Bias, Micro-aggressions, Structural Oppression

We affirm the lives, experiences, and resilience of people and communities who are most marginalized. While we seek liberation for these communities and ourselves, we also know that power-based interpersonal violence in the form of bias, micro-aggressions, and structural oppression continues to occur, even in the places where we should feel most accepted and validated.

The Healing & Advocacy Collective is available to offer confidential support and share information about resources and options, depending on how you would like to proceed. We can be reached by emailing advocate [at] (advocate[at]emerson[dot]edu), calling 617-824-8857, or stopping by Piano Row 240 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).

We know and recognize:

  • Hurt caused by behavior targeted at our identities (our race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, citizenship status, documentation status, religion, etc.) may affect our ability to thrive, as well as our sense of safety and well-being.
  • These behaviors, regardless of intent, are rooted in an assertion of power.
  • In response to these hurts, we may seek support from communities who are most likely to understand. We also know at times, we may want additional support.

We also recognize that the Healing & Advocacy Collective and Social Justice Collaborative exists within the context of Emerson, an institution with various systems that are not neutral in their impact. We understand the complexities and challenges of what it can mean to share experiences of identity-based harm with a staff member you might not know, as well as what it means to trust in us enough to seek our support. We will do our best to honor your trust and will work to offer you radical care and advocacy, no matter where or when the harm occurred.

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For us, radical care and advocacy means we will:

  • Listen to you and we will believe you.
  • Brainstorm options with you (e.g. help you prepare for a conversation, accompany you to a meeting as your advocate, etc.). We will also honestly share what we know about the limits of those options.
  • Honor what you choose to do, which could include waiting to take action, taking no action, or taking an action that you don’t share with us. 
  • Support you through systems advocacy, if you decide to take action. This could include sharing information about how various systems and structures work.
  • Honor your privacy and not share information about your experience unless you have asked us to do so, or if other very specific conditions exist. We are confidential and do not report to police, the Title IX Coordinator (Office of Equal Opportunity), family members, or anyone else. 
  • Follow your lead about whether you want us to stay in touch with you.
  • Welcome you anytime you want to see us in the future, even if it is just to say hello.

Additional information on options:

If you experience harm, you may want and need more than support and advocacy from the Healing & Advocacy Collective and Social Justice Collaborative. You may want to access a more formal mechanism for having your concern addressed. The College has implemented a centralized reporting mechanism for those impacted by identity-based harm. Reports can be made with contact information or anonymously to the Office of Equal Opportunity

We also want you to know there are limits to how the College addresses identity-based harm in the form of bias, microaggressions, and structural oppression, and these administrative processes may not feel satisfactory for a range of reasons. For example:

  • Some faculty have protections in the form of academic freedom, tenure, and contractual agreements that may limit what can be done. 
  • A staff supervisor may have the discretion to decide what will be done and may not be able to share what action, if any, is being taken.  
  • The staff in the Office of Community Standards may assess whether your experience with a student would be a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If it is deemed not to be a violation, then there may be no action taken by the office.

While the Healing & Advocacy Collective and Social Justice Collaborative do not have the authority or ability to hold people accountable for identity-based harm, we know and understand the impact that it can have. We will support you, advocate alongside you, and move in solidarity with you.