Petition for CAA Antiracism Task Force
Petition for CAA Antiracism Task Force
Theresa H. Rodgers, ASHA, President
Catherine Palmer, American Academy of Audiology (AAA), President
Arlene A. Pietranton, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth Crais, ASHA Board of Directors, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech Language Pathology
Julie A. Honaker, ASHA Board of Directors, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology
Craig E. Coleman, ASHA Board of Directors, Vice President for Planning
Nancy Alarcon, ASHA Council of Academic Accreditation Board, Chair
Jeff A. Searl, ASHA Academic Affairs Board, Chair
Jo Puntil-Sheltman, ASHA Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
Vicki Deal-Williams, ASHA Office of Multicultural Affairs, Chief Staff Officer
Dorian Lee-Wilkerson, ASHA Multicultural Issues Board, Chair
Michael Bamdad, Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, President-Elect
In these times of national uprisings against racism and historical and continuing injustice against Black, Indigenous and People of Color, we are engaging in much-needed initiatives and discussions regarding race, diversity, equity and inclusion. These conversations and self-examination are long overdue, and highlight the need for self-education and the training of faculty and students on anti-racism, re-evaluation of the focus on White supremacy and lack of diversity in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences curricula, and acknowledge the need to develop community partnerships and support for the leadership of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in higher education and in the community.
We believe it is critical for programs in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences to initiate a process of reflection, and to pursue reviews and initiatives to be inclusive of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The United States was built on the slavery and oppression of Black people and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. White supremacy still runs deep through our institutions, including our schools and government. This belief is underscored by the simple observation that Speech Language Pathology and Audiology are both among the Whitest professions in the United States (SLP at 91.8%; audiology at 92.2% as of 2019), a situation that leads to the isolation and marginalization of students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. ASHA’s standards on this domain, with only 8.3% of its members identifying as non-White, have not evolved as needed, and as a profession we are failing to keep pace with societal evolution and understanding of the profound relationships between race and education.
We, the undersigned, hereby petition the national leadership of our professions in ASHA, AAA, CAPCSD and their relevant committees, boards and councils to directly, explicitly and strongly acknowledge the impact of systemic racism, lack of diversity and White supremacy in academic programs in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences that marginalize students and faculty who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. This culture of racism, injustice, and denial has impacted the growth of our profession and our mandate for high quality, client-centered service provision.
We understand that tackling the symptoms of systemic racism to build a more just, diverse, and inclusive professional community will require a long and difficult self-examination, and a great deal of work. But we believe in the need for a well-designed and thoughtful plan to comprehensively and efficiently dismantle the racist assumptions and structures that for too long have constrained our full and truthful engagement with communities of need.
As a first step, we ask that the ASHA Board of Directors meet with the signatories in order to develop a task force to examine professional certification and program accreditation structures in light of our evolving recognition of societal racial injustice. The goal would be to establish and disseminate a commitment and a concrete plan to take an explicitly anti-racist stance and to directly address the racial inequities in professional training in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.
We offer the following action items to be addressed in the task force mission:
1. Work with CSDCAS to review program admissions criteria and barriers to access by students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color;
2. Review retention data for students in CSD programs who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color students in CSD programs;
3. Survey the experiences of students and faculty in CSD programs who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color to identify curriculum-based and institutional factors impacting their lived experiences and training in speech pathology;
4. Require that all faculty and students in CSD programs take evidence-based anti-racism training as a requisite for program accreditation;
5. Review barriers for hiring and recruiting diverse faculty and staff in academic and professional organizations in Communication Sciences and Disorders;
6. Recognize that the infusion model of diversity-related instruction is problematic in its ambiguity and insufficient to bring about required changes. The infusion model is unsupported by the evidence in best practices in this domain. Therefore, we ask that professional certification and accreditation standards be reviewed to more explicitly address professional preparation and teaching standards. For example, consider replacing accreditation standards 3.4A and 3.4B with teaching mandates that directly and explicitly require student and faculty engagement with a truly diverse and equitable society;
7. Develop an actionable recruitment and retention plan for students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, that as a minimum provides pathways to support students in reaching their full potential for academic and professional success (including faculty development, concrete mentoring plans, opportunities for financial support, etc.).
8. Require anti-racism training grounded in critical race scholarship as required Continuing Education