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Announcement: Trustee Diversity Statement and Commitment

Dear members of the Emerson community,

We are writing today to share an update from the Board of Trustees.

We have adopted a new Diversity Statement as part of the Board’s acknowledgement of equity, access, and social justice as a central tenet of Emerson’s educational mission and institutional values. It signals our renewed focus. This statement will serve as a standard and guidepost for the Board as it conducts its business on behalf of the College. 

It reads as follows:

As the Trustees of Emerson College, we commit to persistent inquiry, due attention, and substantive investment to advance human dignity and respect within the College and the wider world. Equity, access, and social justice are core values of Emerson and essential to the execution of our mission – the betterment of society through communication and the arts.

Emerson is a vibrant community of creators, communication specialists, and storytellers who possess and share distinct and varied perspectives, backgrounds, life experiences, languages, and goals. We believe optimum student success, staff development, and faculty scholarship and creativity are linked to our collective, intentional, and ongoing engagement with matters of structural inequity and diversity of thought that impact our society.

As Trustees, therefore, we fully support and expect:

      Emerson’s dedication to fostering meaningful, open, and respectful dialogue within and beyond the Emerson community, grounded in shared experience and empathy.

      Emerson’s obligation to infuse the Emerson experience with an understanding of both structural inequity and diversity of thought.

      Emerson’s commitment to being at the forefront of productive civic engagement and addressing injustice when and where it occurs within our institution.

The Board felt strongly that it should create and share a clear statement about how diversity, equity and social justice play into decision-making for the College, particularly following the Beyond Racial Equity strategic review.

In a political climate where DEI in higher education is being demonized and dismantled in some locations, the statement is a pillar demonstrating that Emerson remains steadfastly committed to this work.

The creation of the statement was directed by a new standing committee within the Board of Trustees called the Equity, Access and Social Justice (EASJ) Committee. The EASJ drafted the statement and the full board voted unanimously to adopt it in April. The Diversity Statement is part of a larger body of work the EASJ Committee will undertake.

President Jay M. Bernhardt has shared his full support for the Board’s decision. 

As a Board, we look forward to partnering with him, President’s Council leadership, and the entire community to help make Emerson a national leader in civic engagement, social justice, and equity.


Eric Alexander, Chair, Board of Trustees

Vivian Beard, Chair, Equity, Access, and Social Justice (EASJ) Committee of the Board of Trustees 

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