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A Message for the Emerson Community

Dear Emersonians,

The arrest of the Emerson students during a campus protest this past Friday outside the investiture ceremony has caused deep distress and anxiety to our community. Speaking on behalf of the leadership team, we understand the depth of these feelings and the context of this protest against the backdrop of world events, and the challenges we face together. We understand that our community feels fractured, and we are committed to moving beyond rhetoric, misunderstanding, and escalation to a place of compassionate listening and understanding.

First, let me be clear, Emerson will not pursue charges against any individuals arrested during Friday’s protest. We will request that the Boston District Attorney dismiss all criminal charges. In addition, to ensure impartiality and transparency, we are engaging an external, independent reviewer to oversee the administrative hearing and Student Conduct Process connected to Friday’s demonstration. These actions align with our commitment to making space for diverse opinions, ensuring fairness, and leading with compassion.

At Emerson, we cherish respectful dialogue and value diversity of opinions and backgrounds as integral to our identity. We remain steadfast in supporting the right to express dissenting views and perspectives, provided the expression aligns with our established time, place, and manner standards. By embracing an environment where differing viewpoints are safely encouraged and respected, we uphold the principles that define us as Emersonians.

Our entire leadership team is ready to engage with students, staff, and faculty across our community in the coming days and months. Through continued dialogue and active listening, we will seek to foster an environment where every member of our Emerson community will feel heard and can contribute to our collective growth. 

Together we will openly address our challenges and collaboratively chart a path forward. Let us unite in dialogue and action to forge the bold and equitable Emersonian future we envision together.


Jay M. Bernhardt

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