As a liberal arts college, we are uniquely positioned to address issues of systemic racism within our institution and community. As a new liberal arts college, now is the time to seize the proverbial moment and plan for what will undoubtedly be a challenging future. We can anticipate some of these forthcoming challenges and offer our students the kind of education that meets the needs of the 21st century, including one that is grounded in issues related to social and racial justice.
Additionally, we acknowledge the pain of our students and colleagues of color. As a college we are committed to dismantling pervasive racial disparities, inequities, and injustices on our campus and in our communities.
Sadly, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are now not the latest in a string of unjust homicides by police. While police brutality is an especially violent example of racism in the United States, there are countless other forms of racism that require persistent and immediate deracination. It is incumbent upon us to lead in this time of unrest. Doing so will sow the seeds of change and help to create a college climate that is welcoming to all.
Antiracism work requires sustained effort from all parties interested in promoting social justice and equity. We firmly commit to examining policies, procedures, and structures at all levels. Though this work may prove challenging, it is nonetheless worthy of our time.
We have identified three initial platforms of antiracist action that are essential to CHASSE: supporting the development of antiracist classrooms and pedagogies; drafting and implementing antiracist college governance; enhancing a collaborative, responsive, and sustained relationship between the college and its surrounding communities.
- We must and will support Black, African American, Latinx, indigenous, and any marginalized students in ways that recognize their myriad contributions to our campus culture and climate. We understand that action is needed and necessary now. Such actions include, but are not limited to, reassessing and eliminating racist barriers to entry and academic success, developing assessment strategies and assignment structures that recognize multiple ways of knowing and languaging, and ensuring that the voices and perspectives that students experience in the classroom are more representative of the diversity of our communities.
- We must and will create college-level governance that recognizes and rewards the unique contributions of faculty and staff. We must take seriously the issue of underrepresentation of BIPOC, especially among faculty, and also the issue of cultural taxation.
- We must and will continue to support efforts by faculty, staff, and students to work in and with the surrounding community. This includes concentrated efforts to dedicate ourselves to antiracist engagement in all of our communities, including the local University District.
These items are not an exhaustive list; however, they are areas to prompt and promote discussion and engagement.
Toward that end, we have shared the above as an invitation to join us in this conversation to offer feedback, ideas, strategies, examples, etc. at this link: CHASSE Antiracism Feedback Invitation. Feedback will be shared with the college.
The dean’s summer ad hoc faculty advisory committee is responsible for the content of this statement.
Dr. Melvin Beavers, Department of Rhetoric and Writing
Dr. Leslie Sharp, School of Education
Dr. Michael Norton, Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr. Derek Slagle, School of Public Affairs
Dr. Linda Holzer, Department of Music
Significant contributions to this statement were made by Dr. David Baylis, Department of History