Petitioning President Lee Pelton and 3 others

Demand Action From Emerson Administration

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Mission Statement: In the two and a half years since the protest of April 28, 2015, Emerson College has made only surface-level progress in response to demands made by students. While Emerson espouses “Inclusive Excellence” as a core value, the lack of substantial progress does not demonstrate a true commitment to implementing these values in the culture, climate, and curriculum of the college. Students of color and other marginalized groups continue to deal with microaggressions, bias, and discrimination while faculty and administration pat themselves on the back for minimal effort to combat the institutionalized racism that is present at this college.

Cultural Competency

1. We demand mandatory online cultural competency training for new students before coming to Emerson, so that a base understanding of culturally sensitive language and concepts can be established. This online course should be developed with student input and instrumented by the start of the fall 2018 school year.
2. We demand the utilization of orientation as a platform for not only open discussion, but also to include mandatory workshops that will set explicit standards for students to follow in terms of diversity and inclusion.
3. We demand the redesign of the First-Year Writing Program and CC100 as key touch points to include more conversations around diversity, inclusion, socio-economic diversity, etc.; to promote cultural awareness, difference, acceptance, and sensitivity.
4. We demand the creation of a new full-time position of a CITL (Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning) specialist in inclusive pedagogical practices that reports to both the Provost and the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. The CITL specialist must be hired by the start of the fall 2018 semester and will be responsible for conducting cultural competency trainings for faculty, including required sessions within new faculty orientation and ongoing, in-depth annual workshops for faculty who have already completed the first round of training.
5. We demand that any cultural competency training include information on immigration and the experiences of undocumented students. To constantly encounter staff and faculty who do not know how to work with the complexities of being undocumented, as well as repeatedly explaining what it means to be undocumented, can be frustrating and disempowering as a student. To be a student in a classroom where professors are using outdated and offensive terms such as “illegal” and “illegal alien” can be demoralizing.

Recruitment, Retention, and Resources

1. We demand that Emerson College provide at least 5 new in-school scholarships of at least $10,000 for domestic students of color by fall 2019. Due to the historical disenfranchisement of people of color and the intersection of race and socioeconomic status, students of color typically have a higher need for financial aid, and allocating funds for this purpose will demonstrate the college’s commitment to providing opportunities for students of color and increasing the diversity of the student body.
2. We demand a funded commitment to recruit, retain and promote more domestic diverse faculty in every department.
3. We demand that the College provide incoming undocumented students with the contact information of the appointed administrator who serves as the primary contact for DACA and other undocumented students so they can receive the legal, academic, financial, and mental health resources available to them.
4. We demand that the College create a plan by January 5th, 2018 to ensure the smooth logistical transition of financial aid for new and returning students once DACA expires on March 5th, 2018 so that there is no confusion, interruption, or additional work/stress on the part of the students to continue to receive financial aid and attend the College.

Accountability

1. We demand that bias reports and student evaluations relating to classroom inclusivity be taken into consideration during faculty tenure review and promotion. In addition, because professors of color are often called upon for mentorship and service work, tenure and promotion processes should recognize these forms of labor.
2. We demand that the college publicize issues and progress on addressing institutional racism at Emerson College online, as well as retention rates for faculty, staff, and students of color.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • President Lee Pelton
  • Michaele Whelan
  • Emerson College Board of Trustees
  • Emerson College Faculty Assembly

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