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Summer Community Equity Progress

Dear Emerson Community,

The Beyond Racial Equity (BRE) Strategic Review process has concluded and the full report and recommendations, as well as a summary, will be shared with the community. As this portion of the BRE process concludes, we would like to thank all those who served on the Sponsor and Project Teams:

Project Team

Ruthanne Madsen, Alayne Fiore, Tony Pinder, Samantha Ivery, and Jae Williams.

Sponsor Team

Bill Gilligan, Paul Dworkis, Ruthanne Madsen, Tony Pinder, and Anne Shaughnessy.

In addition to a continued partnership with Beyond Racial Equity for additional implementation phases, we are pleased to announce several new actions that have been taken to strengthen our capacity for proactive equity, access, and social justice in our community. 

  • As we grow ever more reliant on technology to connect us, the College recognizes our responsibility to provide digital accessibility across our websites and communication platforms. To that end, we have published a new Digital Accessibility Policy as drafted by the Leadership in Digital Accessibility Working Group, designed to ensure accountability for accessible content across the College’s digital ecosystem.
  • As announced over the summer, Sonia Jurado, Associate Vice President and Title IX and 504 Coordinator, now leads the newly named Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), with responsibility for the new comprehensive Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence that applies to all students, staff, and faculty. This expanded scope of responsibility creates a centralized office dedicated to responding to all reports of misconduct based on any of the protected categories, such as race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, disability, age, and other protected identities, as well as reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence (sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, sexual exploitation). We believe this structure will create greater clarity about the College’s responsibilities, and a more effective process for responding to reports of all campus stakeholders.
  • Within Academic Affairs, the Academic Affairs’ Equity Team has been launched to align and enhance equity efforts focused on the classroom environment, the student experience, and faculty pedagogy and engagement. The equity team initiative, directed by Dr. Anthony Pinder, Vice Provost for Internationalization & Equity, also includes Dr. Tuesda Roberts, Director of Faculty Development and Diversity; Samantha Ivery, Director of Equity Initiatives (previously in the Social Justice Center); and Tikesha Morgan, Assistant Dean for Global & Equity Education.
  • Lastly, on August 1, we welcomed Shaya Gregory Poku to Emerson as our new Vice President for Equity & Social Justice. Shaya brings social justice leadership to the College at a pivotal moment as we deepen our commitment to embodying a culture of belonging, access, and anti-racism for all who live, learn, and work at Emerson. During her first month, Shaya has spent time meeting with the myriad of people involved in diversity, equity, accessibility, and justice work across the College. Shaya looks forward to building relationships with students, staff, faculty, and alumni as the academic year begins. Additional communication, updates, and news from Shaya and her team across the Elma Lewis Center, the Healing & Advocacy Collective, and the Social Justice Center will be shared soon.

We appreciate the work that has been done over the summer, and recommit to furthering our progress this year so that members of our community who are impacted by intersecting layers of systemic oppression can feel that their living, learning, and working experiences reflect Emerson’s values of inclusion and belonging for all. This is work we take seriously and we thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Community Equity Communications Team

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