Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Anti-Racism and Racial Justice at the School of Drama

As an institution, the School of Drama is committed to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion for people of all identities.  We also condemn all forms of racism, bias and racial injustice.  We want to be leaders in bringing about change and as educators, we acknowledge our unique and important opportunity to increase dialogue about the Black Lives Matter movement and support it through academic and artistic expression. We are committed to prioritizing the work of listening, reflecting, and taking action, and to understanding and responding to the lived experience of people of all identities in the school, including people of color.  We commit to listening actively and taking action.

We will effect real and meaningful change for our community. Community-wide reflection leading to systemic redesign is vital if we are to assure true diversity, equity and inclusion in the school.  Guided by the leadership and vision of the DE&I Committee, we commit to a suite of connected initiatives and actions designed to drive meaningful and lasting transformation.

Each student’s unique educational journey, goals, life experience and voice will be recognized, honored and supported by all facets of our community. Our classes, labs, class materials, productions, assignments and group projects will be restructured to incorporate diverse content, approaches, and voices, within safe and equitable classroom experiences and balanced and meaningful production opportunities for all students, including our BIPOC students. These initiatives will help us become a diverse, equitable and  inclusive community committed to anti-racism in which every member, every citizen, will have agency and space and support to flourish.



DE&I Action Plan

– Support the immediate appointment of the advertised Assistant Dean for DE&I position in the College of Fine Arts.

– Establish an Anti-Racism and Racial Justice course to be held in fall 2020 for the faculty, staff, and students of the SOD community. Led by professional specialists from outside the School to be identified by the DE&I committee, the course will include mixed population discussion groups aimed at engaging in vital conversations. Beyond the fall semester, this course will evolve to become both a curricular requirement and ongoing training for all incoming students, and open to faculty and staff.

– Reschedule fall 2020 production to the spring of 2021. This will grant our community space to engage in a focused manner in anti-racist learning and to adjust to a new teaching and learning environment in the fall semester. Further, it will enable students, faculty, and staff to incorporate anti-racist learning in work on all planned shows moving forward.

– Beginning in fall 2020, commit to the inclusion and support of the work of BIPOC and other diverse artists and scholars in all class materials, projects, and assignments, as well as in School publications, social media platforms, and the annual season of productions. For fall 2020, Drama faculty will review their syllabi with the aim of incorporating diverse perspectives and authors in course material; revising policies and communications about attendance and grading to make them more equitable and inclusive; and appending a School-wide DE&I statement. Faculty members desiring support in these revisions will have access to School and University resources.

– Commit to reviewing our student recruitment practices to assure that we are attracting a well-qualified diverse applicant pool and to assure there are no barriers to access. The school will provide increased resources for recruitment in order to achieve this outcome.

– Prioritize efforts to achieve equal opportunity and diversity in hiring of staff, faculty, option guests, and guest artists. The school will provide bias and anti-racism training for search committees and look at open level ranking for appointments to attract a wider and more diverse pool of applicants for all positions. Guidelines for all guests will be developed or expanded to include explicit expectations about DE&I principles and shared values.

– Promote and familiarize the school community with the university’s established bias reporting process to better investigate and respond to incidents of concern. The School will develop and publicize a robust, consistent strategy for responding to reported incidents with special attention to protecting individuals from retaliation.

– Provide budgetary support for the School of Drama’s DE&I Committee to stage events, bring in guest speakers, access publications and materials, and promote activism.

– Offer open forum sessions and establish affinity groups/safe spaces for ongoing open communication, discussion, brainstorming, sharing, and uplifting all voices in our community.

Respectfully yours,

The School of Drama Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee