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Community Equity Update – Summer 2021

Dear Members of the Emerson Community,

We hope you are finding moments of joy during these summer months. While this time of year can be a respite for some, it also provides an opportunity to move into the work of reflection, and space to plan for work yet to be done. We are also acutely aware of the recent departures of staff and faculty members who have deeply impacted our community through their commitment to justice. While we will miss their presence, the urgency of meaningful change for our community members impacted by systemic oppression continues to propel us forward. 

Below are updates related to the #ESOCWeekOfAction Student Demands as well as items the College has committed to in support of Access: Student Disability Union’s Access Advocacy Project.

#ESOCWeekOfAction Student Demand Progress:

External Consultants:

  • The revised Request for Proposals (RFP) for external consultants who will be tasked with identifying structural and systemic barriers that prevent BIPOC students and students from other marginalized groups from experiencing a sense of belonging and full participation at Emerson has resulted in two organizations being invited to interview with members of a subgroup of the Presidential Advisory Group for Community & Equity, after which a finalist should be identified in early August.

Support for BIPOC Students:

  • The Healing & Advocacy Collective received approval for the additional position of Prevention Educator/Survivor Advocate, which opened for applications on July 14.

Financial Aid:

  • Within the division of Enrollment Management, the offices of Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Success, have made significant advancements in the area of resources and support to make obtaining an Emerson education affordable, accessible, and achievable. A more comprehensive communication from Interim President Bill Gilligan will be forthcoming in early August. 

Social Contracts for Student Organizations:

  • The Student Organization Compact has been updated and will officially be part of the annual Student Organization Reactivation process, along with a required training from Student Engagement & Leadership and Intercultural Student Affairs that will cover tangible ways student organizations can be more equitable and inclusive.

BIPOC Faculty:

  • Staff in Academic Affairs are in the process of strengthening the faculty mentoring program, neXus, to include additional workshops, and are also creating action items from BIPOC faculty feedback to make progress toward recruitment and retention of faculty of color.

Recommitting to Accessibility:

Accessibility Advisory Board:

  • The updated charge for the Accessibility Advisory Board is in the final stages of review by college administration and leadership in SGA and Access: Disability Student Union, with plans to launch the newly formed board in September.

Additional Staff:

  • Additional positions including an Assistant Director and a Coordinator of Academic Accommodations have been approved in Student Accessibility Services with hiring processes launched in July.

Faculty Development:

  • Faculty have been provided with Teaching Guidelines for Making Courses Accessible. Built around the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), this guidance presents ways to make classes more accessible and also provides resources and contact information for assistance as faculty prepare courses.

We are committed to sharing continuous updates and communication on the College’s ongoing work to make our community more equitable and accessible, and will provide additional information after the launch of the academic year in September.

Sincerely,

Community & Equity Communications Team

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