was a significant meeting in scope and purpose, reinforcing the reality that this is a college-wide issue that requires college-wide action.\

We are committed to grow in knowledge and empathy about the nature of our nation’s structural whiteness as a caste system of power, as well as the ways in which this power is embedded in the culture at Emerson as an institution. We are committed to using that understanding to interrogate and address policies and practices that exclude, diminish, and alienate members of our community and society.

We accepted our responsibility to engage perennially with the community to transform Emerson’s culture, so that all students, faculty, and staff can thrive and bring the fullness of their identities and spirit to learning and working together. We also acknowledge that our previous efforts have not resulted in meaningful change in the daily experiences of students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color.

We also accepted responsibility for the failure to address and dismantle the structural and systemic barriers that prevent some of our students from thriving and feeling a sense of belonging at Emerson.

We met in response to the ESOC Week of Action Demands as well as the Mission Statement, which served as a preamble. (November 16, 2020).

Several significant and helpful perspectives stand out:

  1. BIPOC students are sick and tired of being sick and tired at Emerson College.
  2. Previous and current actions taken by administrative leaders and faculty to create a more equitable and anti-racist environment are insufficient to addressing a “deeper and complex set of issues.”
  3. The Mission Statement observes that “we cannot continue to drag our feet in cyclical conversations without addressing the root of our problems.”

Despite administrative and faculty efforts to address student concerns, the College has not sufficiently deconstructed the structural and systemic barriers embedded in our institutional culture that prevent our BIPOC students from participating fully in our commonwealth of learning.

We now have an opportunity to heed the call to action for generational change. Foremost, we must recognize that structural and systemic change is a community issue ­ ­– not simply a student issue or an administrative issue or a staff issue or a faculty issue. Real generative change relies on all of us and it requires a community effort to make lasting progress.

Next Steps:

  1. Within the next two weeks, we will meet again with BIPOC students to present specific measures and responses to the list of demands. Members of the Emerson community are welcome to view the College’s action plan and progress here: https://emerson.edu/community-action-plan. Please also visit the Academic Affairs webpages to view action plans for individual academic departments: https://emerson.edu/departments/academic-affairs/academic-inclusive-excellence.
  2. We will revise these specific measures and responses to reflect the discussion with students.
  3. We will outline measurable goals and commitments as well as lines of responsibilities for each.
  4. We will identify external assistance with expertise in anti-racist practices to inaugurate with us a strategic and focused process of cultural change.

Thank you.

Signatories:

  • Lee Pelton, President Maria Agui Carter, Assistant Professor, Visual & Media Arts
  • Martie Cook, Professor and Founding Director for the Center for Comedic Arts
  • Meredith Ainbinder, Vice President, General Counsel
  • Amy Ansell, Professor and Dean of Liberal Arts, Marlboro Institute
  • Julie Avis Rogers, Chaplain, Director of Religious & Spiritual Life
  • Robert Bousquet, Lieutenant, ECPD
  • Sofiya Cabalquinto, Associate Vice President of Communications & Marketing
  • Timothy Chang, Associate Dean of Students and Chief Operations Officer, Emerson Los Angeles
  • Robert Colby, Professor and Chair of Performing Arts
  • Paul Dworkis, Vice President, Administration & Finance
  • Sebastian Ferrada, Assistant Professor, Marlboro Institute
  • Ruth Grossman, Assistant Professor, Chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Deion Hawkins, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
  • James Hoppe, Vice President and Dean of Campus Life, Student Affairs
  • David Howse, Vice President, Office of the Arts; Executive Director, ArtsEmerson
  • Margaret Ings, Vice President, Government and Community Relations
  • Samantha M. Ivery, Director of Diversity & Equity Initiatives, Social Justice Center
  • Tamia Jordan, Director of Intercultural Student Affairs
  • Roy Kamada, Associate Professor and Chair of Writing, Literature and Publishing
  • Janet Kolodzy, Professor and Chair, Journalism
  • Cristina Kotz Cornejo, Professor and Chair, Visual and Media Arts
  • Dennis Levine, Chairman Emerson Staff Union\SEIU 888, Systems Security Administrator
  • Kristin Lieb, Associate Professor, Marketing Communication
  • Ruthanne Madsen, Vice President, Enrollment
  • John Malcolm, Vice President, Institutional Advancement
  • Barry Marshall, President, AFEC-AAUP, Senior Affiliated Faculty, VMA,
  • Heather May, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Assembly Chair
  • Kimberly McLarin, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Writing Literature & Publishing
  • Dulcia Meijers, Executive Director, Kasteel Well
  • Paul Mihailidis, Associate Professor, Assistant Dean and Graduate Program Director, Journalism
  • Tikesha Morgan, Senior Advisor for Student Affairs, Kasteel Well
  • Cara Moyer-Duncan, Associate Professor, Marlboro Institute
  • Russell Newman, President ECCAAUP, Associate Professor, Marlboro Institute and Member of Faculty Union
  • Wyatt Oswald, Professor, Marlboro Institute
  • Cheryl Owsley-Jackson, Journalist-in-Residence, Journalism
  • Gregory Payne, Associate Professor and Chair, Communication Studies
  • Anthony Pinder, Associate Vice President, Internationalization and Global Engagement
  • Raul Reis, Professor and Dean, School of Communication
  • Tuesda Roberts, Director for Faculty Development & Diversity, Academic Affairs
  • Jan Roberts-Breslin, Professor and Dean, Graduate School & Professional Studies
  • Elaine Rudel, Clinical Instructor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Robert Sabal, Professor and Dean, School of Arts
  • Allison Sampson, Vice President & Executive Director, Emerson Los Angeles
  • Anne Shaughnessy, Vice President & Special Assistant to the President, Office of the President
  • Brent Smith, Professor and Chair, Marketing Communication
  • Robert Smith, Chief, Emerson Police Department
  • Sylvia Spears, Vice President, Equity and Social Justice
  • Shari Stier, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Keri Thompson, Senior Lecturer, Communication Studies
  • Michaele Whelan, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs