Dear Members of the Emerson Community,
In sharing this update, we also take a moment to recognize the ongoing pain many are feeling in response to recurring violence and oppression, including the recent shootings in Atlanta and Boulder. We recognize that the systems and structures within an institution will never serve as a salve, but we are committed to moving the College forward toward becoming a place where everyone in our community can find community, respite and relief.
Since the March 3, 2021, Update on Community Equity Action Plan, additional steps have been taken in response to the #ESOCWeekOfAction Demands. We are also pleased to share that a new section of the website has been launched to provide information related to the status of the student demands, specific action steps, and progress toward goals. In addition to email community updates, the new Community Equity Action Plan website will be maintained and updated on a regular basis.
Presidential Advisory Group:
- Students from the Presidential Advisory Group for Community & Equity met with Vice President Sylvia Spears in March to share their hopes and goals for the ESOC Community Town Hall on Race to be held on April 16, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. A Save-the-Date with additional information will be shared in the coming days.
- A Sub-Group of the Presidential Advisory Group met March 26 to outline a draft of the scope of work and selection process for external consultants who will be tasked with identifying structural and systemic barriers that prevent BIPOC students from experiencing a sense of belonging and full participation at Emerson. Vice President Spears is developing a draft Request for Proposals that will be shared with the President’s Council prior to finalization and posting.
Progress on Faculty Initiatives (launched prior to #ESOCWeekOfAction)
- Proposals by the Educational Equity and Justice Committee of Faculty Assembly and the Academic Cabinet to alter service components of the Faculty Handbook were approved at the March 23 Faculty Assembly. This new language adds content related to the often invisibilized or unseen work that many BIPOC faculty members do related to their identities.
Progress on Faculty Initiatives (launched after #ESOCWeekOfAction):
- On March 26 members of the Student Government Association and other student organization leaders met with the Academic Cabinet. The conversation, moderated by Tuesda Roberts (Director for Faculty Development and Diversity), was guided by students’ delineation of what’s working, what could be improved, and constructive areas of concern related to academic departments and the Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies. Students shared what they hoped administrators would notice or take away from their written and verbal perspectives and administrators, in turn, described areas of shared concern, commitment, and hope. Students and administrators were encouraged to deepen existing collaborative efforts in ways that intertwine the importance of iterative processes, concrete actions, agency, and accountability.
Social Contract for Student Organizations:
- Student Engagement and Leadership, Intercultural Student Affairs, Student Accessibility Services and New Student Programs has scheduled and hosted conversations with organization types in Advocacy, Comedy, Dance, Visual and Media Arts, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Intercultural and Spiritual, Performance, Professional, Sports and Competition, Writing Literature and Publishing, and Theatrical Performance. Topics included the recruitment and selection of student members, selection of programs/events/activities/productions, selection of executive board members, barriers to participation, characteristics of white supremacy within professional organizations, understanding how to make value-based decisions, understanding the line between collaboration and performative allyship, and how to engage with BISOC members without tokenizing. Meetings will continue through the end of the semester. Following the completion of these conversations, the Student Org Social Contract Team will work together to begin drafting what will become the Student Organization Compact – an agreement for all affiliated student organizations to engage in a systematic review of membership recruitment and selection, programmatic selection and implementation, leadership selection, and barriers to participation.
As shared in the March 3 Update on Community Equity Action Plan, we are committed to providing regular and periodic updates on the work of the College’s Community Equity Action Plan in response to the #ESOCWeekOfAction Student Demands. For additional information or questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community & Equity Communications Team